35 Themed Calls for Submissions (Essays, Nonfiction, Etc)

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These magazines and websites have themed calls for pitches or submissions for non-fiction; there are 35 themes for the 14 markets listed here. The themes include: adventure travel, 1984 Revisited, sanctuary, dream, fashion, food around the world, astronomy, holiday wishes, do-gooders, Christmas, and the magic of cats (and dogs). Some of them do not list deadlines, so it is best to get the pitches in early. – S. Kalekar

Delta Sky: Adventure Travel; Global Coffee Culture
This airline magazine wants expertly executed stories about travel, lifestyle, and business. For travel pieces, destinations should be a mix of domestic and international locales, and they should be of interest for a specific reason. For lifestyle and business articles, they want profiles of notable people, whether they’re actors, authors, artists, athletes, entrepreneurs or executives. There must be a good reason for highlighting that person for that month, and a new take on the person is important. They’re especially interested in profiles of people who can also be linked with a particular destination. The average traveler must know profile subjects. They have a four-month lead-time, so keep that in mind while pitching. Features range from 600–2,000 words. Departments range from 100-500 words. For October, their theme is ‘Adventure Travel’ and for November, it is ‘Global Coffee Culture’. Details here and here.

Parabola: Presence
This journal is devoted to the exploration of the quest for meaning as it is expressed in the world’s myths, symbols, and religious traditions, with particular emphasis on the relationship between this store of wisdom and our modern life. They publish essays and translations. They also publish extended reviews of books, movies, videos, performances, art exhibitions, and other current programs or events in a section called “Tangents”, which should bear some connection to the theme, though it does not have to be as direct as an article. They rarely publish fiction or poetry. Articles are 1,000-3,000 words. Book reviews, retellings of traditional stories, and Forum contributions are about 500 words. Deadline for the ‘Presence’ theme is 1 September 2019. Details here.

SubTerrain (#84): 1984 Revisited
For their 84th issue, this Canadian magazine plans to pay homage to the dystopian world that was depicted in George Orwell’s novel 1984. They will accept commentary on this theme, as well as creative work. A revisit and analysis of Orwell’s world as depicted in his seminal dystopian novel, along with other complementary dystopian works and reviews, will form the over-arching theme for their Winter 2019 issue. Their guidelines say, “This issue will also offer us the opportunity to reflect on the state of American democracy and Canada’s own rise of alt-right Conservatism.” Writers are free to interpret these themes in unique and unusual ways. There is no fee for mailed submissions. They accept up to 4,000 words for non-fiction, and pay is CAD0.10/word, up to CAD500. Deadline is 6 September 2019. Details here.

Mask Magazine: Dream
This is an experimental publication in the age of late capitalist world-weariness and their goal is to “empower young people to take charge of our future and rewrite the narratives of what we’re capable of doing together in this world.” Their areas of interest can be divided into: Self and Other; Human Migration and Settlement; Control and Rebellion; Longevity and Legacy; Ecology and Wilderness; Economics, Technology; and Innovation and Epistemology, Ontology, Ethics, Aesthetics. They are willing to experimental with article formats, and particularly like these: Personal essays about an experience, adventure, or tribulation that you learned from; Report-back from an event, project, or protest you participated in or witnessed; Studies of movements or phenomena from history, art, music, the internet, or social life; Researched or reported features on trends, technologies, social phenomenon, or subcultures; and How-to guides or tutorials. They are reading for their ‘Dream’ issue and the deadline is 23 July 2019. They do not accept fiction or poetry. Pay is $50-200 for features. Details here.

Skirt Magazine: Fashion; Do-Gooders (volunteers and fundraisers)
This is a women’s magazine for Charleston. They want Charleston-area freelance writers to contribute to their print magazine who can accept assignments for short features and profiles, and those who can pitch story ideas about topics related to women and women’s interests. They also accept pitches for personal essays. For the ‘Fashion’ issue, the submission deadline is 20 July 2019 and for the ‘Do-Gooders (volunteers and fundraisers)’ issue, it is 20 August 2019. Web contributions are unpaid. Details here.

Faces: Denmark; Food Around the World
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 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. They also accept fiction, theme-related activities, and puzzles and games (no crossword). Features are 700-800 words, and supplemental non-fiction is 300-600 words. Query deadline is 31 July 2019 for the ‘Denmark’ theme and for ‘Food Around the World’, it is 3 September 2019. They have other themes also, with later deadlines. Details here.

Boys’ Quest: Cartooning/Drawing; Rodents; Native Americans; Astronomy
This magazine for boys ages 6-13 years publishes six issues a year. They are looking for non-fiction pieces, supported by photos, on various themes including ‘Cartooning/Drawing’, ‘Rodents’, ‘Native Americans’, and ‘Astronomy’ – there are no submission deadlines specified. They are looking for lively writing, most of it from a 10-year-old boy’s point of view, with the boy or boys directly involved in an activity that is wholesome and unusual. They also accept fiction and poetry. Articles are 350-750 words and pay is at least $0.05/word. Details here (guidelines) and here (themes).

Bitch Media: Sanctuary (#85)
This magazine looks for pitches that that speak to feminist responses to pop culture. They publish features (in various formats: interviews, reported pieces, and critical essays are welcome, as are roundups and graphically driven formats like timelines, charts, and comics), cultural critiques and dispatches. For their Winter 2020 issue, the theme is ‘Sanctuary’. Their guidelines say that they are homing in on “both literal and figurative places, people, and things that offer ports in the storm and room to reflect—or that reimagine the idea of sanctuary itself.

This issue calls for out-of-the-box explorations of what it means to seek peace and find it: How do traditional and chosen families shape our understanding of love? What role can social media play in helping us shape our mental health? How do we locate places in which we can escape, disconnect, and simply be ourselves? How does pop culture help us grapple with inevitable grief? What happens when our sanctuaries no longer feel like they belong to us—or are actively taken away?” Key words are haven, asylum, shelter, retreat, community, safe space, sacred, refuge, connection, stillness, grief, stability, home, embassy, nomad, land, protection, intention, peace, fandom, family, and mourning. Pay ranges from $150-1,000 (see guidelines). Deadline for this issue is 6 August 2019. Details here and here.

Sasee: Million Little Things; The Melody of Life – Wedding Guide
They want first-person, non-fiction material that is for or about women. Essays, humor, satire, personal experience, and features on topics relating to women are their primary editorial focus. Diversity of subjects that reflect all age groups and variety of writing styles are invited. Articles should be 500-1000 words. They are currently reading for two themes: ‘Million Little Things’ (deadline 15 July 2019) and ‘The Melody of Life – Wedding Guide’ (deadline 15 August 2019). Pay varies. Details here (scroll down, see right for upcoming themes).

DeSoto Magazine: All about Fall; Outdoor Adventures; Making a Difference/Charitable Giving; Holiday Wishes
This monthly upscale lifestyles magazine is focused on stories about life in Mississippi, Memphis and the Mid-South. They accept pitches for articles about people, cuisine, history, southern culture, human interest, travel, gardening, health and the arts. Rates are $100 for essays (Reflections – 500 words), $175 for most departments (750-850 words), and to $240 for features (1,000-1,200 words). For ‘All about Fall’, the editorial deadline is 15 July; for ‘Outdoor Adventures’, it is 15 August; for Making a Difference/Charitable Giving, it is 15 September; for Holiday Wishes, it is 15 October 2019. Details here.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Six themes
They want inspirational, true stories and poems about ordinary people having extraordinary experiences. The anecdotes should be told in the first person, and have a beginning, middle, and end. They have several upcoming themes:
I Can’t Stop Laughing! Their guidelines say, “We are looking for stories about something that happened to you in your life – in your relationship with a partner or spouse, a parent or child, a family member or friend, at work or at home – that made you and the people around you laugh out loud.” Some suggested topics are: obsessions, annoying habits, embarrassing moments, and family foibles. The deadline is 30 September 2019 (extended).
The Golden Years or Second Wind They want humorous or serious stories of life after 60. Some of the suggested topics are: time for a new career, trying new things, bucket lists and adventure, the wisdom of age, new passions, and raising grandchildren… or still raising grown children! The deadline for this is 30 September 2019 (extended).
The Magic of Cats – They want stories about the magic of your cat or the magic of a cat you know. Stories can be serious or humorous, or both. The deadline is 30 November 2019.
The Magic of Dogs – They want work about all the heartwarming, inspirational, and magical stories you have about a dog and the magic that dog brings to your life or the life of your family. The deadline is 30 November 2019.
Stories About Self-care and Me Time – They want stories about self care, which is not just about physical health but includes your emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing. They want stories about how you neglected your self-care and then how you realized its importance and so you now engage in it. The deadline is 31 December 2019.
Stories About Christmas – They are collecting stories for their Holiday 2020 book and are looking for stories about the entire December holiday season, including Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and New Year’s festivities. Stories should be “Santa safe”. Some suggested topics are: holiday traditions, holiday humor, memories of the holiday season, and the love of family. The deadline is 30 January 2020.
Deadlines: Various
Length: Up to 1,200 words
Pay: $200
Details here (book topics) and here (guidelines).

Guide: Courage; Honesty; Peer pressure; Peace in the face of world turmoil; Experiences of grace; several others
This is a Christian true story magazine for 10-14-year-old readers. They do not publish fiction, poetry, or articles (devotionals, how-to, profiles, etc) but sometimes do accept quizzes and other unique nonstory formats. Each piece should have a clear spiritual element. Feature-length stories are 1,000-1,200 words and they also accept shorter pieces of 450 words and up. Stories can be about adventure, personal growth, Christian humor, inspiration, biography (query first), story series (2-12 parts; query first), and nature (query first). They have a long theme list for 2019, and some of the topics are ‘Courage’, ‘Honesty’, ‘Peer pressure’, ‘Peace in the face of world turmoil’, and ‘Experiences of grace’. Pay is $0.07-0.10/word. Details here (guidelines) and here (theme list).


Northern Woodlands: Winter
This magazine is for conservation-minded people with an interest in all aspects of the forests of the Northeast. Articles may include subjects such as woodlot management, wildlife species, chainsaw maintenance, and woodworking. They prefer receiving pitches over unsolicited submissions. Book reviews pay $50, columns range from an average of $50 to $150, and features, of 1,000-3,000 words, pay $0.10/word for writers new to the magazine. For their ‘Winter’ issue, stories are contracted by 1 August and the copy deadline is 1 September 2019. Details here.

Oprah Magazine: Coming Together… To Forgive; Coming Together… And Coming Home; Coming Together… For Favorite Things
This premier magazine, which is part of the Hearst Lifestyle & Design Group, does not seem to publish writers’ guidelines but they do have an address for submitting story ideas or to contact the edit team. According to their Editorial Calendar, the theme for their October issue is ‘Coming Together… To Forgive’; for November, it is ‘Coming Together… And Coming Home’; and for December, it is ‘Coming Together… For Favorite Things’. Details here (editorial contact) and here (themes).

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