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

There are 28 themed calls for non-fiction submissions in the 18 markets listed here. Some of these are: partners in crime; for the love of animals; time travel (as it relates to Star Trek); men’s mental health; keep it simple; rescue careers and volunteering for community; creative process and motherhood; topics at the intersection of science and society; and it’s a small world. Some of them specify the deadlines for pitches/submissions but most do not, so it’s best to get pitches in early. – S. Kalekar

Undark Podcast: Topics at the intersection of science and society
Undark Magazine publishes a mix of long-form, narrative-driven journalism, shorter features, profiles, essays, op-eds, book excerpts, Q&A’s, reviews, photography, digital video, and data visualizations. Currently, for their podcast, they are looking for experienced audio journalists with a proven track record producing feature-length audio documentaries to pitch them ideas for features of topics at the intersection of science and society. Their guidelines say, “The Undark Podcast continues its mission of illuminating the places where science intersects with our everyday lives by delivering — once a month from September to May — a feature-length exploration of a single, fascinating topic at this convergence. Scientific questions and challenges are woven deeply into our politics, our economics, our culture — and they are animated by a wide spectrum of competing values and interests. Our goal is to present rich, narrative-driven audio stories of science as it manifests amid that push-and-pull of human society.” Also, “We’re looking for stories with a mix of sound from real people out in the world and good conversations with experts and decision makers. Successful pieces will deftly navigate scientific and technical details, while making them both captivating and relevant for our general audience.” They pay $3,000 for a 25-minute piece, for the podcast. Details here and here (magazine pitch guidelines) and here (Undark Podcast pitch guidelines).

The Best of New True Crime Stories: Partners in Crime; Crimes of Passion, Obsession & Revenge
They are looking for submissions for two non-fiction, true crime anthologies. Submissions should be 4,000-7,000 words. Query first with a brief pitch for both anthologies. The editor says, “I select material on an on-going basis; writers who submit work in advance of the deadline often have a better chance of acceptance.”
— Partners in Crime: Their guidelines say, “Nonfiction, true crime accounts featuring lawbreaking couples who have joined forces to commit crime. These couples can be married, domestic partners, or lovers. Stories can take place anywhere in the world and be from any time period. I’m interested in material covering a wide range of criminal activity. First-person accounts are especially welcome from writers with a connection to their cases. Add something new to the story, a different viewpoint or angle. What makes these people tick?”
The submission deadline is 15 February 2021 for this theme. 
— Crimes of Passion, Obsession & Revenge: Their guidelines say, “Nonfiction, true crime accounts of individuals who have resorted to criminal means because of love, passion, obsession, jealousy, betrayal, etc. Stories can take place anywhere in the world and be from any time period. Material can cover a wide range of crimes. First-person accounts are welcome from writers with a connection to their cases. Tell us something new, offer a different viewpoint or angle to the story.” The submission deadline is 1 October 2021 for this theme.
Pay is $130 for both anthologies. Details here.

Prairie Fire: For the Love of Animals
This Canadian magazine is accepting creative non-fiction (up to 5,000 words), as well as fiction and poetry on the ‘For the Love of Animals’ theme for their Spring issue. Their guidelines say, “Maybe more than ever, especially since the pandemic uprooted our normal lives, people have been turning to animals for comfort and joy as a way to reduce the anxiety many of us are feeling from isolation and disconnection. In North America, fostering and adoptions have risen dramatically over the past eight months, as people discover or re-discover the unconditional love gained from our relationships with animals.

At the same time, we’re taking greater refuge and solace in nature, where we might observe the flight of birds, or notice animals we’ve never seen before, in places we’ve never seen them before. Social media outlets saw a surge in photos and videos of animals re-wilding urban spaces. In times of crisis, we’re finding these images grounding, visions of hope. Whether domestic, or wild, animals have often been our saving grace, and we’d like to recognize their tremendous value and contribution.” Pay is CAD0.10/word, up to CAD250 for prose. The deadline is 4 December 2020 for this theme. Details here (theme details) and here (pay rates).

The Fuller Project: Issues that affect women
They are looking for freelance pitches on issues that affect women in the US, and globally. Their guidelines say, “While we may commission a story if it is especially intriguing, for the most part, we are looking for nuanced pitches around timely moments. In the latter half of 2020, that means we are looking for coronavirus or public health-related stories, stories about racial and social justice and in the US, politics and election-related pitches. We are also always looking at stories around gender based violence, trafficking, the climate crisis and reproductive healthcare. 
We are primarily interested in stories that will raise awareness and/or could spur accountability.
But it’s not enough for a story source or character to be a woman. What is the clear angle centred around women? …
If your reporting has relevant data elements or an investigative element, that is a plus.
We are not looking for profiles, essays, breaking news, or op-eds.” They pay competitive rates. See guidelines for further details of what they want in a 500-word pitch. Details here.  

The Breakdown Mag: Men’s Mental Health
The Breakdown, a new magazine on mental health, is looking for pitches on men’s mental health content. They pay £80-100 for columns and are especially interested in hearing from BIPOC and disabled men. Details in the Twitter thread here. The magazine, which will launch on 1 December 2020, is also looking for other types of mental health content – and see The Breakdown’s Twitter here.

Experience Life: Keep it Simple; The Food Issue; Reach New Heights
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. While pitching, please keep in mind that they begin planning issues six to seven months in advance of the publish date. Here are a few themes in their editorial calendar for 2021:
– April 2021: Keep It Simple. Their guidelines say, “It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the array of “solutions” for banishing old habits or reaching your healthy-living goals. But change doesn’t have to be complicated. These concepts can help shift your mindset and clear the way for lasting progress.”
— May 2021: The Food Issue. Their guidelines say, “Food is about more than what we put in our bodies. In this year’s guide to healthy eating, meet health-conscious chefs and foodies, get motivated to grow and cook your own food, learn why food connects us, and more.”
June 2021: Reach New Heights. Their guidelines say, “As you start to plan for making the most of summer, get ideas for moving outside, expanding your horizons, and setting goals that push you out of your comfort zone. Because that’s where the real growth and change happen.”
They have several other themes listed. Details here (writers’ guidelines) and here (editorial calendar).

MetroOpinion: What It Feels Like series
MetroOpinion UK’s editor for the ‘What It Feels Like’ series is looking for strong, relevant, first-person pitches. According to the Twitter thread, “Essentially, the series not only shares one person’s moving story but also the details and emotions entwined within it, which allows readers a true insight into a life-changing experience.” See the Twitter thread and the website for links on past examples of this column (including ‘What it feels like … to witness a murder’). Writers from outside the UK are fine, but they must have some sort of universal theme. The editor’s contact details are in his (Twitter) bio; the thread calling for pitches is here.

Understorey Magazine: Laughter
The magazine only accepts submissions from women and non-binary writers who have a close connection to Canada. They are accepting creative non-fiction (personal essays) on the Laughter theme.
Some theme suggestions on their website are: “Using humour to build resiliency through times of uncertainty, fear, anxiety, and anger; Negotiating gender and cultural expectations of what is “acceptable” laughter and humour; Being the subject of unwanted laughter; Working in professional and amateur comedy (& confronting the gender gap in pay, stage time, and bookings); Celebrating laughter, humour, and comedy as sites of resistance, power, and hope; Other ways we use humour and need laughter in our lives.” They also publish fiction and poetry, as well as artwork. The deadline is February 26th, 2021. Pay is CAD150 for writers and CAD75 for artists. Details here.

Fabulous: Life Story section
The deputy features editor of UK-based Fabulous magazine tweeted a call for pitches, “On the lookout for more amazing real life features for Fabulous mag’s Life Story section. We want must-read stories told in a female voice (about UK women!), with great pics. Recent ones they have published include: ‘My toddler is an Instagram influencer’; ‘I’m Britain’s strongest woman’; and ‘I saved a stranger’s life’. Case studies must be ID’d and they would like women who haven’t spoken to mainstream media before. Pay is £350 for 1,000 words. Details in the Twitter thread here.

HelloGiggles: How I Bought That
HelloGiggles is looking for pitches for their lifestyle series How I Bought That, which focuses on big or unique purchases. Pay is “around $100”. Details in the Twitter thread here.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Preteen Soul; Teenage Soul; Black Women; and other themes
They publish true-life stories and poems based on themes. Send work of up to 1,200 words. — Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul; Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul: These two callouts are for writers under 35, for true stories and poems. They are looking for submissions for the 20th anniversary editions of Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul, as well as for Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. Some suggested themes for these volumes are: Dealing with the pandemic – how COVID changed your life; Zoom schooling or home schooling; Dealing with tough stuff – being teased or bullied or confronting the bully; Acts of kindness; Embarrassing moments and funny stories; Sibling relationships; Learning to be comfortable in your own skin; Divorce and remarriage – blended families and fitting in; Being an immigrant; Having a disability or being different. The deadline is 15 December 2020 for these themes.
I’m Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope: They want submissions from Black women, from late teens to women in their nineties, for this volume. Their guidelines say, “Share your dreams and your triumphs and failures. Write about your lives and community, which have unique challenges not well understood by others.” They want everything, from serious to silly. Some suggested themes are:
Black Lives Matter; Raising Black children in a dangerous world; Intersectionality; Traveling as a Black woman; Children’s dolls and toys; Police brutality, fear; Institutional racism, redlining, stereotypes; Inequity and barriers, including voting; Dating and romance — the good, the bad, and the crazy; Humorous stories; Managing finances — budgeting and investing for yourself; Girls and women in sports; Volunteering and giving back. The deadline for this theme is 15 January 2021, but they will begin accepting submissions as they come in, so it is best to submit early.
They also have other themes listed with later deadlines, namely – Angels; Cats; Christmas Stories; Counting Your Blessings; Eldercare; and Tough Times. Chicken Soup pays $200 for each accepted submission. Details here (theme details/book topics – scroll down), here (guidelines), and here (submission portal).

Bright Wall/Dark Room: The Best of 2020
They publish essays on movies and TV series, and they’re reading now on the ‘The Best of 2020’ theme. Their guidelines say, “For our January issue, we’ll be highlighting the best movies and TV that 2020 had to offer. We fully appreciate that the words “Best of 2020” might well sound like a contradiction in terms; this year has been tough on just about every level for just about every one of us, and it’s radically altered the media landscape. Yet for all its disruptions, 2020 has been chock full of movies and TV that have entertained, provoked, inspired, and comforted us, and the extenuating circumstances have offered a valuable chance to reevaluate how we relate to stories and how they relate to our world. Art, as Stephen King once put it, is a support system for life, and we’ve rarely needed that support more urgently.” They publish critical essays between 2,000-4,000 words, though they also publish in other, longer formats. Pay is $100, and the deadline for this theme is 7 December 2020. They are also accepting unthemed submissions. Details here.

Huellas: Inertia
This is a narrative longform non-fiction magazine and they take submissions from emerging writers with Indigenous and/or diasporic roots in Abya Yala (the Americas). Texts can be in English or Spanish; currently, they are looking for pitches of up to 250 words on the Inertia theme, for their second issue. Final word count is 3,500-5,000 words. Their guidelines say, “For better or worse, the pandemic has replaced our mundane understanding of inertia with a more acute sense of what it means to survive each day without knowing what the future holds, what will compel us to change. In other words, the unknown and the familiar have merged into a singular reality. For the second issue of Huellas, we are interested in stories of inertia within this context. What does it mean to confront, adapt, or even submit to larger forces at work? Be they structural, discriminatory, idiosyncratic, familiar, unexpected, inscrutable, and so on.” Pay is $250. The deadline for pitches is 15 December 2020. Details here

Bookhug Press: Good Mom on Paper
Good Mom On Paper is a collection of essays that will explore the “fraught, beautiful, painful, and complicated relationship between the creative process and motherhood. The book will gather multiple viewpoints from a wide variety of diverse writers and thinkers, examining what systems are in place that prevent mothers from personal expression and success, looking at what systems nurture them, and asking how we can better support and celebrate mothers’ creative work. … How does motherhood disrupt the creative process? How does it enhance it? Do children ultimately halt or expand our ability to produce art and promote it—literary, or otherwise? How does the creative world accommodate mothers, if at all?” They want essays from self-identified mothers of all kinds, at all stages of life, career, and parenting, and who are interested in exploring motherhood and art creation in all its many incarnations, both positive and negative. They are looking for pitches (up to 500 words) as well as completed essays (2,000-5,000 words). Pay is $200. The deadline for pitches is 15 December 2021; for completed submissions, the deadline is 15 February 2021. Details here.

The Old Schoolhouse: Rescue Careers and Volunteering for Community, and more
This is a magazine for homeschoolers and they are currently accepting queries for their Summer 2021 issue. The themes for features are: Rescue Careers and Volunteering for Community. Hometown Heroes. High School Age Homeschoolers or Grads Going into Service Careers Which Impact Community. There are several other themes listed, including:
— Unit Studies and Lesson Hacks Focusing on Math;
— Virtual Careers for At-Home Moms, Working from Home and Homeschooling Simultaneously. How to Become a Virtual Assistant. Selling Ads in a Homeschool Magazine (Real Stories);
— Drowning in Busy Work? Hacks & Helpful Ideas Not To;
— Staying Sane When Your Kids Are Constantly Bickering. Character Training. Teaching Siblings to Love Each Other and Get Along;
— Grandparents Who Homeschool;
— Back to School (Planning, Supplies, Curriculum).
They will also publish two resource guides: Higher Education: Colleges, Universities, and Career Training; and Back to School: Planning, Supplies & Curriculum. Article submissions deadline is 28 February 2021 (they will close to pitches sooner than this date). There are also themes for other issues listed. Details here.

Cricket Media: Faces Magazine – It’s a Small World; Alaska
Cricket Media’s Faces magazine is for children ages 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. They publish feature articles – in-depth non-fiction highlighting an aspect of the featured culture, interviews, and personal accounts, supplemental non-fiction – subjects directly and indirectly related to the theme. They also publish theme-related fiction, activities, and puzzles and games. They have a few themed calls listed, including the following. They want queries only (see guidelines), no unsolicited manuscripts.
— July/August 2021: It’s a Small World. Issue will highlight “small” places and things. Queries by 7 December 2020.
— September 2021: Alaska. Alaska became the 49th state in 1959. It is the largest state by geographic size, but is home to fewer than 700,000 people. Queries by 11 January 2021.
They have other themes listed too, with later deadlines. Details here.

High Country News: Personal essays & Perspectives
Currently, they are looking for “original personal essays & perspectives (800-1600 words long) … We publish engaging writing about the Western U.S. from diverse perspectives.” This magazine focuses on the modern American West. They also accept pitches for in-depth reportage, analysis, opinion, essays or criticism under a number of broad frameworks, ranging from science and nature, conservation and preservation, food and agriculture to environmental justice and racism, and economics. FOB stories include in-depth news and analysis. Features include investigations, long-form narrative, deep-dive explainers, or big-idea essays. The back of the book is where they explore the ideas that shape the West, through reviews, criticism and short essays. For the current call (see this Twitter thread), they will pay $0.50/word. Their general pay rates are $0.25-1.50/word. Details here (general guidelines).

StarTrek.com: Fan profiles; Holiday Traditions; Time Travel; The Wright Brothers and modern aviation technology; Homelessness; and others
This CBS Entertainment-owned website accepts pitches for essays, reported work, features, and more. There are some evergreen topics they always look for pitches on, which include timely responses to recent Star Trek episodes, interviews with one-off Star Trek guest stars, Trek related essays, personal essays that relate back to Trek, any reported work that ties current events back into Trek, deep dives, and listicles. For December 2020 and January 2021, they are interested in several themes (as they relate to Star Trek), including: Fan profiles – profiles and interviews of interesting fans;
Timely responses to weekly Star Trek: Discovery episodes (48-72 hour turnaround);
Holiday traditions (related to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Boxing Day, New Years, etc.);
Star Trek tabletop RPGs;
Time travel (fact or fiction!); Human Rights;
The Wright Brothers and modern aviation technology; Homelessness;
Convention culture;
National Science Fiction Day (January 2).
See guidelines for the full list of themes. Details here.

Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She is the author of 182 Short Fiction Publishers. She can be reached here.


We send you writing jobs.

Sign up and we'll send you 3 companies hiring writers now. Plus, we'll send more companies as we find and review them. All in our free email magazine.

We're the magazine for freelance writers.

We send you companies hiring writers.

Subscribe and we'll send you 3 companies hiring right now.

We'll also send you a guide that gets you started.

We're completely free.

Subscribe now. (It's free.)


About Us

We're dedicated to helping freelance writers succeed. We send you reviews of freelance writing companies, assignments, and articles to help build your writing career. You can view our privacy policy here, and our disclaimer. To get started, simply enter your email address in the form on this page.