21 Publishers that Pay for Personal Essays

Contributed by S. Kalekar

These markets for personal essays and memoirs are for various themes and writer demographics, including women, LGBTQ+, Indigenous, and writers under 21. There are also various themed submissions – consumption, environmental justice, health and disabilities, writing, unemployment, upbeat essays on dealing with life situations, and disabilities.

The list is in no particular order.

1. The Lifted Brow: The Feeder’s Digest

The theme is looking to explore the idea of consumption, and its various manifestations. This is an Australian magazine but accepts writing from all over the world, and welcome diversity. They have listed the kinds of writing they favour, including personal and lyric essays. Submit by 18 September for this theme. Details here.

2. Reckoning

They want creative writing, including creative non-fiction, fiction and poetry on environmental justice, and welcome writing that is personal. The pay is $0.06/word for prose, up to 45,000 words. They specially want work from Indigenous writers, writers of color, queer and transgender writers, and anyone who has suffered the consequences of society’s systemic disconnect with and mistreatment of the natural world. Submissions close on 22 September. Details here.

3. Tiny Tim Literary Review: Health and Disability through Nature

The theme for the upcoming issue is framing health and disability through nature. The goal is to normalise chronically ill/disability narratives and humanize medical professionals through their stories. They accept essays/non-fiction, as well as fiction and poetry. They are accepting submissions on this theme until 24 September and pay $50. Details here.

4. Her Stories Project

They publish themed personal essays by women, of up to 2,000 words. The theme for September is Friendship, for October is Fear and November, Gratitude. The pay is $40 per essay. Details here.

5. Gordon Square Review

They are accepting work for their inaugural issue, including personal essays, hybrid prose and short stories; they pay $25 for up to 5,000 words. The deadline is 15 October. Details here.

6. Hashtag Queer: LGBTQ+ Creative Anthology

They want work by new, emerging and established LGBTQ writers, or by writers whose showcased work is LGBTQ themed. They are looking for fiction, poetry and non-fiction, including essays, memoir, creative non-fiction and journalism. Submit up to 7,500 words of prose. The pay is $5 per printed page and the deadline is 31 December. Details here.

7. Prairie Fire Magazine: Two Themed Submission Calls

This Canadian magazine pays CAD0.10 a word for creative non-fiction, including essays and memoirs. They also publish fiction and poetry. The current submission calls are for Canadian Indigenous Writers, and Canadian Women and the Vote 1918-2018. Details here.

8. Mslexia

They accept writing by women writers. They have themed submissions and regular features, including Confessions, a memoir piece, for which they pay $25. Details here.

9. Writer’s Digest

This is a well-regarded magazine for writers. Their 5-minute memoir column is a 600-word essay which reflects on the writing life; the editors like writing that has a strong narrative element. They have several other features and departments, including opinion-based Inkwell which is the best place for new writers to break in. Payment is $0.30-50/word. Details here.

10. The Christian Science Monitor: The Home Forum

The Home Forum publishes upbeat, personal essays of 400-600 words on any topic. These are first-person essays on how you dealt with a place, person, situation or event. They welcome timely, newsy topics and seasonal material, and do not deal with death, ageing and disease. The Christian Science Monitor lists their base pay as $250 for reported articles. Details here.

11. Catapult

They publish American and International narrative non-fiction, including memoir. Submissions are 500-6,000 words; a typical piece is around 2,500 words. Pay rates are unlisted. Details here.

12. The Sunlight Press

They accept personal essays of 650-1,000 words, as well as fiction and reviews. They will consider already published work, but that will be unpaid. Details here.

13. Woman’s Day

They are currently looking especially for personal essays (submitted on spec), and pitches for features – long-form narratives, including about women who have overcome adversity. Details here.

14. Unemploymentville

This project is looking for personal stories about unemployment, as well as articles on dealing with being out of work. The pay is $50-100; query first. The editor is also looking to interview people who struggled with unemployment and succeeded in creating or finding a job for an anthology; the pay is $75-100. Details here.

15. Smoky Mountain Living

This magazine covers the southern Appalachians, and publishes various features and departments. They also publish personal essays of 1,000-1,500 words, for which they pay $200. Details here.

16. Kaleidoscope

They publish articles, including memoirs and personal essays on disability, and accept work from writers with and without disabilities. They also publish poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction and book reviews. Pay is $10-100. Details here.

17. Guernica

This is a prestigious journal that accepts non-fiction, including essays and memoir, and pay for long-form pieces (2,500-7,500 words). They also publish poetry and fiction. See guidelines for open periods for non-fiction. Details here.

18. Copper Nickel

They publish creative non-fiction, including personal essays, as well as fiction, translations and poetry. They pay $30 per printed page, and also award two writers $500 each per issue – the Editors’ prizes in Poetry and Prose. Details here.

19. Blue Marble Review

20. They accept work from writers aged 13-21; non-fiction, including personal essays and memoir of up to 2,500 words, as well as fiction and poetry. Writers are paid $25. Details here.

21. The New Quarterly

This magazine publishes Canadian writers, and publishes essays, including personal essays, as well as fiction and poetry. Payment for prose is CAD $250. Details here.


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