Literary Journal Dos & Don’ts

I’ve been working for literature journals in various capacities since 2010, when I began as an intern at the University of Houston’s Gulf Coast. Though I was only an undergraduate at the time, I still had the opportunity to read for the journal, often spending half of my six-hour weekly commitment working my way through the slush pile. That was my first editing experience, and it was an eye-opener: For one thing, I learned that people like me—inexperienced, uncertain—can be the first ones to lay eyes on a submission. But even more surprising was the range of work I came across, both in style and quality. I read through thirty-page sci-fi manuscripts and heartfelt essays about war, bad love stories and stories about bad love. I ranked everything on a scale from...