by Katie Holland (Co-Managing Editor 2015)
Have You Ever Wondered?
Have you ever wondered what happens behind-the-scenes when you submit to the Greenleaf Review? Maybe you’ve even thought about joining the team of staff members in Guilford’s annual Spring semester practicum course and want to know what staff members do to make a magazine in a single semester. This article is geared towards answering questions and clearing up some of the mystery about the submission process.
1) A Submission is Born!
You’ve worked on your submission carefully until you had a product you were happy with. A deadline has been announced by the Greenleaf Review staff; you probably saw it on a flier around campus. You’ve decided that today’s the day you give your work (and yourself) the chance to be published. This is when you make your selections and submit your chosen work to us!
The first step a submission takes in its life happens when you hit “Send” on an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your file attached. It’s helpful if you go ahead and give it a name and mention what medium (photography, fiction, poetry, painting, etc) it is, but we will ask for that information later if you forget.
2) Submission Incognito
Once your submission reaches our hands, the Managing Editor(s) will assign you a number and remove your name from the file, leaving you completely anonymous for the entirety of the submission review process. This means that when people are reading or viewing your work, they’ll see something like “Author 12” or “Artist 39” instead of your name. General staff members don’t know who the numbers belong to, only the Editors.
The Poetry and Prose pieces are printed and the Art submissions are sorted digitally. At this point, they are ready to be seen by staff members.
3) Reviewing Cycle
The submissions are split into three groups: Poetry, Prose, and Art. Staff members attend meetings within these sections according to their interests and schedules and review submissions as a group. Each section has its own Editor who is in charge of keeping up with the paper copies for Prose and Poetry and maintaining the digital folder for Art submissions.
We discuss pieces that interest us, find appropriate changes that would make them better or more appropriate for our magazine or page allowance, and sort the submissions based on “readiness”. This is not a measure of quality exclusively, it is a measure of how ready we are to publish a particular piece of writing or artwork in our magazine.
The reviewing continues until enough members of the practicum course have seen each piece and all have been given a fair chance at being viewed.
After carefully reviewing all of the submissions in each category, the group determines which ones have made the final cut. The section editors then determine which ones are the highest rated overall in readiness.
Every year varies thematically and we may fall in love a piece that just doesn’t work with the rest of our favorites, that’s why we encourage you to resubmit, and sometimes even ask to publish it electronically here on our blog. We want the world to see your work, but we also want all published pieces to be seen in the right context.
5) Notification and Edits
Check your Guliford email to see if your submission has been accepted into this year’s magazine. You should check your email regularly, especially since we usually request a few edits to be made to Poetry and Prose pieces. Sometimes these edits are suggested because of the length of the piece, word usage, mistakes, or because we think it would improve the piece in some way. They are recommendations and we need your approval or input in order to continue.
Once edits are approved, we move on to Layout and place your submission into the magazine before sending the files off to our printer. We’ll let you know when the magazines get here and you can see your work in print. Yay!
If the email is not one of congratulations, we hope it won’t keep you from working on the piece and resubmitting it the following year.
And There You Have It
Staff goes on to format the magazine’s interior files before sending it to the printer. By this point you already know if you’re in. There should be a release day party and we let you know about that so we can all celebrate another great year of The Greenleaf Review and hand out free magazines to everyone who wants them.
If you want to be on the staff of the next magazine, sign on for the Spring semester practicum course for college credit, and keep on submitting.