Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In For Another Dollar

I’ve railed against Crazyhorse for their mystery contest judge and then castigated The New Yorker for not responding to unsolicited fiction/poetry submissions. Can it get worse?


Maybe I’m a dunce (always possible!) but I couldn’t find any fiction submission information whatsoever on the web sites of The Atlantic Monthly or McSweeney’s, two premier markets for writers. Yes, maybe I should have a copy of the publication in front of me and maybe that information is provided there, and maybe purchasers should be rewarded by getting this top-secret information.

But plenty of other journals are kind enough to offer submission guidelines to poor writers who simply want to know if a 6000-word story is too long or whether the journal is open for general submissions or are reading only for a theme issue.

Also, you know what’s a tad depressing? Submitting through those online systems and seeing your previous submissions pop up, with dates and titles and “status”: REJECTED. Like that doesn’t affect the person reading on the other end? Possibly I'm paranoid, but I can see the thought bubble: We’ve rejected her before, so why should this story be any better?

The submission process is NOT for the faint-hearted! One site that helps is Duotrope, a free, searchable database of journals and their up-to-date submission requirements. You can tailor your search by word length, genre, payment (haha), etc. Highly recommended!

P.S. Please feel free to prove me wrong and find the submissions info for The Atlantic or McSweeney's online. I'll publish it here as a public service for writers everywhere.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.