The other day one of the women in my writers’ group sent us a link to an incredibly depressing article, in which a writer conducted an experiment: he took a story out of the New Yorker, replaced the author’s name with a pseudonym, wrote a cover letter saying he was unpublished, and sent it out. Numerous noteworthy journals rejected the piece… including the New Yorker itself.
What are we to make of this? How can writers make any headway, when this is what faces us? Knowing that being a new writer relegates us to the slush pile, rejection, and further inability to publish, thus continuing the vicious circle?
I think we’ve always known this is what we’re up against, but to have it put in such concrete terms is more than a little discouraging.
So how fortuitous that in the same week, I received an email from a member of another, former writers’ group, announcing that he has published a story in an online journal, and another is forthcoming in a print journal.
Sent: Friday, March 15, 2013 12:53 PM
Subject: Story from Taylor’s group published
Hey fellow writers,
I’m happy to report that a story workshopped in Taylor’s group with you, Identity Theft, is the Story Of The Month in the inaugural edition of the Red Savina Review that came out today:
Also, another story I worked on with some of you in Lou Matthews class, Losing The Title, will be in the Spring Edition of The Los Angeles Review.
Thanks for your support and best wishes to all of you in your writing.
So yes, it is possible, it does happen, and we will get there, one (hundred) rejection letter(s) at a time.