Once you’ve pressed ‘submit,’ it’s easy to imagine your work as floating in the ether. It exists in a state of limbo, haunting your inbox until finally, you have your answer: accepted or rejected.
The whims of editors can seem cruel and arbitrary, but, believe it or not, we do have a process! It’s always complicated, choosing whether a piece makes it into 30 North; the staff has to account for each other’s tastes. Some of us love poetry. Some of us love fiction. Some of us love angst. Some of us love lighthearted stuff. As a result, the intra-staff dialogue tends to lean on the subjective aspects of art, and there’s a lot of back-and-forth convincing when opinions are split.
The magazine has given us great freedom to look at a lot of genres for submissions. We’re pretty fluid, in that respect. In lieu of hard guidelines, we usually review with four qualities in mind: intentionality, originality, cohesion, and style. We look for art that seizes our attention and runs with it, as well as pieces that can work with as little outside influence from us as possible. We’ve had important discussions about content warnings and triggers, always with the reader in mind.
If there’s a single, important inkling of knowledge I can impart about our editing process is that the final judgment is never made lightly. All of us are reading your pieces carefully before making decisions. If you’re intimidated at the prospect of a lot of people reading your stuff, take solace in knowing that the staff of 30 North is handling it gently. At the risk of diluting the artist’s original vision, we dislike making hefty edits (beyond clean-up), and in the rare case that we would need something changed, we’ll reach out to that submitter.
In the immortal words of Oz, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” 30 North is driven by you! The artists, the writers, and every niche in between. Stay creating, friends.
-30 N staff