Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Greensboro: Your Manuscript vs. Our Needs

A reader sent this one in with commentary:

"When you submit to the Greensboro Review, they actually spend 41+ cents on you, by mailing out a personalized letter right away, just after logging your submission. It comes on nice stock, official letter head, is personalized to you and signed (in ink!) by at least one editor. The message? They're so glad you chose them as an outlet for your work, and they'll let you know about their decision as soon as they can -- and in the meantime, won't you consider subscribing? Maybe even getting gift subscriptions for all your relatives and friends? After all, this is the magazine that's considering your work *right now*! They even tell you to write or call them anytime! (Image 1) Then, months later, your SASE arrives. Your work is tucked in there and in pristine condition -- along with the tiny green slip. Sucker! (Image 2.)

"Nota bene
: I think the submitter will feel like a sucker no matter what he does about the subscription "offer." Obviously he'll feel that way for subscribing, but he'll feel the same if *doesn't* subscribe, as in my case -- for if they log their mail so closely, who's to say that my lack of financial support didn't influence their decision in rejecting my work?"


Anonymous said...

My favorite rejections can't be displayed because they don't exist. No response of any kind. When I politely query, that too goes unanswered.
Yet, in the case of some, I wind up on their mailing list. Prairie Schooner sent me card promoting their contest ($20 fee -- a scam).
In an earlier comment I wrote the person who submitted to Five Points that her non-MFA status was "contemptible." I was being sarcastic. Partially.
We get lied to constantly. Handed a load of pure bull. Some are dumb enough to take this bull and hold it like it was precious.
Magazines publish people they know or who they have a significant connection with. That's why you need to get an MFA -- and why you need to network your fanny off while you're there. The literary world operates just like the political or corporate ones.
By the way, why so many Anonymous commenters? Because we still aspire, and we know how vindictive the powers that be are.

Anonymous said...

anon, you should submit the approx. dates of your submissions and maybe the copies of your query. And definitely the copies of the crap they send you once you're on their mailing list. I think those kind of crappy deals need to be publicized, Big Time.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, a signed letter on nice letterhead for the sales pitch & then unsigned rejection slip months later? This is in INCREDIBLY POOR TASTE & I'm happy to see that names have been named. The Greensboro Review, I can't say I'll be submitting to them anytime soon.

Thanks for sharing, LROD. Your blog makes good people happy and sneaky vindictive people mad.

Alex said...

I guess I understand the thinking here: "If all these writers love us so much that they want to see their work in our esteemed pages, well, they can damn well subscribe to the magazine, can't they?"

They definitely have more submitters than readers, and that has to chafe.

Everyone wants to pad their resume with a publication from them, but no one really wants to read them.

Anonymous said...

alex, the point is that the whole thing is unethical. It shows how pathetic these journals are, and how sad it is for us that we have to submit to them.

Can you imagine a magazine like NEWSWEEK or READERS DIGEST or GQ rejecting a pro's query letter simply because that person does not subscribe? No.

Also, we're not talking about the lame-ass MFA academics who pad their resumes. Talking instead about writers who write for a living. The whole issue with poetry and fiction is that you can no longer do this for even PART of your income, because IT NO LONGER PAYS. (And nobody reads these lame-ass journals, either.)

Besides, if they started publishing GOOD stuff that people would READ, instead of the crap from all their MFA friends and all the stupid junk you find in them, MAYBE they would sell more copies and not have to beg their own CONTRIBUTORS to subscribe.


Pauline Deck said...

I agree with Alex. If one submits to a magazine, why be opposed to subscribing--or at least receiving a letter from said magazine, asking to subscribe? Why submit to a magazine you think is lame? Why would you want your story published in a magazine you would never read?

And the idea that magazines only publish "crap from their MFA friends" is a bit off the mark, I think.

Anonymous said...

Politics are present in everything. I happen to be an "MFA friend", and it doesn't help as much as you think. Not all MFA students went into the MFA to network...primarily. Believe it or not, the learning process can also be attractive.

I think it's like our visiting writer said last week, ""