Getting published in "The New Yorker" magazine and rubbing inky elbows with the likes of John Updike and Shirley Jackson is, for many writers, scaling a career peak. It's also notoriously difficult to achieve, particularly as "The New Yorker" has never published a masthead in its magazine, the page where most magazines list the contact information for its publishers, editors and writers. Difficult, however, is not the same as impossible, and with plenty of diligence, talent and hard work, you may have the pleasure of being the magazine's next breakout writer.
Understand the Readership
The first key to getting published in "The New Yorker" is having a firm grasp on what the magazine wants to print. There's no better way of doing this than by grabbing several recent issues and reading them from cover to cover. The magazine publishes short stories, poetry and regular commentary columns. It has also been known to publish long works of fiction over several issues, such as it did with Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood." Fiction editor Deborah Treisman denies the magazine has a particular taste in work, but bear in mind that its readership is intelligent, educated and sophisticated.
Don't Do That
"The New Yorker" receives an overwhelming number of submissions every month, and it has a stable of established authors who are published regularly. So, your competition is stiff. You owe it to yourself to send in your most professional, most polished work. Don't run it past spell check and call it good. Your grammar, spelling, clarity and proper use of tense must be flawless. Have a few literary friends proofread it for you. Don't look just for technical flaws; look for issues with plot, styling and so forth. Make sure your work is in the best shape possible before you send it in.
Inside the Box
"The New Yorker" accepts submissions through its online submission form. Visit the magazine's website and click on the "contact us" link. You'll be directed to the submission form, where you can upload fiction, newsbreaks, columns for "Shouts and Murmurs" and poetry. You can also mail up to six poems to the poetry editor, Paul Muldoon, at: The New Yorker, 4 Times Square, New York, New York 10036. You may also email him directly at email@example.com. Emailing fiction to firstname.lastname@example.org is also another avenue to take. The magazine does not accept unsolicited "Talk of the Town" articles or any other nonfiction pieces.
Outside the Box
In an interview, Treisman insisted the magazine does publish authors from its slush pile, but truthfully only named four from the previous several years. Getting noticed may mean doing more than using that submission form and then waiting on pins and needles for three months -- the typical response time, if you get one at all. "The New Yorker" is far more likely to look at submissions from authors who have agents because, as Treisman pointed out, agents have already done the grunt work: they've vetted the writing and deemed it good enough for publication. Having an agent also greatly speeds up the process for you, since you'll skip the slush pile altogether. Never forget, as well, the power of insider connections. Attend writing conferences and form contacts with editors and other writers. The more people who know you and who like you, the better off you are.