12 Themed Calls for Submissions (Non-Fiction, Essays, Etc)

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These are themed non-fiction submission calls for magazines and websites. There are 16 themes with upcoming deadlines for the 12 markets listed here, including Glamour, Summer, Great Cities of the World (Laos, Nigeria), Smoking, Adventure, American Food Heroes, Aging Well, Hospitality, and Eat Global, Stay Local. Apart from features, they have several sections that writers can pitch or submit work for, and many also accept work outside of these themes. All of these outlets pay writers, though some do not specify what they pay. Many of these markets prefer queries, not direct submissions, and sometimes do not list deadlines for writers – so it may be worthwhile to get the pitches in early, to be able to submit material on time. Here they are, in no particular order. – S. Kalekar
Writers Digest: The Web Issue This print and online magazine aims to “keep readers abreast of industry trends, of the latest writers who found success and what they did to achieve it, and of innovative ways to improve and empower the inner raconteur” of their readers. They consider completed manuscripts on spec, as well as original pitches. They say writers should allow 2-4 months for a response; their May/June 2019 topic is ‘The Web Issue’, which will have 101 Best Websites, Writer’s Workbook: Grammar, and will announce winners of their fiction and self-published book awards. They have several departments where writers can pitch: Inkwell, 300-1,000 words (best place for a new writer to break in – often an opinion-based piece, weaving a narrative and drawing out tips for readers; can discuss theoretical or timely concepts;  trends, humor, insight on news that will still be relevant when our next issue hits stores, weird and intriguing tidbits about the writing world, as well as features); 5-minute memoir, 600 words (reflections on writing life); writing technique articles, 1,000-2,400 words, as well as market reports and other features. For the print magazine, pay is $0.30-0.50/word. They do not pay for online content unless it is unique and highly focused, in which case they pay $50-100. Details here and here.
Bitch Media: Glamour (#84) Bitch Media is always looking for pitches that speak to feminist responses to pop culture. For the ‘Glamour’ issue, their guidelines say, “From Hollywood’s film legends and the fashion industry’s rarefied status symbols to exuberant drag and enchantment with outlaws, we’ve long been seduced by proximity to glamour. But what makes someone—or something—glamorous, and who decides? Is it performance, and, if so, what is its goal? How is our understanding of glamour influenced by a media and pop culture that has historically valued—and continues to value—a singular, limited beauty standard? Does glamour require an audience in order to manifest? In issue 84, we’re seeking out new understandings of glamour, reconsiderations of its standard-bearers, analysis of its impacts on society, culture, careers, and more. How has the concept of glamour shaped our collective beliefs about fame and success? Who is responsible when pop culture “glamorizes” something harmful or dangerous? When did tabloids decide to make celebrities “just like us,” rather than shrouded in mystery? How do we reckon with revelations of wrongdoing by our personal and historical icons? Is there a way to celebrate glamour while also acknowledging its limitations?” They say their themes are intended to be nonexclusive jumping-off points rather than limiting factors, to be interpreted as loosely as writers wish, and in their guidelines they’ve included a few key words that may help writers brainstorm: designers, confidence, classic, celebrity, wealth, transgression, outlaw, mystique, bodies, trends, performance, fashion, fame, cotillions, labor, lingerie. They have features (1,500-3,000 words), dispatches (1,200 words), front of book and culture sections. Pay ranges from $150-1,000. Deadline for this issue is 20 May 2019. Details here and here.
Cricket Media: Faces – Great Cities of the World (Lagos, Nigeria) Cricket publishes several award-winning children’s magazines, both literary and non-literary. Faces is for children aged 9-14 years, where they can learn about important inventions and ideas from other cultures through articles, folk tales, recipes, illustrations, and hands-on projects. Their next theme is ‘Great Cities of the World: Lagos, Nigeria’. They want feature articles – in-depth non-fiction highlighting an aspect of the featured culture, interviews, and personal accounts, supplemental nonfiction – subjects directly and indirectly related to the theme. Editors like little-known information but encourage writers not to overlook the obvious. They also accept fiction including retold legends, folktales, stories, and original plays from around the world, etc., relating to the theme, theme-related activities, and puzzles and games (word puzzles relating to the theme – no crossword). Features are 700-800 words, and supplemental non-fiction is 300-600 words. Query deadline is 25 March 2019 and pay is unspecified. Details here.
Creation Illustrated: Summer, and others This is a Christian nature magazine. They are reading for their Summer issue – see guidelines for deadlines on their other issues. Many features have a seasonal focus. They have three feature sections: Creation Illustrated in Nature – Re-Creation and Restoration through Outdoor Adventure, and Creatures Near and Dear to Us; Creation Illustrated in Scriptures (for Creation week series – the topic is Day 6 Part 2 – Creeping Things for the Summer 2019 issue); and Creation Illustrated in Living (Gardens from Eden Around the World, My Walk With God, and Children’s Story). Some of the suggested themes are Creation Up Close, Re-creation and Restoration through Outdoor, and Adventures in National Parks, State Parks, and Wilderness Areas. Length is 700-1,500 words, and pay is $75-100. For their Summer issue, the deadline is 1 April 2019. Details here.
Christian Record: Light Magazine – Dads; Smoking Christian Record – ‘Services for the Blind’ – is accepting work on two themes for their upcoming issues for their Light Magazine, ‘Dads’ and ‘Smoking’. There are no further details on the kind of articles they want, and they ask writers to email the editor for guidelines. They encourage unsolicited submissions and “modest financial sums are provided to writers whose work is accepted for publication.” For the ‘Dads’ issue, deadline is 13 March 2019 and for ‘Smoking’, it is 15 May 2019. Details here.
Briarpatch: Labour This is an award-winning Canadian magazine of politics and culture. They are reading for a ‘Labour’ themed issue, as well as an unthemed one. The magazine offers original reporting, insight, and analysis from a grassroots perspective. They publish writing and artwork on a wide range of topics, including current events, grassroots activism, electoral politics, economic justice, ecology, labour, food security, gender equity, indigenous struggles, international solidarity, and other issues of political importance. They welcome pitches from unpublished writers, seasoned freelancers, front-line activists, and anyone else with a story to tell and a desire to tell it compellingly. Pay is $100 for profiles, short essays, reviews, blog posts, and parting shots (generally <1500 words), $200 for feature stories, photo essays (generally 1500-2500 words), and $300 for research-based articles and investigative reportage with extensive primary research (generally 2500-3000 words). Query deadline for their Unthemed issue is 1 May and for their Labour-themed issue, it is 1 July 2019. Details here.
EatingWell: Summer Parties; American Food Heroes This is a top-tier food magazine that focuses on eating healthfully. Their June issue theme is ‘Summer Parties’ and for July/August, it is ‘American Food Heroes’. They say it may take a month to hear back from them about pitches and they have a lead time of 3 to 6 months. Freelancer-friendly columns are Good Life (150-400 words) which includes Trends, Travel, and Thinking (about a controversial and timely topic related to food), and Good Health (health and nutrition studies). They also have Food Stories and Food/Culture-based Travel Stories. Their readers are interested not only in cooking and nutrition science, but also in the origins of food and social issues related to food networks. They appreciate eating culture and traditions. EatingWell’s “voice” is journalistic and authoritative; it speaks to both men and women. They cover nutrition with a newsy, science-based approach. Their recipes emphasize high-quality healthful ingredients, simple preparations and full flavor. Pay is up to $1/word. Details here and here.
AARP The Magazine: A New Age – A Worldwide Look at Aging Well This premier magazine has three editorial editions targeted to different life stages: 50-59, 60-69, and 70+. According to their calendar for advertisers, for their June/July issue, the theme is ‘A New Age – A Worldwide Look at Aging Well’; they also list other themes for subsequent months. They accept pitches in the following departments – Money: investments, savings, retirement, and work issues; Health and Fitness: tips, trends, studies; Food and Nutrition: recipes, emphasis on healthy eating; Travel: tips and trends on how and where to travel; Consumerism: practical information and advice; General Interest: new thinking, research, information on timely topics, trends; Relationships: family matters, caregiving, living arrangements, grandparents. Personal essays – thoughtful, timely, new takes on matters of importance to people over 50 – should be submitted in their entirety. They do not specify pay rates. Details here and here.
Lake Superior Magazine: First Summer Issue & Hospitality This bimonthly magazine focuses exclusively on the Lake Superior region – history, current events, life styles, environment, tourism. For their June/July issue, the theme is ‘First Summer Issue & Hospitality’ – see the calendar for other themes. They say their responses take three to four months, sometimes longer. They accept photographs, illustrations, cartoons, non-fiction (People, places and events in the Lake Superior region –  contemporary; historic with current tie), fiction (pertinent to the region or issue theme; rarely used), and departments (shorter articles on specific topics of interest – Homes, Health & Wellness, Lake Superior Journal, Wild Superior, Heritage, Destinations, Profile, etc.).  Features are 1,600-2,000 words, and departments are 800-1,200 words. Pay is $200-400 for features, and $75-200 for department pieces; for US citizens, a Social Security number is required prior to publication. Details here and here (download Editorial Calendar).
Alaska: Adventure; Wildlife This magazine depicts and celebrates life in Alaska through high-quality stories and images of its people, places, events, and wildlife. The theme for their June issue is ‘Adventure’, and for July/August, it is ‘Wildlife’. They publish 10 issues per year, with Dec/Jan and July/Aug combined. They assign articles “several months ahead of publication”, especially seasonal work. They welcome a variety of writing styles, and accept targeted pitches or completed pieces. They also say articles and essays must conform to the topic and word count agreed upon between contributor and editor(s). They are not able to reply to every inquiry, but if they’re interested or have questions, they will get in touch. Features run from 1,000 to 2,500 words. Most other sections run about 800 words. Payment is upon publication. Details here.
Oregon Humanities: Adapt This tri-annual magazine only accepts work by writers from Oregon. It is publication of ideas and perspectives, and offers a forum through which Oregon writers, scholars, and readers can use the humanities to explore timeless and timely ideas and themes. They are reading personal essays and features on the ‘Adapt’ theme. Their guidelines say, “Share an experience about conforming in response to some sort of pressure. Tell us what it takes to alter and revamp a system that needs to change. Explore a historical or current event that shows the process and outcome of adaptation. We especially appreciate good stories and fresh ideas, particularly if they relate to challenging questions, diverse perspectives, and just communities.” Field Work (looks at humanities work in the state of Oregon), Bright Idea (explore innovative or intriguing humanities projects and programs in Oregon that have a public engagement or community-based focus), Q&A (focus on Oregonians whose work is significant in one of the many disciplines of the humanities), and What I Think (opinion pieces on a humanities-related topic) articles are not tied to theme but should be timely, focus on the humanities, and of interest to Oregonians. Personal essays should not be merely anecdotal or narrative, but should also offer an argument, reflection, and revelation that illuminate each issue’s theme. Features tend to be either scholarly essays that are written for a general audience or articles that use the various techniques of magazine journalism. Memoirs are up to 2,000 words, and features, 2,500 to 4,000 words. Pay is $300-800 for features and memoirs, and $50-200 for the shorter department pieces. Deadline for this theme is 13 March 2019. Details here and here.
New Jersey Monthly: Eat Global, Stay Local; The Shore Guide This is a statewide magazine covering the people, places and issues of New Jersey. They want only pitches and say they may take 2-3 months to respond. The theme for their May issue is ‘Eat Global, Stay Local’ and for June, it is ‘The Shore Guide’. They publish timely stories about current issues, local personalities, healthcare, education, politics, business, the environment, science and technology, real estate and development, arts and culture, Jersey history and attractions, restaurants and food, shopping, beauty and fashion, home and garden, music and nightlife, local sports and athletes, and recreation. They want writers who can deliver brightly written, well-researched service articles, but they are also interested in investigative stories from qualified reporters. They also accept stories for their front-of-book Garden Variety (GV) section – from entertaining and illuminating slices of local life to brief profiles of Jersey people (best for freelancers beginning an association with the magazine), restaurant/food coverage, and their back page feature, which can be a slice of life of a slice of New Jersey history. Articles are 1,000-3,000 words and FOB articles are much shorter. They pay on receipt of invoice. Details here and here.


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