Thanks for thinking of us as a home for your work! Unsolicited submissions are the fossil fuel that keeps the Barrelhouse moped puttering along on the side of the literary highway.
Updated 6/21/2013: We are currently open for non-fiction submissions. Some guidelines:
- All of our essays are pop-culture related in some way. If you submit an essay about your sexual awakening at summer camp, please understand that even if it’s the absolute best essay ever written about sexual awakenings at summer camp, we’re not going to publish it. Unless the sexual awakening at summer camp is forged over a shared love of comic books, or David Byrne was your camp counselor or something.
- Please do not email us to tell us why this guideline doesn’t work for you. It’s kind of our thing. There are literally hundreds of journals that would be happy to read your stories about summer camp sexual awakenings; we just are not one of them.
- For a full understanding of our NF interests, you can read BRING THE NOISE, an anthology of the best essays we’ve ever published. At least go read our non-fiction editor’s introduction to BRING THE NOISE, which is one click away and which is short and which will potentially save us all some heartache and confusion.
- Some topics our previously published essays have covered: pro wrestling, Magnum P.I., Thin Lizzy, The Three Stooges Museum, roller coasters, hipsters, payphone scenes in films, abusive marriages in media, heavy metal screams, Jersey Shore, The Omega Man, and more.
- You know what we’ve never published? A really great essay about hip-hop.
- We’re open to all essay forms, and are very happy to read non-traditional/experimental forms.
- Okay, another thing about the pop culture business. What we’re looking for, what we’d love, is for your essay to be about pop culture, but not only about pop culture. That is, there should be depth, there should be something interesting going on beneath the surface. Snarky bloggish posts about the latest tabloid gossip aren’t all that interesting, even if they’re funny. The best stuff we read will use pop culture as a lens through which to talk about something bigger.
- It doesn’t hurt to be funny. Or at least to have a sense of humor.
- Essays longer than 7500 words will need to be truly exceptional to fit into the magazine.
If you think you’re ready to fire away, click here to bounce out to the Submissions Manager.
Please read the instructions below before you submit. We know we aren’t reinventing the wheel here, but it will make it easier on all of us if you have a general sense for what we’re looking for and how we’d like to get it.
- We accept submissions through the Submittable online submissions manager. That’s the only way we accept submissions.
- No previously published work.
- Please submit only one piece at a time. Except for poetry. You can submit up to five poems. Everybody else — just one!
- We pay $50 to each contributor to our print issues, as well as two contributor copies. So far, online contributors are paid primarily in karma. All contributors are also promised free beer, if we ever run into you in the flesh. If you don’t believe us about the free beer, ask around a little bit. We are frequently tipsy and imprudently generous.
- We accept simultaneous submissions — you would have to be insane to be sending your stuff out to one place at a time, right? Seriously. We hope you’ll tell us as soon as possible if you place the work elsewhere, though.
- It will probably take us two to three months to get back to you. We try to do that faster, but there are few of us and many of you.
- About electronic files: Please only send us word or rich-text (.rtf) files. Seriously. If you send something in a file format that we can’t read, it greatly reduces your chances of publication. For poetry, please submit 3-5 poems as a single document.