Dear Crazy-Ass Writer,

Welcome to our online family of literature-loving loons, a tribe of both like-minded and disparate (and yes, in some cases, desperate) scribes who respect a wild diversity of opinions and styles, while retaining the ability to hear voices in their heads without actually doing any harm to society. (Not that we know of, anyway.)

We all can’t think alike (true dat!) but it never ceases to amaze us how in tune we often feel with the writers who reach out to speak with us. As much as we demand conflict in the stories we draft and evaluate (in some cases, a pulse beat would suffice), it’s in our exchange of shared language that many of us find a sense of peace. And moreover, a sense of belonging.

Atticus believes in pitching a ginormous tent when it comes to the level (and type) of writers who engage with our press. We even fraternize with writers who would hold up their noses to the use of “ginormous” in a sentence on a so-called literary website. We fraternize with these trained professionals, but we vehemently disagree with their stuffiness or resistance to linguistic evolution. Language indeed is alive and we must be grateful for the chance to play with it every chance we get. Otherwise, why write at all?

We invite you to join our society in the same way that a church welcomes visitors to its congregation. Literature is a religion after all, is it not? If that irks you or even if it doesn’t bug ya, consider this quote by one of our forefathers, David Foster Wallace: “In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.” So take this visit to our site (and the Atticus Review site) as your chance to worship at the altar of contemporary literature. We’re pretty sure you won’t go to hell for being here, but our attorneys have advised us to not place any guarantees on this assertion, which would make it a presumption, we guess. Then again, we all know there’s a special place in hell for lawyers… but of course we digress.

At this point we won’t further insult your intelligence and boast about the kind of moral support you undoubtedly will receive in our publishing house’s creative environs. We’re not sure if the phrase, “tough love,” applies here, and we’re sure as hell not sure we’ll ever publish a single word you write (unless you add comments to our posts, which we encourage you to do!), but we do know that we’re interested in checking out your stuff and do hope you will return the favor by not only checking out all the free content on our website, but by actually purchasing a few of our books too. As much as we appear to be working under the guise of a non-profit, our mission statement alone does not even begin to pay Libby’s ginormous salary. We know you’re tapped; so is the entire country. Look at a book purchase (or four) as your tuition fee to a cool club that never would have allowed you as a member in high school. If the sheer idea of being part of our club simply appalls you, then we suggest crawling back into your rat hole and coming out when the Mayan prophesy either is fulfilled or Jesus comes back in dungarees and kicks the living shit out of every politician who ever used his name to gain votes.

But of course we digress…

What we love about writers is you’re so damn easy to talk to… It makes us just want to blab on and on about how awesome it is that you found us. We’re the crazy uncle your mother never told you about. We’ve been locked away in the recesses of your mind and you finally cracked the code which prompted you to dial in to our site. From this moment on, you’re fucked. We’re like the crabs you wished you could have caught from your high school English teacher (nah, that’s much too vulgar; our publisher seriously needs a censor, but our editor is off getting married and, alas, Dan’s run out of his ADHD medication). Let’s scrap this whole paragraph and move on (and if the web developer is reading this passage, perhaps she’ll be kind enough to come up with a better analogy and save face for the entire publishing house). Yeah (um), we’re not expecting to open any doors at the New York Times (or win any big prizes) with this introductory letter. Sorry, Lacey, we’ve just made your job even harder! Chalk it up to the challenge of being a publicist working for a nut job.

So where were we? Oh, right, you’re a writer and this page is your introduction to Atticus Books. Yikes! It’s okay; we understand if you go elsewhere. There are tons of publishing houses out there that have sensible leadership and people who are much more refined in their day-to-day business acumen. You never would have guessed our publisher ditched his day job to try his hand at a literary press, huh? No wonder he couldn’t cut it as a corporate drone. Poor bastard.

Whew. That about wraps it up. We’re Atticus Books. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and neither should you. Whether you have a Ph.D. in English or are a high school dropout who has decided to self-educate instead of self-medicate, we’re not a bad place to hang your fedora. We can’t guarantee it’ll be there when you leave (our publisher has a thing for hats), but if you play your cards right, we at least will do our best to make you feel at home.

In good faith,
Your crazy-ass uncle & his flock of unicorns

P.S. We knew full well when we got into the business of unsolicited submissions that we’d be bathing in manuscripts from creative, enterprising folks like yourself. But at a certain point, we’ve got to protect ourselves from drowning.

So, in the interest of survival and to ensure that every submission is given the fair shake it deserves, we have changed to a summer-only submission period.

Until then…

Sign up for Atticus Digest, our monthly e-newsletter. *Like* our Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter. Become a friend of Atticus, in part for self-respect and in part because we’ll respect you more if we don’t think you’re using us.

We also encourage writers to submit short stories, poems, and literary essays for potential publication in Atticus Review, our weekly online journal, and/or on our website.

If you’re interested in having your work considered for publication, go to the submissions page of Atticus Review on Submishmash.

If you’re the gregarious, ambitious type and have an idea for a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or even sporadically written column, e-mail Dan Cafaro, the publisher, at danc@atticusbooks.net. The worst that can happen is he’ll never receive your submission because cyber gremlins ate it, and you’ll think he ignored you. Fortunately for you, our staff, on the whole, doesn’t believe in public castration or humiliation, so you’re safe in that department. In theory, anyway.