Official Guide to Pitches and Submissions
If you’re here, you are probably interested in pitching/ submitting to ENBY Magazine. We’re happy to have you. This guide has been (belatedly) written on request of a few people looking to submit who just didn’t know how and what we were looking for. And while we don’t want to set extremely specific guidelines, we realized it might be helpful to write a guide to help you along your journey with pitching or submitting to ENBY Magazine.
We hope it helps!
How do I write a pitch?
At ENBY, we have an informal period where we ask for pitches, usually at the beginning of the submissions period for a new issue. Sometimes we post callouts for pitches throughout the submissions period and ask people to pitch specific to an article idea or something needed for the issue.
When we’re looking at pitches, we want to get a sense of who you are and what you want to make or write. We don’t pay for non-accepted submissions, so it’s really important that your pitch nails what you’re trying to accomplish so it doesn’t get looked over. Usually people send about a paragraph (or a few) about the work they want to make (and how it relates to the theme, more on that below), and a paragraph about themselves. We want to know who you are, so please don’t forget that part!
If you have places to find you on the internet, please include them! Websites, social media accounts, anything works. We will emphasize here that you do NOT need any kind of experience whatsoever to submit to ENBY Magazine – so please don’t self-reject! Just pitch and see what happens.
If we don’t select your work, please try again for the next issue!
How do I submit to ENBY?
Sounds like you need to read our Submissions FAQ!
Create or find work with the theme in mind
Every issue of ENBY Magazine has a theme, and the issue is curated based on that theme.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that there is one “right” way to do the theme – in fact, a lot of work gets accepted because it really pushes the envelope on the theme. For example, Issue #4 has a 6-page short story (the longest in ENBY history!) relating to the theme of Journeys, but not in the way you might expect. It was accepted because it’s emotionally raw and incredible, even though short story submissions are usually capped at 2,000 words.
If you need to know the theme, we usually have it posted on Twitter and on our main Submissions page. The call for submissions will usually have a prompting line about the theme, but if you have more specific questions, please get in touch. Please do not email to ask us our theme!
Less isn’t more, more is more
We love opening our inbox and seeing 10-12 images, or 3 attachments with 10 poems in each. When you edit yourself and your work, you’re actually excluding a ton of incredible work and might be lowering your chances of having the work accepted into ENBY Magazine. When you give us more, we comb over everything and pick what works the best.
However, please do think about the work you’re submitting in regard to our other guidelines, particularly the theme, and try to send only 1-2 emails each submissions period.
Also, if work you’ve submitted in a past issue works in an upcoming one and we loved it and think it’ll work, we’ll probably ask for it then. (It’s happened before!)
But please don’t keep sending us the same stuff unless we ask for it. It really bogs up our submissions inbox and doesn’t help you or anyone else!
Consider the space you’re taking up
This has become a real problem with ENBY Magazine, and it seems to get worse every single issue. ENBY Magazine is not a place to shit on binary trans folk, or other trans and non-binary folk. ENBY Magazine is not a place to declare that your experience is the only one worth discussing, and to shit on others’ experiences. ENBY Magazine is not a monopoly of voices and experiences – we publish different people with different experiences, and that’s for the best for everyone, including you.
We’ve even stopped replying to emails for a while due to the harassment faced by saying, “No, we are going to publish someone else, sorry” to folks. Some work has the ability to open up the world and create community and tell stories that pave the way for those to come. With the power of art and writing, there is also the chance of the opposite happening: to destroy, to close doors, to pave one single way and then block anyone from entering without specific credentials.
So, this is a message particularly for white people from a middle-class background: please understand that ENBY Magazine is a space. It is a space that people take up by contributing, but also by reading the magazine and supporting the magazine. Sometimes, it’s best to send the opportunity to publish along to your BIPOC non-binary pals, and to instead put money or support behind the magazine so that it succeeds.
Personal essays: from the personal, to the universal
It’s no secret that ENBY has published some fantastic personal essays… well, we may be biased. There’s a reason for them being good and giving you all the feelings. Personal essays are usually very emotionally charged and well, personal. But the thing that makes you feel a particular way, apart from them being real and powerful, is that they connect to the wider world in a way that makes it well-rounded. Personal doesn’t mean self-obsessed. These essays touch upon wider themes that help audiences connect to them, and this is done abstractly and obviously, depending on the essay. There is no one way to write a personal essay.
Some write in a chronological order, beginning in childhood, or when they first came out, or at a certain place in their lives, and continue on like that. Some recount a particular story from their life. Some draw comparisons between concepts in their lives. Reading the issues we have up for free online will help to wrap your head around how this has been done by our contributors in past issues, but it’s not a blueprint. Write in your way and from your perspective!
Articles: informative, and accessible
Articles are the place to introduce concepts, events, people, and ideas to people. These people will likely not know what you’re talking about, so even in pitches, try to work out how you’ll explain things to people in an accessible way. We treat our articles like reporting – make sure we know the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of what you’ll be discussing. Articles also benefit from quotes. In fact, you could say quotes from others are what make articles work, and also what separate them from personal essays.
When writing articles, it’s a must to rely on reputable sources of information and people to tell the story of what you’ll be talking about. If it’s not possible to talk to someone directly for a quote, it’s okay to pull information from other sources. However, everything you include in ENBY must be credited no matter what.
We won’t tell you anything much different than any article writing post on the internet will tell you, except that as non-binary people, we are reputable. Our experiences, our feelings, our media, our stories, and our backgrounds are reputable. So, feel free to pull from a variety of sources, including yourself.
Art: high quality, please!
It is very hard to judge two pieces of work objectively when one has been scanned in the worst-possible quality, and one is sent at the highest. It becomes a judgement over the visual quality of the art, rather than its contents, and that’s not fair to anyone. We get sent sketchbook pages and photographs of work all the time. Please scan (or photograph larger work, like paintings, multi-media work, etc.) your work at the highest quality you can, 300 dpi is ideal. If the image looks garbled to you or the colours are dull, chances are that garbled-ness will be undeniable in print. If the work is blurry, the conversion to grayscale and printing processes will make the work look completely different.
We understand that it’s hard to get work scanned. Many smartphones have the capability to scan now, through Google Drive and most libraries and schools have flatbed scanners. If you need help through this process, please ask our team and we’ll be happy to assist you.
We have begun to publish op-eds to try and surf across the growing tide of discourse amongst the trans and non-binary communities, and to shed light on certain issues. Op-eds are traditionally published to oppose the normally published material; in this case, they are used to give people a space to be outspoken and to give context to discourse that is so-often context-less. It seems that we have the same arguments about the same topics every other week, as new people come into the community and ask the same questions. (This is also the reason why we have an advice column now).
If only this discourse was indexed, explained, and educational at the same time that makes you think. The intent of an op-ed isn’t to be a shit disturber, but instead to say, “Hey did you know [insert important contextual element you may need to know/ hasn’t been widely considered]?”
Calling in/ out
Our team is not perfect. In fact, our team is me, Leif. So, if there is something that I should be aware about, regarding my editing style, what I choose to critique or choose in the issues, or if I say/ do anything unsavoury… please feel that you have the right to call me out. Just because I happen to publish ENBY Magazine doesn’t mean that I am perfect. Though I do believe myself to be quite knowledgeable about things in our community, there are a lot of privileges I need to work through to create the best experience for everyone involved.