Voiceworks is excited and proud to be the first place of publication for many talented young artists. Every quarter the strength, daring and damn fine writing of under-25s has been the beating heart of our magazine. We simply wouldn’t have it any other way.
To make sure that we publish the very best of what you are capable of, the editorial committee edits all selected submissions with their writer. This isn’t just a chance to get paid for putting pen to paper, but also a hugely valuable learning experience. Becoming a successful writer is not only about learning your craft, but also how to be edited. Trust us on this one. There’s no way around it.
And that’s no bad thing! The editorial process is about more than finding typos—it’s a chance to develop your ideas, clarify logic, reinforce structure and cut back on internal monologues to make your writing as good as it can be before we distribute it ’round the country.
Having said all that, there are a few things the Voiceworks crew would love you to keep in mind after that heady moment of acceptance into the magazine.
Engage with your editor
This might seem strange or scary for first-timers, but the editorial process at its best is really a discussion. While there will generally be a number of changes we’d like to make, or elements we’d like to flesh out this is still your work. Not ours. Yours. You know it best and you know what you want to communicate with it. Talk to us about it—we’re already curious.
Justify your changes
Everyone on the editorial committee is very careful to explain why they want to make their changes and what they hope to achieve in doing so. Editing is a much richer and rewarding experience when the writer does this as well. This will also make you think more deeply about what you want to do and how, which is ace.
Address changes within your manuscript
Your editor will be asking you a lot of questions throughout the editorial process, generally to do with clarity, characterisation, tone, voice and consistency. Feel free to communicate with them in the margins, but also make sure you attend to their queries in the document itself. Remember that when publication is the end goal, you are writing for an audience. Working with an editor is the best way to draw out what needs to be made clearer and to ensure that the writing speaks confidently for itself.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
While it is super tempting to continue working on a piece after it has been selected, this quickly muddies the editorial process. Avoid making unsolicited changes or additions to your work, and be sure to clearly mark substantial changes if you do make them.
Confirmation email and punctuality
As a courtesy, please send your editor an email ASAP confirming that you’ve received their first edit and that you’re on board. While Voiceworks is quarterly, with a longer production cycle than some other publications, we’re still run off our feet most of the time. This means that deadlines for your responses are negotiable but important. Also, let your editor know straightaway if you will be unable to meet a previously agreed upon deadline to avoid meltdowns later on.
Everyone seems to love banging on about the death of the book, and how language is dying, and that everything is just the worst. We don’t believe this and neither should you. However, there is a strange disparity plaguing smaller publications: people love submitting to Voiceworks but not buying it. This doesn’t make a lot of sense. We hope that you will consider supporting the issues that your own writing does not appear in so we can continue to provide these opportunities to young Australian writers. It’s not only about supporting Voiceworks—it will also give you a better idea about house style, what we’ve published in the past, and what has been missing in our pages. Handy!