Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Where the Sun Don't Shine

Look way at the bottom of this rejection from The Sun where Colleen Donfield's name is listed. Wouldn't you love the title "Manuscript Reader?"  It's like "Child Raiser" or "Book Writer." Kind of charming, but why is her name there if the letterl is from the editor? It's confusing, no?  Though I suppose it merely means that the editor didn't reject you, the Manuscript Reader did, or something like that. I always say hope for a rejection from the person with the highest title; it makes it more permanent. Anyway, I like that The Sun says the rejection is not a reflection of your writing.  Kind of poetic there with the metaphors, no?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, W/R, have you ever thought of giving some writing advice here?

Writer, Rejected said...

I don't know....isn't that stuff stale and scattered all over the web? Like: what's there left to say? Write every day? Have a good hook on your query? Win some awards so they take you seriously? Take a short class with someone famous who might help you if s/he thinks your a fantastic writer? Or someone who would blurb your book in the future? Or get an MFA and see if you can find someone to open doors? I don't know how much of that stuff even applies anymore? NOt sure I'd be that good at giving advice...I barely figure it out myself.

The Very Minor Writer said...

still, i really love and respect The Sun. It's a great magazine that takes writers and writing seriously and pays no heed to MFAs or previous credits. They publish what they like, unapologetically, and to a surprisingly large audience.

Toenail Clippings Review said...

having a manuscript reader means the magazine is prestigious, means they get enough submissions to warrant hiring readers. sure, at "toenail clippings review" every submission is read by the chief editor, but most of the submissions are notes from mom saying "buford, come upstairs, your pb&j is ready."

Lit J said...

Not to be a downer, but one of a hundred is a very kind statistic, and I don't think it's true. Probably more like 1 out of 500, or 1000.

I agree though that they publish to an incredibly wide audience -- if you want your work read, don't put it in a lit journal, place it here. It's the difference between 2,000 readers vs. 50,000 readers.

gimme said...

The Sun seems to be frequently mistaken as a place to publish literary work - it is not. It is a place to publish 1st-person accounts of childhood trauma, abuse, prison and drug problems.

I wouldn't waste my time sending a short story to them unless it falls into one of those categories.

I lost patience with the one-dimensional nature of the stuff that the Sun publishes years ago, but they do have a large audience, I'll give em that.

The Very Minor Writer said...

okay, they do publish a lot of inward looking first-person, but they also publish 1-2 short stories an issue of a fairly wide range though never experimental. this month is a story by Richard Lange that is more hardboiled than touchy-feely and is the kind of thing Playboy might have published back when they were serious about fiction. what they don't publish is stuff that feels workshopped to death, they are publishing good stories that still have an edge or two and a knot or two, that haven't been sanded down to conformity.

Anonymous said...

"We tend to favor personal writing," is what their submissions guidelines say. I never really understood what that was supposed to mean, but in light of Gimme's remark, it makes more sense.

Anonymous said...

At least the Sun now takes sim subs. For years, they didn't take sim subs and had a response time of 6-8 months. Now, they respond in 1-2 months on top of allowing sim subs.

But I agree with gimmee that the Sun's aesthetic is way too narrow, esp. for a magazine that goes to press so often (though I hope gimmee isn't implying that first person stories about the topics he lists can't be "literary").

gimme said...

"though I hope gimmee isn't implying that first person stories about the topics he lists can't be "literary""

No, not implying that of course. But the way the Sun contributors treat these topics tends to fall into the category of "memoir" or "personal essay" rather than "short story" - to me, anyway.

It's not my cup of tea, but it obviously fills a need for plenty of people, since the Sun has a pretty devoted following.

Writer, Rejected said...

Most of the high-brow mags don't give away the family secrets. No matter how you slice it, or justify, it's strange to get a rejection from the "Manuscript Reader."

Fuchsia Groan said...

An unknown writer in my area published an extremely short fictional vignette about farm life in The Sun a few years ago. I thought it was pretty pedestrian, to be honest, and it convinced me never to submit there, but I'm happy for her.

I live in a rural state, so farm life, milking, maple sugaring, etc. are popular topics for writers. I never want to read another book or ms. that starts with a detailed description of farm chores, but lit magazines seem to love this stuff. I can see why; to them it's exotic.

home remedies for nail fungus said...

I also like the line that rejection is not a reflection of your writing. I think it is a very comforting message for everyone who is rejected.

how to grow taller said...

Sometimes good writing is rejected just like sometimes bad writing is accepted.

Lemonade Diet Review said...

Writing is important, good writing is even more important.

zetaclear said...

The line that rejection is not a reflection of your writing is a total cop out! If you going to reject me, at least be straight up with me, you know.

Colleen Donfield said...

My title is really Manuscript Editor. I was a reader a long time ago and when the Art Director was making new rejection letters, he put Manuscript Reader and they were printed that way. Not wanting to be wasteful and thinking nobody would really notice or care, I used them. However, if anyone receives a rejection letter these days from The Sun, you'll notice that the form has changed and now it's from The Editors. I love this blog, though, even though it was strange to come across my name in this way. I really do try to encourage writers and the main thing that keeps me working at The Sun is the fact that we go out of our way to respect the writer. And we pay them.

All best,
Colleen Donfield