As many of you may know, here at Penumbra, we've had our Summer 2022 call, dedicated to LGBTQ+ authors and artists, open for some time now. Although the call is still open for a few more days, our Summer team has officially begun reviewing submissions, something we typically wait to start until close to the end of our submission window. With that in mind, we wanted to reveal some of the reasoning behind our submission guidelines in regard to our voting process.
For those who have been with us for some time now, you've probably seen that we ask that every submitter submits works individually--for example, if someone wishes to submit two poems, the poems should be separate submissions, not in the same document. This is something that often gets misunderstood in our guidelines, and we'll still receive a number of submissions that have multiple works in one submission. While we will often still consider those pieces, especially if it seems like a misunderstanding in our instructions, we wanted to explain why we are so particular about each work being a separate submission.
In Submittable, our entire team votes on every submission and then we move to discussion if our opinions are split. When dealing with one work per submission, this process is fairly straightforward and we are able to make our decisions in a timely manner. When dealing with multiple works in each submission, however, it becomes more complicated. Someone might be in favor of including the first submission but not the second, while someone else might like the second more. Other people might not think either piece is a fit and yet others might want to accept both. This prevents us from cleanly voting for the piece and requires us to stop and discuss until we come to a specific agreement. For every submission like this, our decision-making process is prolonged, which delays our own responses to our submitters. For our Summer and Fall issues when we are working solely with a smaller, experienced staff, this is not too much of a concern. However, our Spring staff always includes many temporary new members who are not used to the process--working with documents that include multiple works becomes practically impossible for them.
We appreciate every submission we receive, but especially those who adhere to all of our submission rules and guidelines. We sincerely thank those who carefully follow those rules for helping create a more accessible submission pool for our staff to work with.
In terms of our submissions so far, we wanted to add that all of us on the Penumbra staff this Summer are truly impressed by the works we are seeing. Reviewing submissions and deciding on our acceptances is one of the most exciting parts of Penumbra, even when it is made difficult by so many wonderful submissions.
We anticipate having our decisions made in the next week or so, so please stay tuned on our social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at @csustanpenumbra) for additional updates!
Jessica Charest is an editor for Penumbra Online, as well as the Summer and Fall 2021 Penumbra Social Media Manager. She graduated with her M.A. in Literature from Stan State in Spring 2020.