Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bartleby?
Bartleby is the Creative Arts Journal of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. It is entirely student-produced, and all works in Bartleby are by UMBC students.

I know that. But what is Bartleby???
Oooh! The name Bartleby. Well, that's simple. Bartleby is the main character of Herman Melville's short story Bartleby, The Scrivener. Long story short, Bartleby is a copyist who, when asked to do anything other than copy, simply says, "I would prefer not to." He gives no reason, and his boss is so fascinated by this that he does not fire Bartleby. Why name the journal after him? No, it's not that we're lazy people who don't want to do anything other than copy. Like Melville's Bartleby, the students whose work appears in the journal refuse to conform and do not fear rejection of others.

How do I get stuff put in Bartleby?
First, you have to have status as a current UMBC student. We accept submissions from both graduate and undergraduate students. But if you are an alumni or a member of the faculty or staff, we are afraid that you can't submit to us. For more specific submission guidelines & restrictions, check out the Submissions Guidelines.

What kinds of work do you accept?
Bartleby works are divided into four categories. There's poetry--y'know, like Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot. Then there's fiction, like the made-up short stories you might read in an English class. There's also creative non-fiction, which includes essays and short stories based on fact. Finally, there's visual art, which you should remember from the elementary school class of the same name.

How do increase my chances of getting in Bartleby?
First, make sure you send us polished work. If it's difficult to read your piece, due to poor grammar or poor story structure, reviewers will remember it as a chore rather than a work of art.It also helps to submit short poems and stories. It isn't unusual to have room for an extra story or poem if it can fit on a page or a half of a page, so sending us short pieces, in addition to your lengthier titles, makes you eligible for any extra space we find. You can also try to send in funnier, lighter titles. We often get a boat load of tragedies, especially in fiction, and we tend to try and select pieces for their quality and the variety they bring to the journal. So, sending us something amusing makes your piece more likely to get in.

Can I submit any work anonymously?
When you submit to us, you have to tell us your real name and contact information, so that we can verify your status as a UMBC student and potentially offer you a cash prize. However, should your piece be selected for inclusion in the journal, you may request that your piece be published under a pen name or as anonymous.

When does the next issue come out? Where can I pick up a copy?
Bartleby comes out every spring, usually in April or May. You can pick up a copy in the English Department, which is on the 4th floor of the Fine Arts Building, but the staff tries to keep the journal available all over campus, including in the Commons.

When can I submit?
Keep an eye out for the Bartleby submission deadlines each fall semester. Typically, the date is December 1st, but this is subject to change. For early submissions (after the spring edition is published), e-mail using the subject line, "Early Submission" to be sure your work is received for the following semester deadline.

I submitted something and I haven't heard anything back. Did you forget about me? :(
After we receive a submission, we try to send you a confirmation email, letting you know that it was received. If you don't receive such a confirmation email after two weeks, send us an email. It is possible that we didn't send you a confirmation email, by accident,or that you didn't actually send us a submission, by accident. You'll receive a second email by the end of February if your piece was selected for inclusion in the journal, but we only send congratulatory emails, not rejections. So, if you haven't heard from us by March 1st, accept that you have not made it into the journal this year, but that we would love for you to try again next year.

What sort of rights do I retain to my work?
All of them. For more details, read the Copyright page.

If you accept my work, are you going to change anything before putting it in Bartleby?
Possibly, but not without your permission. If we accept your work and we want to edit it in any way whatsoever, we'll ask you if it's okay first. But if you say it's not okay, then we reserve the right to reject your work.

Wow. This all sounds like fun! Can I work for Bartleby?
Hard-working UMBC undergraduates of all majors are welcome to join the Bartleby staff. For more information, read the Join Staff page.

I love Bartleby so much. Can I give you money?
Aww, you're so sweet. Anyway, Bartleby is a non-profit organization, so donations are welcome. Production costs rise every year, so we need all the financial help we can get. Here's how to support Bartleby.