A good portion of the work we publish on the website comes from complete strangers such as yourselves. While we remain small and irresponsible, and afflicted with mold-borne allergies, we do our best to respond to all submissions quickly and professionally. That said, there are a number of things you can do to further enhance and streamline the experience for yourselves and for your friendly McSweeney’s editorial staff.
SUBMISSIONS FOR THE WEBSITE
Must be sent to us via email, according to the guidelines below.
General website submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lists submissions should be sent to email@example.com.
Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Note: We generally publish nonfiction letters that are written and signed by the submitter. Also, we are all set for letters about noisy neighbors, small animals/insects that have invaded your living space, and breaking up with inanimate objects, like Facebook and iPhones.)
Reviews of New Food submissions should be sent to email@example.com.
Submissions for the web should be shortish. By shortish we mean an absolute maximum of 1,500 words, but in truth we look more kindly on pieces that top out at 1,000 words, and snuggle closest to ones that are even shorter than that. Submissions of exactly 742 words seem to automatically appear on the site, as if by magic.
Are unnecessary, but not forbidden by any means.
Authors retain all rights to their work after publication. Your published work will be housed in our internet archives for perpetuity, and we may re-post a link to your piece from social media sites from time-to-time, but otherwise, you own your work after we run it.
The entire document into the email message. Do not send us attachments. We are afraid of what these attachments may be carrying.
SUBMITTING ONE THING AT A TIME
Used to be highly encouraged. Now it is strictly enforced. When you receive a response on your current submission, feel free to send another one our way immediately. The only exception is for Lists, where you can send up to three different list submissions in a single email.
Please do not format your piece in an unusual way. Do not use colors or Fun Fonts. Don’t even bother describing how your piece would be best if formatted in a particular way, because we probably cannot achieve this formatting on the site. We’re just not that smart.
Should be on your submission. Put your name and phone number under the title of your piece. Absolutely all submissions must look like this:
My Funny Experience [story title]
By William Williams [author’s name]
(555) 555-5555 [phone number]
firstname.lastname@example.org [email address]
@wilywill [twitter handle, if you have one]
The email address listed should be the one you would like to appear linked to your byline should we choose to publish your submission. Same goes for your Twitter handle. If you do not want your email address or Twitter handle linked to your byline, please tell us so.
YOUR SUBJECT LINE
Should contain some indicator of what is contained in your submission. A version of the title is recommended. Under no circumstances should you include something like YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE THIS, or INCREASE INCHES AND ENERGY TODAY, or AWESOME SCREENSAVER in your subject line.
AUTHOR BIOS AND COVER LETTERS
Are not necessary for website submissions.
A RELATIVELY LONG NOTE ABOUT TITLES
We fear it sounds superficial to say this, but the title of your submission is important. In this age of internet articles titled “THE 17 FUNNIEST THINGS THIS CAT DID AT BURNING MAN THAT CURED ITS ECZEMA WITH ONE WEIRD TRICK,” your humor pieces should have titles that will quickly lure readers in and have them think to themselves, This is funny and seems worthy of the five minutes of free time I have here at my cubicle/dorm room/airport gate/halftime of child’s soccer game/supermarket checkout line/therapist’s waiting room. Also, we get hundreds of submissions a week and usually it’s just one tired, well-meaning, unfashionably attired editor reading them all. So it’s only natural that this editor will be drawn to submissions with funny, eye-catching titles that cleverly reveal the premises of pieces. Thus articles titled “A Phone Call” or “Rabbits” won’t fare well against articles with titles like “I Regret to Inform You That My Wedding to Captain Von Trapp Has Been Canceled” or “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers.”
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED WORK
Cannot be considered. This includes content that has appeared on blogs, tumblrs, or sandwich boards. Also, please don’t send links to funny things on your blog, tumblrs, or sandwich boards. Please believe us when we tell you: We don’t consider work that has previously appeared on your blogs, tumblrs, or sandwich boards.
There will likely be none. If there is any, it may come very late or in unusual currency.
Can be anywhere between ten minutes and a month. Please be patient. Average response time is 1-2 weeks. Longer wait times have been known for lists, open letters, and new food submissions.
REASONS YOU MIGHT NOT HEAR BACK FROM US
- Our spam-blocking software thought you were concerned about our breast size.
- Being occasionally forgetful, we think that we have responded, but we really haven’t, and we (accidentally) deleted your submission without responding.
- You have an overaggressive spam-blocking program that rejects our reply.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU DON’T HEAR BACK FROM US ABOUT YOUR SUBMISSION
- Rail to your friends about the callous insensitivity of free, Web-based content outlets to the needs and feelings of writers. Vow the most thorough and satisfying of revenges.
- Resend your submission. It takes less time to respond to a resend than to answer a query. We really do mean to respond to every submission in a timely manner and if you haven’t heard from us within the above-mentioned time frame, it’s just an oversight.
SOME REASONS WE MIGHT SEND BACK OR DISLIKE YOUR SUBMISSION
The following features do not necessarily disqualify any submission guilty of one or more of them, but they do not help one’s cause:
- Your submission was of the poetry type.
- Your submission was too long.
- Your submission included the words “these days” or “nowadays.”
- Your submission did not take place in a jungle.
- Your submission did not capitalize the first letters of sentences.
- Your submission was not credited to a person with a first and last name, and an address and phone number.
- Your submission was credited to an obvious pseudonym.
- Your submission included clever formatting, which rendered it illegible.
- Your submission’s subject matter was similar to something else already we’ve published in the past.
- Your submission was some kind of list of goofy email names from spam you received or funny text messages you received from your friend that time last week when he was inebriated.
- Your submission was about being rejected by a literary magazine or website, such as the one’s whose guidelines you are currently reading.
- Your submission was about Christmas and it’s the middle of May.
AND IT WOULDN’T HURT TO
HUMOR PIECES THAT USE A “FAKE NEWS” FORMAT
Should not be sent to us. There is a better website that already does this.
Are not desired.
SHORT STORIES and PERSONAL ESSAYS
Are not something we typically run on the website. Instead, we’re in the market for short, conceptual humor. We strongly recommend reading through our archives to get a sense of the style of writing we’re after.
We’re not considering poetry at this time.
ART AND CARTOONS
Also don’t fit into our scheme of things right now.
PLEASE NOTE THAT WE DO NOT CONSIDER PIECES FOR BOTH THE PRINT JOURNAL AND THE WEBSITE
Under no circumstances should you simultaneously submit the same piece of writing to both email@example.com and to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you submit a piece of writing intended for the magazine to the web-submissions address, you will confuse us, and if you confuse us, we will accidentally delete your work without reading it, and then we will laugh and never give it another moment’s thought, and we will sleep the carefree sleep of young children.
Is not applicable for website submissions.
ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS
Are happily answered if you send them to email@example.com.