At The Rumpus, 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’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 okay to pitch interviews, book reviews, and film reviews, otherwise we’re really only interested in finished pieces until we get to know you.
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.
We're interested in thoughtful, engaging book reviews and book-related essays. Submit your pitches or finished reviews and essays here.
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.
Submit comics here.
Thank you for sending your work to the Rumpus. We look forward to reading it.
The Rumpus is looking for essays on digital / electronic / new media literature. Especially desired are:
1. Short reviews of or essays about dig / e / NM literature, especially new works, but we will consider new perspectives on older works.
2. Interviews of or first-person accounts from creators of dig / e / NM literature that provide insight into the writing and creation of particular works, especially those which expose the humanity inherent in technology-mediated forms.
3. Feature-length essays on dig / e / NM literature that challenge assumptions about the genre(s) – work that borders on manifesto-building encouraged.
Essays should be appealing, intriguing, and comprehensible to a general audience of smart, literary- and tech- aware but non-expert readers. No need for academic-speak, but no need to dumb it down.
***TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR SUBMISSIONS***
We will reopen for submissions shortly.
We welcome essay submissions between 1500-4500 words in length. In addition to personal narrative-driven essays we are interested in non-traditional forms of nonfiction, including but not limited to: documentary, video, and media. 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.
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 please 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 something funny to Funny Women, the Rumpus humor column that will alter the landscape of comedy and cure frigidity. 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.
This is the Internet, so make it short, sweetheart. By “Internet” and “short,” I mean 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. Short conceptual humor is different than funny stories about your life (unless you're Tina Fey et al.). Also, you need not write an ironic women’s issues piece.
And another thing--and this is me helping you--I discourage timely pieces (holiday themes, election coverage, weather, etc.) because it often takes a few months to read a submission after you've 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 are to the left.
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 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.)
Please no 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:
“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 tell me/your imminent audience where you live and if you have any pets.
Previously published work:
NOT ALLOWED. Send original pieces--not archived blog entries.
The compensation is extravagant: pride in knowing you contributed to the diverse canon of writing + changing the world’s mind about who’s funny. Your heart will swell with accomplishment and all cellulite: gone. (On the serious, you'll get a little money, but keep your expectations low.)
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 [a time that you decide is too long], 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'd do.)
Some reasons I might not choose your piece to appear on Funny Women:
You write a poem.
You write a personal essay.
You send me a list. These are funny, I agree, but it’s just not the right time or place.
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.”
You begin a piece: “This is a love story.”
You have ten or more grammatical mistakes.
You are overly graphic and inappropriate. Talking about reproductive organs is cool, but there is a line, you know? Use your judgment.
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 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.
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.
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 music essays that don't fit under these headings. Feel free to pitch and submit those essays here, too.
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.
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 or 6,000. 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 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. Show us something new, even if the subject matter is old.
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.
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.
Is there a story The Rumpus should know about? Let us know right here!