Call for submissions! Here’s what we’d love to see from you, Rookies! (And continue to check back, as we’ll keep adding to this list.) All of these must be sent to [email protected] Please include your name and age, and use the subject line specified for each post.
1. Poetry Roundup. Each month, we publish a roundup of poetry written by you. If you’d like us to consider your work for January’s roundup, please email it to us by Friday, January 14, with the subject line: Poetry Roundup.
3. Instagram. We want to see your artwork and photography! Post it on Instagram with the hashtag #lookrookie and we will take a peek and may regram it or spotlight it in our weekly newsletter!
4. January’s theme is POSSIBILITY. It stems from the idea in psychoanalysis of a “transformational object”: something/someone or an idea that lights you up not exactly because of what it is but because it represents many possibilities beyond the thing itself (and that representation becomes part of what the object IS, in your heart). Christopher Bollas coined “transformational object” and explored the concept in 1987, and you can read his essay about it here.
To spark submission ideas, here are some notes on the theme from Tavi:
“[Bollas writes that] ‘the memory of this early object relation manifests itself in the person’s search for an object (a person, place, event, ideology) that promises to transform the self. […] He can find in this transitional experience the freedom of metaphor.’
The freedom of metaphor! It makes me think of the moments in Velvet Goldmine where young Christian Bale sees the glam rock singer and suddenly a whole new world becomes possible; he could be anyone or anything. Similarly, the song “Ring of Keys” from Fun Home, when young Alison Bechdel sees a butch lesbian for the first time ever and falls a little bit in love and also gets to learn that other people like her exist. Or “Wig in a Box” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, going through all the different personae that her various wigs represent to her and allow her to become. The sequence in No Direction Home, the Bob Dylan doc by Scorsese, where Dylan is describing everything contained in the static of the radio when he listened as a kid, that it was his pointed E.T. finger to the rest of the universe, and a shot of the radio speakers becomes a shot of the cosmos. Imagine, too, that stars are not white dots against black, but one black sheet with all these holes poked out—where do they lead to?
The downside to this of course is that we are imperfect humans in an imperfect world and so part of what we’re hardwired to see as having the potential to transform us are products. From [the Bollas] essay: ‘We know that the advertising world makes its living on the trace of this object: the advertised product usually promises to alter the subject’s external environment and hence change internal mood.’ So while possibility is so exciting, when it’s packaged exclusively as attainable only by way of something that costs money, it’s an empty promise. I prefer to think of possibility not as a means to an end—the possibility of finally ‘arriving’ or becoming who you’re supposed to be—but the opportunity to humbly swim around in uncertainty until you realize the uncertainty is the only constant, and find yourself being OK with that, maybe even enjoying it. I am less compelled than I was when I was younger to know what everyone thinks of me, where a relationship is going, what the future might be. I no longer package a date with a FELLA in a story and analyze it as soon as it’s over and send out like a newsletter to everyone I know asking for their interpretation. Possibility unfolded when I stopped trying to document everything as soon as it happened, and started trusting that whatever was worth retaining would find its way back to me by surprise.”
Photographers/illustrators: Think of firecrackers, dynamite, fireworks, a confetti canon—anything shaking with potential energy. Stars, black holes, portals, doorways and endless hallways. This month’s colors include black, white, gold, silver, blue, purple, pink, red, orange.
If you have ideas for essays, photo sets, collages, poems, short stories, or any other project you’d like to share with us this month, please send your pitch to [email protected] with the subject line, POSSIBILITY.
General submissions guidelines:
We’d love to hear from you—and check out your writing and artwork!
Due to the number of submissions we receive each day, we can respond ONLY to emails sent to [email protected] that follow our editorial and formatting guidelines (below). We do not consider work submitted through Rookie’s social media or to other email accounts.
Please include your name, age, and if you like, your pronouns, with your submission. Rookie accepts work from people 13 years old and up. We are mostly looking for submissions from teenagers, but are also happy to consider work by adults!
How do I submit written work to Rookie?
Please send a complete draft of an unpublished piece—meaning that it hasn’t run in other publications or on your personal blog/Tumblr/website—accompanied by an introduction to the piece. Your email should include a brief, clear, specific summary of your main idea (please, say more than “this is about love/school/anxiety/butts/growing up”—in what way is it about that thing?). Ideally, your submission will give us a solid understanding of why your work + Rookie = a perfect match.
Include your full draft below your intro, attach it as a document, or provide a link to a viewable Google doc.
What kinds of written pieces do you accept?
We accept all kinds of writing—fiction, nonfiction, essays (not school essays), rants, raves, humor, poetry, etc.
Please search the site to see if something similar has been published on Rookie in the past! We get a lot of submissions about topics that we’ve already covered.
How long should my draft be?
It varies from piece to piece—what’s most important is that we receive a draft of your work.
Can I pitch an interview with someone/cover an event/do other reportage for Rookie?
Sure! As long as you ask us first. Unless we’ve given you the official go-ahead, please do not approach people for a “Rookie interview,” offer to cover events “for Rookie,” or claim that we are involved in a project if we haven’t given our OK.
What happens if my written submission is accepted?
We have a kinda-intensive editorial process, and will ask for changes and work with you on making your submission shiiiine. When we give notes on a written piece, it doesn’t mean it’s BAD. It means we see places where it can be even stronger. Every single written piece on Rookie goes through at least one round of edits (and usually more). Nonfiction pieces will be fact-checked, which means we need to contact the people you mention in your story—and if not them, someone who has firsthand knowledge of the events described—to confirm certain parts of it, like dates, quotes, and other logistical stuff. We will never reveal how you characterize those things—we just need to make sure they happened. (If your submission is accepted, we will provide more info about our fact-checking policy.) Most of our editorial calendar is planned far in advance of when pieces are published, so there’s a chance it will still take quite some time to receive edits—feel free to follow up if we accept something and you haven’t heard back after two weeks!
How do I submit visual work to Rookie?
Photo sets, illustrations, illustration and collage sets, and comics: Send us a description of the post you have in mind and a selection of sample illustrations/photos/what have you that are representative of the whole project (small, web-friendly files, please). Feel free to also include any links to your visual artwork/portfolio. Please don’t use file-sharing services with links that might expire or that require us downloading your work in order to view it.
Videos: Please only send video submissions that have not already been published online—this includes YouTube, Vimeo, etc. (if you’re using one of these platforms, please send us private or password-protected links). Since we use Vimeo to host our videos, your submission should follow their super-easy compression guidelines.
Generally, videos should be shorter than 10 minutes long. We can’t publish or use videos that include unlicensed music or images, so if your video has other people’s work in it (music, visual art/graphics, sound effects), we need their permission to publish it.
What kinds of photos do you accept?
Pretty much everything except: photos that include drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and/or nudity.
How do I submit my or my band’s music?
To submit your music or band for a premiere or theme song, please email [email protected], and link to your Bandcamp/Soundcloud/Facebook page, or attach the song to an email with info about the song and when it’s coming out. Themes and premieres are booked two months in advance, so please send it with plenty of notice. Music videos and lyrics need to be suitable for all of our readers (see above re: drugs, nudity, etc.).
What happens if my visual submission is accepted?
We may ask you to send more photos or illustrations, or request that certain images be omitted from the final set. Sometimes we request other edits. We’ll need signed model release forms for anyone in a photo (and in the case of someone under 18, a parent or guardian signature), which tells us that they say it’s OK that their image will be appearing on Rookie.
For written AND visual pieces: We’ll send you a contributor’s agreement, which you’ll need to sign to grant us permission to publish your work. If you’re under 18, we’ll also need a parent or guardian’s signature.
How will I know if my submission is rejected or accepted? How soon will I hear back?
We’re a small editorial team, and we receive hundreds of submissions each week, so while we try to respond to all of them, we’re not always able to do so personally or immediately. Sending a submission more than once will slow the process. We aim to send replies within one month of receiving a submission. Thanks for being patient!
What happens if my submission is rejected?
There are many reasons why a particular submission might not work for Rookie—we may have just accepted a similar piece, be focusing on different topics, or any number of other editorial concerns.
Send us something else! Just because THIS piece wasn’t right for us doesn’t mean a future idea of yours won’t be, either. A rejection isn’t a reflection of your worth as an artist/thinker/human being. This is true of getting a rejection from any publication. KEEP AT IT, you champions.
When’s the deadline for submissions tied to one of Rookie’s monthly themes?
There aren’t hard-and-fast rules and deadlines for what you should send to Rookie. A good idea is a good idea, so if your piece is a fit this month, our editors will try to find room for it, or, if we think it could work for another theme, we’ll let you know!
Do you pay contributors?
Yep! Our rates vary depending on the format of a given piece.
What we aren’t looking for:
– A piece sent without any context or description of what it is.
– A link to your portfolio or published work without a specific idea or original submission intended for publication on Rookie.
– An email that says, “Hi! I’d like to contribute to Rookie. I think I would be great at it. OK, bye!” We get a lot of messages that don’t include submissions and/or examples of what you do. While we’re willing to bet that your work is, in fact, awesome, there’s no way for us to know that unless you show it to us.
Which email address do I write to?
To submit your work: [email protected]
To request our mailing address, to send a zine, book, or other thing for possible review: [email protected]
Music and entertainment pitches: [email protected]
Questions about life and love: [email protected]
Questions about beauty: [email protected]
Questions about style: [email protected]
Friend Crush nominations: [email protected]
Questions about advertising or partnership opportunities: [email protected]
None of the above, or if you would like to send us $10 million to fund a summer camp for teenage girls on a private island, definitely drop us a line at [email protected]