EXCITING BOOK NEWS

BAY AREA: Daniel Gumbiner, author of The Boatbuilder, is embarking on a quick mini-tour next weekend. Click for details.

Guidelines for
McSweeney’s Internet Tendency Submissions

 

Submissions to our humor site will be closed starting this Thursday, October 25 at 11 a.m. EST. They’ll reopen Tuesday, October 30 at 10 a.m. EST. NOTE: Timely submissions (including Halloween-themed submissions) will remain open during this time.

- - -

Dear writers,

All of the satire and comedy we publish on this 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 Internet Tendency editorial staff, which since 2007 has been by run one person out of a living room in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts.

EMAIL SUBMISSION ADDRESSES
General website submissions should be sent to websubmissions@mcsweeneys.net.

Timely submissions should be sent to timelysubmissions@mcsweeneys.net. This inbox is for super topical pieces riffing on big news stories of the last 24-48 hours. All types of submissions (lists, open letters, monologues, etc.) are allowed. Be sure to mark the subject field in your email as “TIMELY.” Also, let us know why you feel your piece is super timely, and feel free to include a link to a reputable news site for proof. Note: Submissions sent on Friday afternoons (EST) or over the weekend will be replied to sometime the following Monday (on Tuesday after three-day weekends).

Lists submissions should be sent to lists@mcsweeneys.net.

Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond submissions should be sent to openletters@mcsweeneys.net. (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 newfood@mcsweeneys.net. Please note that we cannot pay for New Food Reviews at this time. Further explanation about this can be found below.

A NOTE ABOUT SENDING TO MULTIPLE EMAIL ADDRESSES SIMULTANEOUSLY
This is unnecessary. It all goes to the same editor anyway, so if you’re unsure which submissions email to send to, just pick one and we’ll figure out the rest later.

LENGTH
Submissions should be shortish. By shortish we mean an absolute maximum of 1,200 words, but in truth we veer toward pieces that are under 1,000 words, and snuggle closest to ones that are even shorter than that. Submissions of exactly 742 used to automatically appear on the site, as if by magic, but like so many good things, those days are gone.

YOUR NAME
Should be on your submission. Put it under the title of your piece. Absolutely all submissions must look like this:

My Funny Experience [story title]*
By William Williams [author’s name]
willywill@internet.com [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.

*- Please do not make a joke by titling your piece “My Funny Experience” because that joke has been told to us a thousand times before.

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 INVITATION TO LINKEDIN in your subject line.

COVER LETTERS
Are unnecessary, but not forbidden by any means. If they are longer than three and a half sentences there’s a fair chance they won’t be read. Just being honest here.

PLEASE PASTE
The entire document into the email message. Please don’t share Google docs or links to your private blogs. Also, very important: 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 about your current submission, feel free to send another one our way immediately. This rule now also includes list submissions. You used to be allowed to send up to three lists submissions at a time, but that proved to be too much list action for our weary and unfashionably attired editor to handle.

FORMATTING
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.

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, like we have mentioned, there’s just one 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 this: We don’t consider work that has previously appeared on your blogs, tumblrs, or sandwich boards.

PAYMENT
We are thrilled to report that there will be payment for all accepted general, open letter, and lists submissions submitted on or after October 1, 2018. The payment will be modest, and for some perhaps even low enough to disappoint, but it will be better than the amount we used to pay for accepted work, which was nothing. Our site has never been monetized and has accrued a grand total of zero dollars from advertising revenue in its 20+ years. In 2017 we launched a Patreon campaign to help provide some sustainability without resorting to ads and paywalls, as well as to eventually create a fund to pay contributors. So, as long as our campaign’s total remains above Goal #2 (enough $ to pay contributors) we will be able to pay for the content listed above. If our campaign continues to grow, we eventually hope be able to pay for New Food Reviews and other sorts of articles, but currently we cannot.

RIGHTS
You retain rights to your work after publication. Your published work will be housed in our internet archives in perpetuity, and we may re-post a link to your piece on social media sites from time-to-time.

RESPONSE TIME
Average response time is 7.39 days. Longer wait times have been known for lists, open letters, and new food submissions. The length and detail of the response will often be shorter and vaguer than you would probably like, but again, our editorial staff is small, weary, and unfashionably attired.

REASONS YOU MIGHT NOT HEAR BACK FROM US

  • Our spam-blocking software thought you were concerned about our the size of our genitals.
  • 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 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 a book review.
  • Your submission was a short story.
  • 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.
  • 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 we’ve already published recently.
  • Your submission was a list of goofy email names from spam you received or funny texts you received from your friend that time last week when he was inebriated.
  • Your submission was about being rejected by a humor website, such as the one’s whose guidelines you are currently reading.
  • Your submission was a bucket list featuring different types of actual buckets.
  • Your submission was Christmas-themed and it’s the middle of May.

FINALLY, IT WOULDN’T HURT TO
Read this to help get a sense of the type of humor we’re after.

ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS
Are happily answered if you send them to letters@mcsweeneys.net.