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  • Writer's pictureLittle Thoughts Press

Behind the Curtain: A look into the selection process with submissions reader, Carrie Karnes-Fannin

via Wix Media


Hello, everybody! 

Can you feel the change in the air? Fall is here—kids are back in school, leaves are turning, and Little Thoughts Press' kidlit celebration of the fall season is just around the corner.

The submissions window for Issue Four closed on September 1st. Our theme was "autumnatopeia," a fun portmanteau our editor-in-chief Claire created, combining two of my favorite things –Autumn and onomatopoeia. (More ononomatopoeia here.) 


If you submitted a poem, story, or illustration—thank you! We sincerely appreciate you trusting us with your work.  


Once received, how did we choose what to accept?

I'm happy to say there were many delightful submissions, so it wasn't an easy task. (I’m glad I don’t have the final decision.) For my part, first, I scanned each piece to confirm it was on the theme.

Next, I noticed language and sensory details. 


How did the writing play with Autumn's sounds, rhythm, and images? Did it say something new? Or in a new way? As our magazine is aimed at the child reader aged ten and under, I tried to adopt a kid's point of view—would a child want to hear this read again and again? 


Finally, I gave a recommendation on each submission as a yes, no, or maybe, along with a few comments about why. 


Then our editor Claire took over to complete her reading and make final decisions.


In addition to asking the same questions about each piece, she has the added task of envisioning how the selections will gel with each other in the magazine. Given the limited space, Claire puts a lot of thought into creating a nice mix of voices (from both kid and adult contributors), topics, styles, etc., for the final publication.


Some trends emerged from the in-box:

  • Leaves, ghosts, pumpkins, and campfires were recurring images across the board

  • Changing weather and back-to-school activities were also common topics

  • Most of the longer pieces (stories) centered on Halloween

Though we cannot provide feedback on individual submissions, these were some of the reasons for passes: 

  • While most poems and stories used both elements making up "autumnatopeia" a few didn't have one or the other. (Some even had neither.) 

  • A handful of pieces seemed more for an adult reader than a kid.

  • Some submissions were good but very similar, so we had to choose among them.

I can’t wait to see how this issue turns out!

Thank you again for the privilege of considering your work. I enjoyed reading every one of your autumnatopeia creations and hope you submit again in the future.

Until next time, as we say in my part of the world, Happy Fall, Y'all! 

~ Carrie


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