We’re always looking for good content at The Rumpus, but we’re focused on publishing good 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. We try to maintain high standards even though we don’t have any money and can’t pay for writing.
We’re interested in seeing finished essays 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 OK to pitch interviews, book reviews, and film reviews, otherwise we’re really only interested in finished pieces until we get to know you.
Is there a story The Rumpus should know about? Let us know right here!
We welcome essay submissions of any length. A good guide to what we are looking for is the content on the site. We want to be moved in some way. We want to think. We want to be challenged. We are particularly interested in long essays that really explore ideas with depth and breadth.
We're interested in thoughtful, engaging book reviews and book-related essays. Submit your pitches or finished reviews and essays here.
So, you’ve decided you’re a woman and would like to submit something funny to Funny Women, the Rumpus column that will alter the landscape of comedy, enhance cup size, and cure frigidity. Out of all the decisions in the world, 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.
Keep in mind this is the Internet, so make it short, sweetheart. By “Internet” and “short,” I mean the ideal piece is between 750 and 1,200 words. I do not accept pitches or sexts.
No personal essays/stories/anecdotes, please; humor pieces are different than funny stories about your life (unless you're Tina Fey or the late, great Nora Ephron). Also, just because you are a woman and I am asking for funny women, this does not mean that you need to write an ironic women’s issues piece. I encourage you not to follow the familiar scripts. We’re starting a revolution after all, so that means change.
Also--and this is me helping you--I discourage timely pieces (holiday themes, election coverage, natural disasters, etc.) because it often takes a few months to read a submission after you've sent it. And another thing: no pop culture (celebrities, TV shows, top 40, etc.), as much as I enjoy it.
Not necessary, but why not tell me a little about yourself and throw some compliments my way? I’m in this for more than the submissions; I aim to create a community of women writers, and doing so means getting to know each other. (You should know it's 10x harder to pass on your submission if your cover letter is super nice and thoughtful.)
Please don’t do any tricked-out formatting with fonts that look like handwriting or 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), and favorite book written by a person of femininity.
Each submission should look like this:
Please, please! Even if you've never been published (and who cares if you haven't), you can still tell me/your imminent audience where you live and if you have any pets.
Previously published work:
NOT ALLOWED. Send original pieces over archived blog entries.
The compensation is extravagant: pride in knowing you contributed to the diverse canon of women’s writing + changing the world’s mind about who’s funny. Your heart will swell with accomplishment and all cellulite: gone. (N.B.: My mission is to one day pay writers, but right now we must accept we're not always going to get paid for what we do, while what we do is valuable work. Fuck you, Internet/status quo.)
I’ll have anxiety dreams if I don’t get back to you soon-ish. But please understand I receive hundreds of submissions and have a day job-ish. The response time will vary--between two minutes and eight months. In some cases, it's taken me over a year to respond. I know. I'm the worst. Forgive me. Have patience. I care about you, girl.
Reasons you might not hear back:
None. I’m not a bitch. If you don’t hear back after three-eight months, then I didn’t get your email. Send it again, won't you? (Currently I'm embarrassingly behind on reading submissions. Don't take it personally, which is something I usually do.)
Some reasons I might not choose your piece to appear on Funny Women:
You write a poem. I don’t feel I can adequately judge poetry.
You send me a list. These are funny, I agree, but it’s just not the right time.
You send me an illustration/comic/piece under 10 words.
You use irony in the wrong way.
You begin a piece: “This is not a love story.”
Alternatively, you begin a piece: “This is a love story.”
You have ten or more grammar mistakes.
You are overly graphic and inappropriate. Talking about vaginas is cool, but there is a line, you know? Use your judgment.
You are overtly sexist. (I know, I know, but taking down men to uplift women is the wrong way to go about things.)
You think you are saying something feminist, but you’re really saying something racist.
You don’t adhere to what I’ve said above.
Maybe I am a bitch.
Your submission is not a humor submission.
You don’t believe in yourself and your dreams.
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.
We are looking for thoughtful interviews (the kind that go beyond say, process) with the most interesting writers, artists, thinkers and excellent humans around. Submit pitches and interviews here.
The Rumpus is not currently accepting unsolicited poetry.
We are, however, interested in entries for our Last Poem I Loved and Last Book of Poems I Loved series, interviews with poets, and essays on poetry/poetics. Please submit those here.
If you are interested in reviewing poetry collections, please contact Brian Spears at firstname.lastname@example.org for book availability and guidelines.
Submit comics here.
Thank you for sending your work to the Rumpus. We look forward to reading it.
Rumpus Original Fiction: Submission Guidelines
Everywhere I go, people are asking me, “How can I submit fiction to The Weekly Rumpus? What kind of stories do you want to read? Will you respond to my submission within an hour or two? What gives Stephen Elliott his crude, boyish charm?” Here, then, are the answers to some – not all – of your questions.
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 1,000 words, sometimes it takes 5,000 or 6,000. Any longer than that and it better blow our minds. Any shorter, and we’re talking about microfiction, 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?
How often can I submit?
Twice a year.
What kind of stories are you looking for?
We are interested in sharp, fresh, original work that grapples with life as it is really lived and felt in the world today. We want writing that walks on a wire, questions conventions, conveys a vision. I think it was William Gass who said he would no more want his books to be loved by everybody than he’d want his daughter to be loved by everybody. Take this to heart. Show us something new, even if the subject matter is old. We have nothing against subtle domestic dramas or heartland contemplations, as long as the people in them seem like real people, not characters in subtle contemplation of their literary navels. In other words, please don’t send anything boring.
If I know one of the editors, can I submit to her directly?
No problem. But if your story gets accepted elsewhere, do the polite thing and let us know?
What’s your response time?
I don’t know. We just started this thing. We’ll do our best.
If you reject a story, will you at least give me feedback?
I’m afraid not.
Any last tips or words of wisdom?
Don’t send first drafts, toss-offs, or unfinished experiments. Use punctuation. Indent paragraphs. 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 smartphones. Speaking of which: throw out your smart phone. Get off Facebook and Twitter. Get offline once in a while. Live a little. Eat lots of vegetables. Concentrate. Write like a motherfucker.