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More Detailed Submission Guidelines, 'cuz ya'll's stupid

It is December 6th, 2001, and I am damn sick and tired of people who can't comprenhend my requirements, their rights, and all the other shit they're supposed to learn from a submissions page. I had a perfectly good page of submission guidelines, and ya'll's just not following it. So here it is: submission guidelines. It's numbered, in the hopes that ya'll find this a little easier.

My name is Jonathan Penton. I am the only editor. So stop addressing your submissions to: "Editors," "Poetry editor," or any of that stupid shit. My e-mail address is Use that same address for submissions, complaints, comments, or technical questions.

General Guidelines

  1. Unlikely Stories is FREE. Therefore, you can read it before you submit, and have no excuse for failing to do so.
  2. I accept poetry, fiction, and narrative non-fiction. I am also seeking regular columnists (see below).
  3. I assume that you are the sole author of any work that you send to me, and that you are the sole owner of the copyright, unless you specify otherwise.
  4. By offering a submission to Unlikely Stories, you agree to give me the right to keep your work posted at Unlikely Stories for as long as I see fit. You retain all other rights.
  5. Unlikely Stories places a huge amount of emphasis on the artist behind the literature. Thus, in order to be considered for publication here, you must send at least three pieces that interest me.
  6. Previously published and simultaneous submissions are always accepted, and always will be.
  7. I use Word 200 on a PC. So if you want to send an attachment, send something I can read. Alternatively, you can send your submission in the body of an e-mail. Whatever is convenient for you is fine.
  8. Please let me know before sending me more than 30,000 words, total.
  9. Although I certainly recognize the artistic merit of fan fiction, it probably won't be accepted. I might accept a piece set in the world of Star Trek, The Hobbit, or some other series that is universally known.
  10. If you would prefer to send submissions by conventional mail, e-mail me and ask for my conventional address.
  11. I sometimes critique upon request.
  12. For the love of God, spell-check your work. With a spell-checker, not your seeing-eye dog.
  13. And, while you're at it, check the grammar, too. I recognize that formal grammar is not always the most interesting writing, but it would be nice if I didn't have to change the word "their" to "there" every five sentences.
  14. I'm really not that anal. Honest to Betsy.
  15. OK, so maybe I am. Sue me. Asshole.

Additional Poetry Guidelines

  1. Word 2000 users: Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, has re-tooled Outlook Express 5 and Word 2000 so that poems copied from Word become double-spaced in Outlook Express, in an attempt to convert them to HTML. This is annoying, OK? You can get around it by, in Outlook Express, clicking Format -> Plain Text when creating a new message.
  2. Did you understand that? If not, write to me asking for technical help. Don't be sending double-spaced poetry. I can't read it that way. It bugs me.

Additional Fiction and Non-Fiction Guidelines

  1. I publish fiction and narrative non-fiction. I am not looking for single articles or essays.
  2. By narrative non-fiction, I mean biographies, autobiographies, histories, memiors; shit like that. It has to tell a story; it has to entertain in some way.

Additional Column Guidelines

  1. If you would like to run a monthly column at Unlikely Stories, give me at least two sample columns to look at. I'm not interested in your ideas for columns. If I like your writing but not your idea, I'll let you know.

A Final Note

I like the weird. I like the adult, bizarre, and grotesque. Mostly, I like the original. If you are grotesque, but not original, there are lots of other sites who will consider you. Naturally, I also like the well-polished; the erudite, the witty, the eloquent. OK, to recap that horribly rambling paragraph, I like the original most of all, the weird second, and the polished third. Try to shoot for at least one of those goals.