MOFO welcomes unsolicited articles and personal essays. We're sorry, but
as nebulous as the line between "personal essays" and "fiction"
has become, we publish neither fiction (at least, in the traditional sense)
nor poetry. All manuscripts should be included in the body of an e-mail
(or two, if necessary) and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have an idea for a feature? Are you an aspiring cartoonist or film or music critic? Need to vent about your crappy internship? Just want to see your name in lights (or pixels)? Drop us a line and let us know what your idea is.
Since we can't exactly afford to pay actual money quite yet, we'll be glad to send the author of any published piece a symbolic check for $5. Congratulationsyou're now a professional writer! (Put that on your resume!) Also, you'll get to e-mail all your friends and say, "Wow! Read this piece I had published on this groovy Web 'zine!" Who said the literary life wasn't rewarding?
Here are our cardinal rules for submissions:
1.) The first rule of fight club is... no rants. If people want to read ill-considered flames, there are a million e-mail lists and bulletin boards they can go to. We want thoughtful, analytical, well-considered pieces. Articles should have something to say. Personal essays should make us think about man's place in the universe, motivate us to right a great social wrong, or at least make us snort coffee out of our noses.
2.) Rule #1 goes for slander, too. If you don't have absolute photographic proof that your boss clubs baby harp seals, together with sworn affidavits from credible witnesses, don't write an article on it. We don't need the lawsuits. On the other hand, if you write a "fictionalized" personal essay, changing your boss' name, your company's name, and the baby harp seals to, say, kittens, then you have something.
3.) It's a good idea to look at our other stories to see what kind of material we publish, and what our style is. We do not publish random lunacy, no matter how funny it is. The best humor simply points out the truth in an original (and slightly twisted) way.
4.) All stories shall have a point, and shall reach this point in a reasonable amount of time.
5.) It's always a good idea to include hip references and/or classical allusions. If we can hyperlink these to something like some cool-but-unknown indie band's Web site, or an online version of Ovid's Metamorphoses, so much the better.
6.) If you've noticed a disturbing trend, say, the oddly large number of thirty-something, two-career couples adopting Chinese children in Park Slope, Brooklyn, don't just write five thousand words on your own observations. One great trick is to include quotes from those Chinese-child-adopting couples. That way, it seems as if you're at least somewhat connected with reality.
7.) The six great rules of journalism are who, what, when, where, why, and how: Who is doing the adopting? (Professional couples in their thirties.) What are they adopting? (Chinese children.) Whenhow long has this been going on? (Ever since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon came out.) Where are they getting the children from? (Mainland China? Taiwan? Hong Kong? Flushing?) Why are they doing this, instead of making their own rugrats? (They were so busy with their careers, they simply forgot to breed.) How are they doing this? (That great new Web site, www.Chinese-babies-we-deliver.com?)
8.) The opening paragraph is THE most important part of any piece of writing. This goes double for the first sentence. You must instantly connect with the reader and make them want to read the rest of the article. Mastering this is half the art of selling a piece.
9.) If you have a picture or two to illustrate your piece with, we would be happy editors indeed. Make sure you have the rights to the pictures first, though. Hint: You still pretty much own the rights to your own images.