Thursday, October 10, 2013

Your poem isn't about your cat? In that case, send it. (Infinite Monkeys)

If you want us to consider your submission to our online literary magazine, make sure you read the guidelines first.

We’re glad you’re interested in submitting your work to our online literary magazine.  While we regret that we can’t pay you, we think that the promise of seeing your work on our website, as opposed to your own, will be more meaningful to you than any amount of remuneration could be.
You think so, too, or you wouldn’t still be reading this.
We get literally hundreds of submissions, depending on what period of time you are counting, and so we have to insist that writers follow these simple guidelines when submitting.
What We’re Looking For:  Send us only your best work! We are not like those other literary magazines that are willing to publish any old thing you, or Flannery O’Connor, have lying around.  We are looking for something that is new, original, innovative, and other words that mean new and original. To get an idea of how new or original it must be, read everything we’ve ever published and make your work as close to that as possible. We like experimental work, unless it is weird. Do we have to point out that it is no longer cool to not capitalize things that should be capitalized? That’s bush league. Don’t do it.
Cover letterIn your cover letter, tell us what your story is about. Or your poem, but that is probably about your cat, so if it is about your cat, don’t bother telling us, we already know. Tell us how much you love the most recent thing we published, to let us know that you at least went to the main page of our site after finding us on a list of magazines accepting unsolicited submissions. If you have a degree, mention that! We all have them, too, so it’s like we’re a club.
Word count: They do, don’t they! Little editorial humor there. Would’ve made more sense if we’d said words count but that’s not the way we went.  Your piece should be no more than 8,000 words if it is a short story, but no less than 6,233 words unless at least four percent of the words are either made up or taken from another language, in which case the upper limits of the word count are increased by 13% and the lower by 10%. Word counts for poetry and nonfiction vary depending on longitude; query first. Include a sextant with your query.
Simultaneous Submissions: Are not accepted! So don’t tell us! What do you hope to gain by including in your cover letter that you are also submitting this to someone else at the same time? Do you think we actually can be pressured into accepting your work just because some other online literary magazine is also considering it? No, we cannot. We are immune to your tactics, Margaret.  The rest of you, if you do tell us that this is a simultaneous submission, at least make it believable.  Claiming that The New Yorker is very interested in your work is not likely to bluff us into publishing this. Claiming that your work is under consideration as a comment on a Youtube video and that it is pending approval will get us to at least check out that video.
Payment: Still thinking maybe there’s a way to get paid? We told you: we don’t pay. But you can post on Twitter that you were published, and all 117 of your followers will be impressed.  They may even favorite your tweet. Don’t you hate when people do that? Like they’re going to go back and read it, someday. God, we hate Twitter.
How To Submit: You can submit to us via mail, and we will not read it. Who uses mail anymore? I’m not even sure you can buy stamps. Didn’t they start selling stamps online? How does that work? It seems weird to have to mail stamps. 
We also accept submissions by email.  You should paste the copy directly into the email, because that way it almost guarantees that something weird will happen with one of your fonts and we’ll get an easy way to reject you.  For almost half the fonts in Microsoft’s “Word,” pasting them into Google will change the ‘ampersand’ into some sort of Wingding-like symbol. This happens after you send it. This is not an accident.  We in the literary world know which fonts those are, and we scan all incoming emails for ‘wingding fonts,’ because it marks you as a hack who has chosen “Californian FB” or “Gill Sans MT” as a font, figuring that your choice of fonts will seem more literary.  We’ve thrown you a bone by naming those two. You’ll have to figure out the rest to avoid instant rejection.
You should also attach your work as a docx or odt file. No pdf files are accepted, because we are sick of updating Adobe
You are right: There is no reason you should have to attach your work and paste it. But since you brought that up, you should also include a translation of your work into Greek, Latin, or one of the Slavic subsets of languages.  You are not an editor. Don’t question us. We can keep making this harder. Want to test us?
Author biographies:  Everyone who reads your work will instantly want to know more about you.  That’s how it goes! They will read your essay about the paintbrush and how it metaphorically relates to the way ideas spread across the world, and they will wonder “What does that person do in his or her spare time? Would he or she quit that if he or she could write full time? Does he or she have a family that has a definite number of people? And finally, just how many cats does he or she own now?” Your bio should answer all of those questions, and only those questions.
Types of Work We Publish:
Fiction: If you are submitting fiction, you should make sure the entire story is made up. Thinly veiled ‘fiction’ stories will not be accepted.  So, seriously, Margaret, we are never going to publish that story about your ex-fiance who used your cat as a dust mop and is now married to that barista with the tits.
Poetry: If you are submitting poetry, ask yourself why? Does anyone want to read your poems? We don’t.
Nonfiction: Reviews of books, movies, films – if you know the difference between those two you’re qualified to comment on the latter, and also a bit of a jerk – music, clothing, and dance are not accepted.  We publish only reviews of other online reviews and reviewers.  A good guideline is available on the site, now, under the heading “Is YogiBareBack19175 biased in favor of Crate & Barrel?” Reviews of one’s own reviews are not accepted.  If you want, you can submit your poetry as ‘nonfiction’ and we’ll likely read 1Ž2 of it, at least, before figuring out we’d been duped.  If it is a slow day, we’ll probably put it up on the site, anyway.
 Response Time:  We will respond exactly 152 hours after we receive your submission. We will not be accepting it. Just to let you know. But you can always try again! Except you, Margaret. Stop it.

22 comments:

A Beer For The Shower said...

This was absolutely brilliant. However, I feel like you forgot one small detail about the cover letter. The cover letter should be almost as long as the story itself.

"Please send us a 3 paragraph cover letter describing your 5 paragraph story. Because remember, our time is clearly more valuable than yours, which is why we need to read a full page synopsis before we even think of wasting all of that time reading your story. It's all about time management, folks! That's just how the publishing industry works."

Andrew Leon said...

Oh, man, that made me laugh. But, now, where can I submit? You also need to have a special submission page with one of those little boxes where you can write up to 10,000 words but can only see about 20 of them at a time.

Briane P said...

Both you and Beer have a bright future in publishing, Andrew.

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