How to get nominated for “The Best American” Series 2012

Amy Bloom’s career launched by “Best American”

Amy Bloom’s career jumpstarted with consecutive publications in The Best American Short Stories. Six years ago, at the Centrum/Port Townsend writers conference, she told a group of us how it happened:

Bloom said she so hated the idea of rejection that she sent her manuscript to the smallest literary  magazine she could find: a women’s collective in Alaska. It became her first-ever fiction publication. They nominated her piece for Best American. 

First publication to Best American rarely happens. So rarely does it happen that Ms. Bloom said she didn’t like to tell the story as it disheartened many not-yet-published writers – especially when followed up by the fact that her second-ever piece published also got picked for Best American.

While few of us can craft a sentence in the way of Ms. Bloom, we can all get ourselves nominated for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Best American Series. You can nominate yourself.

Perhaps more advisable, you can get readers and friends to nominate you. The most effective would be to have an editor nominate you. So … ask.

Eggers: Best American Non-Required Reading

The end-matter of most volumes list the submission requirements (PLUG to buy last year’s edition). As e-mail submissions are not allowed, provide your nominators with hard copies of your publication, and pre-addressed and stamped envelopes.

Here are the editors, by book, for the 2012 Best American series:

  • The Best American Short Stories: Tom Perrotta (novelist)
  • The Best American Essays: David Brooks (New York Times op-ed columnist)
  • The Best American Nonrequired Reading: Dave Eggers (editor of McSweeney’s); introduction by: Ray Bradbury
  • The Best American Travel Writing: William T. Vollmann (author of 17 books)
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing: Dan Ariely (author of The Upside of Irrationality)
  • The Best American Mystery Stories: Robert Crais (best-selling mystery novelist)
  • The Best American Sports Writing: Michael Wilbon (co-host of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption)