Guidelines for submitting to 251.

What We Are

251 is The American Bystander’s online home, and we publish new short humor that is 251 words or fewer.  This includes (but is certainly not limited to):

  • Lists
  • Short monologues
  • Cartoons (single- or multi-panel)
  • One-liners
  • Flash fiction
  • 30-second screenplays
  • Groundbreaking knock-knock jokes
  • Brief observations
  • Poems
  • Fictional obituaries
  • Real obituaries
  • Confessions
  • Unsolicited life advice
  • Get-rich-quick schemes
  • Public service announcements
  • Individual, funny-sounding words
  • Folk tales
  • Highly-abridged novels
  • Letters to inanimate objects, intangible concepts, or fictional people
  • Ideas on how to make online humor highly profitable (we will not publish these, but we will steal them)

There are very few pieces we’ll reject on structure alone, though we do tend to shy away from the following few things:

  • Satirical news
  • Non-fiction and personal essays
  • Super topical pieces
  • Dangerous political manifestos

Generally, we’re looking for things that are short but ambitious. 

Please do not send us pieces that you have published elsewhere, and only send us one at a time. 

Do We Pay

Not yet. 

But every piece published in 251 will be seriously considered for publication in a print issue of The American Bystander. We do pay writers and cartoonists for work that appears in print. 

Tips for Submitting

Before you submit to 251, read the site! 

OBVIOUSLY DON’T submit things that are racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, or that otherwise denigrate people based on fundamental and immutable aspects of their personhood. Get that shit out of here.

Make sure that your piece has jokes in it! You’d be surprised how often this is forgotten.

For inspiration you might want to read old issues of Army Man, Simon Rich’s Ant Farm, the READINGS section of Harper’s, or the poetry of Billy Collins and Wendy Cope.

How to Submit

All submissions should be directed to Feel free to attach your piece as a .pdf, or paste it directly into the email.

In the body of the email, include your name, email, and a link to social media or whatever you’d like us to link to if we publish.