Best Submission Guidelines Ever

Note to aspiring writers: It's not easy

| March-April 1999


We Welcome Unsolicitecd Manuscripts. Submissions offered to McSweeney's should be original, or as original as is convenient, and their text should not draw significantly upon articles published previously by the author, unless, again, it was inconvenient to do otherwise. All manuscripts should be typewritten, double-spaced, with 25 lines per page, and margins of at least one inch each side, except the bottom, where the margin should be one and one-quarter inch, unless the font used is Bookman, in which case the manuscript should be single-spaced and the margins should be three-fourths of an inch all around, except for the bottom, which should remain one and one-quarter inch. The standard length for articles is 785 words. Deviation from the standard length must be accompanied by a compelling note of explanation. When sending your submissions, McSweeney's asks the following, in the interest of clarity and expediency: 1. Please, when addressing your envelope, indicate on the lower left-hand corner the approximate quality of the enclosed submission. Please be clear and truthful, and if possible use one of the following assessments: a) A Centerpiece; b) A Must Read; c) Superb, Synergistic Even; d) Excellent, and at Least Optionable; e) Very Good; f) Good; g) Pretty Good; h) Cloying, but Editable; i) Editable in a Pinch; j) Rewritable; k) Will Go Through Five Versions and Get Worse; l) Not at All Worth the Trouble, Despite the Amusing Cover Letter. 2. If your work addresses issues of race or class, please indicate to which race and/or class you belong. Manuscripts will not be returned under any circumstances and only stand a chance of response if they arrive accompanied by a SASE, which will more likely be cannibalized for the stamp and discarded. To Answer Your Question: This journal, of which 2,500 copies were made, cost $4,109 to print (approx. $1.64 a copy). Shipping to and from Iceland, where this was most assuredly printed, was about $1,400, bringing the total bill to about $5,509, which was offset in part by a meaningful donation by one of the journal's contributors, but the majority of which was fronted by the makers of McSweeney's, who sincerely believe they will break even, according to the following math: After giving away a good number of copies to those we wish to impress, we expect to sell somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 copies through bookstores and mail-order solicitations. At $8 a pop, we take home between $6 (mail-order) and $4 (bookstores) per, which means about $7,500 in revenue, giving us a tidy little profit of about $1,991, which we plan to Invest Responsibly in the Stock Market.

Changes to and Notes About Style: We are again using the serial comma. We are no longer using special ligatures for words with two consecutive f's. We are no longer capitalizing the names of deities other than the one true Lord God. Instead of generalissimo we are now using strongman; instead of MC Hammer we are now saying simply Hammer; where we previously used Caucasians we are now using ice people; bullets are now referred to as wizards; instead of knife, please use shiv; instead of victim, please use hero. Note: We are no longer using the following words: desultory, heretofore, nonesuch, ineffable, meretricious, Vietnam, and utilize. We are also discontinuing usage of the construction and/or.

NOTE: THIS JOURNAL HAS BEEN PROOFREAD, BUT NOT BY PAID PROFESSIONALS.

From Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern (1998). Subscriptions: $30 (four issues) from McSweeney's, 394A 9th St., Brooklyn, NY 11215.