Every short story writer wants to know how to get a story published. So, we’re going to tell you. Well, at least we’re going to tell you how to get someone to take a closer look at your story at The Antioch Review. On average, nine readers cull through the approximately 3,000 per year fiction submissions looking for the thirty or so that will ultimately end up on the pages of The Antioch Review. These readers do a close reading of the submitted stories, find the ones they like, and send them on to editor, Robert Fogarty, who makes the final decision. The Antioch Review is grateful for all its first readers and thought you might like an inside look at how just one of them, Katy Bowman, approaches this important task.
Antioch Review: How long have you been reading for The Antioch Review and what is that process like for you?
Katy Bowman: I have been reading for The Antioch Review for about three years. I pick up twenty-five stories each month. I have two small children, so between caring for them, and working on my own writing, twenty-five per month is plenty. I begin by triaging the stories right away based on an initial quick read. If the story is not working at all, I set it aside. If the story seems to be working and is engaging, I set it in another pile. After I finish triaging, I sit down and give the engaging stories a more in-depth read.
When I first started reading for The Antioch Review, I was hesitant about rejecting something that was well written but was just not working for me. There are stories where the writing might be clean and precise with a clearly developed plot line, but they just don’t grab me as a reader. It’s difficult to reject stories, especially being a writer myself. I know how much time and care goes into each story, and I have a lot of respect for the writers who submit to us. It is no easy feat to get a story to the point where you are ready to send it out to perfect strangers. Continue reading