Monday, December 14, 2009

New Yorker Magazine Guidelines for 2010:

Stop Writing or We’ll Kill You.

by John Boston

(c) 2009 All rights reserved


TO: Editorial Staff

FROM: New Yorker Magazine Management

RE: New 2010 form rejection notice compliance

Because of unusually heavy editorial submissions during these hard economic times, we have been forced to enact new, get-tough editorial policies to discourage submissions. As of Jan. 01, 2010, staff will use these — and only these — new rejection form letters in dealing with freelance material not meeting NYM requirements. Please read, initial and re-forward to insure we know you’re on board...

Dear Writer:

Thank you for your recent submission to The New Yorker. As the nation’s elite intellectual periodical, we are empowered to bestow upon you your new Indian name: Writing Poorly. We wish you good luck in wandering the streets while hollering: “Manuscript for Sale! Manuscript for Sale!” Damn you for wasting our precious time when we could be sitting with our feet up on the desk, texting.


The New Yorker

Dear Writer:

Hi! I’m Timmy, the 11-year-old Special Education Needs intern in editorial. I’m from Uganda. I lost my spleen in a mime explosion. The U.N. doctors say this is very unusual as we have very few mimes in Africa and the few who are there rarely blow up. One of the writers who regular walks across something desolate and writes 400,000 tedious words on his experience brought me back and I’ve been sort of adopted by The New Yorker editorial department. They are nice people, except they wear powdered wigs and pinch snuff. I’ve also noticed they don’t laugh, instead, they sort of just push their glasses back onto the bridge of their nose and snigger. Anywho. Your unread manuscript, although I’m confident it has merit, has been forwarded to me and I am feeding it to my pet monkey, Zimbweebwee. Zimbweebwee likes your work very much. Could you send more for him to eat?

Your pal,


The Ugandan Intern Without A Spleen.

Dear Writer:

We appreciate you sending us your recent story idea. Usually we don’t respond personally to each query. We used to get thousands. Every few seconds. We were unjustly busy, our own writing suffered and we took to telling everyone we met so. Eventually, word got out to the writing community that we had elevated the V-SAP (Viciously Smug And Pompous) bar so high that now, we only maybe get two or three submissions a year. That gives us more time to respond to each query and possibly offer some editorial critique to help you with your prose. Ready? Here goes. You suck canal water. Yeah, you. Don’t just stand there, eyeballing us. Go feed your laptop to the farm animals of Middle America where you evidently live and stop writing us.

Don’t Go Away Mad. Just Go Away.

The New Yorker

Dear Writer:

We are forwarding your manuscript to Charles Manson, along with your home address and a letter to his parole board suggesting they let him out early so he can hunt you down and kill you.

We remain, oh so cozy on the Inside,

THE New Yorker

Dear Writer:

We’ve asked Broadway star Jude Law to dress up real over-the-top like a big fat opera lady singer in flip-flops and personally croon your rejection letter. Mr. Law?

“Who... is getting published... Not You... Not You.

Your prose... is really bad... It’s poopie poo... Poopie poo.

It’s only... a New Yorker intern’s... point of view... point of view...

On the inside... of your flabby thighs... you can chew... you can chew...”


Best wishes for a green tomorrow,

Van Jones,

Currently Unemployed & Guest Rejection Czar

Dear Writer:

It is a rare treat to read such wonderful material. You are blessed with a unique voice, one that takes the reader to marvelous worlds. The mark of editing good prose is you reach the end of the story and not only realize you haven’t been editing, you’ve been wonderfully lost, involved and transported to an enticing, delightful new reality of craft and magic. Understand we read thousands of manuscripts and you made us laugh out loud AND cry — within the same paragraph! This work is unparalleled. You are not an artist. You are a master. Frankly, were we to publish this benchmark in literature, it would only serve to encourage other good writers outside the New Yorker family tree and our insufferable literati cocktail party circuit to approach us. Do you have anything else, say, about 1.5 million words (first graf) describing a metal cup, sunrise in Siberia and asking directions from a grizzled peasant in a meat hat?

The New Yorker

(Reminding you it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.)

Dear Writer:

Sorry but your work doesn’t move us. That’s okay. It’s not you. It’s us. We’re products of public and private university system gone terribly awry. Nothing moves us. Each of us in The New Yorker Editorial Department weighs exactly 123 pounds. Man. Woman. No more. No less. We wear all black, consume nothing but over-priced coffee and alleged prose from H.L. Mencken wannabes. We have terrible posture and are suicidal. God. Please hear us. Someone bring back Jonathan Livingston Seagull to cheer us up.

For The New Yorker,

Bucky Dent

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually, Bucky Dent has neither penned any prose for this publication, nor has he acted as an editor. We just like to write, “Bucky Dent.” It’s liberating. And what’s that little Punch ‘n’ Judy hitter Bucky Dent going to do? Sue? Lift his little hemmed Bucky Dent skirt, dash out of steno pool and charge the mound?)

Dear Writer:

We are pleased to announce that The New Yorker Magazine has accepted your 500-word paragraph, completely as is. A check for $27,519 will be delivered tomorrow by 10 a.m. via messenger to your home. We don’t mean to impose, but would it be possible for you to deliver some random think piece on a regular basis — say, weekly? Obviously, being the main anchor of New Yorker’s new editorial page 3 will require a higher stipend. Is $50,000 per essay, along with expenses, okay by you? Oh, painted whores of Babylon. We’re sorry. We thought we were writing to Steve Martin, who really needs the money.

Kiss off. And stay kissed off, you poser. We know Steve Martin. We are friends with Steve Martin. And you, sir or madam, are no Steve Martin.

The New Yorker

Dear Writer:

As devout Christians, we feel compelled to share that we reject Satan and we reject your stupid manuscript.

The NYer

Dear Writer:

While your manuscript on life during the Early Pleistocene epoch was beyond compelling, it is difficult to believe that you, the author, are actually “Mr. Homo Erectus.” What is it with writers and this fatal flaw thing? If we have erred in implying you are an immature little donkey girl scout, please accept our apology, Mr. Erectus.


Mr. I. Karamba and Mrs. Kaye Sirrah-Sirrah

Editors-in-Chief, The New Yorker

Dear Writer:

Thank you for your insightful article and recipes in “Excuse Me! Are You Done Eating That?” Unfortunately, Al Gore published a similar article, “Hey Buster! Are You Done Eating That?” way back yonder in November of 2007. Mr. Gore, as you know, is up for another Nobel Peace Prize for attempting to eat absolutely everything so it doesn’t go into landfills. And how uncanny. His story was word-for-word to your piece. If you’d like, we’ve got his private cell phone number in our Rolodex and would be more than happy to contact him to negotiate splitting the article fee we’ve already paid him.

The New Yorker

Dear Writer:

How dare you.

For The New Yorker Magazine,

Maya Angelou

P.S. You know anyone with some really bad Polish poetry, in the original Polish? We’re fresh out and are paying $100,000 per line. And it doesn’t even have to rhyme or meter out. Ha ha.

Dear Writer:

We RAN that story, dummy. We KNOW Barack Obama is not an American citizen. We KNOW he was born in Tiera del Fuego and raised by Druid Eskimos, curiously so far from the North Pole. You know HOW we KNOW the president was NOT born in the United States? We KNOW because we ran a special 360-page edition of The New Yorker that featured 200 pages on Mr. Obama being the anti-Christ. Granted. That fact was brought up well within the story and you know how we use that really teeny-tiny type that goes on uninterrupted page after page. Still. If you would have simply read past the mandatory first graf (see www.thenewyorker\NYer Style Sheet\firstgraf\unneccesarypretendcomputerstuff\ on our webpage) you would have NOTICED something. You would have noticed that right after the obligatory 1.5 million word ‘Fearless Correspondent’ tripe first-graf describing a metal cup, sunrise in Tierra del Fuego and asking directions from a grizzled peasant in a meat hat that we went into great detail about the curious gee-whiz cable TV comparison to the president’s life and the movie, “Omen II.”

Leave us alone or we’ll get a restraining order,

The New Yorker

Dear Writer:

We’d like to say, “Wow! We were moved!” or even “Not bad!” but alas, not even the addition of three lesbian vampires and a bucket of fizzy water could fix your manuscript. And stop starting all your sentences with, “All of a sudden.” Cripes. You are so predictable. And immature.

For the New Yorker Magazine,

Cardinal Edward Egan

Archdiocese of New York

Dear Writer:

Your work has been rejected on the grounds that it didn’t possess enough adjectives. Well. Big adjectives.

The Yorkmeister (our gang name)

Dear Writer:

Would it be possible for you to take all the letters in your story and sort of bend them into an illustration of two nude people in bed with a talking can of tuna? We think this would work better as a cartoon.

The New Yorker

Dear Mrs. Bush:

Treat seeing you at the museum fundraiser the other night. Be a dear, Laura, and say hi to George for us and hope you’re both resting well.

Boy howdy, we’d sure loved your article, “Why My Husband Is NOT Adolph Hitler and is NOT Responsible for the Current 63% Unemployment Rate.” Alas, if we ran the trenchant think piece, it would severely mess with the minds of our loyal subscriber base and be akin to telling children there is no Santa.

Forgetting politics for the moment, we want to assure you we are on the same side of this class warfare thing. We are poised to offer you an 8-figure kill fee to never let this story see the light of day in any publication, web page or any communicative venue. Also, if there are any other stories you have that we can pay you an additional $20 million each not to run, please let us know.

Tennis Sunday?

The New Yorker

Dear Writer:

So just what would you do with the money if we published you? Buy food? We think not.

The new, Angry NYMag

Dear Writer:

How do you spell, “spleen?” Look at me. You want to write for The New Yorker? Learn how the hell to spell “spleen.” You’re not a writer. You’re a typist.

Little Timmy,

New Yorker Magazine’s plucky little 11-year-old Intern from Uganda

• With 118 major national, regional and California awards for writing excellence, John Boston has been recognized as one of the top satirists in America. In 2009, he was named Best Humor Columnist by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Again.

(c) 2009 by John Boston

The John Boston Report