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

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These magazines and websites accept non-fiction articles. There are about 28 themes for the 14 markets listed here. Some of these are: medieval communities, the science of reading, quest for perfection, superpowers, plant biology, makers on making, community, power, great wood finishes, archives, the music issue, Memorial Day, and special needs adoption. A few post deadlines for queries and article submissions but others do not, so it is best to get your queries in early. Here they are, in no particular order.
Also, look at this list for some more themes with upcoming deadlines. – S. Kalekar

Author 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.

Gay Mag: Community; Power
This online magazine is looking for essays, cultural criticism, short fiction, artwork, and photography. They publish weekly. They are looking for work on two themes.

Community: Their guidelines say, “What does it mean to be part of a community? How do we live amicably with others? What happens when community fractures or falls apart? What happens when our communities fail us or when we fail our communities? What does an ideal community look like? What are your visions for utopia/dystopia? How has popular culture dealt with the idea of community in ways either good or bad? We are looking for smart, engaging essays about the nature of community.” The deadline for this theme is 16 December 2019.

Power: Their guidelines say, “What is power? What does it mean to feel powerful or to be powerful? Is it possible to be powerful and ethical? What would that look like? What does it mean to be powerless? Have you ever abused your power? What does it mean to live in a world where power is distributed so unequally and where power and wealth are often inextricably linked? We are looking for thoughtful essays that grapple with power in all its permutations.” The deadline for this theme is 16 March 2020.

They accept pitches for essays only. They will accept more of shorter work (up to 1,200 words) than longer (up to 3,500 words). Pay is $1/word. Details here.

Muse Magazine: Four themes
Cricket Media’s Muse Magazine, a discovery (science, non-fiction) magazine for 9-14-year-old readers, is accepting article pitches for some themes.

Quest for Perfection: Their guidelines say, “What is perfection (especially in math, architecture, art)? Is perfection obtainable?” Possible topics include: How does the definition of perfection change among different cultures and over time? Psychology of perfection: when is the quest useful, and when harmful? Symmetry and scale; Perfect structures in nature; The golden ratio; Perfect numbers; What to do when you’re not perfect. The deadline for queries on this topic is 2 December 2019.

The Science of Reading: Their guidelines say, “What’s going on in the brain during reading—and during the process of learning to read? How does reading affect readers and their community?” Possible topics are: How do people develop this skill, and why does it matter? What happens in the brains of readers? Learning disabilities and evidence-based teaching methods; Reading as social connection; Technology-assisted reading; Libraries over time; How are books made/visit to a book binder. The deadline for queries is 13 January, 2020.

Super Powers: Their guidelines say, “Where do fictional super powers intersect with real fields of science?” Possible topics are: The magic and science of psychic abilities; Animals’ special senses and amazing abilities; Real inspirations behind fictional comic book characters; Super heroes and genetics; Mutations and startling or unique genetic variations; Technology that gives us “super powers”. The query deadline is 17 February 2020.

Kids in Charge: Their guidelines say, What happens when kids raise their voices and take leadership roles in STEAM organizations?” Possible topics are: Citizen science projects led by kids; High-stakes student elections; Young activists; Advisory boards composed of tweens and teens; Unschooling and free-range kids; Scouts, 4-H, and other youth leadership development orgs. The query deadline is 16 March, 2020. Muse publishes feature articles (800–2,000 words, including sidebars), profiles and interviews, particularly of underrepresented STEM professionals (500–800 words), activities and experiments (500–800 words), photo essays (100–300 words), science fiction or science-focused fiction (800–1,200 words), and infographics. Details here.

The Best New True Crime Stories: Small Towns
The editor wants articles on true crimes in small towns for this anthology. The guidelines say, “Well-developed thoughtful non-fiction content that offers readers more than dry reportage. Known, lesser known and obscure cases are welcome. Add something new to the discussion, a different viewpoint or angle. First-person accounts are especially welcome from writers with some connection to the crimes. Stories can take place anywhere in the world and during any time frame. Material must be meticulously fact-checked before submission, including dates, names, locations etc.” The editor is looking for
submissions of 4,000-7,000 words, and pay is $130. The deadline is 31 January
2020. Details here.

The Scientist: Genetics and Genomics; Plant Biology

This is a magazine for life science professionals — it covers a wide range of topics central to the study of cell and molecular biology, genetics, and other life-science fields. They have a print magazine as well as an online presence and explore the latest scientific discoveries, trends in research, innovative techniques, new technology, business, and careers. Online news stories and pieces for the Notebook are generally the best places to break in as a freelance journalist. For news, they always welcome pitches concerning trends in a particular field or industry. Notebook stories typically run about 700 words and take a look behind the scenes of life science research; they tend to employ a healthy dose of narrative to tell unique stories. They welcome Opinion and Feature article ideas from those working in life science. For their January/February 2020 issue, the theme is Genetics and Genomics, and for March 2020, it is Plant Biology. Details here (writers guidelines) and here (download the editorial calendar here).

The Medieval Magazine: Medieval Communities
This is a monthly online magazine about the Middle Ages. They want articles of 750-1,500 words. As issues are released on the 10th of every month, they ask writers to submit articles for that month by the 1st of that month, at the latest. For December 2019, the theme is Medieval Communities. These include Medieval Monasticism, Mendicant orders, Confraternities, Guilds & lay communities, Convents: the religious life of medieval women, and Outliers: flagellants and unusual religious groups. Details here.

Fine Woodworking: Shop Solutions; Great Wood Finishes
This is a bimonthly magazine on woodworking, professionals and weekend hobbyists alike. The theme for Winter 2020
issue is ‘Shop Solutions’, and for Spring 2020, it is ‘Great Wood Finishes’. Their guidelines say, “We’re always looking for articles on almost all aspects of woodworking, from the basics of tool use, to stock preparation and joinery, to specialized techniques to finishing. We’re especially keen on articles about shop-built tools, jigs, and fixtures as well as cabinetry and furniture in or any stage of design, construction, finishing, and installation. Whether the
subject involves fundamental methods or advanced techniques, we look for
high-quality workmanship, thoughtful designs, and safe and proper procedures.
Our readers prefer how-to articles to profiles of individual woodworkers and
their body of work.” In addition to our articles, they a number of regular
departments, including Workshop Tips, Finish Line, Tools & Materials, and A Closer Look. Pay is $100 for each method they accept, $50 for quick tips; for Tools & Materials reviews, they pay the same as articles, at $150/page. Details here and here.

Full Bleed: Archives

This is an annual print and online journal of art and design, and they want submissions for the fourth issue, forthcoming in Spring 2020. They publish criticism, belle lettres, artwork, design, illustration, fiction, poetry, and graphic essays. For this issue they are specially interested in submissions that critique, investigate, or rely on archives of various kinds. “We seek new writing about artists working with, playing with, re-contextualizing, or elevating archival materials; art or design projects responsive to historical documents; and essays, fictions, and poetry related to the work of archiving. We would be excited to see submissions that critique the construction of narrative through objects and historical documents, or that concern private collecting, hoarding, simplifying, tidying, and the distinction between these activities. When does archiving become obsessive and pathological? What drives people to collect and organize certain objects? We would also welcome work that takes up digital archiving as a subject for rumination, that introduces us to intriguing new archives under development, or that dwells on the ethics and politics of archival practices. Are archives inherently conservative, limited, or futile? Are they treasure troves, haunted houses, or primers in the mistakes we don’t want to make again? What use are they in particular to artists and designers now?” They publish essays (up to 7500 words), and shorter, recurring columns of approximately 800 to 2,000 words. These include “Close Looks”, in which writers offer in-depth appreciations of individual artworks; “Design Futures”, in which designers propose new ideas relevant to contemporary challenges facing their discipline; “Cities”, which examines urban conditions, innovations, and tendencies; and “Studio Visit”, in which the writer visits with and interviews a contemporary artist or designer. Contributors get modest honoraria. The deadline is 1 January 2020. Details here.

Southwest: The Magazine: To Save a Life; The Music Issue

The magazine for Southwest Airlines usually publishes two works of narrative non-fiction each issue (3,000 to 3,500 words). They want a compelling tale with memorable characters, none of whom have to be famous. The stories can be personal narrative essays, profiles, trend stories (all with strong characters); they are less interested in stories about particular places unless they contain a personal angle or remarkable character. Writers should remember to keep their pitches focused on Southwest Airlines destinations or cities that are within a short driving distance. They also assign special advertising sections. They usually plan five to six months out and begin working on an issue two to three months out.

For February 2020, the theme is ‘To Save a Life Stories about people (and animals) dedicated to extending people’s lives’, and the advertisement sections are on Higher Education, and Franchises.

For March, the theme is ‘The Music Issue – A close look at musicians to watch and the craft of creating hits’, and there are three advertisement
sections, on Tennessee, Baltimore, and Franchises.

Pay for features is typically $1/word. Details here and here.

Military Officer Magazine: Six themes
This is a magazine for commissioned and warrant officers, families, and
surviving spouses of the seven uniformed services: Army, Marine Corps, Navy,
Air Force, Coast Guard, Public Health Service, and National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration. Topics of interest include current
military/political affairs, recent military history, personal financial
planning, and health and fitness. Articles use active voice, and are non-technical, with direct quotes. Features (1,000-2,000 words) are assigned six months in advance. The themes for April 2020 are Military Child Month, and MOAA Legislative. For May, the themes are Memorial Day, Military Spouse Month, NOAA Birthday, and Scholarship Foundation.

There are several other themes, including special retirement features in March and September, and a gift buying guide in November. Pay is $0.80/word for features. Details hereand here (click on ‘Media kit download’).

Brain Mill Press: Makers on Making
They are looking for emotional, radically authentic essays of 750-1,500 words to appear on Voices, their online content platform, in the “Makers on Making” column. Writers should pitch first.

This column features a different maker each month — printmakers, writers, knitters, crafters, painters, photographers, textile artists, and anyone else involved in art — with essays about their process on a particular project. These pieces delve into the psychology of making, the lessons we learn from success and (often more usefully) failure, and what it is to be a human authentically and emotionally involved as a maker in our world.

They exclusively invite submissions from people of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ writers.

Other interested writers for Voices can also pitch them and they will consider these pitches on a case-by-case basis depending on the response to the original call. There is no deadline given. Details here.

Adoptive Parents: Living in Open Adoption + Children’s Health;
Special Needs Adoption + Travel

This is an online magazine for parents before, during, and after
adoption. They provide adoption parenting advice and real families’ stories. There are some topics they always welcome articles and essays on, including: Deciding to adopt; Infertility; Navigating the adoption process and expectant mother match; The adoption wait, from both practical and emotional angles; School & education; Family, friends, and community; Older child adoption; Single parent and LGBT parent families. They also have columns. It takes 8-10 weeks for them to respond to a submission.

Writers of personal essays will receive a one-year subscription to the magazine, which includes a one-year membership to adoptivefamilies.com.

Payment for reported articles varies.

In January 2020, the issue focuses on Living in Open Adoption + Children’s Health and inFebruary, it will focus on Special Needs Adoption + Travel. There are several other themes listed. Details here and here.

Creation Illustrated: Spring 2020
This is a Christian nature magazine. 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 one – Light and energy for the Spring 2020 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 next Spring issue, the deadline is 1 January 2020. Details here.

On The Water: Boat Owner’s Special; Spring Preparation They welcome article, photo, and art submissions about freshwater and saltwater fishing throughout the Northeast.

Features (1,500-2,500) range from instructional “how-to” stories to essays, anecdotes, conservation and more. They are interested in stories that address all aspects of fishing and boating, from design to navigation and electronics. They are also interested in offbeat material, including history and fiction, but such topics require exceptionally entertaining or interesting material and strong writing. Departments include In The Wake (New York/New Jersey, 600-1000 words) – a lighter or reflective look at the fishing lifestyle, including but not limited to humorous observations and stories of years gone by, and Lure of the Month (800-1200 words) – profiles on fishing lures, new or old, including the history of the lure and lure maker, how it is made, how it is fished, and stories of personal experiences with the lure. In February 2020, the theme is Boat Owner’s Special and in March, it is Spring Preparation. here are several other themes listed. Details here and here.

New Mexico Magazine: Best of New Mexico
They want article ideas about New Mexico experiences, with opinionated storytelling and a first-person point of view when appropriate. The story should capture a place in such a way that readers are inspired to follow in the writer’s footsteps. Therefore, they need to be about things their readers could (conceivably) do right now. For example: What’s it like to spend the night at a wolf sanctuary near Gallup? How does a person go about attending a bona fide mountain man gathering in the 21st century? Where are the best hot springs? What are the most fun small towns you’ve never heard of? They also put an emphasis on covering areas throughout the state. They want to publish a lively editorial mix, covering both the down-home and the upscale. They also want to explore the gamut of the Old West and the New Age. They are looking for writers — both in New Mexico and elsewhere — who are adept at establishing a theme then sustaining a story with fresh eyes and true insight. The theme for the January 2020 issue is Best of New Mexico. There are several other themes listed. Pay is $0.35-0.40/word. Also see guidelines for photographers and multi-media contributors. Details here and here.

Author 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.


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