At The Rumpus, we're focused on publishing excellent writing. Good writing and good ideas are not always the same thing. A topic for an essay might sound horrendous but if a writer is in love with the idea enough she'll often render something beautiful.
Beginning May 2016, we began to pay feature writers and book reviewers. Each month, we set aside $300. All eligible contributors are able to opt in for payment at the end of the month, and the money is divided between those writers who opt in. We know that this amount is not enough, and we are working toward being able to pay a standard industry rate to all feature contributors and book reviewers.
We are often overwhelmed by the breadth and quality of our submissions. To allow our volunteer editorial staff better handle the workload and respond to your work in a more timely fashion, we've instituted reading periods for certain sections of The Rumpus.
Our regular reading periods for Essays are as follows: September 1 through October 31, January 1 through February 28, and June 1 through July 31. Timely essays can be sent directly to our managing editor Marissa Korbel at firstname.lastname@example.org; all other essays should be sent through Submittable during our open reading periods.
Our Rumpus Original Fiction reading periods are January 1 through January 31 and July 1 through July 31.
Our Rumpus Original Poetry reading periods are January 15 through January 31 and July 15 through July 31.
Our reading periods for the ENOUGH series are May 1 through June 30 and November 1 through November 30.
Please do not submit the same piece to multiple categories at the same time. All work must be previously unpublished. This includes personal blogs and social media.
Interview pitches and finished interview submissions are accepted year-round and should be sent directly to our Interviews team (email@example.com). We are no longer using Submittable for interviews.
Response time can vary from a few days to a few months. Please allow 3 months before sending status queries for essays, book reviews, and ENOUGH. Please allow 8 months before sending status queries for fiction, poetry, and our Funny Women column. Your patience is appreciated.
Please note: Submittable only displays categories that are open for submission. If you do not see a category, please reference the above reading periods for information on when you can submit.
Our regular reading periods for Essays are as follows: August 1 through October 31, January 1 through February 28, and June 1 through July 31. Timely essays can be sent directly to our Editor-in-Chief at firstname.lastname@example.org; all other essays should be sent through Submittable during our open reading periods. [Note: reading periods were updated June 2019. Our next open reading period begins August 1. The first June-July reading period will be in 2020.]
We welcome essay submissions between 1500-4000 words in length. In addition to personal narrative-driven essays we are interested in non-traditional forms of nonfiction. Essays should explore issues and ideas with depth and breadth, illuminating a larger cultural context or human struggle. Regardless of topic, we are looking for well-crafted sentences, a clear voice, vivid scenes, dramatic arc, reflection, thematic build, and attention to the musicality of prose.
Because the volume of submissions is so high and it takes time to read work carefully, it is generally not advisable to send time-sensitive work. Essays that deal with current events in ways that do not rely on timeliness are very welcome.
Essays must be previously unpublished. This includes personal blogs and social media. Please submit only one essay for consideration at a time; we ask that you wait until a decision has been made on that essay to submit again.
A cover letter is also welcome. Tell us a little bit about yourself, why you chose The Rumpus, where your work has appeared before, or anything else you think might be important for us to know. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but do withdraw your submission if your essay is picked up elsewhere.
Thank you for taking the time to proofread your submission. Double-spaced text is appreciated. If you have not heard a decision from us after three months, feel free to check in.
If you are interested in submitting a poetry review, please do so in our Poetry Reviews Submittable category. Thank you!
We're interested in thoughtful, engaging book reviews between 1200-2500 words. Please submit a finished draft of your review rather than a review pitch.
Reviews should be single-spaced and paginated. Please provide the following information in your cover letter and at the top of your review: Title of book, author's name, name of press, publication date, and your name and email address. In your cover letter, please also include your contact information and a brief bio that we would use should your review be accepted.
We prefer not to publish negative reviews, but it’s fine to discuss a specific weakness, lack, or question you have related to the book. Please disclose any relationship you have to the author of the book you’re reviewing if one exists; we do not accept reviews where a conflict of interest exists.
All work must be previously unpublished—this includes personal blogs, websites, and social media.
Publishers seeking to submit finished books for review consideration should not use this Submittable account; instead, please send a description of the book to our Books Editor at email@example.com. For poetry collections, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rumpus has two reading periods for unsolicited original poetry: January 1–January 31 and July 1–July 31. Unsolicited poetry can be submitted during those reading periods to our Rumpus Original Poetry category. Please do not submit unsolicited poetry here.
We are interested in entries for our "Last Poem I Loved" and "Last Book of Poems I Loved" series, which should be 1500–4000 words. Review guidelines are below. Please submit only "Last Poem I Loved," "Last Book of Poems I Loved," and poetry book reviews to this category.
Poetry Book Review guidelines:
We look for reviews of collections from a diverse group of poets working within a variety of aesthetics. Your review should be accessible to a general audience. We're more interested in the reader's experience of the poems, subject matter, arc, and the poet's use of craft than we are in scholarly criticism or theory. We love reviews that address how the collection interacts with poetic tradition, the current landscape of poetry, and that speaks to what the collection brings to our shared discourse as readers, writers, and citizens.
Book reviews should be between 1200–2500 words. Please provide the following information at the top of your review: Title of book, author's name, name of press, publication date, and your name and email address. In your cover letter, please include your contact information and a brief bio that we would use should your review be accepted.
Your review should be single-spaced and paginated. Poem excerpts of more than three lines should be formatted exactly as they appear on the page, and set off in the text of the review. Please include at least 1–2 excerpts of more than three lines. Shorter excerpts should be quoted within the text of the review using quotation marks and virgules ( / ), with one space ahead and behind the virgule to indicate line breaks. There is no need to cite page numbers within the review, but please check excerpts and quotes carefully to ensure they are free of errors and formatted correctly.
We prefer not to publish negative reviews, but it’s fine to discuss a specific weakness, lack, or question you have related to the collection. Please disclose any relationship you have to the author of the book you’re reviewing if one exists; we do not accept reviews where a conflict of interest exists.
All work must be previously unpublished—this includes personal blogs, websites, and social media.
To learn more about specific collections we are interested in seeing reviewed and have review copies of, please contact Brian Spears at email@example.com for book availability.
Publishers seeking to submit finished books for review consideration should not use this Submittable account; instead, please send a description of the book to Brian Spears at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re looking for essays that live at the intersection of music and culture, and especially those written from a personal perspective. We want to why you love the music you love, why it affects you and shapes your life. We welcome essay submissions between 1500-4000 words in length.
Below are criteria for our recurring columns, but we also accept essays that don't fit under these headings. Essays should be previously unpublished (this includes personal blogs). If you have not heard a decision from us after three months, feel free to check in.
Songs/Albums of Our Lives:
Whether it’s focused on a memory, or abstractly connected to an emotion, or woven into an author’s whole life, the “Songs of Our Lives” and “Albums of Our Lives” essays relate the significance a particular song or album has for the author. We rarely publish about a song, album, or artist more than once, so please consider that before submitting.
While we want the highly personal, we also love the highly technical. "Sounds Takes” are the collision of both. If you have a knack for telling us why an album deserves a listen, we want to know!
So, you’ve decided you’re a woman or non-binary writer and would like to submit to Funny Women. Out of all decisions, this is the best one you can make.
Direct your entry below. Then immediately follow me on Twitter.
The ideal piece is between 650 and 1,000 words. I do not accept pitches or sexts.
While all good humor comes from a truthful place, do not submit personal essays/stories/anecdotes, please.
And another thing—and this is me helping you—I discourage timely pieces (holiday themes, weather, etc.) because it often takes days, weeks, or months to read a submission after you've written, revised, and sent it.
Also, no pop culture (celebrities, TV shows, top 40, etc.), as much as I enjoy it. Pop culture takes up plenty of space/energy already. Exits to the echo chamber to the left.
Not necessary, but why not tell me a little about yourself and throw some compliments my way? The Rumpus aims to create a community of writers, and doing so means getting to know each other.
(You should know that it's 10x harder to pass on your submission if your cover letter is super nice and exudes confidence.)
No tricked-out formatting with fonts that tell me something about your soul. Keep it simple and readable.
To include in your submission:
Title of submission, your name, email address, website (if you have one), favorite book written by someone who is not a straightwhitecisman, and the latest show you binged.
Each submission should look like this:
“This Is Hilarious”
By Elissa Bassist
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (no, wait, no: Anagrams by Lorrie Moore)
Halt and Catch Fire
Please, please! Even if you've never been published (and who cares if you haven't), you can still reveal the city where you live and if you have any pets.
Previously published work:
Nope. Send original pieces—not archived blog entries.
Pride in knowing you have in some way changed the world’s mind about who’s funny. (You'll get a little money, but keep your expectations low. Lower than that.)
I have anxiety dreams and lifelong guilt when I don’t get back to you when you think I should. But please understand I receive hundreds of submissions and have a day job-ish. Response time varies—between two minutes and eight months. In some cases, it's taken me over a year to respond. I know. Forgive me. Have patience. I care about you, girl.
Reasons you might not hear back:
None. I’m not heartless. If you don’t hear back after eight months, then I didn’t get to your submission. Follow up with me.
Some reasons I might not choose your piece to appear on Funny Women:
You wrote a poem.
You wrote a personal essay.
You submitted a list or a piece eerily resembling a list.
You submitted an illustration/comic/piece under 10 words.
You used irony in the wrong way.
You began: “This is not a love story.”
You began: “This is a love story.”
You had five or more grammatical mistakes.
You were graphic. Talking about period blood is cool, but there is a line, you know? Use your judgment.
You thought you wrote something feminist, but you really wrote something racist.
You didn't read or adhere to the submission guidelines.
Maybe I am heartless.
Your submission wasn't a humor submission.
You believe feminism = hating cis men or anything other than political, economic, and social equality for all people and cute animals.
You don’t believe in yourself and your dreams.
If your piece is not published at this time:
Don't take it personally, which is something I'd do.
Please direct any additional questions or snide remarks to: funnywomen AT therumpus.net.
Visit elissabassist.com if you're interested in what I look like.
I look forward to our future friendship.
Submit comics and graphic essays/poems/stories here!
Thank you for sending your work to the Rumpus. We look forward to reading it. Please note we can only consider work that is previously unpublished—this includes personal blogs, websites, and social media.
We receive many submissions, and we appreciate your patience in waiting to hear from us. If you haven't received a decision within 8 months of submitting, please feel welcome to query us regarding the status of your submission.
We allow simultaneous submissions; please do let us know if your work is accepted elsewhere by withdrawing your submission through Submittable.