35 Themed Calls for Submissions for September 2019

There are 35 themed non-fiction submission topics in 15 magazines and websites listed here.

Some of the themes are: Winter, Feet!, The Future of Cars, People Trends at Work, I Scream for Ice Cream, Independent Publishing, Lovin’ Latex Foam, Halloween (and Thanksgiving) Decorations, Crafts and Recipes, Travel Planning and Cruising, Armor — Celebrating Fashion, Couture, and the Style Journeys of Queer & Trans People of Color, Artwork Biography, and NeoNoir.

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

Broken Pencil: Winter
This is a Canadian magazine of culture and the independent arts. They are always looking for writers for these columns: Pencil Sharpener, up to 400 words short reports on cultural events, personalities, zine gatherings etc. Examples are a launch of a comic anthology in Montreal, a zine fair in Medicine Hat, a guy who runs an art gallery out of a suitcase in Saskatoon. Ideally these are no longer than 400 words. Features, 1,000-3,000 words — long, well researched articles on the subject of indie/alternative culture. Could be a profile of an individual or event, could explore a trend or new development etc.; Folio, 2-4 pages — in which an artist or zinester or designer does whatever they feel like. A strong visual element is required here, preferably a marriage of words and text. Pay is CAD30-300. They are currently reading for their ‘Winter’ issue and the pitch deadline is 15 September 2019. Details here.

Muse Magazine: Feet!; The Future of Cars
Cricket Media’s Muse Magazine, a discovery (science, non-fiction) magazine for 9-14-year-old readers, is accepting article pitches for some themes, including ‘Feet!’ and ‘The Future of Cars’. They publish feature articles (800–2,000 words, including sidebars), profiles and interviewsparticularly 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.
Feet! Their guidelines say, “What’s the purpose and function of feet—for both humans and other species?” Possible topics are: What’s the point of the pinky toe? What do shoes do? Earliest shoes/socks; Big toe evolution; Vestigial feet and missing feet; Feet and habitats; Species such as gecko, tapir, basilisk lizard. They want queries on this theme by 16 September 2019.
The Future of Cars: Their guidelines say, “How is the experience of driving changing? What do engineers need to think about when developing driverless vehicles?” Possible topics include: Hybrid and electric vehicles; Inside the development of self-driving cars, including pros and cons and ethics; Car sharing; Ride hailing apps; Electric bicycles and scooters; Flying taxis; Drone deliveries. The deadline for queries on this theme is 14 October 2019.
Details here.

ASK: I Scream for Ice Cream
This is Cricket Media’s 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 of 400-1,200 words, photo essays of 400-800 words, humor pieces of 200-400 words, profiles/interviews of scientists, inventors, engineers, and artists of  200-1,000 words, theme-appropriate science experiments, and science panel cartoons (2-6 pages). They also accept reprints. They are reading work for a few themes, including ‘I Scream for Ice Cream’ Their guidelines say, “What’s the science of everyone’s favorite treat?
Possible topics: Physics of ice-cream making; industrial ice-cream; what’s seaweed doing in there; flavors (how made, why those, regional tastes); how to keep things cold”. The deadline for this theme is 15 September 2019. Details here.

Your Workplace: People Trends at Work, The Scale of Bullying
This Canadian work culture magazine wants writers to cover the latest trends in managing/coaching, leadership, work culture and wellness, as well as share actionable advice and personal experiences about work life in Canada. Their editorial themes include (but are not limited to) work culture, managing/coaching, wellness, and leading. Their articles are about 600 words and features, up to 2,500 words. Features often address solutions to problems such as difficult bosses, high employee turnover, engagement, or new trends in the workplace. They also have profiles/best places to work. For November/December 2019, the theme is ‘People Trends at Work’ and the spotlight is on ‘The Scale of Bullying’. Pay is either a promotional byline/brief profile, or cash – CAD150-250 for short articles, and CAD400-600 for features. Details here, here, and here.

Color Bloq: Armor — Celebrating Fashion, Couture, and the Style Journeys of Queer & Trans People of Color
Color Bloq is a not-for-profit platform for queer & trans people of color. They are currently reading pitches or complete articles on the ‘Armor — Celebrating Fashion, Couture, and the Style Journeys of Queer & Trans People of Color’ theme. They publish feature-length articles and cultural critiques (1,200-2,000 words), personal essays (600-800 words), and alternative formats: interviews, reviews, round tables, etc. They also accept visual arts submissions that tie to the theme. Pay is up to $500 for non-fiction articles/essays and for alternate formats, $200 for personal essays. For visual artist features, pay is $300 to the writer and $100 to the artist. The deadline for this theme is 13 September 2019. Details here.

Critical Read: Artwork Biography
Their mission is to re-imagine critical writing about the arts, and to make art history more accessible and discoverable for the general interest reader. Their guidelines say, “We look for narrative-driven stories that combine research, reporting and analysis to reveal the hidden or forgotten history of the nonprofit arts. Our stories are grounded in fact, and place an emphasis on the people who make the arts an important part of American life. That includes the people who experience art in its finished form. Our stories emphasize that the arts are all around  us, and that we’re living in connection with art history.” They are looking for pitches for artwork biographies currently. “Our artwork biographies examine the importance of art to the way we live now. Offering a contrary take, revealing a lost history, or revisiting a controversy, they look at works of art that endured and ask, Why?  It’s an in-depth analysis of a work of art that explains art in the terms of and relating to how we live today. You can think of them as non-academic criticism aimed at the general interest reader, or as the best program notes you’ve ever read. For these stories we are particularly interested in non-canonical American artists whose legacies have not been adequately protected.” These biographies are 4,000-5,000 words, and pay is $1/word. They are also accepting themed personal essays but these have a submission fee. Details here.
Poets & Writers: Independent Publishing
This is a magazine for emerging and established literary writers. They accept both finished articles and queries. They publish four kinds of articles: News & Trends — brief articles (500-1,200 words) that keep readers abreast of pertinent information in the writing and publishing industries; The Literary Life — essays (1,500-2,500 words) on the more contemplative aspects of writing, ranging from creative process to the art of reading; The Practical Writer — advice and how-to articles (1,500-2,500 words) that offer nuts and bolts information about the business of creative writing; and features — profiles of and interviews with (2,000-3,000 words) contemporary writers who reflect the rich diversity of current American literature. Other features include articles and essays (2,000-3,000 words), frequently grouped into special sections, that provide an in-depth look at subjects of interest to creative writers, such as writers conferences and residencies, small presses, regional writing, and the distinctions of genre. For November/December, the theme is ‘Independent Publishing’ – which will showcase some of the most innovative independent book and magazine publishers in the business, as well as offer advice and guidance for self-published writers. Details here and here.

In-plant Impressions: eight topics

This magazine was formerly called In-plant Graphics. It is a trade magazine for the graphics arts industry, specifically, in-plant graphics. Articles are usually 800 words, and some features can go on to 1,500 words. They publish columns, features, and interviews. For their October issue, the themes are: PRINTING United Show Issue; PRINTING United New Product Showcase; Focus on K-12 In-plants;  Adding Efficiency with Print MIS, and Hot Products: Mailing Equipment. For November/December 2019, the topics are: Profile: Innovative Mail Operation; Ranking of Largest In-plants; and Garment Printing: Dress up you Organization. They say they do not have a large freelance budget; they do not pay cash for all articles, so writers may want to query when pitching. Details here and here.

Outside: Outsiders of the Year
This premier outdoors and travel magazine has a print and online presence. They publish articles on gear, travel, health, adventure, and culture – see here. For the December 2019 issue, their theme is ‘Outsiders of the Year – Our 2nd Annual Celebration of the Year’s Most Extraordinary Heroes and Feats; Top Ski Resorts; Holiday Gift Guide’. Details here (editorial contacts – scroll down) and here.


BedTimes: Viscoelastic and Standard Polyurethane Foams; Lovin’ Latex Foam; 2020 BedTimes Supplies Guide

This magazine focuses on news, trends and issues of interest to mattress manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as more general business stories. It is published monthly and has a worldwide circulation. Regular departments for which they use freelance contributions include Plant Management, Marketing Report, Regulatory Update, Management Issues, Cost Management and Employee Relations, Sustainability Report. They are particularly interested in stories that show mattress manufacturers ways to reduce costs and operate more efficiently. The magazine is not written for retailers or consumers. They publish the work of freelance journalists, and prefer those who have experience writing about the bedding and furniture industries or manufacturing in general and those experienced with trade journalism. They favor writers who can explain serious business issues with a lively, informative style. For October, the theme is ‘Viscoelastic and Standard Polyurethane Foams’ for November, it is ‘Lovin’ Latex Foam’ and for December, it is ‘2020 BedTimes Supplies Guide’. Pay depends on the writer’s experience, the article’s length, and complexity of the subject. Details here and here.

Working Mother: nine topics
This magazine for working mothers has a print as well as online presence. They assign work to freelancers for the print as well as online magazine. For print, feature pitches should specifically relate to the working mom, whether geared to her work, family, personal well-being or a mixture of these. For the online version, they publish features from the print magazine as well as online-only content targeting working moms of all stripes: professional, managerial, corporate, entrepreneurial, work-from-homers, service-oriented workers and more. For the online version, they assign short features to freelancers of 500-1,000 words, and pitches should be related to the working mom’s work, family or lifestyle; tip-driven, essay or listicle. According to the editorial calendar for the online magazine, for October, November, and December 2019, the topics are: Working Mother 100 Best Companies; Working Mothers of the Year; Best Companies for Dads; Top Wealth Advisor Moms; Halloween Decorations, Crafts and Recipes; Thanksgiving Decorations, Crafts and Recipes; Holiday Gift Guides, Decorations, Crafts and Recipes; Best Working Mom Bloggers of 2019; and Best New Baby Products Coming in 2020. Details here, here, and here.

Alaska: Stories; Travel Planning and Cruising
This magazine depicts and celebrates life in Alaska through high-quality stories and images of its people, places, events, and wildlife. Articles are assigned several months ahead of publication, and are accepted with or without photographs. They welcome a variety of writing styles, and accept pitches or completed pieces. Features run from 1,000 to 2,500 words. Most sections are about 800 words. The theme for their November issue is ‘Stories’, and for December/January, it is ‘Travel Planning and Cruising’.  Payment is on publication. Details here.

EatingWell: 101 Ways to Win Thanksgiving; Holiday Ingredients Cookbook
This food magazine from Meredith Corporation focuses on eating healthfully. Freelancer-friendly columns are Good Life (150-400 words) which includes Trends, Travel, and Thinking (about a controversial and timely topic related to food), and Good Health (health and nutrition studies). They also have Food Stories and Food/Culture-based Travel Stories. Their readers are interested not only in cooking and nutrition science, but also in the origins of food and social issues related to food networks. They appreciate eating culture and traditions. They cover nutrition with a newsy, science-based approach. Their November issue theme is ‘101 Ways to Win Thanksgiving’ and for December, it is ‘Holiday Ingredients Cookbook’. Pay is up to $1/word. Details here and here.


Bright Wall/Dark Room: Neo Noir
This online magazine explores the relationship between movies and the business of being alive. They are looking for thoughtful analysis and wholehearted engagement (not standard reviews or hot takes). They publish interviews, profiles, formal analysis, cultural criticism, personal essays, and humor pieces. Critical essays are usually between 1,800-3,000 words, though they also in other, longer formats.  They are reading work for the ‘Neo Noir’ theme. Their guidelines say, “Our November issue will be an exploration of all things neo-noir, that school of film and TV devoted to celebrating, revising, inverting, and in all other ways using and abusing the tropes of the classic film noir, taking aim at the dark corners of our world, and the even darker corners of our souls.

Neo-noir is a loose category of tough and cynical crime dramas that emerged in the 1960s and continue to this day, encompassing everything from the whodunnit to the heist thriller, the repulsive to the erotic.” See guidelines for a more extensive description of what they are looking for. Pay is $50 and the deadline is 30 September 2019. They also welcome pitches or unsolicited essay submissions of any length, on any film or television related topic that are unrelated to the theme issue. Details here.

Texas Highways: Holiday
This is the official travel magazine of Texas, published by the Travel Information Division of the Texas Department of Transportation. Articles should document Texas destinations for readers in the US and across the world, through descriptive and evocative language. The style should be readable and well-informed. For December, the theme is ‘Holiday’. Pay is $0.50/word.
Details here, here, and here.

Bonus — AWP: The Writers’ Chronicle
Writer’s Chronicle is the flagship magazine of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs. There is no set theme, but they accept various kinds of articles on writing. Some of their aims are to publish essays on the craft and art of writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction; represent the diversity of accomplishments and points of view within contemporary literature; provide serious and committed writers and students of writing the best advice on how to manage their professional lives; and provide writers who teach with new pedagogical approaches for their classrooms. They publish interviews (4,000-7,000 words) – no lectures, talks, or panel discussions; essays on pedagogy (2,500-7,000 words); appreciations of contemporary writers (2,000-5,000 words); and essays on the craft of writing (2,000-6,000 words). Pay is $18 per 100 words and the deadline for submissions is 30 September 2019. They accept work via Submittable as well as by post. Details here.


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