Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another letter ...

... Letter to Peter Stothard, Editor of the TLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

1 comment:


    Here's a comment I wrote elsewhere about this subject, which I'll repeat here, and stand by. Of course, the TLS is not likely to agree with me, but then, they have the scale and size to ignore or overcome this, perhaps. Perhaps.

    I don't think publishing "quotas" work, or are a solution. Being sensitive to the issue of balance is one thing in theory, another in practice.

    But I also think the many editors who claim to be "issue-blind" and seek only to print the highest quality are liars. Everyone has taste, everyone chooses things based on taste, based on hidden (sometimes unconscious) prejudice. Even choosing the "highest quality" material has elements of subjective response in it; nothing is ever totally objective, and pretending to pure objectivity is a lie.

    I think it far more honest, and perhaps worthwhile, for an editor to present a mission statement, or stance, regarding what they want to publish—a statement of taste, as it were—then to pretend that such things don't matter. Far better to know that a certain editor only likes one kind of material by preference; you might save both your own time and the editor's by not submitting. Far better to know that an editor or publisher is interested in certain other types of things; you might find a better match, that way, than by just shotgunning out blind submissions.

    In other words, better to know where people actually stand.

    Which, frankly, might solve the other issue as well: By knowing where to submit, the statistics are not going to be skewed by automatic rejections.