We’re interested in seeing finished pieces. 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. Please note the draft you submit is considered final, excepting suggested changes by our editorial staff.

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: 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 marisa@therumpus.net; 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.]

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 1 through January 31 and July 1 through July 31.

Our reading periods for the ENOUGH series are April 1 through May 31 and October 1 through November 30.

Please do not submit the same piece to multiple categories.

Interview pitches and finished interview submissions are accepted year-round and should be sent directly to our Interviews Editor Monet Patrice Thomas (monet@therumpus.net). 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 and poetry. 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.

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.

Ends on August 31, 2019

This October, we’ll be exploring the theme, "On Monsters."

We want to hear about your monsters. Who or what are they? How have you defeated or tamed or reconsidered them? What does it mean to be monstrous yourself? What are you afraid of in the middle of the night, and how do you manage that fear? What makes a monster?

Please submit completed essays between 1500–4000 words. Pitches will not be considered. Please only submit creative nonfiction; we will not be able to consider unsolicited fiction and poetry.

Essays must be previously unpublished. This includes personal blogs and social media. 

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.

Submissions close at midnight on Saturday, August 31.

The Rumpus Original Poetry series features a suite of poems by a poet once a week. We consider previously unpublished work during our month-long open submissions periods of January 1–January 31 and July 1–July 31. 

Please submit 4-8 poems (up to 12 pages) in one Word .doc or PDF, accompanied by a brief cover letter and third-person bio. Please only send one submission per reading period, and if you have a submission pending, please wait to submit again until you've received our decision on the pending submission. Work must be previously unpublished; this includes personal blogs/websites and social media. Please note that we do not take single poems for publication; keep in mind when choosing what to submit that we are looking to publish a suite of poems from each poet we publish.

While we embrace and consider poems with diverse page presentations, there may be situations where we are unable to accommodate poems with special formatting as seen on the page.

We encourage simultaneous submissions but request that this be noted in your cover letter. If poems in your submission are accepted elsewhere, please notify us by leaving a comment in the Note section on the submission in Submittable.

We look forward to reading your work!

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 collection. Please disclose any relationship you have to the author of the book you’re reviewing if one 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 chelsea@therumpus.net. For poetry collections, please reach out to poetry@therumpus.net.

If you are interested in submitting a poetry review, please do so in our Poetry Reviews/Poetry Essays Submittable category. Thank you!

Submit comics here. 

Thank you for sending your work to the Rumpus. We look forward to reading it.

We receive many submissions, and unfortunately we can't reply to everyone. If we're interested in your work you'll hear from us; otherwise, we thank you and wish you the best of luck in all your creative endeavors.

Dear Writers,

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.

Cover letters:
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

Author bios:
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.)

Response time:
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.

UPDATE: Assistant Regional Funny Woman Katie Burgess (see: "How to Read a Poem") is a humor writing humanitarian and reads submissions before I do, which has transformed the waiting period. 

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 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.

Here are some writing tips. Here are some writing prompts.

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’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.

Sound Takes:

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!

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.

To learn more about specific collections we are interested in seeing reviewed and have review copies of, please contact Brian Spears at poetry@therumpus.net for book availability.

How long should my submission be?

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 is probably not the right fit. Any shorter, and we’re talking about flash fiction, in which case feel free to send two or three flash pieces 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 and social media pages.

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.

Simultaneous submissions?

No problem. But if your story gets accepted elsewhere, please let us know.

The Rumpus