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Eyeshot editor, Lee Klein, promises to be “100% respectful and helpful.”

The following pasted text was copied directly from Eyeshot, which is where you should head immediately after reading this:


Eyeshot was originally founded and operated for ten years as a volunteer effort, a sort of textual first-aid for tender literary souls, no matter how bawdy or incomprehensible or odd.

Recently, knowing that submissions were forever closed and we wouldn’t ever again be posting fiction etc, someone sent a story because she wanted to receive her “very own sassy rejection letter.”

I responded: “I have a crazy idea: I’ll read and respond to your story if you donate some money to Haiti (or an American literacy organization) and forward the receipt to me. The more money you give, the more in-depth my response will be. Sound good?”

Hours later, I received an official-looking receipt for a $40 donation to an earthquake relief organization. An hour or so later, I transmitted a response much longer than the four-paragraph story I’d originally received.

A win-win-win! Writer gets earnest, helpful, thorough feedback from someone who only cares about her story (ie, isn’t interested in blowing smoke or stroking her ego etc). Editor gets to keep his analytical skills sharp by helping a writer and, in turn, a relief organization. Relief organization gets forty freakin’ bucks, which helps people in serious need.

So then I configured the little chip-in account thing above and decided to proceed like this for the foreseeable future: Now, instead of reading and responding to submissions with an eye for posting them on Eyeshot, I will read and respond to stories as long as you donate money to our chipin account or forward an official-looking receipt for a contribution to a noble cause (dated after 1/23/10). Money collected from the chipin thing will be donated when it builds up a bit, most likely to a US literacy effort. For the most part, the more money you donate, the more thorough my response will be. But please don’t send stories longer than 20 pages unless you contribute a really generous amount. Send your story to submit at eyeshot.net. I’ll respond within a few days (a few weeks, the latest).

Occasionally I may post excerpts from some of my responses the way I used to post rejection letters. But I promise these new responses will be 100% respectful and helpful.

What do you think? Let me know. Spread the word.

Otherwise, for your reading pleasure, here’s a longish history of Eyeshot. Here’s the archive. Here are favorites posted over the past 10 years. Here are the defunct submission guidelines. And here are some good books to read.

4 thoughts on “Eyeshot editor, Lee Klein, promises to be “100% respectful and helpful.”

  1. I’ve always really respected Lee Klein for his honest feedback on any piece I send him. As I appreciate any editor who takes the time to reply to me. He’s never accepted any of my writing, and I’ve also never gotten one of his notoriously sassy rejections (although here’s hoping), but I never feel bad about getting rejections from Eyeshot, because he seems such a swell guy.

    Another journal where the editors go above and beyond is the Mid-American Review. Three cheers for good, honest, generous editors!

  2. 1) Kudos to Lee Klein for this idea.

    2) I am wary of some blends of charity and capitalism I’m seeing around Haiti? Like a magazine in the fantasy genre that is plugging its subscriptions with an offer to send $1 of the money to Haiti. I feel like it… I don’t know, I am always wary of places where something is being sold and that’s created as “activism.” The Eyeshot thing, being linked to actual donations, is probably not part of this complaint at all.

    But mostly:

    3) If I submit to Eyeshot, why would I want helpful or respectful? I thought otherwise was the point!

  3. Re: 3, my understanding is he was always helpful, if not always tactful, but I don’t think he was ever disrespectful. Maybe I’m wrong about that. I suppose it’s up for debate.

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