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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No Song From Chabon For "One Ring Zero"

Who: One Ring Zero is a thoroughly modern klezmer-ish, rock indie band that cut a CD/DVD   and Book entitled As Smart As We ARe, featuring lyrics written by famous authors at the request of band leader, Michael Hearst.

What: A rejection of the lyrics request from Michael Chabon back to Michael Hearst.

When:  2003

Why: Because Chabon sucks? (So says he.)

Wouldn't it be cool if everyone rejecting you followed up with a comment on how lame they truly are for turning you down?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Do You Know What An Anubis Is?

I guess I'd stay away from the jackal-headed funerary god of Egypt just as a matter of principle.

Remember When Rejections Came From Typewriters?

Here's an oldie but a goodie from Keith Grahams. A rejection slip from 1970 when he was 18 years old.  Guess the form hasn't changed much in all these years.  BTW, this is the rejection that stopped him from submitting another story for 33 years.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Writers of All Colors Who Want To Kill Themselves (& Their Fat Pets)

I missed this New York Times report on blogger book deals, which is good because it makes me want to poke my eyes out.   I know you know what's made the leap from book to blog already, but I can't help listing it out so you can relive the pain and humiliation with me all over again:
Don't get me wrong: these are perfectly adorable blogs.  I've logged some time on them and gotten some laughs, but are they books? Are they truly even novelty reading people spend money to have in their bathrooms?  I want to say no, these are not books.  These are nowhere near worthy of bookhood. But I'd be wrong, wouldn't I?  (I prefer to think of them as a different species altogether: Blooks.  Or, perhaps Go-Online-For-Free Readers.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Did Narrative Mag Fix Fict Contest?

I got an anonymous tip to check out this aptly-titled post:  "Did Tom Jenks and Carol Edgarian, Editors of Narrative Magazine, Fix the 2008 First-Person Story Contest for Friend Gina Oschner?"  The question is already 8-months old, but the answer is ever green.  My mother-in-law would say that they are too attractive to be cheats, but commenters on the original post  (from the blog Arts and Palaver) have a lively debate.  What's your opinion?

Is Your Phone Dialing A Book?

Just to keep you current and trendy, here's this tidbit from GalleyCat about how book aps are high on the just-purchased list for i-phonies.  The chart above from O'Reilly Radar Report shows the rate-of-change in the last 12 weeks for Book Ap downloads was 128%.  Can't wait to publish my novel so you can ass-dial it on your phone.  Brave new world, people. Get with the times.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Dozen Pieces of Advice

Publisher's Weekly offers this ephemera entitled: 12 Steps to Better Book Publishing.  My favorite advice to the industry is "End Kabuki Publishing: As devotees of Japanese theater know, Kabuki is resplendent with elaborate costumes and highly stylized acting, completely lacking in any resemblance to modern reality. I am amazed by how much of publishing today is a Kabuki of ritualized and empty artifice."  I mean, right?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Private Reading of Friends (Don't forget the hypercritical)

Here's something interesting from Daily Obsessional.  See how Mark Twain evaluated his own literary works.  It's really rather inspirational.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Who's The Awful One?

The poet David Hernandez posted this on his website.  (See the address on the stationery.)  He passes some doozies.

Friday, April 17, 2009

You Know Who You Are

This bit of brilliance was submitted anonymously via email:

A Manifesto
By Waldo Eisenberg
Dead Editors,

We love you. We really do. You do the important work of sifting the chaff from the wheat, which the literary community needs. But there are some behaviors that must stop. Shape up a bit. Act like a professional. Be more like an editor and less like a despot. We promise: If you leap these ten pitfalls, our love will have no limits.

1. “Glacial”: Journals That Take Over A Year To Respond To Your Manuscript
Yeah, I’m thinking of you, Zoetrope, Mr. I’m-Funded-By-A-Billionaire-But-Can’t-Afford-Slush-Pile-Readers. But worst of all is Notre Dame Review, which claims in correspondence that their editor requires two years to consider a manuscript.

2. “Incommunicado”: Journals That Never Answer Email Queries
Dear Open City—This is my third query about a twenty-month-old manuscript. Will you never answer? Will you never get back to me? Do you ever read your email? Because seriously, if I can’t trust you to read email, do I really trust you to be able to read my story? (same three-queries-unanswered goes for you, Columbia Journal of Literature and Arts).

3. “Anal”: Journals That Limit Submissions To Once A Year
Or once a reading period, same thing. Honestly, Potomac Review, you think we want to wait ten years to be published? We know that you don’t want to get flooded with manuscripts from hacks, but seriously, since you take four months to get back to people, why don’t you bump it up to at least two a year, or perhaps three. Be a kind journal. Play nice.

4. “Inbred”: Journals That Only Publish Their Friends
Newbie writers, or writers outside the lit journal world, think this is a flaw common to all journals. Quite the contrary, it only applies to some. But Sewanee Review, when you publish four fiction stories, and it’s an event—such an event that it needs announcing—that one of the writers is “New” to the journal, then we all know that your “reading” usually consists of nudging fellow professors. When everyone is a “longtime contributor,” there’s no room for anyone else.

5. “Pickpocket”: Journals That Require Fees For Regular Submissions
An evil trend has started: even though it would be unthinkable for a journal to charge for over-the-transom mail submissions, apparently it’s not verboten to charge for electronic submissions. Tisk, tisk. Cut out that greediness. Poor writers don’t need to be charged for the privilege of you deleting their manuscript after a paragraph. Missouri Review, American Short Fiction, Sonora Review, Massachusetts Review, Meridian, Narrative: Yes, we’re staring you down.

6. “Stonewalling”: Journals That Don’t Accept Fiction Manuscripts
Seriously, Brick and Mississippi Review, did it just start being too much work to look for the newest generation of writers? Was the slush pile too big, or too disappointing? Was it much easier to just take referrals and recommendations? Because the slush pile is the essence of democracy: everyone’s got a shot. Refusing to look at manuscripts is a little despotic. The only notch in your favor is that, unlike some inbred journals, you actually admit you’ve stopped reading.

7. “Bait-And-Switch”: Journals That Sucker In Unwanted Submissions
Listen, New Delta Review, if you insist on sending me cursory rejection letters five days after every submission saying “There is no room left in the upcoming issue,” then why don’t you stop accepting submissions? Maybe a nice note on the website, saying, “The Issue is Full,” so hundreds of writers don’t waste postage on you. It’s just basic courtesy.

8. “Archaic”: Journals That Don’t Accept Electronic Submissions
Exclusively accepting postal submissions is like being in the dark ages. It’s like a publisher who refuses to make their books available on the Kindle, or a magazine editor who doesn’t have a website. Plus, while you’re bellyaching about not having enough funding, writers are spending tens of millions of dollars a year on postage: ever think that some of that cash could be diverted from the United States Postal Service to your journal? Just a thought.

9. “Wasteful”: Journals That Ask For Two Copies
Seriously, Hunger Mountain and Connecticut Review, this is the opposite direction of electronic submissions. You really want us to pay for printing TWO copies of our story, plus the extra postage? The only submissions you’ll get will be from the truly desperate hacks.

10. “Na├»ve”: Journals That Don’t Accept Simultaneous Submissions
First of all, if you don’t reply in under a month, you don’t get the right to refuse simultaneous submissions. If you do reply in under a month, then writers could still send simultaneously to you, because no other journal will say yes or no by the time you’ve responded. But it’s laughably ridiculous to have a policy like Descant, which says on its website “No Simultaneous Submissions” next to a disclaimer that their editors take up to a year to respond.

Bonus: “Apartheid”: Journals That Only Publish Fiction Separately
BOMB magazine, we saw you switched to that annual First Proof thing, cordoning all your fiction to separate pages, just like the Atlantic Monthly. Zoetrope – what’s with publishing your contest winners only online instead of in the print magazine? Let your fiction play with the other writing. Segregation is so ’60s.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

RhinoReject Needs Your Postage

Rhino has at least two editors sincerely rejecting your work!  That's two (plus) for the price of one rejection.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Closer to Done, But Where Am I Again?

I was supposed to drop my manuscript to the interested publishing parties, but then things changed two weeks ago.  (By the way, I feel like hell in a handbag.  Really strange and unfocused. Everything feels different now, though it all appears to be the same.  It's like crossing over some threshold you didn't know about, and now you're on the other side. How do people do it?)  I'm glad I didn't deliver the manuscript because I see now that the last section needs some more layers.  Somehow, working on adding texture is about the only thing that makes sense, which is a bummer for the people who employ me.  Everyone is being super nice. Anyway, it does occur to me that I finished my novel and my dad died.  Anyone who knows my story knows that that's just plain weird.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No, Your Computer is Not Rejecting Me

Says the anonymous LROD reader who sent in the rejection above: "I don't usually feel like any rejection I receive is all that interesting, but there is something about this rejection from Meridian struck me as especially impersonal. It feels absurdly automated; the computer has to speak to me first and let me know that, not the editor, but "an editor," reached a decision. There is no pretense that an actual human being might be responding to me. Not even a "Dear Writer," or a "Sincerely, the Editors at Meridian." I don't mind short and to the point, but some sort of pretense that this is an actual correspondence and not just a canned reply would be nice." 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Unsubscribe Me From Your Lousy Rejections

From: Summer Play Festival
Date: April 9, 2009
Subject: SPF 2009 Submission Notification

Dear [Name of Writer],

Thank you for submitting your work to the Summer Play Festival.

This year we had over 1,400 submissions from all around the world, making the selection process extremely difficult. Unfortunately, your work was not chosen for this year's Festival.

We very much appreciate you thinking of us, and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.


The SPF Team

This email was sent to [writer's email]. You can instantly unsubscribe from these emails by clicking the link below:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dear Author of A Book We Don't Want

We don't usually get children's literature rejections, but here's a good one.  I love the greeting. Somehow the politeness of it seems rude.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Worse Than Imaginable

My dad died unexpectedly.  I will be offline for a few days.  (And I thought literary rejection was a bummer.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hope You're Well, Even If You're Rejected

Here's a rejection posted a few years ago over at A Writing Year by poet David Keeling.  (I love the sign off: Hope you're well too.)  BTW, if you're interested in the saga of Poetry Magazine and the Poetry Foundation (spurred by Dana Goodyear's interesting article in the New Yorker), there's a good summary of it here on his blog with links to ever more information on the matter.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nothing to Do with Me

On his Scribblings Blog, writer James Viscosi posted the above rejection he received in Feb 2009 by Peter Rubie at Lori Perkins' office.  It's pretty standard form letter material that looks oddly type-written for this day and age.  What's fun, though, is that Laurie Perkins came around on his comments page a few weeks later to make the following disclaimer. "I cannot imagine when you received this, as Peter Rubie and I have not worked together since 2000. He has since started the Peter Rubie Literary Agency, which has reinvented it self as Fine Print. This has nothing to do with my agency now.--Lori Perkins ("  It's almost as if her new agency never sends out rejections, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


eHow offers a 5-step instructional guide to "dealing with literary rejection."  My favorite part is that the difficulty meter for this task is set at moderate.  The tips and warnings are also amusing. I truly don't know how (ehow) we did anything before this website.