Submissions are currently closed. We’ll be using the next couple of months to catch up on our reading. We want to make sure your work is given fair consideration and, in order to do so, we need more time. We appreciate your patience!
A great deal of the material published in McSweeney’s is written by kind strangers whose work comes to us via email or in manila envelopes. Our system for reading submissions is intricate and steadily improving, but we’re still a very small organization—McSweeney’s has just a few editors—and some things move slowly. On the other hand, every single submission gets read. Please be patient and understanding, for we want very badly to discover and nurture new and developing writers, and are doing our best. You can help us by observing the following guidelines:
Is addressed below, toward the end.
Is up to you.
Please keep yours brief, though we do like to hear from people who read and like the magazine. We’re not concerned about writing degrees or past publications, though, so don’t be daunted if you don’t have an MFA or much in the way of previously published work.
TO SUBMIT VIA THE POSTAL SERVICE
Our address is 849 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110. Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope.
IF YOU ARE MAILING FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY
You might want to submit electronically. This is up to you, but the postage on the return envelope can present problems. Some people, especially Canadians, have sent us some sort of international postage coupons. Our track record regarding Canadians is beyond reproach, but we do not like these coupons and do not know what to do with them. Please make things easy for us.
TO SUBMIT ELECTRONICALLY
Please visit our submishmash page and attach your submission as a Word file. If you send a different kind of file, it might not work, and it’s difficult for us to write back to you telling you to re-send the submission. If you do not attach the story, but instead paste the text in the body of your message, we won’t necessarily throw it away, but it will go into a folder that does not get emptied with any sort of efficiency or logic. Also, try not to call your file “McSweeney’s Story” or similar titles, which would easily be confused with many others. Use the title of your story — that’s best.
SUBMISSIONS FOR THE WEBSITE
Should be sent to a different address, following different guidelines, which are presented in a different link on this site.
It’s better if you don’t use colors or Fun Fonts or strange formatting.
YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION
Should be on your submission—not just on the cover letter. Cover letters can disappear. Please include your name, mailing address, phone number, and email address, ideally on every page.
Feel free to include a brief biography of yourself.
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED WORK
Can’t be considered here.
Fluctuates somewhat, but has been impressing contributors recently. Contributors are paid at the time of publication.
Can be anywhere between a few weeks and nine months. Please be patient. We’re really reading as fast as we can.
SPECIAL ISSUES AND READING PERIODS
Because our staff is so small, we aren’t continually reading submissions for the quarterly. More often than not, we read in month-long bursts, when we’re approaching the deadline for a new issue. And special issues sometimes create longer delays in our response time. For example, if we just closed an issue, and we know that the issue after that will be devoted to political journalism, that would mean we wouldn’t be reading new fiction submissions for up to four months, as we prepared the journalism issue. Our response time, then, can vary a great deal. And given that we’re a quarterly, and not a weekly or monthly, we ask that all submitters bear in mind the very slow nature of the entire enterprise.
CHECKING ON THE STATUS OF YOUR SUBMISSION
If you were kind enough to submit something, and haven’t heard from us in six months, feel free to resend the piece. We can’t, however, personally respond to each request for a status report. If you need to know if we are or aren’t running a piece, for the purposes of your sending the piece to a better publication, assume that we aren’t.
Can be wonderful, but is not something we publish.
We don’t generally publish memoir sorts of pieces, though there can be exceptions.
THE ADDRESSES AGAIN
849 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110