We’re interested in seeing finished pieces that intersect culture. We realize it’s a lot to ask for people to to write something without knowing if it will be published. On the other hand if you aren’t driven by the story so much that you have to write it then it’s probably not a good fit for The Rumpus.
It’s okay to pitch interviews and book reviews; otherwise we’re really only interested in finished pieces until we get to know you. Please note the draft you submit is considered final, excepting suggested changes by our editorial staff.
Response time can vary from a few days to a few months. Please allow 3 months before sending submission status queries. Your patience is appreciated.
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're interested in thoughtful, engaging book reviews and book-related essays. Finished reviews and essays preferred; we will consider pitches for reviews only.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For poetry collections, please reach out to email@example.com.
If you are submitting a poetry review, please do so in our Poetry Submittable category. Thank you!
Submit comics here.
Thank you for sending your work to the Rumpus. We look forward to reading it.
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 but do not rely on timeliness are welcome. Please also keep in mind that essays often won't appear on the site for 2-3 months once accepted.
Essays should be previously unpublished. This includes personal blogs.
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 let us know 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.
So, you’ve decided you’re a woman or gender non-conforming writer and would like to submit to Funny Women. Out of all decisions, this is the best one you can make.
Direct your entry to our Rumpus submission manager powered by Submittable. 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, no 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.
And no pop culture (celebrities, TV shows, top 40, etc.), as much as I enjoy it. Pop culture takes up plenty of space/precious energy already. Exits to the echo chamber on 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 thoughtful and exudes confidence.)
No tricked-out formatting with fonts that tell me something about your personality. 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)
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've contributed to the diverse canon of writing and 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 soon-ish. 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 [a time that you decide is too long], then I didn’t get to your submission. Follow up.
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 ten 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.
**PLEASE NOTE WE ARE TEMPORARY CLOSED TO INTERVIEW PITCHES AND SUBMISSIONS. WE WILL REOPEN IN EARLY SEPTEMBER.**
We are looking for thoughtful interviews (the kind that go beyond say, process) with the most interesting writers, artists, thinkers, musicians, and excellent humans around. Submit pitches and interviews here.
Below are criteria for our recurring columns, but we are also accepting essays that don't fit under these headings. Feel free to pitch and submit those music-related essays here, too.
The Rumpus is not accepting unsolicited poetry at this time.
We are, however, interested in entries for our "Last Poem I Loved" and "Last Book of Poems I Loved" series, as well as essays on poetry/poetics. Please submit those here, along with book reviews.
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 1000–2500 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. 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 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.
To learn more about specific collections we are interested in seeing reviewed and have review copies of, please contact Brian Spears at firstname.lastname@example.org for book availability.
How long should my submission be?
There are no set minimum or maximum word counts. We want stories that feel complete without padding or showing off or lily-gilding. Sometimes that happens in 1,500 words, sometimes it takes 5,000. Any longer than that and it better blow our minds. Any shorter, and we’re talking about flash fiction, in which case feel free to send two or three of those in the same submission.
Do you accept novel excerpts?
Yes, if it reads as a stand-alone narrative – i.e. needs no introduction, has a beginning, middle, and end, etc.
Can I submit previously published work?
No. That includes personal blogs.
What kind of stories are you looking for?
We are interested in sharp, fresh, original work. We want writing that walks on a wire, questions conventions, conveys a vision. Show us something new, even if the subject matter is old. Challenge our definition of a story. Make language come alive on the page.
No problem. But if your story gets accepted elsewhere, please let us know.
Any last tips or words of wisdom?
Don’t send first drafts, toss-offs, or unfinished experiments. Use punctuation. Proofread. Be honest with yourself. Read your work aloud. Now imagine reading it aloud to a room of strangers and then ask how many of them are checking messages on their phones. Speaking of which: throw out your phone. Get off Facebook and Twitter. Get offline once in a while. Live a little. Eat lots of vegetables. Concentrate. Write like a motherfucker.
Is there a story The Rumpus should know about? Let us know right here!