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

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There are more than 20 themed non-fiction submission calls in 14 magazines listed here. Some themes are: Belize, getting creative (about health and nutrition), feeding the Mayan empire, little mysteries in the big woods, (writers’) festivals and conferences, supported spindles, service animals, tech disruptors, climate change, rape culture, tech and nature, and summer fun. Many accept work outside of these themes, as well. Some magazines specify their pitch or submission deadlines, but several do not, so it is best to get the queries in early. Not all of them specify what they pay. Here they are, in no particular order. – S. Kalekar

World Nomads: Oman; Bangladesh; Belize; Palau
This is a travel insurer and adventurous lifestyle brand. They talk about experiences, making connections with local people and culture, and they want to ignite a sense of curiosity about travel in their readers. They are looking for professional travel writers who have a unique story to tell about the destinations listed below, and who can write in the first-person about their experiences. These articles will be featured in their Explore section, where they inspire their readers with articles about destinations and travel experiences, so they can plan and execute their own adventures. Pay for writing is $0.50/word; photos are paid separately. The pitch deadlines are: Oman – 11 June; Bangladesh – 25 June; Belize – 9 July; and Palau – 16 July 2019. Details here.

Experience Life: Get Creative; Take the Long View
This is a health/fitness/quality-of-life magazine that is published 10 times a year. Apart from three in-depth features (2,500-3,500 words), they have four departments that need shorter pieces: Front of Book, Real Fitness, Real Food, Feature Well, and Real Life. They begin planning issues six or seven months in advance of the publish date. The September issue theme is ‘Get Creative’. Their guidelines say, “Settling back into the schedule of fall doesn’t mean your days need to be routine. Instead, find creative ways to make variety, fun, and exploration central parts of your daily life.’ For October, the theme is ‘Take the Long View: “We live in an age when short-term tactics often take precedence over more enduring strategies. Discover the power and wisdom of a deeper, more optimistic approach to the challenges we face.” See their extensive guidelines for more. Details here and here.

Cricket Media: Ask Magazine – Feeding the Mayan Empire; Little Mysteries in the Big Woods
This is a science and nonfiction magazine for 7- to 10-year-olds. The ideal article is an engaging nonfiction story (or cartoon) that is concrete, specific, and appealing to newly independent readers (grades 3–5), but that an adult reader might also find interesting – it should tell a good story, with an emphasis on ideas and problem-solving. They have feature articles (400-1,200 words), photo essays (400-800 words), humor pieces (200-400 words), profiles/interviews of scientists, inventors, engineers, and artists (200-1,000 words), theme-appropriate science experiments, and science panel cartoons (2-6 pages). For February 2020, their guidelines say, “How did the ancient Mayans feed their cities?
Possible topics: Farming Mayan style; life without wheels; calendars for planting; taming plants; harvesting the rainforest; chocolate; numbers and writing; how much food does it take to build a pyramid/city; how we know what they ate; why did their empire fade?; ancient practices still in use; what can we learn from them?” For March 2020, the theme is Little Mysteries in the Big Woods. Their guidelines say, “What a lovely day for a walk in the woods. But wait, what’s that?!?  
Possible topics: Any odd thing you’ve ever wondered about in the woods. Why is that tree such a funny shape? Why do trees shed leaves, and where do all the old leaves go? Why do some trees have needles? How does sap flow up? What’s that bumpy lump? What lives at the top? Where do mushrooms come from? What makes spring happen? What if there were no trees?” For Feeding the Mayan Empire, the query deadline is 15 May 2019; for Little Mysteries in the Big Woods, it is 15 June 2019. They also accept reprints. Details here.

Our State: Linville Gorge, “Grand Canyon of the East”; Smoke Issue; Happy Holidays
This is a magazine about the people, places, culture, and history of North Carolina. Features are about 1,200 words and department pieces, 500-800 words. They want pitches, not completed articles, and will only respond to those they are interested in. Stories are assigned six to eight months before the issue months. For October, the theme is ‘Linville Gorge, Grand Canyon of the East’; for November, it is the ‘Smoke Issue’ and for December, it is ‘Happy Holidays’. They do not cover one-time events or news stories. Fees are agreed upon at the time of article assignment. They may or may not pay a kill fee for assigned articles that may not be used. Details here and here

WordWorks: Fall Issue – Festivals and Conferences
This quarterly magazine for the Federation of BC Writers accepts articles by members and non-members (a portion of the payment will go towards membership, for non-members). It is for those interested in literature. They are always looking for articles discussing the craft or business of writing, and welcome both queries and completed articles. The editorial deadline for the ‘Fall Issue – Festivals and Conferences’ is 11June 2019. Articles should be up to 2,000 words. They also accept creative work (poems and prose), as well as reprints. Pay is $0.25/word for articles, and $75 per poem or creative prose piece, $100 for cover art, and $25 for interior art. Details here.

PLY Magazine: Supported Spindles

This is a magazine for the handspinning community. They have several sections: Spin Its (how-to/technique pieces, and articles describing spinning a specific yarn and attached to a project), Knit/Weave/Crochet It, Prep It (articles about what happens before the spinning), Guilded (about guilds, and what makes a particular one interesting), and several others, including interviews/focus pieces on spinners, and about journeys of fiber from one place to another. They accept pitches, articles, and projects. They are currently accepting articles and pitches on ‘Supported Spindles’ (see guidelines for details on the theme). Proposals of articles and projects are due on 1 June, and final submissions are due 1 December 2019. Details here and here

Brain Mill Press: BMP Voices – Because They’re a Good Doggo (or Cat, or Bird, or Snake) – Short Essays about Your Companion or Service Animal
They want short essays (under 750 words) about your relationship with your companion animal or service animal, living or deceased. The write-ups can be funny, tender, a piece about grief, educating others, or other topics related to self-care, friendship, justice, and more. Writers must submit photos of their companion or service animal, or of themselves with their service animal. They want completed submissions. Pay is $40 and the deadline is 10 May 2019. Details here.

Forbes: Tech Disruptors; Most Innovative Leaders
This premier media company focuses on “news and information about business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and affluent lifestyle.” They do not have writers’ guidelines, but they do have an email address that writers can send pitches to. According to their editorial calendar, the theme for the issue dated end-August is ‘Tech Disruptors’ (Next Billion-Dollar Startups, Small Giants, Monetizing Fame). For the issue dated end-September, it is ‘Most Innovative Leaders’ (The Cloud 100, Top Wealth Advisors); this issue will have a special insert – the ForbesLife Mini Mag. Details here and here.

Earth Island Journal: Tech and Nature
This is a magazine that anticipates environmental concerns before they become pressing problems. They publish articles addressing a range of environmental issues, including wildlife and lands conservation; innovations in science and technology; public policy and the politics of environmental protection; climate and energy; animal rights; public health; environmental justice and cultural survival; and environmentally related film, music, and books. For the ‘Tech and Nature’ issue, their guidelines say, “The issue will explore how technology is often the source of much of the environmental damage that we are dealing with today, and how at the same time, it offers us the scope, or hope, of repairing that damage and perhaps even avoiding it in the future. It will also look into the practical and ethical limitations associated with relying on technology to get us out of some of the environmental messes we have created.” They want to investigate the spectrum of issues related to “this complex relationship between technology and the natural world, including how it impacts our own interactions and understanding of nature and our place in it.” They want on-the-ground reports, essays, artworks, reflections, and think pieces (no poetry or fiction. In-depth feature stories for the magazine are about 4,000 words. Pay is $0.25/word for the magazine and $100 flat for the website. The deadline for pitches for this theme is 15 May 2019. Stories will be assigned in June, and they will need full submissions by mid-July. Details here and here.

Geez: Climate Change and Climate Justice
The Geez project is “a discussion among people of faith seeking social justice. Our readers and writers express this through art, activism, contemplation and a “more-grounded, inter-connected” approach to living.” It does not assume a church insider audience. The submission call for this issue says, “We ground this issue in the understanding that climate change is inextricably intertwined with systems of colonialism, exploitation, and genocide. If we are to truly move towards a (re)generative way of living, we know that a full transformation will be necessary. As the tides continue to rise, what will we do? Will we radically change the way we relate to each other and the earth? Or will we drown with our hands gripping our iPhones, using our discarded water bottles to stay afloat?” The issue is divided into several parts, with specific guidelines to each: The Big Question; Resistance; In Our Own Places, In Our Own Lives; and Emotional and Spiritual Health. They want pitches for longer non-fiction pieces (650-1,300 words), flash non-fiction (50-350 words), and photos/illustrations. Writers are paid a modest honorarium. The pitch deadline is 10 May 2019. Details here and here.

cléo: Sick
This is a journal of film and film culture, informed by intersectional feminist perspectives. They want pieces on film–new and old–with a feminist slant or focus. They have submission calls three times a year, all theme-based. For the current theme their guidelines say, “For this issue we’re interested in all things SICK, be it physical ailments, mental illness, the politics of health and care, or the social ills that threaten to poison us. We’re also looking to explore women’s visions of “sick” (as in rad/cool) and “sick” (as in grotesque).” They are looking for unique and unexplored angles. The deadline for 300-word pitches is 6 May, and first drafts of finished submissions are due by 10 June 2019. Articles should be 1,500-2,000 words. They pay CAD125 per article, CAD75 per 750-1000 word Who We’re Watching piece, and CAD50 to each roundtable participant. Details here and here.

The Rumpus: ENOUGH
ENOUGH is an ongoing series that is “devoted to creating a dedicated space for work by women and non-binary people that engages with rape culture, sexual assault, and domestic violence.” They accept personal and critical essays, poetry, comics, and hybrid work for this feature. Their guidelines say, “We are especially interested in work that considers who has access to healthcare and to therapy, who has been taught to speak up and who has been taught to be silent, and the ways in which these inequalities make vulnerable populations even more vulnerable. While we support the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, ENOUGH is its own series and we ask that you avoid using these hashtags in your titles and essays unless you are writing a piece that centers around or investigates the campaigns themselves.” Essays for this series should be 1,000-2,500 words. The current reading period for ENOUGH is until 31 May 2019. They also have general essays, reviews, comics, fiction, and columns. Each month they set aside $300 for features and reviews, and all eligible writers are able to opt in for this payment, which is shared out. Details here and here.  

Western New York Family: Summer Fun; Back to School; and more
They want articles which address current parenting issues. Stories should have a Western New York tie-in whenever possible. Their upcoming theme for August is ‘Summer Fun’ and for September, it is ‘Back to School’ and ‘Shape the Future – Education and Careers’. Of particular interest right now is ‘Shape The Future’ which will focus on all aspects of college choices and preparation for both young people attending for the first time, and adults going back to school to improve their skills or change careers. They also currently need more material written by fathers, sharing their perspective and insight on parenting and everyday life in the role of a dad. Articles on making a working parent’s life easier as they juggle multiple roles and responsibilities are also at the top of their list, as are articles on any currently trending topics related to families. They’re also accepting submissions for their regular features and columns. ‘Evergreen’ articles are highly desirable. Pay is $40-150. Details here.

AVID Blog: Putting Professional Learning into Practice
The readers of this blog include educators from levels K–16, all disciplines, and all types of job roles. Blogs should be conversational in tone, actionable in some way. The ideal length is 500-800 words. For their next upcoming theme the guidelines say, “After an amazing professional learning experience, educators are left filled with excitement, but it can be tough to implement strategies and share new ideas. How do you put your professional development into practice on your campus?” They pay $100 for accepted blogs. Deadline for the ‘Putting Professional Learning into Practice’ theme is 7 June 2019. Details here.


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