Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Missouri Misery

Thank you for giving us the chance to consider “Title” for publication in The Missouri Review. Though it does not fit our current needs, we appreciate your interest in our magazine and your commitment to quality writing. We wish you the best of luck publishing your work and hope you’ll consider sending us more in the future. Sincerely, The Editors

18 comments:

WIZOZ said...

Don't worry about it
places like The Missouri Review are not big competition
because if your one of those rich young people from Ann Arbor then your parents or somebody have connections to get your work out to the Editors, way ahead the slush piles.
:)

Tena Russ said...

OMG, LOL at Kathy Bates!

Anonymous said...

I've interned at the Missouri Review and I can say this: 1) I have sent so many of that exact rejection. so, so many. 2) WIZOZ is wrong. that's not what gets you ahead in the slush. if the writer him or herself (not their parents, not their friends) knows Speer personally, that will get you directly to Speer. and if you know the editor in the genre you're submitting that will get you directly to that genre editor. nothing else moves you up. not fancy-pants connections, not big-name publications. 3) as much as you probably won't believe this, TMR is sort of embarrassingly proud when they get a writer's first publication. so they aren't only trying to publish writers who know them. they are actively hunting out new writers because they get off on it.

Anonymous said...

they're good people over at TMR. IT's ridiculous to accuse them of ignoring the slush pile.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like your standard rejection. No more misery-inducing than any other.

To anony-intern above, can you say whether cover letters or mentioning an MFA will help? I think slush readers subconsciously grade a story with higher marks if they know the author is stamped with an approval seal from a creative writing program.

Side note: Kathy Bates looks kind of pretty from that angle.

Anonymous said...

it's about if they are good people it's about sales and readership ;)

Anonymous said...

Clearly, the intern above knows more than I do about MR, but I heard Speer Morgan speak a few years ago, and that year, all of their contest winners had been previously unpublished authors, and he seemed really proud of that and happy to be publishing new writers. The competition is tough, sure, but I don't doubt they're sincerely reading for good work, regardless of your lineage.

Radek said...

The Missouri is ok at best but,
other then that I'm more of a RATTLE,poetry magazine,fugue fan

Billy said...

I hate any journal which did not except my work and nearly all of them have excepted my shitty work.LOL

S said...

OK, har har Billy. Gees, where's the intelligent debate of old. With anonymous up there, I too would like to know the general attitude of the first readers toward cover letters and credentials.

It's great that the editors want to champion new authors, but does that ethos permeate to all levels of the organization? Are submitters nonetheless subjected to the prejudices of MFA grad student readers who, wanting to justify such schooling, pick only other MFAs? These are the questions that keep me up at night, lol.

Anonymous said...

I'm the editor of a university-based journal, and it's my job to make sure that ethos you mention, S, does permeate to all levels. If a student reader wants to champion a story, she knows she's got to talk to me *about the story*, not about where the author went to school. I can't say how cover letters affect how they read, because I don't make them part of the conversation we have.

As well, our genre editors (we have one each in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) read *all* submissions in their genre. Nothing gets sent back because a student reader gives a story a thumbs-down. Our goal in having student readers isn't to have students do our work for us, it's to give our students a chance to learn to be better editors and writers themselves.

Anonymous said...

On an aside note, W,R, I just have to say the trials and tribulations you've had to walk through of late have made you even crazier funny! Your commments coupled with the Bates image and the "money ain't nuttin' but sustenance" book image below are hilarious. What a joy you bring to us. Thanks, CSE

Anonymous said...

The anonymous intern at MR writes "if the writer him or herself (not their parents, not their friends) knows Speer personally, that will get you directly to Speer. and if you know the editor in the genre you're submitting that will get you directly to that genre editor. nothing else moves you up. not fancy-pants connections, not big-name publications."
So is this a good thing?
How does somebody get to know Speer personally?
I don't know Speer personally, so I'm fated to land in the slush pile, right?
That's just great.
I don't know anybody who's Somebody.
But you, w/r, write about having lunch with an editor who turned down "an insanely successful, pulitzer-prize-winning literary book." Why, if you have contacts like this, can't you make use of them? One of the mantras oft-repeated on this blog is that you have to make connections with the right people, or you're stuck forever in obscurity. I believe this to be true, and the MR intern is affirming that belief.

Anonymous said...

i didn't know a damn soul at MR. They picked my story out of the slush—it was the third or fourth story I had sent them—and they published it in 09.

tomatohead fred said...

"But you, w/r, write about having lunch with an editor who turned down "an insanely successful, pulitzer-prize-winning literary book." Why, if you have contacts like this, can't you make use of them? One of the mantras oft-repeated on this blog is that you have to make connections with the right people, or you're stuck forever in obscurity. I believe this to be true, and the MR intern is affirming that belief."

The TMR intern indicates that in the vast majority of submissions, it's the quality of the writing that matters. Only a handful of submitters, out of tens of thousands, know the editor personally. The example she mentioned doesn't prove that you need connections.

Furthermore, in WR's case, if she is not getting repped in spite of being well-connected, then the problem is her book/current market, not her failing to make use of the connections. (I'm sure she's exhausted that angle.) Half a dozen NY literary contacts won't help you if nobody feels the book will sell.

You'll only be stuck in obscurity forever if you never write and never submit. Get rejected by the same journal enough times and they'll remember you all right. There's your lit connection right there.

Peace out mo fos

Writer, Rejected said...

I met her in an airport in Italy. Talk about stretching a contact and trying to make it work. She wasn't "in love" with my work. What can you do?

Anonymous said...

if any of you are still reading this, I'm the intern from before. Yes, cover letters help. They are not the end-all/be-all or anything, but one of the first things interns are taught are to pay closer attention to a submission if the writer indicates in the cover letter that they have a book from an even somewhat well known press, or if they have publications from very well known magazines like Poetry or The New Yorker. Again, this doesn't move you directly to any editor, and I think TMR is definitely truly looking for good writing, but there are little tricks that might give you a bit of a leg up.

Anonymous said...

and to the anonymous asking if personal acquaintances moving directly to Speer is a good thing: well, I don't know. probably not, but I don't think it's that bad. It happens very, very rarely anyway. I'm not in a place to tell you whether it ultimately gives that piece a better chance at being published. Common sense seems to say yes, but who knows. Anyway, I'm not here to defend TMR, but I though some of y'all might be interested in a little bit of an insider's view.