Monday, December 1, 2008

In for a Dime, In for a Dollar

Last week I whined about Crazyhorse not telling us who the final judges for their fiction and poetry contests are. Now, a bigger whine about the biggest boy of all: The New Yorker.

Yes, we all want to be published there. Yes, we all send our work there. Yes, some of that work isn’t perhaps “ready” to be published at all…and yes, even though the magazine publishes one story per issue, that’s still only, say 48 stories a year out of what must be hundreds of thousands of submissions annually.

But still. I RESENT the fact that they won’t even bother acknowledge a fiction submission, either with a pre-printed rejection notice, or an email rejection. How hard can that be? It’s the New Yorker—get some work-for-free interns to stuff a bunch of envelopes or fire off cut-and-paste rejections. Frankly, it’s RUDE not to respond in some way. (I’m not sure I believe anyone reads the unsolicited stories under the current system, so having interns respond without reading doesn’t really feel like much of a change.)

Don’t believe me? Here’s what it says on the web site (once you hunt to find the info about sending them an unsolicited manuscript—it’s under “contact us,” which is under “about us”):

“Although we do read all submissions, we cannot respond to them individually or return them.”

I should count my blessings, though, right? Non-fiction writers aren’t even allowed to submit, except to "Talk of the Town"!


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