Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Write yourself short. Option #4.

Magazine name: Tin House


Country:  USA

Publishing details: Four times per year: the first week of December, March, June, and September.

Circulation:  Greater than 10,000

Types of stories wanted:  They accept unsolicited submissions September 1 through May 31, and, as always, their summer and winter issues are not themed.  They consider each submission for all upcoming issues regardless of theme. If you wish to be considered for a particular theme, please make a note in your cover letter.  See the website for their themes, and suggested deadlines for each theme issue.  Be aware that these fill up fast, so get your theme-issue submissions in as soon as possible.

Page length and payment: Short story: 1000 – 7500.  Stories/essays: up 10,000-word limit.  Over 10K will not be read. $200.00 minimum for fiction.  Pay can be up to $800 for fiction.
What I like: 

Number of Debut Authors per Issue: 2-3

Tin House is a haven for authors at the peak of their powers and also a jumping-off point for unpublished writers and anyone taking risks, pushing form and language. They are a magazine not identified with any one region but international, drawing writers and contributing editors from all over the globe. Each issue seeks to be tantamount to an invitation to the greatest literary house party ever. 

From editor: Rob Spillman

 Do you encourage general submissions at all?

“Absolutely. Every single issue I publish a poet and fiction writer who has not been published before. We're actively looking for unpublished people. It's a thrill to be able to call someone up and say 'I'd love to publish your story' and be able to root for them throughout their career. It requires a fair amount of labor to commit to that but we're absolutely dedicated to it.”
 How many manuscripts do you get on average per edition?

“Between 1500 and 2000 a month, so per issue between 4500-6000. “

 Who reads my submissions?

“We have a volunteer crew of about twenty-five readers. All of our readers have an extensive background in the literary arts and most have advanced degrees in English or writing or both. They are put through a grueling gauntlet before being offered a position. Submissions are also read by our editorial interns, who hold an equally competitive position and are extensively vetted. Finally, most of the magazine’s editorial staff read submissions on an ongoing basis, as well.”

 Whom do you see as your typical reader?

“A mix of students, writers and the publishing industry. Other book publishers and agents all read it. We're increasingly adopted by MFA classes.”

 What I don’t like:  Can’t think of anything.

 Submission guidelines: 

They accept simultaneous submissions.  In the event that the work is accepted for publication elsewhere, please do them the courtesy of informing them promptly.
Only previously unpublished works will be considered for publication.

Wait 90 days before e-mailing to check the status of your submission.

Response time: They say they try their best to respond within six months but, in some cases, this period may be longer. If you have not received a response from them within six months, they be happy to receive e-mail inquiries and will do their best to respond.

 How to submit:  Submit here:

 They prefer electronic submissions, but submissions can be mailed to: Tin House, PO Box 10500, Portland, OR 97210. Please enclose an SASE (include an IRC with international submissions), or they cannot guarantee a response or the return of your work. Typed manuscripts should be double-spaced on

8 1/2 x 11 inch white paper, one side only. Submission must contain your name, address, e-mail address, and a telephone number where you can be reached.  They ask that you please wait until you hear back from before submitting new work for consideration.

More info:   Tin House began in May 1999.  The main office is in northwest Portland, Oregon. The magazine is actually named after the office building in Portland, which is an old Victorian with corrugated zinc siding and is known in the neighborhood as “the tin house.” The East Coast office is in Brooklyn.  Tin House is consistently honored by major American literary awards and anthologies, particularly for its fiction.

 Notes:  Questions not addressed on this page may be directed to

 Curious to see what else is going on at Tin House? Find out by visiting them at their blog, The Open Bar.   They also have a Facebook page.


Tamara said...

Under "What I Don't Like" I would have written "response time". I sent them a story in 2011 and it took them thirteen months to respond. Also, have you noticed that some of the journals have these sites through which authors submit their work, such as "Submittable?" Authors are able to check their work periodically to see the status, which is always "Pending" or "Received" and it doesn't change to "Rejected" until after they are notified by the editor anyway, so they're pretty useless--and my big problem is that editors from other journals are free to go on there and see how many times a story has been rejected by others. I think that has to influence them in a negative way. Just dialoguing here.

Chris said...

I'm okay with Submittable but you're right, it does seem a pretty complicated way of doing things. The thought that other eds might be checking on a story's history that way hadn't occurred to me. Do they really have the time? Surely a story is more likely to be judged on its own merit when a new ed sees it, especially given that we always 'tweak' before sending out again.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Tamara

I'm not sure a publisher can go into another publisher's site and poke around. Each house pays for their service and I don't think their personal submissions are open for anyone to go look at. But I'm not 100% sure on it either way. I don't see the answer to that in Submittable's website. I know I can't go in and poke around, but I didn't buy the service. As far as the status, at least I know it's in-house as opposed to sending something to WW and hoping it made it. I guess I could always spring for extra postage and get a tracking number on them in the future for WW.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Chris. I was thinking just the opposite. It seems like a nice tidy organized way of doing things, all in one package for the publisher. They pay for this service and they get all kinds of lists and info and ways to access the submissions. I'm with you on the fact that I don't know if they have the time to do a research on each story. Maybe they do. I've never worked in a magazine office, so anything could be happening. My gut reaction is they don't check out the story and they don't check out the author...but I might be the dark ages here. Maybe they know my vodka preference... haha.

Chris said...

I think they are just too busy to do all that. They read the sub (well, part of it), decide if it's for them, and reply to the author(sometimes). Beyond that, they don't care about how many times it's been out and where, I'm sure.

What I meant by it being complicated, Jody, is that with an email sub, you compose your message to the fiction ed, attach the document, and press send. Sometimes you'll get a return email acknowledging receipt (as with Fast Fiction in Oz), other times that's the last you'll see of it. But at least you have the 'paper trail' you can check back on, see what you said at the time, how long it's been gone and so on. With Submittable and similar systems you have to log in if you want to see how things are going and that's another password to look up, another site where I have to provide my details, and another few moments taken from my day. Okay, grump over.

Off to see Usain Bolt run at the Olympic Stadium (London) now! Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Jody E. Lebel said...


I hear you about having another site to keep track of. For all non important sites, sites that don't have much personal info on me, or sites that I don't input credit cards, I use the same password all the time. For the others? Ay-yi-yi -- I have a book by my computer. Lord help me if I lose that book.

Tamara said...

When I go into one of those sites, such as Submittable, I see a list of my submissions and where/when they've been rejected, because a bunch of pubs might use the same service. Perhaps when editors reject or accept our stories they don't even see these sites, but if they do, I would think they'd be influenced, just like some magazines and journals are supposedly impressed if you have been previously published. (For instance, Woman's Day says if you're not published in another national magazine, don't bother submitting.) Anyway, maybe it's just me, but it makes me uncomfortable to see the list of rejections sitting there for the world to see. But it's technology, and most of them don't give us a choice about how to submit.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Tamara You get to look at your submissions because you signed in under your password. You only get to look at your own work. You can't go check out my subs and see how they're doing. Neither can other publishers. WW can't go in Tin House's account and see who they rejected.

Tamara said...

Oh, I see. (I wasn't worried about WW as much as the other journals. I've submitted to them a lot.) I get it now, though.

Chris said...

Tamara, have Woman's Day (the Australian one, that is?) started taking fiction again then? Last I heard, a couple of years ago, they'd stopped taking it. Or are you taking about articles?

Anonymous said...

There is an American Woman's Day, Chris, which doesn't have fiction. And the Australian Woman's Day still doesn't contain fiction either.


Chris said...

No, thought not. Shame.

Tamara said...

Yes, I meant articles.