The Life and Times of J.D. McNutterhouse: Episode Three
In each episode, we follow J.D. McNutterhouse, a new writer whose rare combination of thick-headedness, ignorance, and naivety cause him to take misstep after misstep on the road to publication.
This week’s adventure: “J.D. Gets Accepted!”
Wonders of wonders, can it be true? Has J.D. McNutterhouse, the arrogant new writer who follows no rules, actually been accepted for publication? Could he have been right all along by stating any editor worth his salt would see past improper manuscript formatting, poor grammar, and rambling storylines? Let’s find out:
Becoming distressed over multiple rejections, J.D. lowered his standards a bit and submitted a short piece to a new e-zine called Detour Ahead. J.D. decided a story published in a non-paying e-zine was better than no publishing credits at all.
Yet, once again, J.D. decided that reading an issue of the e-zine (even though it is free and web-accessible) was too much trouble. He also decided not to research the market in any of the many writing resources across the vast expanse of the internet. No, he simply submitted his piece.
And a mere three days later, what did J.D. find waiting in his e-mail inbox? An acceptance!
J.D. wasted no time plastering his good news on message boards and his website. He quickly added the publishing credit to his cover letter and sent out multiple submissions to other magazines, sure that he would now be accepted easily.
Two months passed and the new issue of Detour Ahead (slated to be released over three weeks before) had still not come out. Multiple queries questioning the editors about the new issue went unanswered, and after another month, the e-zine quietly died, leaving a stinky, rotting corpse.
Had J.D. researched the market he would have discovered many interesting facts. For one thing, it was widely know that this market accepted anything and everything that was submitted, and then published the pieces, faulty grammar and all. It was also known the “editor” of the magazine had dropped out of high school, become a crack addict, and in fact, was illiterate. In short, the magazine was a joke within writers’ circles.
Of the many submissions J.D. sent out after his acceptance, none were read. The editors had gotten no further than his “publishing credit” with Detour Ahead before laughing themselves to tears and throwing the submission in the trash. Making the one smart decision of his writing life, J.D. removed his publishing credit from the cover letter and never spoke of it again.
Note: I feel it is important for me to make a note after this particular adventure. I realize I ripped into non-paying markets in this episode, but I want to make it clear that I speak only of those markets with the aforementioned characteristics (easy acceptance, editors with no experience, widely known “jokes” in the industry).
There are many prestigious non-paying markets out there, and I am in no way poking fun at anyone who has been published by one. In fact, I have been published by two different non-paying markets (neither of which was very prestigious now that I think of it).
So, in closing, don’t shun a market just because it doesn’t pay, but be sure that it holds its writers to high standards. As long as this is true, the publishing credit is worth just as much as a professionally paying magazine’s credit.
And while I’m giving obvious advice: don’t eat the yellow snow and don’t piss into the wind.