“Sure,” you’re probably saying to yourself, “you’re a master blogger, on the cutting edge of the new media, the author of a website that gets upwards of twenty hits a day — a big shot! But don’t you want to get published in a prestigious literary journal, the sort read by graying white academics with patches on the elbows of their tweed jackets? Don’t you long for that stamp of legitimacy, that tangible proof that, goddammit, you’re somebody?”
Don’t be an idiot. Of course I do. It’s just never happened for me. And it’s not for lack of trying on my part. God knows, I have tried (barely) to get my shit published, but I’ve never had so much as a nibble. I’m not sure if it’s that my writing just hasn’t been a good fit for the journals I’ve sent it to so far, or if it’s just not very good, but I’m starting to think it might be my cover letters.
For an example of what I’m talking about, here’s the one I sent to Zoetrope recently:
Dear Francis Ford Coppola,
Enclosed is my short story, “The Erotic Adventures of Dick Cheney.” Please consider it for publication in your fine journal, Zoetrope: All-Story.
Though I have been writing for many years, my work has never been published. I’ve tried for quite a few years, but pbttth! — nothing. Frankly, I could care less at this point. If you pretentious pricks over there can take a break from smelling your own farts for a few minutes to publish my shit, great. If not, who fucking needs you? Someone will publish me someday, and won’t you lament this lost opportunity when that happens and I become the hugest fucking writer in the world? I think you will.
I feel my work is a good fit for Zoetrope because it’s better than most of the garbage you usually publish, and will bring a much-needed touch of class to your miserable dirt-sheet.
Your films all suck now.
Yeah, that must be it.
(You should see the letter I sent with my submission to Ploughshares. Jean Valentine’s probably still crying.)