Homepage / Fake News / I Read Your Guidelines, But I’m Submitting This Piece That Clearly Isn’t a Fit for Your Publication Because, Well, Just Read It and You’ll See Why
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Fake News

I Read Your Guidelines, But I’m Submitting This Piece That Clearly Isn’t a Fit for Your Publication Because, Well, Just Read It and You’ll See Why

Dear Editor,

I’m not bragging, but I’ve got a submission that’s going to Blow. Your. Mind. You’re going to fall in love with this story so hard you won’t care that it doesn’t even come close to meeting the submission guidelines of your fine internet journal. By the way, I know you say you don’t want attachments, but this story has too many spacing and formatting requirements to paste in the body of an email, so I attached it.

I get it. You have to have rules to keep the weirdos at bay, but come on, rules are for pussies. I’m not a pussy. You’re not a pussy, are you? You don’t want to go down in literary history as the giant pussy who had a chance to publish my masterpiece and passed on it because he’s a fucking pussy, do you?

Let’s face it, opportunities like this one don’t come along every day. I’m about to be a big deal. Even with all your very specific quote-unquote submission guidelines, you’re still overwhelmed on the daily with trash. Honestly, most of the stories that actually make it out of your slush pile are still trash, but your site is super popular so I’m giving you this chance anyway.

Don’t blow it.

With all that said, I am submitting, for your edification and enjoyment, but also with full faith that you’ll have the good sense to accept and publish it, a rather longish short story called “A.I., Captain.” I know my story is not technically appropriate for your publication, but I really want to be published on your highly trafficked website, and I think once you read all nine-thousand four-hundred thirty-seven words of my story you’ll be grateful that I brazenly ignored your carefully crafted submission guidelines.

I respect your time and your guidelines, I really do, but I also don’t have time to be constrained by arbitrary bullshit rules. I’m a creative. The world needs my art!

OK, I know your website says that for the current reading period you’re only interested in Firefly fanfiction from a Catholic-Anarchist perspective, but that’s only because you haven’t read my story yet. It’s a surrealist science fiction fantasy parable set in a world similar to ours yet different, called Eastworld. Most of the action takes place on the high seas. I guess I could be biased, but it’s basically the best thing since Gravity’s Rainbow. Think of it sort of as Infinite Jest but more like Pirates of the Caribbean and with robots.

Your purported word limit is one thousand words, but I’m assuming that’s either a typo or a suggestion. I’ve never cared for word limits. I like to think of myself as beyond limits. I’m just not into labels, boxes, or word limits. And don’t even get me started on your requested font. Times New Roman is for bitches.

In general, I think stating that you are only interested in complete, standalone stories, and not excerpts of larger works, is totally fine and reasonable, but you also need to understand that this piece is an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, The Hunger Thrones, and I need to get it published so I can get agents, editors, and the reading public excited about my book. I get exposure, you get thirty days of non-exclusive rights to a story that’s on a whole nother level than anything you’ve ever even thought of publishing before. Win-win!

One note before I sign off: I want to say this as delicately as possible, but I also have to advocate for myself because as a straight white male I am a member of the last true minority. I don’t want you to construe this as a threat, but I think you should consider the current cultural/political climate as you decide about this piece. I only mention this because your site says you encourage people from historically marginalized groups to submit. Hey, I applaud your commitment to diversity, as long as diversity isn’t a dog whistle for white-hate/misandry. I’m always uncertain when I see those types of notes, but I guess I’ll know when I get your response. If you accept my story, then I’ll know you’re really committed to diversity, and if you reject it I’ll know you really just hate white dudes. I’m as liberal as the day is long, as long as I get what I want, but if I feel like you’re discriminating against me because I’m a straight white man I will go straight to Fox News. I’m sure that won’t be an issue, though, because my story is dope as fuck. Plus I contributed to your Patreon so you owe me!

You might be impressed, as you read my story, at my detailed descriptions of guns. I’m something of a collector of high-powered firearms, which reminds me I found your home address on the internet and I can send a hard copy of my story if that’s more convenient. Or just drop it by.

Anyway, I’d like to thank you for your time and consideration. I want to keep this cover letter short so as not to deprive you any further of the pleasure of reading my story. I know that as an editor of a small literary website you are overworked and underpaid, if you’re even paid at all, but believe me this story will make all your hard work worth it. This is the story you’ve been waiting for, and when you’re done reading it you’re going to thank me for disregarding every single submission guideline listed on your site.


The Best Writer You’ll Ever Be Lucky Enough to Publish


P.S. I heard you also have a secret email address for submissions from people you actually want to hear from so don’t forget to include that in your response. Anyway, thanks again. Don’t fuck this up.

Second City’s online “Writing Satire for the Internet” course, a fav among our writers, starts Sept 23. Use code PIC for 10% off.

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