Friday, January 16, 2009

For The Super Famous Only

So many New Yorker rejections, so little time.  It's a wonder in this day and age that anyone still tries to get published there.  A friend said that they're like the mafia: they come to you (your agent).  Otherwise, forget it. Just to give you an idea of whose been published there recently:
Joyce Carol Oates, Donald Antrim, William Trevor, Amos Oz, Edwidge Danticat, Jonathan Lethem, Louise Erdich, Roddy Doyle, Yiyun Li, Alice Munro, Tobias Wolff, Joshua Ferris, T. Coraghessan Boyle, and Vladimir Nabokov.
It makes me laugh to think that in my youth I thought I was going to get in print with these literary fat cats.  Oh well, it's good to dream big. 


ruth b. said...

Who's the current fiction ed there? Any interviews? Anyone try to contact this ed and ask if they buy from the slush? Mediabistro and sites like that won't bother to. Why not you, lrod?

Also a long while back I saw something here about the NYer double standard: some famous dude quoted as saying he sends all his stuff to them immediately, "by default" so they get first dibs. He's prolific so that's lots of poems each year. But the policy is they only want a max of 2 subs from anyone per year. Is there a double standard going on here?

Anonymous said...

With certain writers (probably Updike, definitely Cheever), the New Yorker does/did a "first look" contract that in fact required them to send their stuff to the New Yorker first. This happens here and there in the publishing industry generally. This guy, it sounds like, has that deal. The benefit to The New Yorker is that they get the first choice of his/her stuff; the benefit to the writer is probably a better pay rate for what's accepted.

But consider what actually gets into The New Yorker is stodgy and behind the curve. (Joyce Carol Oates? I mean, really.) They're entitled to their formula. There are many, many other ways to get published. Check Duotrope and get on your e-mail.

You can get bent out of shape by hearing from other people who get accepted, or you can work on solving the problem. It might make you spend your time somewhere other than here, though.

Writer, Rejected said...

Aren't you superiorly above the fray? Good for you!

But, seriously, isn't there some value in letting off steam and complaining? It doesn't mean that everyone here wastes his or her time, or shoots the breeze instead of sending out stories for publication.

I think it's a normal maturing process to realize that one is never going to get in certain magazines and yet worthwhile to aim a little high, while at the same time publishing in places that will take your work.

Just saying: I used to think I'd appear in the New Yorker one day. Now I know better.

jessica said...

hey i was wondering..

is the new yorker still considered the "top" fiction market out there?

if so, do they mean as far as exposure or pay or both??

i was clicking around this morning trying to find a list of "top high paying markets" and "top high circulation markets" and its been hard.

anyone know if lists out there exist for these things???

not that i am at that level, but would be nice to know what are the markets that give a fiction writer the highest exposure overall .... and the highest pay, i admit, i'm quite curious. do any fiction markets give more than a dollar a word anymore???

jessica said...

hey commenter above mentioned duotrope...

thats the site i used to do a lot of research on this. however... most (over 50%) of those markets pay zero! only a handful pay the same rates as non-fiction. so is there a site like duotrope but lists the "professional" fiction markets???

also, most of the duotrope markets are really homemade zines, not "markets" in the professional sense.

i went the national writers union web site and they appear to be dead. they seemed much more popular a long time ago and now they don't seem to do anything. the authors guild is a bit more professional but they have nothing to do with fiction and i question their take on alot of issues... writers market also lists nothing but zines and more zines and non-fiction outlets. absolute write is more for non-fiction or hobbyist/genre writers., writer's weekly, all these other pages are for non-fiction.

so where else to look? i feel kind of stupid in that all this clicking around and i can't find professional magazines that take fiction. as far as full-time fiction writers, where is everybody publishing these days??


Anonymous said...

isn't deborah (debra?) triesman the fic ed? your chances of getting fiction publsihed are higher than the chances of getting a shouts piece published.

the mafia quote is good, they publish the short stories of people who already have a best selling novel under their belt, or of people from Columbia's MFA dept. that's it. that's the secret formula to getting in the new yorker.

Ms. McCluckers the Hen said...

I like Joyce Carol Oates, a lot, never thought of her as stodgy or behind the curve. That's such an apt description for John Updike, though.

Everyone goes through a phase where they submit to NY, but eventually you get over it.

You know they don't even open the email with your story? Their email system sends an auto reply after a respectable time lag, so you can tell yourself it was perused. That's why they have glitches where you sometimes get several rejections. It's completely automated. Fiction, Poetry, S&M. only Talk of the Town is sometimes considered, but it's only for people in New York.

It's true, I heard form an old intern. only the snail-mailed stuff has a teensy chance of being seen.

gimme said...

The New Yorker is, IMO, the single best mag out there for in-depth political articles and profiles. And much of their other feature writing is of a tremendously high quality. It's one of the only mags I subscribe to.

Their fiction and poetry, on the other hand, is so awful it's become kind of an ongoing joke. I mean, I'm convinced that whoever the poetry editor is, they're either just playing a massive joke on everyone or they're totally insane...

Yeah, there's no use submitting to the NY. Their days as a cutting edge lit mag are done, which is a shame because they are one of the only magazines that still regularly feature fiction.

However, if you can't get enough of Lethem, Updike, TC Boyle, and female writers from the middle east, the NY is your ticket...

sassypants said...

Is it really so bad to dream? Maybe I'm still naive, but if not me or you, someone has to be the next big thing, the next munro or saunders?

And maybe none of us get published into the New Yorker because none of us are really good enough.

And if we're not good enough then that's no one's fault.

Now I am not denying the unfairness of the system. Maybe they are missing out on some undiscovered gem, but really honestly, if we were all good writers that deserved to be published then that would be no fun.

Got to have losers to have winners, and you can't win the game without playing it.

It is utterly disgusting to look at any art form as a business. But at the same time, it would be utterly disgusting if every writer who thought he had a good idea got published.

I am not condoning the things wrong with the publishing business. I am just saying all of us aren't brilliant. That would be impossible I think.

And sometimes you have to relate to the world the way it is, not the way it should be.

I don't want to look at writing as a business, but I have to because everyone else does.

Anonymous said...

Consider that The New Yorker first and foremost wants to make money. I hate to say it, but the folks who buy the stuff that's advertised in that mag are going to be of an age. Some of them no doubt still think Joyce Carol Oates is cutting edge. The New Yorker will be the last to enlighten them, so long as they keep buying the jewelry, the furniture, the Chivas, whatever.

But this isn't really new. They've been sort of wink-wink, nudge-nudge this is all entre nous haute bourgeois ever since they started. And not long ago I saw a remark that they pay in absolute dollars about the same per story as they did in the 1920s. I wouldn't call them a good market, though I'm not sure what a good market for fiction looks like these days.

david said...

Ten years ago all kinds of nobodies were published there. It was a good formula: big names + small names + nobodies, kind of in rotation. Definitely fewer, if any, nobodies anymore, except in their "Big Discovery" issue, or whatever they call it, with those pictures of attractively coiffed young writers.

Hey, maybe with the new populism in the air, the NYer will go back to its old ways! We can dream, anyway!

From a person who has worked at The New Yorker said...

Ms. McCluckers, I have worked in the Fiction Department at the New Yorker, and I can promise you that every piece that is submitted is read. I don't know who told you otherwise, but I can assure you that, if something is sent in, solicited or unsolicited, by email or by post, it will at least be read.

A lot of interesting points here, but I just wanted to clear that up.

Anonymous said...

To the ex-New-Yorkerer: Tell us more!

kenny g said...

Person who worked at the New Yorker...Are the stories actually read, or is the email opened just long enough to copy and paste the title into the form rejection?

I'm not trying to be smart-alecky, lots of things you do to an unsolicited ms could be considered reading. Are the stories read by a computer that scans for the right byline and MFA school in the bio? Inquiring minds want to know.

From a person who has worked at The New Yorker said...

Kenny G: Like at most other journals I've worked at or known about, the amount that each story is read varies, depending on the quality of the story, as deemed by the reviewer. Stories of higher quality are read in their entirety and, in certain cases, passed up for further consideration. Stories of lower quality are also read, but most likely not in their entirety.

Your conspiracy theory about having a computer scan for the right byline and MFA bio was interesting and kind of funny. While automation may be a more "efficient" (albeit less fair) way to go through slush, there is no computerized system in place that filters stories coming from one MFA program or another. I feel there are certainly schools that make an editor pay more attention (Iowa, Columbia, etc.), but I feel this is generally only a positive kind of thing: there are no MFA programs that make us immediately say "reject" (and the same thing goes for having an MFA or not having one). I guess there may certain types of fonts that could incline us to reject, but again, this isn't to say anyone who writes a cover letter in 24-point Comic Sans is automatically tossed (just perhaps looked at more skeptically).

Regarding the automation system, however, I do think it could be interesting to use something like that as a tool to more easily identify whether there were certain "types" or trends associated with certain MFA programs, at least among the sample group of students who submit to the New Yorker. This would be something to study among non-MFA groups, I think, as well: say, writers from a certain region or state, and so on. This, of course, would be a project for my own private curiosity and research and have nothing to do with the New Yorker or its fiction.

Anonymous said...

Hey ex-NYer, concerning the great Font Debate:

A. Courier / Courier New

B. Times New Roman

C. Georgia / any other attractive Roman font

Which is it?

B all the way, A-B-C, B/C ...?

Anonymous said...

their is actually a young poet/writer in my town,ann arbor, who was published in the new yorker and the sun, someone I known enter a contest and won 3rd in "current" magazine a place where routhbar, I think that was his name, was a judge(the man published in new yorker).