Posts By: Jennifer Luebbers

Indiana Review’s Selection Process, Demystified

Over the past few weeks, Indiana Review’s genre editors have posted about what they look for in poems, stories, and essays in terms of craft. These posts have elicited several questions from readers about the nuts and bolts of selection process itself—that is, how, logistically, we go about deciding what to publish in Indiana Review. I hope to begin to address those questions in this post.

Being an editor is the best job in the world. There are few things more exhilarating to me than “discovering” an incredible piece in the slush pile, especially if it is the author’s first-ever publication. There is something really magical about finding that poem or story or essay, reading it over and over again, discussing it at length at a selection meeting, hoping it gets voted in, seeing it on its way through the long, long production process, and then finally getting to send the print journal out into the world.

Maybe this enchantment has something to do with the fact that here, at Indiana Review, our editors and readers are all aspiring and emerging writers, too. We are continually putting ourselves in the exact same situation as the writers who submit to Indiana Review (if you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you’re probably one of them). That is to say, most of us here on staff have been rejected time and time again, and we know how extraordinarily special (and rare!) it is if/ when one of our poems or stories is accepted for publication.

That said, the more I engage in dialogue with editors at other literary journals, the more I realize the selection process varies widely from publication to publication. It is my hope that this post will make what we do here at Indiana Review more transparent to our submitters, subscribers, and everyone and anyone who is interested in how we practice a democratic selection process.

What happens to my submission?

When a writer submits to Indiana Review, her submission is first read by the Editor, Associate Editor, or genre editor. And read again. And again. Yes, it’s true that the majority of pieces (probably around 98-99 percent of the submissions we receive) don’t make it past this point. If a paper submission is rejected, a rejection notice is put in the SASE and put in intern logout box.  Intern logs submission out of our database and mail the SASE. If an online submission is rejected, the editor selects the “reject” function in our online submission manager, and an electronic notification is sent to the submitter’s inbox.

But don’t get discouraged! There is also a potentially happy ending to this story.  When an editor finds a piece that she or he thinks might be a great fit for Indiana Review, the editor places it in “the box.” “The box” refers to the group of about twenty poems or 8-10 stories that will be discussed at the selection meeting any given week. In addition to the work that is culled from the slush pile, the genre editor might also include work from a writer that she or he has solicited.

Once the box of work to be discussed at that week’s selection meeting has “been set,” the work is made available for readers.

Read more after the jump!

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Inside IR: Meet Web Editor Doug Paul Case

If you’re reading this blog post, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with one of the most entertaining, informative, and energetic “voices” of Indiana Review. After only a few months as our Web Editor, Doug Paul Case has increased and diversified our online presence, as well as our readership, one hundred fold. Whether he’s tweeting, facebooking, updating our blog, adding audio recordings to our very own Bluecast, or making content from the IR archives available online, Doug Paul Case is doing it with enthusiasm and extravagance. Here’s a few things he has to share with us today.

Read more after the jump!

Doug Paul Case

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Inside IR: Meet Associate Editor Katie Moulton

As Indiana Review‘s Associate Editor and a fiction writer in Indiana University’s MFA program in Creative Writing, Katie Moulton  has a lot on her plate. Luckily, she has proven herself more than worthy of the job. Even though one of my favorite things to do is fake-fire her on a daily basis, I do not know what I’d do without her insight, enthusiasm, deejay skills, and knack for writing literary journal-themed parodies of popular songs (more about that later). Whether she’s investigating grammar’s nitty-gritty nuances, answering emails with great aplomb, or figuring out other editorial-esque things, Katie Moulton makes the Indiana Review office a smarter, sassier, and generally wonderful place to be.

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Announcing Our 2012 1/2K Prize Winner and Runners-Up!

Image: Shane Gorski


2012 Indiana Review  ½ K Winner

“Michigan Central Station Has Been Closed Since 1988”

Lindsay Tigue

Ames, IA




Jenny Halper

Brooklyn, NY

“Co-lo-ny Col-lapse Dis-or-der”

Megan Moriarty

Staten Island, NY


When asked to say a few words of the winning piece, contest judge Michael Martone writes:

I love trains, and I also adore ruins. I admire this piece for its content of irresistible decay and how its form replicates the unstoppable rot. This is a story that consumes itself, composts as it confounds. It is rich with stuff, with detail, with nominative junk. It names names, chock-a-block, only to have it all melt and fade away. There is no better drama in such a condensed and pressured space. To have a lump of coal transformed into diamond and then, beyond that rock, into the elemental idea of crystalline and holy loss.

“Michigan Central Station Has Been Closed Since 1988” will appear in Indiana Review 34.2, due out this winter. You can order a single issue or a year’s subscription here.

A huge congratulations to our winner and runners-up, and many thanks to all who helped make our 2012 1/2K Prize Contest a success!

1/2 K Prize Deadline Extended & Other News


Hey! Great news: there’s still time to enter Indiana Review‘s 2012 1/2 K Prize! Our new deadline is now Friday, June 8th. If you haven’t already done so, now if your opportunity to send us your prose poems and short-shorts and flash-fictions.  Michael Martone is our judge; the entries are read and judged blind, and the winner will receive a $1000 honorarium and publication in Indiana Review. Click here for contest guidelines.

Finally, remember that we will be closing all general submissions tonight, May 31st, at midnight (EST). Submissions will reopen on August 1st.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more blog posts, summer reading lists, and updates from past IR contributors—all coming soon!