Sandy Benitez is the founder and editor of Flutter Press, Flutter Poetry Journal, and Red Poppy Review. She’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize (2010), Dzanc’s Best of the Web (2010), and Best of the Net (2006). Sandy resides in California with her husband and their two children.
- How does being an author/artist help you choose a poem, artwork, or short story for your issue?
I think experience definitely helps me in deciding which poems to publish. When I first started to write seriously, I joined an online workshop and met so many talented writers who helped and mentored me. Thanks to their help and lots of practice and revision, I can usually spot a special poem once I read it. Sometimes it’s just a gut feeling and I go with it.
2. How did you get into the publishing business?
Initially, I started out creating print copies for each monthly issue of Flutter Poetry Journal and the response from readers was pretty good. After that, I realized the possibilities of publishing chapbooks for other poets. Being a poet myself, I knew of the frustrations of just trying to get a chapbook accepted anywhere. There were lots of small presses but they were only publishing small quantities of chapbooks or holding contests in which only one chapbook out of hundreds was selected. I wanted to create a press where poets had a much better chance of having their work accepted and published, ultimately fulfilling someone’s dream which is always wonderful.
3. How often do you publish an issue, and how do you decide its theme?
For Flutter Poetry Journal, I publish on a monthly basis. The themes just arrive on their own, usually it’s a theme that has interested me for a long time. Red Poppy Review publishes on a rolling basis and there is no set theme, it’s basically whatever works though I have noticed I tend to veer towards the feminine voice and poems that are a bit surreal or otherworldly at times.
4. How many submissions do you get a month?
Hmmm…well, I can’t give away all the details. Let’s just say the average is 25 or more for each journal.
5. If you could have dinner with any author or artist, who would they be and why?
That’s a tough one to answer. I loved Anne Rice’s vampire novels and the imagery in her books. She has this knack for describing the scenery from hundreds of years ago and bringing it to life. I realize that it involved lots of research but you need a vivid imagination as well. I would ask her what her writing process is and how she creates the landscape.
6. Have you ever read a submission and found a character particularly memorable (for either good or evil qualities)?
I may have, just can’t recall any at this time.
7. What is the best way for an author to submit?
Just send your poems enclosed in the body of an email, be sure to include a genuine greeting of some sort (there is something impersonal about receiving a submission and the only thing in the email is a poem or two and that’s it), and a short bio (tell me who you are).
8. What is the most unusual submission you have ever had?
There isn’t just one, it goes back to the email submission that only contains a poem or two. There is no greeting, not even a name typed out. The only thing I can do is look at the email address and sometimes that doesn’t give me the full name.
If you would like to make a memorable submission (in a good way) to one of Sandy’s publications, first check them out here in order to get a sense of what she likes:
Flutter Poetry Journal
Red Poppy Review
Thanks, Sandy, for a great interview!