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Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
Dear Ms. [Last Name Spelled Wrong]: Although in the end we could not find a place for your story, we want you to know that we gave it a careful reading. Thank you for your interest in the Review. Sincerely, The editors
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
basalt [dark-colored, fine-grained]
Dear Writer: Thank you for your submission to basalt. We regret that it does not meet our current needs. We appreciate your interest in basalt and wish you the very best luck publishing your work elsewhere. Sincerely, The Editors
Eastern Oregon University One University Blvd, La Grande, Oregon 97850
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
You might want to blog about this. The Missouri Review Editor's Prize just ended, and they managed to say the last line (quoted below) with a straight face...Strange, considering we had that intern in the comments section a little while ago saying that Speer particularly looks for first-time authors. (I've quoted that comment after the Missouri Review comment below). Cheers and love the blog!
From the Missouri Review:
"We received over 2500 manuscripts this year, and the overall quality was extraordinarily good, making our decision a difficult one. This is of course a good thing: selecting winners of a contest should never be easy, and it certainly wasn’t for us. We’re very thankful to all the writers who entered this year. TMR is only as good as the work we publish, and we are grateful that so many writers sent us their very best work. We were particularly thrilled to find out, after we accepted her work, that “Unintended” will be Yuko Sakata’s first published story!"
From an intern about this matter:
"I've interned at the Missouri Review and I can say this: 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."
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Do you still want rejections from anonymice? Do you care anymore?*Last Friday I got an email from the folks at Epiphany saying they were accepting a story and that it was going to press Monday. Okay. Great. Wham, bam. I scrambled around to the various places I'd simultaneously submitted, trying to figure out the best way to withdraw the story. Turns out online submissions, which make submitting so gloriously easy, are not all so easily withdrawn. In any case, I sent an email to some virtual soul at McSweeney's telling them to please withdraw my story, and I was sorry, and all that...and not twelve hours later I got their standard rejection. How do you like them apples?!* Of course I do. I care very deeply.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
EPOCHIn other news, since Sunday's publication, 7 agents have contacted me. How's that for a turn of the tables? A few of them are former rejecters of mine. But I'm all set in the agent category with Secret Agent Man. So, "no thanks!" (That's good-sport code for "bite me," which I know is not very nice. You'll pardon me, I'm sure.)
251 Goldwin Smith
Ithaca, NY 14853
We regret that we are not able to place your work in our magazine. We're sorry to disappoint you, and we thank you for submitting to EPOCH.
EPOCH is published three times a year. Unsolicited submissions are reviewed from 15 September to 15 April of each year. Sample issues are available from the above address at $5.00 per copy, postage paid.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
The University of Chicago. 5801 South Kenwood Avenue. Chicago, IL 60637
Dear Author, Thank you for submitting to Chicago Review. We're sorry to report that we are not going to publish your story.Good luck placing it elsewhere. The Editors
(T-minus 3 and counting. It promises to blow you away.)
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Jackson Bliss, novelist and fellow blogger extraordinaire, offered up some important opines in numerical order on this LROD post; seems fair that I post what he has to say for all to read. Plus, I like what the dude has to say:
1. My writing blog is about transparency + honesty. I post every good rejection, every snarky rejection, every acceptance + whatever else comes to my mind. You don't have to agree with that, but for you to assume I haven't considered the consequences of what I'm doing is slightly insulting + also untrue. That's just how I roll with my blog + many aspiring fiction writers have thanked me for my honesty, so i feel like i'm doing something right.
2. Personally, I'm sick of all the kowtowing that aspiring fictions are expected to do in this industry. We're supposed to shut up + just take it until we're too famous to shut up. But I think we have important things to say BEFORE we ever become famous, which will probably be never anyway. Also, I wasn't writing back to Nat Sobel's assistant to be an asshole, I was just being honest with her + communicating to her how I feel, which honestly, people don't do ENOUGH in this industry for fear of being blacklisted. I was sincerely grateful for all of the time she spent reading my partials, but look, I don't have to agree with her analysis + I don't. I have enough friends who have already made it as literary fiction writers so I'm not being speculative when I say that I have issues with anyone suggesting that Junot Diaz has a limited readership.
3. As for platform, though I don't agree with it, writers of color are given a "writers of color" platform by predominantly white editors. They're usually categorized as an ethnic writer, a black commercial fiction writer, a female Asian-American novelist + that's the market they target. I have nothing to do with that, but the reality is that I have a WAY better chance of selling my shit as an Asian-American writer (which I am, though only hapa) than I do as another male writer. Beyond that, a little context: In one of Nat Sobel's interviews, he argues that not only do non-fiction writers need a platform-- a position that many agents agree with, by the way--but that these days, considering how non-fiction sales have overtaken fiction sales by like a lot, now even FICTION writers need a platform, so that's what I was referring to when I talked about platform. If you read a few more of my entries, you'll see that. Also, I personally think that a fiction writer should be able to write from whatever cultural perspective s/he wants, but I think the market expects platforms: They want Asians to write Asian stories, they want the former heroin addict to write a memoir about being a junkie, not about his love of plants. Don't believe me? Pick up a copy of almost any Asian-American writer + scan their publishing history? How many of them are writing stories about white people? While I may not agree with this, I do acknowledge the market, so I'm simply trying to figure out the best way to place my own writing, nothing more.
4. If an agent was seriously considering me + then s/he dropped me because I had too much attitude, then that agent wasn't the right agent for me, pure + simple. Great agents want great art + someone they can work with. I work so fucking hard on my writing, I'm dedicated + open to editorial suggestions + I don't have unrealistic expectations for what agents/editors do. I feel like you guyz are making a lot of assumptions about me as a writer knowing almost nothing about me + based on an entry or two. You don't fucking know me at all. And also: Your critiques of me almost suggest that the publishing industry is without flaws, but it's totally fucked up. Even my friends that are editors for commercial publishing houses are discouraged. Prominent agents are scared shitless about publishing fiction from debut authors. It's a hostile landscape to art, + yet you're criticizing me for feeling (expressing) that the industry is fucked up + that I have issues with it? That's insane. Dudes, I've interned at a major publishing house, so I know a couple of well-known editors. I have friends who are agents, literary journal stars, total unknown writers with unbelievable talent + everything in between, so I'm not talking from some solipsistic perch here. The industry is in bad shape + it's ripe for critiquing. And if you knew me + if you'd read my blog, you'd know that.
5. For many years, I played the diplomacy game. I took each kind rejection, shut my mouth + hoped that my hard work would be enough, but now I don't want to + that doesn't make me dumb, or arrogant. It makes me human. I simply want to express how I feel + not censor myself just because I think it increases my chances of getting it published--I really don't think it does, by the way. You need talent intersecting with luck intersecting with people with power. There are tens of thousands of aspiring fiction writers who will never be published EVER + it's not because they're not talented enough, it's because some of them give up, some of them lose heart, some of them find other media to publish their voices + only a few actually make it. I'd rather hold on to my stubborn confidence, which has kept me in this game for awhile now, + by the way, has given me some fantastic responses from agents + some decent publications + a lot of hope for the future. If you disagree with my approach, I can respect that, but to call me arrogant, dumb + irritating because I have the gall to simply communicate anything besides "thank you ma'am" to an agent's assistant seems very harsh + judgmental to say the least. Additionally, I'd argue that the reason I'm getting my PhD at USC in Literature + Creative Writing is precisely it's one of the best ways to try + find a job teaching CW + finding patronage for my own art. I'm hardly unrealistic about what it takes to live/breathe as a fiction writer.
Anyway, I thought you were creating a strawman of both me + my writing blog, so I just wanted to present the other side. I hope you'll be open to some of the things I said.