New Yorker Finally Rejects Story (after a Year and a Half)

Hi Jackson,

Did I never respond to your story? My god, if so, I apologize. There's some sharp writing within, a very nice handle on the voice, but ultimately we didn't think it was quite right for us. Do feel free to try us again and good luck finding a home for this. We appreciate your giving us the opportunity to consider it.


Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
The New Yorker
Fiction Department

New Yorker Editors Respond to Old Message. . . Again

Here's the letter:

Dear Jackson,

We’re sorry that you have not received the appropriate responses from our editorial staff. We have a rotating group of fiction readers managing what you correctly identify as an “avalanche” of slush. While we cannot respond more specifically to your request for a status update on your story, it is safe to assume that since six months has passed since your last submission you can consider your work free to submit elsewhere.

As for your statements about your need to believe that the New Yorker isn’t “stacked against the emerging writer,” a perusal of our back catalog will prove that we have discovered and nurtured the careers of many new and exciting voices in literature.


The Editors


And my response:

Dear Editors,

I didn't mean to touch a nerve, I just wanted to be honest. I'll keep plugging away until I'm one of those new and exciting voices in literature you speak of.


--Jackson Bliss

New Yorker Editor Reaches Out Again

Here is the last (of 10) emails I sent to the New Yorker editor who was kind enough before to let me send it to him personally, along with his response:

Hey B*,

I tried sending you at least 10 different messages from 3 different email addresses, but I smell conspiracy.

Anyway, just wanted you to know that I re-submitted my story since it disappeared in the New Yorker Database last summer, so if you decide you want to read it after all the hype and folly, it's there. Thanks for reaching out to an aspiring writer. It was a kind and thoughtful gesture. I hope you're well.

Peace, Blessings,

--Jackson Bliss

And his response:

If only we had the time + resources to actually cause conspiracy. It's sort of bizarre that I only get the most random of emails from you. Have you tried pasting the story into the text of the email? If so, go ahead + send it to my personal email address: + I'll read it there.


The New Yorker Writes Back

I'm not sure what's more frightening, getting ignored by The New Yorker for two years, or getting a sudden and personal response on the same day that I sent out my email. Anyway, here is the response I got in its entirety:

Hi Jackson,

In the late summer of 2007 we had some server issues in the fiction department, during which your story was probably lost, in addition to hundreds of others. If you'd like to resend your story "Otra Chica" directly to me, I'll be glad to give it a read and get a response to you within the
next few weeks.


The New Yorker
Fiction Department

Of course I'm flattered to get an email after two years of cold, impossible-to-ignore silence. But now it freaks me out--in a good way, of course--that an editor is actually going to read my story. As long as I can remember I've felt stilted by the fiction minions of TNY, knowing, fearing that only disgruntled, jaded and opinionated readers touch our unsolicited manuscripts. I dunno, maybe that's still the rule. But I have to say, this experience has taken the poison out of my bloodstream and the bite out of my bark. I'm not expecting any miracles, I don't expect them to pick up my story, but being accountable to someone at the Great Glossy is, in a word, exhilarating. I mean, this is one of the reasons I write--to have an audience, and to learn from people who know the industry.

My Civilized Letter of Frustration to the New Yorker

Here is an email I just sent the New Yorker:

Dear Hard-Working Fiction Editors at The New Yorker,

I know you get a gazillion manuscripts a year and I know the slush pile is a constant avalanche. But as an emerging fiction writer who is trying to make it in literary publishing in small steps, I have to admit, I'm getting kinda upset here. I haven't received a response from your magazine for the last two manuscripts I've sent you, a time-frame of over two years, and I'm not asking for much, except an editorial response. I know this email is gauche, I should probably delete it, sublimate it into my next cover letter, possibly abandon the delusion that I'd ever publish one of my short stories in your iconic glossy until I score a top-notch literary agent, or become Pinochle partners with the editors. But I want to believe--I need to believe--that your magazine isn't so stacked against the emerging writer, at least one without connections, that with the right intersection of editorial taste, aesthetic temperament, and a manuscript with fresh language and a strong voice, eventually things will work out.

So it's with this blowhard first paragraph that I ask you to please update me on the status of the short-story I submitted on 7 August 2007 entitled "Otra Chica," with a follow-up email sent in March 2008. Thank you in advance for your understanding and response.

Yours Truly,

--Jackson Bliss