Fault Zone — Notes From The Editor, March 2012

March 7, 2012


We’re very proud of our first two member anthologies: Fault Zone: Words From The Edge and Fault Zone: Stepping Up To The Edge. And we are excited to be soliciting submissions for our third annual member anthology: Fault Zone: Over The Edge. This is the first year we are receiving work electronically. Make sure to submit by the May 15th deadline per guidelines.

We’ve had some requests to clarify the process of what happens behind the scenes, and how one piece gets chosen and another doesn’t, so here are some notes on the process.

First, submissions are sent in by the deadline.

Second, they are stripped of identifying contact information before being sent on to the editorial team. This is a crucial part of the process so that everything gets a fair read based on the merits of the piece submitted. Since within our club we all know one another, reading blind makes for an impartial evaluation of the piece at hand.

Third, the reading begins!

We have a lot of talented writers and great writing in our club, but it should be clear that we do not accept everything. Fault Zone is an anthology, not a collection. Publishers and magazines accept only a small fraction of what is submitted to them. We accept and print roughly 30% of our member submissions.

We also take the extra step to respond personally to all contributors, even if we are not accepting the work. Why? Because we’re all fellow writers in this together; feedback can be useful; and a personal note is nicer to get than a form letter!

Do we read everything? Yes. And not just once, but several times. Does more than one person read the pieces? Yes. We painstakingly deliberate on what gets in, and if there is anything that is still on the fence (there always is a large “maybe” category after the first read), it’s read again, and reconsidered, and often read yet another time.

There are a lot of reasons why one piece makes it in and another doesn’t. Often the quality of writing is there, and this makes it very hard to say no! We really do have a talented club.  But sometimes the story doesn’t have enough arc, it doesn’t end strongly enough, it doesn’t stand alone (this can be true for novel or memoir excerpts in particular), it doesn’t feel like it fits the theme, or it just doesn’t happen to balance well with the other pieces. We try to be as fair as possible. Obviously some of this is subjective, as it would be anywhere, and sometimes we just have to go by gut. It’s a big process!

Obviously there will be some disappointment. Nobody wants to get a no. But I also have heard from a lot of people that the notes they received were helpful and they are working hard on their submissions for the next anthology.  Really, I’m not making this up! While it’s impossible to make everyone happy I strongly believe this is a worthwhile venture and we are making a presence beyond the San Francisco/Peninsula branch of CWC. I also believe there is a lot of talent and excellent work we are publishing.

If your piece is accepted or provisionally accepted, you will receive a detailed editorial letter or notes asking for revisions, edits, clarifications or any number of things — sometimes just a request to fine-tune here and there. We will ask that this work be done by a certain date and a revision submitted. It’s sometimes a back-and-forth process because we like to get it just right. In other words, if we choose your piece, it’s because it’s a good story and it’s in good shape. And then we want to help you get it to be the best it can be.

The Fault Zone anthology series is amping up as we head Over The Edge: We are currently published by the Sand Hill Review Press; books are available on Amazon, Kindle, and at Kepler’s Books; and our 2012 book tour has begun, as of March 4th, with a very fun reading and signing at Kepler’s. Pretty exciting stuff! And next year when our third volume is released we can officially refer to this venture as a series. We are creating something that will represent us to the larger world. Whether or not your piece is in a particular anthology, Fault Zone really does belong to and represent our club and it’s something we can all be proud of.

Thank you for entrusting me to help create and edit the inaugural volumes of this series. I look forward to reading your work.


Lisa Meltzer Penn, Editor-in-Chief

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One Comment on “Fault Zone — Notes From The Editor, March 2012”

  1. Martha Clark Scala Says:

    You and your committee do a fine job, Lisa! I really enjoyed the reading in Pacifica!


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