Reading blind

There is a growing trend for publications to read submissions blind. They ask you to remove your name and other details that may identify you from the manuscript then assess that manuscript solely on merit in line with their requirements. This virtually eliminates the possibility of bias but does not guarantee a more diverse publication or increase sales.

What happens if all the work selected is written by people of a similar background? This is possible, even probable if most submissions come from that group. Some publications state that they welcome material from under-represented groups, whilst using the conventional cover letter approach. Others actively solicit writers from within, or with experience of, their targeted audience, which may be defined by gender, class, age or race.

Blind submissions raise the possibility of novice writers beating experienced professionals. That’s fantastic for the writer but not necessarily the editor because a big name attracts readers. How are likely are you to pick up something by a newcomer ahead of the latest from an established favourite?

Paul Williams is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, best known for his study of the Jack the Ripper suspects.

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