Welcome to an ongoing experiment in 
online literary altruism

Our second donation ($75) went to Mighty Writers, a creative writing program for kids in Philadelphia. Here's proof.

Our first donation ($175) went to the International 
Red Cross Disaster Relief. Here's proof

Thanks to everyone who's participated/donated so far!

Here are testimonials from brave souls who've contributed stories and some good ol' fashioned good-hearted cash 
to this experiment in submission 
for the sake of societal



Do you ever think your writing is pretty great one day but then the next day you think that maybe you're delusional and your writing actually orally pleasures the world's longest literary tallywacker (ie, is not very good at all)?

Writers are masochistic freaks. They spend their time alone, reading and writing, and then they send their writing to editors who more often than not send a form rejection in a few weeks or several months. This is not what writers want. 

Writers want to know WHY their stories are rejected and they want to know without having to wait a season or two to find out. 

All in all, the submission/response process is slow and sucky and impersonal. 

Lots of writers also send stuff to writer friends, who usually hand out more orchids than onions because it's easier to lose a little integrity than risk a friendship. It's great to have nice friends and all but it sucks for writers looking for SOMEONE to tell them exactly what they think about their writing without pussyfooting around (yes, we used the word pussyfooting).


Read on!

Eyeshot was originally founded and operated for ten years as a volunteer effort, a sort of textual first-aid for tender literary souls, no matter how bawdy or incomprehensible or odd. 

Recently, knowing that submissions were forever closed and we wouldn't ever again be posting fiction etc, someone sent a story because she wanted to receive her "very own sassy rejection letter." 

We responded: "I have a crazy idea: I'll read and respond to your story if you donate some money to Haiti (or an American literacy organization) and forward the receipt to me. The more money you give, the more in-depth my response will be. Sound good?" 

Hours later, we received an official-looking receipt for a $40 donation to an earthquake relief organization. An hour later, we transmitted a response much longer than the four-paragraph story she originally sent. 

A win-win-win! 

Writer gets earnest, helpful, thorough feedback from someone who only cares about her story (ie, isn't interested in blowing smoke or stroking ego). Editor gets to keep analytical skills sharp by helping a writer and, in turn, a relief organization. Relief organization gets forty freakin' bucks, which helps people in serious need. 

So then we configured a little chip-in account thing (see below) and decided to proceed like this for the foreseeable future: 

Now, instead of reading and responding to submissions with an eye for posting them on Eyeshot, we will read and respond to stories as long as you donate money to our chipin account or forward an official-looking receipt for a contribution to a noble cause (dated the same day as your submission).

Money collected from the chipin thing will be donated when it builds up a bit, most likely to a US literacy effort, and a receipt will be posted to prove we're not a shady scam artist. The entirely arbitrary goal is $1000 by January 1, 2011.

For the most part, the more money you donate, the more thorough and helpful the response will be (or performative and insane and yet somehow oddly helpful, if you'd prefer -- please indicate such a preference with your "submission"). 

Please don't send stories longer than 20 double-spaced pages unless you contribute a really generous amount. 

Send your story to submit at eyeshot.net. We'll acknowledge the "submission" immediately and send a response within a few days (a week or two, the latest). 

Occasionally we may post our responses the way we used to post rejection letters. And we might post your response to our response as a way to encourage more responses, that is, if your response is positive.

ALSO PLEASE NOTE: If you've ever received a helpful rejection or even an acceptance from Eyeshot in the past and/or appreciated the site as a reader etc and you'd like to add a bit of sunshine to our pot of rainbow-smiley monetary vibes, such tiny gifts are totally welcome without sending a story. We will love you more than we already do and we will maybe even send you something in the mail like a book or a CD-R or a homemade oddity.

Final Q: Um, so why are you on this weird do-gooder kick? 

A: One of the first posts ever on Eyeshot talked about the kind of complicated dynamics of generosity re: DFW's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, but things are simpler now, especially since we recently found out that sex, food, and altruism light up the same part of the brain, neurochemically (ie, it feels good) . . .

Otherwise, as always, for your reading pleasure, here's a longish history of Eyeshot. Here's the archive. Here are favorites posted over the past 10 years. Here are the defunct submission guidelines. Here are some good books to read

Contribution to society not shown on Chipin thing
from folks who sent stories after contributing 
to an aid organization of some sort: 



I totally appreciate the very lengthy and thorough critique -- it's great to get feedback like this. So detailed and committed. I feel overwhelmed now, how do I undo and unravel all of this, but when that passes I will use your fabulous and intelligent critique as my step by step to re-work, re-write, edit and amputate the arms. And yes I can kill the cat.

Margaret Atwood was heard replying to a friend (a brain surgeon) who said to her, "after I retire from brain surgery I want to be a writer." She replied to him, "after I retire from writing I want to be a brain surgeon."

I will for sure use your expertise again if that's OK. I need to sit down and digest all you said -- it's super valuable. I will try not to get dispirited and rise to the challenge. Thanks so very much -- this is just what I needed. I also feel encouraged.


I sent in some money for the Eyeshot chipin thing because I believe in what you're doing, am glad that Eyeshot will continue in some form, think that literacy charities are good, etc. I was sad to see that you stopped taking submissions, but I can imagine that after so long it gets to be kind of a drag. Plus, I don't know, the vibe right now among online writers is kind of gross and disheartening.


Went back to eyeshot tonight after an inexcusably long absence and saw that you were still there and noticed you were doing the donation thing and thought it was pretty neat and quite worthy of you. Even though I have nothing to submit and be rejected at the moment I do have a very tiny bit of spare money to send you so you can give it to Haiti, so I did that (at least, I think I did ... ).  If you have time to reject something, please reject the songs here. Or this video of me singing a song I wrote about Micheal Jackson not long after he died. The snarkier the better. 


Thanks so much for this incredibly detailed and generous feedback. This will help all my writing. Absolutely I plan to rework and "finish" this story.


Thank you for your response. That was great! I appreciate your suggestions.  I'm going to sit down with this piece together with your critique and make it work. Good luck with your Eyeshot and your fund drive. You might hear from me next month with another submission and another donation.


Thanks for doing this. I hope you get others interested and money goes where it needs to go. I was interested because I spend a lot of time writing but I've never been in a writing program and don't have anyone to get unbiased feedback from. I think you've come up with an interesting truce between egoism (of the needy writer) and altruism (directed toward the actually needy). I'll look forward to seeing your mark-ups and seeing if I can maybe salvage something from this piece. 

I really appreciate the feedback! a) because I find everything you post refreshing and b) because it's all the more valuable hearing how my words stand on their own, as in from someone who has no idea who the hell I am. I'm glad I helped to inspire this new charitable model. I'll be sure to check out that Lennon book!