Rejection update: winter is still here

 Another month, another crop of rejections, and meanwhile, the groundhog, who deigns to share his birthday with me, said winter was still coming. Indeedy.

Plots With Guns professes an admiration of my prose, but considered the story I sent them to be, among other errors, too sketchy. Noted.

Included in my postal dead-tree rejection from Michigan Quarterly Review was a nice handwritten note, indicating that there were strengths in the story, but not enough of them, in a row.

(EDIT: In fact the first page of a story, edited, did not come from MQR, but from New Letters.) Also included was the first page of the story which included some editing marks which, I regret to say, indicated a certain intolerance for complicated literary syntax. Also, I am not sure why a story that was to be rejected, was edited. But hey, at least I know it got read, right?

And all the other rejections through 2/6/12 (I’ve gone 10 days without a rejection, and received an acceptance in between – hurrah) are on the Failure page.

5 thoughts on “Rejection update: winter is still here

  1. Carol Deminski

    Hey Court,

    You post The Paris Review pretty regularly as one of your target markets. I’m curious – do you ever get any feedback from them (other than standard rejection forms)? I’ve never bothered submitting to them because I’ve just assumed there’s no way in hell I’m getting in. It’s like The New Yorker – unless you know somebody that knows somebody, you might as well be hitting your head against a cement wall, right?

    What are your thoughts?

  2. Court Merrigan Post author

    I figure send out everywhere. You never know. Ben Percy, for instance, had a story accepted to the Paris Review and it basically jump-started his career. I reviewed it on this blog somewhere – search for “Refresh, Refresh.” It doesn’t take much more than a bit of postage, small price to pay for the potential payout. Ditto for TNY.

    Also I one time got a personal note from an editor there so that little bit of encouragement will probably keep me subbing there till the end of time.

    Beyond those two mags, I’m not aware of any other surefire career-starters, now that the Atlantic doesn’t do fiction regularly anymore. Tin House, maybe, in that you’d likely get an agent out of the detail. Maybe McSweeney’s. But neither of those have anywhere near the firepower of TPR & TNY. They’re probably the last ones standing of the old generation of lit mags that commanded a wide readership.

    Am I missing any?

    1. Carol Deminski

      I agree, I think Tin House has reached that same TPR/TNY status. (Maybe we should just look up all the places Aimee Bender has been published and use that as a starting point…sigh)

      I’m inclined to say Zoetrope because it’s a completely ridiculous list of people that get published in that thing (you know Junot Diaz, Woody Allen, blah blah) but you probably already need to BE somebody before you ever get there.

      Now, there is the case of Glimmer Train too. Glimmer Train is more like an insider’s TPR, or maybe it is at least in my mind because they pay contributors and have a great reputation.

  3. Nicolette Wong

    Zoetrope is sometimes an insider thing, from what conversations I’ve had with people who run it. Like, if one of them, for some reason, comes across what you do somewhere and take an interest, they ask and say, Hey, get in touch and I’ll open the door for you, something like that.

  4. Carol Deminski

    Hey Nicolette, by “sometimes” I assume you must mean “always”? LOL

    If I recall, Zoetrope is run by Francis Ford Coppola’s donations and they use the mag as a potential source of material for films…or at least that was my understanding. But anyway, any issue you see is a who’s who of who’s hot at the moment or is already super-famous.

    I probably should not have included it in the list of top mags to appear in that are career game changers because people in that mag have already made their name. But I’d guess that it helps tremendously to know someone, or have won a Booker or Pulitzer to get into The Paris Review too, for instance. Or to have written the “it” book of the moment….

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