thehefner: (Bart Hefner)
[personal profile] thehefner
So it was put in my head awhile back to submit my Hefner Monologue MY GRANDFATHER'S LAST WORDS to Playboy magazine. I rather loved the idea. There's an odd sort of balance to the notion. Paul, who first suggested this brilliant idea, was good enough to send me Playboy's submission guidelines awhile back. The reason it was awhile back is because I still haven't had the guts to submit the story to them yet. Why? Read the guidelines for yourself:

Playboy regularly publishes nonfiction articles on a wide range of topics -- sports, politics, music, topical humor, personality profiles, business and finance, science and technology -- and other topics that have a bearing on our readers' lifestyles.

You can best determine what we're looking for by becoming familiar with the nonfiction we are currently publishing. We frequently reject ideas and articles -- many of high quality -- simply because they are inappropriate to our publication. We have a six-month lead time, so timing is very important. Nonfiction queries should be sent to Playboy Magazine, Attn: Articles Editor, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611 or by e-mail to:

Your brief query should outline your idea, explain why it's right for Playboy and tell us something about yourself. Handwritten submissions will be returned unread. Manuscripts should be typed, double-spaced and accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Writers who submit manuscripts without a stamped, self-addressed return envelope will receive neither the manuscript nor a printed rejection.

The average length for nonfiction pieces is 4000 to 5000 words, and minimum payment for an article of this length is $3000. We do not accept unsolicited poetry. Playboy buys first North American serial rights only--no second serial rights are considered. Playboy does not accept simultaneous submissions.

A bit of advice for writers: Please bear in mind that Playboy is not a venue where beginning writers should expect to be published. Nearly all of our writers have long publication histories, working their way up through newspapers and regional publications. Aspiring writers should gain experience, and an extensive file of by-lined features, before approaching Playboy. Please don't call our offices to ask how to submit a story or to explain a story. Don't ask for sample copies, a statement of editorial policy,
a reaction to an idea for a story, or a detailed critique. We are unable to provide these, as we receive dozens of submissions daily. Our response time is approximately four weeks.

We appreciate your interest in Playboy. We hope these guidelines will assist you in submitting work that is suited to Playboy's high standards.

Good luck to you!

So yeah, I frankly don't know what to tell them. How is this story appropriate for Playboy? What could it have for them? Why should they give time to this unpublished little plebian who shares the same name as their revered creator but couldn't be related nah could he?

Once again, the story in question is right here.

why not?

Date: 2005-10-27 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ahh. see, this is the difference between personal experience and public perception.

to you, it's an autobiographical narrative about a beloved family member.

to a Guy, it's a story about the people behind fantasy baseball stats. You've got a sports story that's just short a few colorful details and maybe a few more antecdotes.

let them decide if you're "experienced" enough. what's the harm in a "no thank you"? hell, the rejection letter itself could be pretty cool what with the letterhead and the signature of an unknowing relative.

Re: why not?

Date: 2005-10-27 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So how do you suggest I sell it to 'em in the cover letter, then?

Re: why not?

Date: 2005-10-27 08:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
hmmm... thinking on thi9s one. Hit J's point about family, spousal loyalty while living out a secret fantasy ("Flabbo," as opposed to Yvonne"), sports - consider editing it with a little background more on Bob Davids - and as for your last name.... because this is about family, and although you have a limited publication list (some college papers will count, depending on what you did), you felt submitting to the otherside of your family tree created a nice circle for you. Or soemthing like that. They have to have female editors too.... ;)

Re: why not?

Date: 2005-10-27 08:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I think y'all are onto something with some combination of the spousal loyalty, my love of him, and of course his contribution to baseball.

However, I was really thinking not even mentioning my relation to the Hefners. For one thing, it might seem like a ploy or something, one that I would have to explain my family history and all that. I think I need to sell the story on its own merits and if they notice my name, well, I won't spell it out for them.

Re: why not?

Date: 2005-10-27 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i was thinking the exact same thing--leave the name relation to the imagination. it will only make you all the sexier, as an entry, that is.

Date: 2005-10-27 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am 100% in accordance with Jayel.

Do it. And let the English see you do it.

Date: 2005-10-27 08:42 pm (UTC)

Date: 2005-10-27 08:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Take a look at some of the things they usually print in their non-fiction section. Does this sound like anything you've ever seen? (I'd lend you my back issues, but I donate them the local elementry school when I'm done with them.) I only ever submitted one thing to a magazine (Seventeen) and that readership just eats up teh teen angst I wrote (didn't get in).

Besides, their last sentence was not copy-edited. If they don't accept your work, it may be because you have not met their high (content) standards or you may have exceeded their grammatical ones ;)

Date: 2005-10-27 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ha ha! and I didn't check my spelling!

Date: 2005-10-27 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hate to say this, but you should check their fiction submissions policy instead. I realize that it's a true story, but it's fiction in the sense that it's entertainment rather than informative. That's an abuse of the terms, but I think it matches the intuition better.

Does Playboy still publish short fiction (besides the "I never imagined it would happen to me" stories in the letters column)?

Date: 2005-10-27 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes. Yes they do.

Even though you have thumb past the silicone and political arguments.

When you find the diamonds in the ruff spend them. Most of the writing in fiction and non-fiction (not dealing with silicone or politics) is bordering on brilliant. It should be noted that a suggestion would not have been made if I did not feel the same about Grandfather's Last Words.

Brilliance is a shining light in the darkness of murky attempts at explaining the way life could be viewed. Only the brave write it down. Only the truly courageous even try to get it published.

The rewards are as simple as satisfaction at seeing your work in print, to money, to the ever wonderous invite to Shangri La itself. Well worth the possibility of a slip of paper saying, not this time. Besides the editors might have some excellent criticism to make the work publishable.

All in all it comes down to the werewithal to place your obession in a 9 x 12 manilla and the intestinal fortitude to accept rejection.

Date: 2005-10-27 10:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
NOTE: Understanding does not give me the strength to do so myself. I am a man full of fear and self-loathing without a modicum of skill to touch the work that I have read from Mr. Bluestone.

Date: 2005-10-27 11:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't have anything helpful to say about the submission thingy, but:

Wow. That was an amazing story.

Date: 2005-10-28 11:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Before you submit, get with an editor - me or Sabine, perhaps - for a little cleanup. I think this could be an awesome article.

another editor --yes, i'm volunteering him

Date: 2005-10-28 01:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
or Roddy. He's a darling with the red pen.

Date: 2005-10-28 01:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This really is an amazing story. Play up the sports and family aspect in the cover letter, don't mention being related to Hugh, and give it to a good editor. There are a couple spots where the flow is a little awkward and I noticed a couple technical/grammar/spelling type errors, but overall, you hit all the right notes with this. And I'd offer to edit for you, but I have a feeling I'd have a fight on my hands ;) That's how you know it's a good story - everyone wants to be a part of it. I can hear and see you delivering this on stage and I know that when you do, it'll be an excellent show, so even if Playboy says "thanks, but no," keep sending it out there.

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