Anyway, I bring up a few details from my experience with New York for several reasons. One, New York is a city I love very much (proven by the fact that my first novel BLANK takes place in nyc). Two, sometimes, New Yorkers think everyone else is less smart, less urbane, less hip + less international than they are (+ of course, they'd only be partially right).
Anyway, I'd like to believe that in some strange, mysterious way, this ethnocentric ethos of New York also pervades the New York literary establishment, and why shouldn't it? New York is still the undisputed mecca of fiction writers. The creative writing faculty at NYU could fill an entire bookstore. Some of that cachet is absolutely merited. And some of the best stories I've ever read have been in The New Yorker. Some (but not all) were written by Bolaño too. And then there's Junot Diaz, Jennifer Egan + many other writers I really admire. At the same time, I'm trying--desperately--to understand why it is that such a prestigious literary magazine like The New Yorker feels it doesn't have to respond to unsolicited manuscripts. I realize some people are getting form rejections, which sucks, but at least it's something definitive. That crappy form rejection leaves absolutely no doubt that you're not getting to second base. But I'm not even one of those people. I've sent six fiction manuscripts to The New Yorker since 2010 + I only received one response (albeit, a good one). That's a response average of 16.6% (not an acceptance rate mind you, which is probably .0001000). Or said another way, that means TNY hasn't deigned to respond to 83.3% of my submissions in the past 3.5 years, which frankly, is ridiculous.
I realize almost no unagented fiction writers almost ever pass that sacred threshold into the kingdom of glossy self-edification. I realize that if I snag this one agent in particular who asked for a rewrite of my 2nd novel (s/he will remain nameless until I hear from her/him), the first thing I'm gonna want them to do is send one of my novel chapters to the TNY because I'll have a completely different set of rules + privileges available to me that virtually all unagented fiction writers don't have. But that said, I'd like to know why right now The New Yorker is so bad simply responding to fiction manuscripts. I won't even get into how prohibitively difficult it is actually getting one of your stories accepted by the this magazine. I'll leave that for another day . . .