back to the Black Table

Hello there.

The Black Table welcomes a staggering array of submissions, from the serious to the servicey and back again. Few topics are off limits, provided they are well written with a sharp point of view and cover something that hasn't completely saturated the media yet.

Before submitting, readers are encouraged to take some time to peruse the archive to get a feel for the tone, topics and treatment we give our stories. We're big fans of sidebars and artwork, so feel free to suggest stories that are driven by visuals, especially in service pieces. Q&A style interviews are always welcome and an easy way to break in, especially if the source or the line of questioning is especially sharp.

When it comes to length, The Black Table feels it's what you do with the words that counts most, so we refuse to adhere to a strict word count. Some of our stories have clocked in at 400 words and others have pushed 30,000. It all depends on the topic and what you have to say. Interviews can run long, whereas criticism should be kept short. Only professors like reading term papers. Typically, the best submissions are around 1,000 words.

The Black Table has few rules about what we will not run, but they're rather hard and fast. Excuse the boldness here, but The Black Table does not run personal reflections, or the kinds of first-person memoirs that show up on diary sites. We no longer run Life as a Loser, and we're not looking to publish personal essays, late-night musings or disposable tales of drunken mayhem. There are plenty of places for your personal essays to live outside of The Black Table. Generally speaking, we're aiming for original journalism here, hard-hitting stories that involve real people out there in the world, and a measure of reporting -- not just one person's view on their own life.

It may be helpful to think of The Black Table as a home for the random magazine ideas you never have time to pitch or felt qualified enough to write. We're the excuse for you to write those. We're the place those can go. (To get a good idea of what *does* work -- check out our best stories from 2003.)

Most come from like-minded strangers with good ideas, people with a passion for writing and a need to have that writing seen. We don't play favorites here, we just want good content on a daily basis. Don't be shy about dropping us a line.

All submissions are voted on by the editor-in-chief and the three managing editors and you're gonna need three votes in order for something to run. Our tastes kinda run the gamut, but we'll be very nice about it if we have to reject something. If you're accepted, you will be added to the masthead promptly.

Oh, yes. And The Black Table doesn't pay for stories, mostly because The Black Table has no money. Fire off your ideas to:

See you on the playground.