Open City Closes

Open-city-30 The literary journal Open City has closed. Cue obvious puns on open/closed.

They were a good literary journal, but their heyday had passed. I particularly saw the slide in the last few years, when slush pile submissions weren't being accepted/rejected as much as sent into a type of purgatory.

For instance, I ignored the prevalent advice across message boards to avoid sending and submitted on 12/28/07. After seven queries, most of which reassured me they were still considering it, my piece was finally rejected 2/12/10. 

Yeah. 2 years, 3 months.

Still, they were incredibly nice at AWP and I actually loved most of their fiction selections.

I dislike hearing about any literary journal closing, but there are certain lifecycles, and sometimes it's easier to send a geriatric gently into that good night than it is to send a vibrant teenager.

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2 thoughts on “Open City Closes

  1. Mark says:

    Lament, lament. Sad day, indeed.
    Though it made me wonder about something concerning rejection. How long is too long? 2 years and 3 months, of course, is far too long.
    But, conversely, how soon is too soon? I bring this up only because I recently received my second quickest turnover for a rejection. About 12 hours for a novella. It was sent on last evening, rejected late this morning. First thought is: Man, they really hated it … really hated it. Second thought (to preserve the ego, of course) is: Did they really give it serious consideration?
    Far and away, however, the quickest rejection I’ve gotten was two hours. What a record it is. I had sent the piece out, continued to simultaneously submit to other journals, and by the time I finished submissions for the night, I could already cross one of the journals off my list.
    A hasty email ensued. A haughty reply was swiftly given … actually bringing up many good points about the pitfalls of my story. Still, two hours–too soon. Much too soon.
    I say give the writer long enough to be sure the piece has been given a fair shake.
    Day, day and half is all I ask.
    Thoughts, Bookfox?

  2. BookFox says:

    Funny you bring up what’s too soon.
    Yeah, I’ve gotten the two hour rejections, which usually just make me laugh, because I’ve been rejected before I’ve even sent out all my submissions.
    But you know, I respect the quick rejectors. All the ones I know about are really reading the submissions. Storyglossia is incredibly quick. ZYZZYVA was so quick they purposefully slowed down to three weeks so people wouldn’t get mad at them. Colorado Review has twice rejected me the day my mailed submissions must have reached them. PANK rejects in a day or so.
    The ironic thing is, a quick rejector might actually read further into your story (taking the ten minutes) than a rejector reading your story after 8 months. Because the 8 month guy knows there’s a huge pile waiting for him after he finishes this story, and he/she is just looking for a reason, any reason, to reject it.
    All that to say I do think serious consideration can happen with quick turnarounds, and I definitely prefer the two-hour over the two year.

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