Benefit from “The Best American Series” even if you didn’t get in (this year!).

I would die happy if ....

First off, you get to read a great deal of high-quality writing.

Secondly, in answer to the always-asked question by students in my Get Published classes, How do I know which magazines to submit to:

If you believe the marketing, which I do, Best American publishes “The Best.” The editors search name publications and highly-regarded literary magazines. The bios of included writers usually show long lists of  publications for which the odds of getting into are longer.

However, each volume in the series includes pages and pages of also-notables in the genre.

Holy gold mine, Batman. Mine those lists for anything new:

  1. Writers new to the series (Edwidge Danticat, Adam Gopnik, et. al.; not so helpful to your purpose);
  2. Writers new to also notables,
  3. Publications new to the series; and
  4. Publications new to also’s.

For Writers New To:

  1. Look into the magazine that published the piece that got into Best American.
  2. Read the entire issue. As you are reading, be aware of any of your pieces that come to mind. Send it.
  3. Read the new writer’s bio, looking for the names of smaller magazines in which the new authors also published.
  4. Ditto.

For Magazines New To:

  1. Ditto.

Learning from Amy Bloom’s story: the smaller you go, the more likely your acceptance.

Unless your piece appears in a name magazine, where you publish is far less important than it used to be. You can promote any link to your friends, family, and readers. You can drop any link into letters to agents and editors.

As long as the writing is top-notch. If the writing is not the absolute best you can do, the rest is commentary.

Author: allehall

I am a writer. I write to explore childhood: literary essays and short fiction, journalism, and three haiku. My published work expresses my belief that everything which did or did not happen to me as a child is manifesting in everything that is or is not happening to me today. More importantly, it is also manifesting for my children. I believe funny is the new navel-gazing, and that the best funny keeps a penny's worth of serious in an accessible pocket. Little-known fact: I have a completed novel decorating the inside of a desk drawer. Perhaps it is not funny enough.

6 thoughts on “Benefit from “The Best American Series” even if you didn’t get in (this year!).”

  1. A great post, Alle.

    Several years ago, I asked a few editors to nominate me for the best american and the best american science and nature writing. I found out, almost by accident, that I was nominated in “other memorable writing” for an essay. Then I promptly forgot to be so bold again…until your timely essay, that is.

    So, a dumb question. The 2012 editors will be looking for the best essays or fiction published in 2011, correct? So, I would need to get a move on it right now if I wanted to ask editors to nominate my stuff, right?

    Thanks so much for such great posts.

    1. There are no dumb questions. Not when the answering of might get one published.

      And the answer is …. yep. 2012 editors will be looking for stuff published in 2011.

      Go get ’em, again, Adrienne!

    1. You are welcome, Marilyn. Not that I can say that I’ve succeeded (yet!), but the theory sounds plausible, no?

      Using the above, do you have any publications you might want to put forth?

      i invite you to follow my blog. Or you can find me on SheWrites.

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