Lynsey Morandin is the Editor of Hypertrophic Press. Originally from Canada, Lynsey holds a degree and post-graduate certificate in book publishing. After working as an editor for an ad agency, a few national magazines, and two publishing houses, she decided to start her own press in order to publish what she loves and encourage up-and-coming writers. For this segment of our Ask an Editor Series, we asked Lynsey what she typically looks for when she considers stories for publication (as well as what tips she could provide for writers interested in publishing their work). Here’s what she said:
WHAT SPECIFIC CRITERIA DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN CONSIDERING A STORY FOR PUBLICATION?
We don’t look too far into previous publications or MFAs or anything like that, we just look for pieces that speak to us. We love writing that can make a reader cry or laugh, and I’m a sucker for really great, lyrical prose. Our goal with everything we publish is to evoke a physical reaction in our readers and promote great writing from great writers regardless of their publication history (or lack thereof).
COVER LETTER OR NO COVER LETTER?
That depends! I’ve seen some really great ones that pull me in right away, and I’ve seen some really long ones that actually hinder the work. If I had to pick I’d say to keep it short and sweet. Introduce yourself briefly, add a bio in case your work is accepted, maybe add something about how you found out about the press or why you think your work would be a good fit. Ultimately the writing speaks for itself, but a really interesting and captivating cover letter does make me look at the submission with a more attentive eye.
AS AN EDITOR, I SUSPECT YOU RECEIVE STORIES THAT AREN’T QUITE FINISHED. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS CONCERNING REVISION/EDITING?
ALWAYS PROOFREAD! When you send something in that has glaring errors it immediately turns the editor (or me, at least) off and makes it seem like the writer isn’t as serious. You definitely need to make yourself stand out among the other hundreds of submissions in the folder, but this is a bad way to stand out.
WHAT IRRITATES YOU AS AN EDITOR WHEN YOU’RE EVALUATING A STORY FOR PUBLICATION?
What bothers me the most is probably when I can tell that the person submitting has disregarded the type of writing we look for. We get a good portion of material that states in the cover letter that it isn’t what we publish, and that doesn’t do any favors for the writer. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but we (like every other journal) publish a specific type of writing and rarely venture away from that. If you start off by saying you know that publisher doesn’t publish sci-fi or erotica or whatever else but you’re submitting that genre anyway, it isn’t likely to go very far.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU PROVIDE TO WRITERS WHO WANT TO PUBLISH SHORT FICTION?
If you love certain lit mags enough to submit to them, then show them some support – read their issues, buy a copy or even a subscription, or donate a few bucks if there’s an option to do so on Submittable. You don’t even have to contribute financially – there are hundreds of mags you can read in whole or in part online for free, and you can always follow them on social media. They work hard to put out a quality product, and it matters when you show them some love in return. Keeping up with an assortment of magazines will also help you understand what’s out there, what’s getting published, who accepts what, etc. But above all, once you’ve checked out the scene, submit like it’s your job. Don’t give up when you get a few rejection letters – it happens to the best of us. Keep going, believe in your work, and eventually you’ll find the right audience for you.
Originally from Canada, Lynsey holds a degree and post-graduate certificate in book publishing. After working as an editor for an ad agency, a few national magazines, and two publishing houses, she decided to start her own press in order to publish what she loves and encourage up-and-coming writers.