Funny Women Submission Guidelines


Dear Writers,

So, you’ve decided you’re a woman or gender non-conforming writer and would like to submit to Funny Women. Out of all decisions, this is the best one you can make.

Direct your entry to our Rumpus submission manager powered by Submittable. Then immediately follow me on Twitter.

The ideal piece is between 650 and 1,000 words. I do not accept pitches or sexts.

While all good humor comes from a truthful place, no personal essays/stories/anecdotes, please.

And another thing–and this is me helping you–I discourage timely pieces (holiday themes, weather, etc.) because it often takes days, weeks, or months to read a submission after you’ve written, revised, and sent it.

And no pop culture (celebrities, TV shows, top 40, etc.), as much as I enjoy it. Pop culture takes up plenty of space/precious energy already. Exits to the echo chamber on the left.

Cover letters:
Not necessary, but why not tell me a little about yourself and throw some compliments my way? The Rumpus aims to create a community of writers, and doing so means getting to know each other.

(You should know that it’s 10x harder to pass on your submission if your cover letter is super nice and thoughtful and exudes confidence.)

No tricked-out formatting with fonts that tell me something about your personality. Keep it simple and readable.

To include in your submission:
Title of submission, your name, email address, website (if you have one), favorite book written by someone who is not a straightwhitecisman, and the latest show you binged.

Each submission should look like this:

“This Is Hilarious”
By Elissa Bassist
[email protected]
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (no, wait, no: Anagrams by Lorrie Moore)
Chewing Gum

Author bios:
Please, please! Even if you’ve never been published (and who cares if you haven’t), you can still reveal the city where you live and if you have any pets.

Previously published work:
Nope. Send original pieces–not archived blog entries.

Pride in knowing you’ve contributed to the diverse canon of writing and have in some way changed the world’s mind about who’s funny. (You’ll get a little money, but keep your expectations low. Lower than that.)

Response time:
I have anxiety dreams and lifelong guilt when I don’t get back to you soon-ish. But please understand I receive hundreds of submissions and have a day job-ish. Response time varies–between two minutes and eight months. In some cases, it’s taken me over a year to respond. I know. Forgive me. Have patience. I care about you, girl.
UPDATE: Assistant Regional Funny Woman Katie Burgess (see: “How to Read a Poem”) is a humor writing humanitarian and reads submissions before I do, which has transformed the waiting period.

Reasons you might not hear back:
None. I’m not heartless. If you don’t hear back after [a time that you decide is too long], then I didn’t get to your submission. Follow up.

Some reasons I might not choose your piece to appear on Funny Women:
You wrote a poem.
You wrote a personal essay.
You submitted a list or a piece eerily resembling a list.
You submitted an illustration/comic/piece under 10 words.
You used irony in the wrong way.
You began: “This is not a love story.”
You began: “This is a love story.”
You had ten or more grammatical mistakes.
You were graphic. Talking about period blood is cool, but there is a line, you know? Use your judgment.
You thought you wrote something feminist, but you really wrote something racist.
You didn’t read or adhere to the submission guidelines.
Maybe I am heartless.
Your submission wasn’t a humor submission.
You believe feminism = hating cis men or anything other than political, economic, and social equality for all people and cute animals.
You don’t believe in yourself and your dreams.

If your piece is not published at this time:
Don’t take it personally, which is something I’d do.

Here are some writing tips. Here are some writing prompts.

Humor writing workshops, if you’re in the market:
Second City offers many workshops on satire, online and in New York.
— I teach everything I’ve learned as a writer and editor in various workshops at Catapult, online and in New York.


Please direct any additional questions or snide remarks to: funnywomen AT

Visit if you’re interested in what I look like.

I look forward to our future friendship.


Elissa Bassist edits the Funny Women column. She teaches humor writing at The New School and Catapult. Follow her on Twitter, and visit for more literary, feminist, and personal criticism. More from this author →