As a semi-professional publication, we work routinely with inexperienced writers and those with very limited experience. For the purposes of this explanation, we’re going to err on the side of caution and pretend you know absolutely nothing about the editorial process.
Permission Elevation & Formal Offer
Our editor (Alin) will email you a formal offer once our team has elevated your permissions on the site. Once your permissions are elevated, you will be able to sign our Publication Agreement. (You’ll also have access to all of our subscriber content!) Our agreement is a binding legal contract, so we encourage you to thoroughly read it and ask us to clarify anything you’re uncertain of before signing.
The offer you receive will contain some important information, including the projected publication date, the amount you’ll be paid, and the level of editing the story will require.
It is exceptionally rare that a submission arrives in publishable condition. What follows is a brief overview of the editorial process, the different kinds of edits your story may require, and an outline explaining the levels of editing.
Our team prefers a collaborative approach to story development; one where all parties recognize their first loyalty is to the audience. So, for the sake of efficiency, our editors provide thorough notes and suggestions (rather than hinting at what they would like to see from the author, requesting rewrites, hoping they figure it out, and repeating that process ad nauseam).
Our editors use Microsoft Word to leverage its powerful features, like tracked edits and comments. If you aren’t very familiar with the word processing software, don’t fret. You will receive a document containing instructions. Additionally, our editors are happy to provide guidance and will be available to you whenever you need their assistance.
When our editors evaluated your story, before it was marked for acceptance, they performed what is referred to as a “first pass.” During this casual review, our editors concentrated on developmental issues—big picture elements of the story. Plot holes, character arcs, pacing, action sequences, and dialogue are all things covered during this first read. Any developmental issues are highlighted and commented on by our editors. For efficiency’s sake, we may provide suggestions for resolving them, but these are simply suggestions. You are more than welcome to take your own approach, so long as all outstanding issues are satisfactorily resolved.
Mechanical edits are non-negotiable corrections to spelling, capitalization, punctuation, hyphenation, abbreviations, and consistency. We adhere to The Chicago Manual of Style (also referred to as “CMOS”). These edits are silent (or untracked, which means they will not be highlighted in any way on any draft).
Language edits pertain to grammar, usage, and diction. Our editors use the Dictionary of English Usage (also referred to as the “DEU”) to ensure that words and phrases form proper, non-awkward English sentences. These edits are tracked and will be explained in comments.
Stylistic edits are intended to clarify meaning, eliminate redundancy, revise overuse of passive-voice verbs, organize disorganized passages, and polish rough prose. As experienced writing coaches, our editors will point out stylistic issues and supply suggested revisions.
Once our editors finalize their first pass, it will be up to you to review the draft and perform refinements. Address each comment and resolve all outstanding issues. Then, you will return the draft to the editor.
Next, our editors will incorporate all changes. If there are no new issues to resolve, the story will be passed to our Gatekeepers, who will read the “clean” version of the story and note observations of their own. This peer-review system ensures typos and other errors don’t slip by unnoticed.
If the Gatekeepers identify new problems or opportunities, those will be noted and sent back to you for review. If the Gatekeepers approve the draft, we move on to the next stage.
You may have noticed each story on the site is accompanied by an image. During our editorial process, Alin will send you several different options to choose from. The image you select will be used to promote your story on our social platforms. You are also welcome to suggest enticing taglines!
The editor will create the story page on the site and do a final read. Once complete, your story will be scheduled. As soon as a story has been scheduled, you will receive payment via Paypal, and a copy of the text will be emailed to you. We encourage you to give it one final review before the publication date.
Levels of Editing
When determining how much and what kind of editing a given project requires, our editors generally weigh the quality of the author’s writing and the expectations of our readers. They estimate how much time will need to be invested in the story before it will be publishable. This determination impacts the scheduling of your story.
Light Editing: Almost entirely mechanical edits, plus perhaps a few minor stylistic and/or language edits. Authors can expect their story to be processed and prepared for publication very quickly.
Medium Editing: Mechanical plus some developmental and/or stylistic edits. Authors can expect two to three rounds of edits.
Heavy Editing: Substantiative mechanical, developmental, and stylistic edits that will require a considerable deal of time and collaboration. Our editors rarely accept submissions that require this level of work, but are willing to invest the time when a story seems worth the effort. Stories that heavily rely on passive construction (“telling” instead of “showing”) or contain a lot of unnecessary passages will automatically fall into this category.
Our editors will point out sentences and passages that do not propel the story and indicate areas where changes should be made so readers can experience the story themselves. (They will also provide a few suggestions to help you understand exactly what active construction looks like, so don’t stress if you’re entirely unfamiliar with these terms.) How many rounds of edits the story requires will depend on the length of the story and how quickly you respond to queries and suggestions.
From the Editor
Congrats on your acceptance! We are always thrilled to bring new writers into the fold. I hope you found this page to be informative.
In an ideal world, all writers would have ample time and resources to rigorously study and perfect their craft. As a mother-of-five, I understand better than most that we do not live in an ideal world. If you are haven’t studied grammar since high school, taken a single course on writing, been part of a critique group, or attended a workshop—don’t sweat it. We’re here for you.
Although we’re a very small team, we strive to be as available and communicative as possible. We particularly love helping inexperienced authors navigate the publishing process. If you have any questions at all, you are welcome to email me or chat with me directly on our Discord server.
Consider joining our writing group, The Dread Writers Alliance. We hold weekly events and monthly workshops. Membership costs nothing but your time (and maybe also a blood sacrifice or two.)