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McSweeney's welcomes submissions; thanks to the wonders and mysteries of the Internet, submissions are accepted around the clock, from all points of the globe, provided those points are computer terminals with email. Please direct submissions to our general email address, helpfully found at the bottom of this, and other, pages.

We eagerly check our email several times a day, in the course of other activities,
and sometimes solely to seek validation that we exist. We will scan the subject headings of all incoming email, and missives with headers including 'free' or 'money' will be reviewed first, as they inevitably result in copious quantities items free, and, not infrequently, money. Those with other subject headings, particularly 'Submission' will be reviewed next. We will assume emails with the subject heading 'Submission' to be just that. If your subject heading is not 'Submission,' unless you insert words to the effect of 'Submission to follow!' in the body of your email, we will assume your email is not a submission.

Once beyond that initial hurdle, the height of which varies based on circumstances too complex to enumerate, it will be reviewed by one or more literary-persons. We hesitate to call them editors, for they are not that, but they all seem mightily literary. We may ask questions, encourage modification. Should we embrace your offering as publishable, we may send it to our very professional, but very unpaid, proofreader (an irony our not lost on our proofreader, something we are reminded of on a regular basis), who may review it, and who may very well make critical comments about your writing, and who will definitely find fault with our managerial skills.

There is no fixed time frame for the above process, and you will not be contacted at any point during it. Alas, you will not even receive confirmation we have received your work (which, we are remiss in pointing out, should be sent as plain text emails for shortish pieces, and as MS Word attachments for longer or longish pieces). We will contact you should we require editing that is beyond our skills. We will notify you should we find occasion to publish your work, and you will have our utmost gratitude, but none of our meager funds, as we never pay for published work.

Submissions should be a non-negative integer in length, preferably divisible by seventeen. Proper word count should be total characters, excluding spaces, divided by five. We will not verify word counts as a matter of course; in the event we do, and find your submission to be 'non-preferable,' we will not take any remedial action, but we will be very, very disappointed.

Submissions, which should be new, exciting, and published only in your email, should also contain a phone number and a name. It need not be a real name, but should we call the number and ask for the name, we must find it available in the form of a person.

We do not publish first person memoirs involving a loss of innocence, particularly sexual or financial innocence. Otherwise, we publish anything else that makes us smile. We like to smile, within reason. That does not mean if we smile while reading your piece, it will be published. We may be smiling at something else altogether. But the following things have been known to make us smile:

Anecdotes about clever observations made in response to Billy Jack films
Funny stories about awkward moments involving stuffed animals
Wry slice of life observations drawn from the instruction manuals of power tools
Ironic diatribes about your temp job
Ironic diatribes about ironic diatribes about your temp job
Ironic diatribes about your liberal arts education that drive you to produce ironic diatribes about ironic diatribes about, etc.

In retrospect, the above list should not be taken as an practical guide, but more of a meta-guide for what would probably be an ill-advised submission topic. We have been advised by our legal representation that the above list should be offered 'as-is' with no warranties as to the publishability of anything arising from, or submitted in response to, our list.

Sincerely,
The McSweeney's Catchpole

 


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