The Life and Times of J.D. McNutterhouse: Episode Three

Posted on: August 5th, 2006 by Anthony Rapino 7 Comments

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.
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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.
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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.

Cheers.

7 Responses

  1. briliantdonkey says:

    another great episode Tony. Thanks for the read…..hmmmmm”don’t eat the yellow snow or piss into the wind?” Is that a teaser into next week’s episode? Nice job as usual dude.

    Rob

  2. Steve says:

    Today’s episode has got me wondering about a couple of things:

    (1) Have I always been sure of the reputation of the magazines that I have submitted too?

    (2) Why have people been lying to me, for all of these years, about the yellow snow thing?

    Damn, that’s not nice!

  3. Bernita says:

    Thank you.
    A valuable cautionary note about reputations.

  4. Scott says:

    I never even thought of that! I’m still waiting for my story to come up a month overdue. I suppose I should research them!

  5. Anthony J. Rapino says:

    Rob, thanks a lot. I’m glad you’re liking them. Hmmm, I teaser? Maybe…

    Steve, I’d get some new friends–unless of course they carry lemones around with them during the winter.

    Bernita, thanks. Glad you liked it.

    Scott, I’m pretty sure that Deathlings is a reputable place. Sometimes things just happen. The small press is a volitile place, and mags (even the great ones) close and hit snags all the time).

    No worries.

  6. Bhaswati says:

    I’ve been guilty of not researching markets well enough before thinking of submitting to them. I am so lazy. But then my laziness prevents me from submitting too, so I guess the two minuses get together to become a plus. LOL

    Great series, Oni. Keep it coming!

  7. Anthony J. Rapino says:

    Sury, thanks for your comments on all three J.D. posts. I was hoping everyone would enjoy it. After my interview with Flood, I started thinking I should spice the site up a bit with some humor so people wouldn’t get depressed only reading about all my rejections. 🙂

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