If you have read our guidelines in the past, feel free to go directly to our submission form.
In order to overcome the irregularities of email and to streamline the submission process for both our writers and our editorial staff, we’ve set up an online submission form. The form features a text editor to allow you to format your piece just as you would in a word processor — no knowledge of HTML is required. We do not mind simultaneous submissions to other website/publications, but simply ask that you notify us immediately if your piece is accepted elsewhere. Please do not send us multiple submissions at the same time. Imperfect Parent does modestly compensate its contributors, see further below for payment information. Here are some frequently asked questions:
The main focus of The Imperfect Parent is to provide a world view from a parent’s perspective. Our main criterion is that the writing either makes people think, laugh, or both. Our objective is to get parents to think about social issues, politics and parenting methods through humor or unique prospectives. Anecdotal stories are fine, but they need to have a point beyond “parenting is hard.” You may be sentient of your navel, just don’t have a staring contest with it. Submissions should generally fit into these main categories:
Anything that deals with any aspect of the lighter side of parenting — parody, humorous takes on parenting, satire, an “open letter”, take your pick. And if you are questioning if your humor crosses the line, then definitely send it in — we don’t want “safe.” We are a gloriously independent site that doesn’t answer to a board of directors or a huge corporate sponsorship. Use that to your advantage. We certainly aren’t afraid of offending some people, and you shouldn’t be, either.
Articles about alternative parenting methods in a newspaper/Associated Press format. These articles will inform parents of what certain parenting practice methods are, the organizations
promoting them, if any, and what kind of impact it may have on our society. The most engaging writing on this subject will be from a neutral ground, or from the side of opposition, avoiding propaganda and jargon. Alternatively, personal essays regarding why a parenting choice was made, and why it was right for you — avoid being overly preachy or judgmental of those who may have made an opposite decision.
Topic Examples: Formula Feeding, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, Taking Children Seriously (TCS), natural parenting, mainstream parenting, discipline methods, child-centered parenting, authoritative parenting, controversial issues etc.
Writings about political and social issues from counter-culture or mainstream perspectives as a parent and how they relate to the child raising experience. It is important to us to provide a platform for parents that might not hold popular views. While we will certainly reject any content that contains overtly offensive material, we support political viewpoints on ALL sides. Our mission is to “preserve the balance” and give parents an opportunity to voice their opinion in a non-hostile environment. Editorializing is allowed in these pieces (but avoid overtly pushing a personal agenda), so long as it specifically relates back to your parenting goals or its effects on your children.
Topic Examples: Global Warming, War, Conservative Values, Liberal Values, Libertarian ideals, the current POTUS administration, the Middle-east, international issues, religion, civil rights, environmentalism, economics, Feminism, Abortion, Justice System, etc.
Other topics includes personal health stories, grief/loss, family dynamics, tragedy, LGBT parenting, education, human interest, special needs, debate topics etc. We welcome your personal and irreverent spin.
The feature articles we look for cover timely topics and issues relating to parents and families in a traditional magazine feature format. For example, an in-depth profile of a person/organization, or a detailed look at a current event. These articles would utilize interviews and quotes from experts and outside sources. We are not looking for straightforward “how to” or advice articles, but pieces with more human-interest. Content based on personal experience would be acceptable, but these pieces should not be heavily autobiographical. Features are generally assigned, and our budget is such that we can only publish these on an infrequent basis, so for feature consideration please send a query of your story idea and clips to our editor.
Short (approx. 200-400 words) reviews of any book that may be of interest to parents (including children’s books) that has been released within the last 3 months. To avoid multiple review submissions for the same book, please send a query to our editor with the title you are interested in reviewing.
If you’re interested in becoming a regular book reviewer, please contact us for further information.
All that being said, we can say with one word what we’re not looking for: poetry. Anything else is fair game. We place more weight on entertaining and engaging writing above any certain
These are timely pieces involving current news events (within the past 72 hours). These can include weird/odd news, news involving families, mothers, fathers, children, education, entertainment news etc. Length of summaries are typically 180 to 300 words. News summaries are accepted immediately upon submission (if accepted an email confirmation will be sent out). These pay $4 plus traffic incentive.
Queries are only necessary for features and book reviews. Everything else, we don’t really care about what aspect of parenting you’re writing about as much as how well you write about it. If it has
anything that may be remotely interesting to parents, we’re interested (we are parents, after all).
Rough general guidelines would be articles/essays/humor: 300-800 words, book reviews: 200-400 words. Assigned features: 1000-3000 words. These are not absolute numbers — fortunately we do not have the restrictions of the print world, so we do not edit for length. If you can get your message across in a few paragraphs, go ahead. If it takes you five pages, that’s great. Just make sure your piece is succinct and to the point, and try to keep it slightly shorter than an Ayn Rand novel.
No. Besides preferring non-published material, we’ve found most blog entries submitted were written to a familiar audience, and not suitable for reprint.
Given our limited resources and time, if your writing is so bad it needs to be “hacked apart,” the quick answer is no — it won’t be used at all. If time allows, we will work with you to put some
polish on your piece if it even needs it, and possibly suggest some ideas for a rewrite, but we would hope you have a better than average knowledge of grammar, spelling, and style. Will
we fix a typo, or maybe reword a sentence? Certainly. We admit that we’re all imperfect (not so subtle reference). Here’s our lawyer chiming in: All editing decisions will be solely at the discretion of Imperfect Parent editors and management.
Imperfect Parent pays on a sliding scale depending on subject, quality and length, and we will provide you with a payment offer upon acceptance before publication which you may accept or decline. Most short essay style pieces pay around $25 and go up from there. Payments are made at the end of the following month proceeding your publishing date (e.g., for all items published in March, payment is disbursed around April 30).
Book reviews pay $10. Short news Summaries pay $5 plus traffic incentive.
Unless an arrangement to the contrary is made, Imperfect Parent is asking for first exclusive electronic rights. We do not, in general, publish works that have already appeared elsewhere,
especially on the web. We also require a non-exclusive right to keep your piece available in our online archives. Writers maintain copyright and are free to do whatever they like with
their work after we publish it.
Every writer receives full credit for their work, and every feature/essay writer has the opportunity to submit a brief bio that will be included at the end of the piece. This bio may contain a brief
description about yourself, along with a link to your own website and email address, if so desired. We also feature the most current articles on our homepage.
Due to the high volume of submissions, we cannot personally reply to each one. We generally try to review a submission within 30 days, so if you have not heard from us by then you can assume
your piece was not a good fit. Please refrain from sending follow-up inquiries, as it just bogs down the entire process.
To expedite the submission process and to eliminate the problems of submissions coming from different sources, software types, operating platforms, and not to mention avoiding viruses, we
can only accept submissions through our online form. Submissions sent via email (especially an email attachment) will be ignored.
If you have any questions or problems regarding any of the above, please contact our editor, Prescott Carlson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you! We look forward to reading your submission.