We are pleased to be able to pay contributors to The Drum a $50 honorarium for their work.
The Drum is looking for work that pays close attention to language while never losing sight of the narrative drive. We want stories that really do tell a story. And essays that engage in the complexity of an idea.
We are especially interested in submissions from writers who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
At The Drum we seek poems whose voice, vision and music surprise us. Submissions may contain up to three unpublished poems. The poems should be submitted as a single file; you may also include a brief cover note. We are open to all forms and styles, but please keep in mind that The Drum is an audio magazine (with no print component), so your poems must thrive out loud.
We publish essays under 5,000 words in length, and fiction in a wide range of lengths, from short-shorts to short stories, no more than 5,000 words. We no longer accept unsolicited novel excerpts. Please note our new maximum length for short fiction. We have found that longer stories don't work as well in audio form and are thus looking for fiction that comes in at approximately twenty minutes of recording time.
A word about the essay form: An essay is not the same thing as a first-person narrative of events from your life. At least that's not all it is. An essay by definition attempts something, tries something out. It is not simply a story that is true (to distinguish it from a short story that is fiction). A good essay explores something, examines an idea or an event, reflects on an experience. If you have an essay like that, we are eager to take a look!
For information on rights, read our FAQ.
We charge a nominal fee for submissions through Submittable to reflect the time and effort of our staff in reading and responding to the works we receive. This fee of $3.00 will help support The Drum in its mission to bring new and established literary voices to a wider audience through the innovations of audio. The fee is comparable to the cost of preparing a snail mail submission, and we feel it is worth the convenience of the online submissions platform. Submitters who wish to avoid paying the fee may send their work via snail mail to: P.O. Box 380959, Cambridge, MA 02238. We will not return manuscripts without an SASE.
We are grateful to the folks at Submittable for creating their wonderful, free submission management software!
Frequently Asked Questions
STORIES ON THE STREET
Want to help The Drum record great prose? Help us with our Stories on the Street feature. Choose an excerpt from a public-domain work, switch on the voice-recording app on your phone, and ask people to read the piece into the mic. Presto! Classic literature brought to life by everyday people. Try matching the excerpt to the location. Bartleby the Scrivener in your office full of cubicles. The food scene in Tom Jones in a restaurant. The ball from Pride and Prejudice at a summer barbecue. Use your imagination--and share it with The Drum!
Stories on the Street Guidelines
To participate in the Stories on the Street feature, here's what you need to do.
- Verify that the work you've chosen to record is indeed in the public domain. One way to check this is to look the book up in the Library of Congress catalog here. Also, the folks over at Libri Vox have a very thorough explanation of public domain here.
- Print out our release form from the pdf below. Sign it and take it to the street with you so that your readers can sign it too, giving you permission to use their voice for The Drum.
- Head out to your chosen spot with your favorite public-domain text and your microphone (the Voice Memo app on an iPhone works fine for this, as an example)!
- Send the audio file to editor [at] drumlitmag [dot] com, along with the release form so that we know we have your permission (and your readers' permission) to use the file.