Story Selection Process

It is our goal at Factor Four Magazine to make the process of submissions as transparent as possible. Here you can see what journey your story may take. You can also learn how you can follow along with the process using our submission system.

The Process

  1. Submission When you first submit the story to us, it goes into a queue of stories waiting to be read. The queue can be short, with only 30 or so stories waiting to be assigned. Or, it can get very long with our longest queue reaching 200 stories waiting to be be assigned to a reading editor. Your story’s status will be “Received” if you sign into the system and check.
  2. Initial Review. All manuscripts undergo an initial review, in the order they were received, to make sure they meet the guidelines we’ve asked for . This includes a check of format and word count. Stories that do not meet these initial guidelines are declined without being read. Your story’s status will be “Declined” if you sign into the system and check. However you will get an email from us if saying your story has been declined.
  3. Assignment. At this stage your story is assigned to reading editor for the first reading. Sometimes these editors are called slush readers, or some variation, but we don’t prefer that term. We instead use Reading Editor. Reading Editors are cycled through different reading stages. We do this to prevent an editor from always reading first or second in the process. Your story’s status will be “Assigned” if you sign into the system and check.
  4. First Reading. Your story will be read by one of our reading editors. In this stage the reading editor is looking for elements of a strong story, a complete story, and an enjoyable story. Your story can take two paths after this reading:
    1. The reading editor decides to decline the story. Your story’s status will be “Declined” if you sign into the system and check. However you will get an email from us if saying your story has been declined.
    2. The reading editor decides to send your story for a second read by another reading editor. Your story’s status will be “1st Read Complete” if you sign into the system and check.
  5. Second Reading. Your story will be read by another one of our reading editors. At this point they are being a little more critical. They are looking not only at the same criteria as the first reading, but also the fit of the story within our publication. Your story can take two paths after this reading:
    1. The reading editor decides to decline the story. Your story’s status will be “Declined” if you sign into the system and check. However you will get an email from us if saying your story has been declined.
    2. The reading editor decides to send your story to the Editor-in-Chief for final selection. Your story’s status will be “2nd Read Complete” if you sign into the system and check.
  6. Editor-in-Chief Review. At this stage there is no doubt the stories are high quality. This is where the fit of the story is really tested. The story is evaluated for all the same criteria as the first two readings, but now it is also determined if the story fits within the publication. This is one of the toughest decision points for a story. Your story can take two paths after this reading:
    1. The Editor-in-Chief decides to decline the story. Your story’s status will be “Declined” if you sign into the system and check. However you will get an email from us if saying your story has been declined.
    2. The Editor-in-Chief decides to accept the story for publication. Your story’s status will be “Accepted” if you sign into the system and check. However you will get an email saying the story was accepted and asking for contract details.
  7. Contracting. Once you reply with the required contract details, you will receive a copy of your contract through HelloSign, and electronic document signing service. Review your contract carefully to determine if you agree with the terms. While rare, there may be some terms that you wish to review with us in more detail. That is perfectly acceptable. Reasonable changes and alterations can be made if needed. Ultimately, you should never sign a contract you are not comfortable with. Though it has never happened, if we cannot come to terms then the story will not be published. However, once both parties have signed the contract your story gets added to the publish calendar for a future issue of Factor Four Magazine. A sample contract is found on our guidelines page.
  8. Payment. As spelled out in the terms of the contract, Factor Four Magazine will send you payment for the rights in the contract.
  9. Publication. Congratulations! Your story in now published in Factor Four Magazine! Our issues are published on the first of the month. They are free for anyone to read. So copy the link, share with everyone you know.