19 Websites and Magazines That Want to Publish Your Personal Essays

19 Websites and Magazines That Want to Publish Your Personal Essays

They’re all over your Facebook feed, and for good reason. Personal essays by popular authors and novices alike are relatable, engrossing reads.

Sometimes, their heart-wrenching reflections stay with you for days.

For reporters or academics, it can be hard to step back from research rituals and write from personal experience. But a personal essay can endear you to an audience, bring attention to an issue, or simply provide comfort to a reader who’s “been there.”

“Writing nonfiction is not about telling your story,” says Ashley C. Ford, an essayist who emphasized the importance of creating a clear connection between your personal experience and universal topics. “It’s about telling interesting and worthy stories about the human condition using examples from your life.”

But don’t worry if your life doesn’t seem exciting or heart-wrenching enough to expound upon; think of it as writing through yourself, instead of about yourself. “There are few heroes and even fewer villains in real life,” she said. “If you’re going to write about your human experience, write the truth. It’s worth it to write what’s real.”

Where to submit your personal essays

Once you’ve penned your essay, which publications should you ? We’ve all heard of — and likely submitted to — The New York Times’ Modern Love column, but that’s not the only outlet that accepts personal narratives.

“Submit to the places you love that publish work like yours,” Ford advises, but don’t get caught up in the size of the publication. And “recognize that at small publications you’re way more likely to find someone with the time to really help you edit a piece.

To help you find the right fit, we’ve compiled a list of 19 publications that accept essay submissions, as well as tips on how to pitch the editor, who to and, whenever possible, how much the outlet pays.

We’d love to make this list even more useful, so if you have additional ideas or details for these publications or others, please leave them below in the comments!

1. Boston Globe

The Boston Globe Magazine Connections section seeks 650-word first-person essays on relationships of any kind. It pays, though how much is unclear. Submit to [email protected] with “query” in the subject line.

Must-read personal essay:  “My Childhood Seizures Could Have Been Terrifying, But My Dad Made it OK” by Hillary Mullan

2. Extra Crispy

Send your pitches about breakfast, brunch, or the culture of mornings to [email protected] or the editor of the section you’re pitching. Average pay hovers at about 46 cents per word.

Must-read personal essay: Gina Vaynshteyn’s “When Dumplings Are Resistance

3. Dame Magazine

“Incisive. Irreverent. Curious. Provoctive. That’s DAME.”

If that’s you, too, send your pitch to [email protected] Aimed at women in their 30s, the publication covers politics, sex, reproductive rights, LGBTQ issues and more. Pay varies.

Must-read personal essay: I Tried to Protect My Daughters from a Stalker” By Cameron Gearen

4. The Christian Science Monitor

Have an upbeat personal essay between 400 and 800 words on everyday life, like travel, parenting, home, family, gardening, neighborhood, or community? Submit to The CS Monitor’s Home Forum. Send your completed essays to [email protected]

Must-read personal essay: “Our Animal Problem Comes Home To Roost” by Stephanie Hanes

5. Kveller

Want to write for this Jewish parenting site? To submit, email [email protected] with “submission” somewhere in the subject line. Include a brief bio, information, and your complete original blog post — you can either attach it as a Word document or paste it into the body of the email. Suggested word count: 500-800. Per a well-loved private Facebook group for freelance writers, pay is about $50.

Must-read personal essay: B.J. Epstein’s “How I’m Trying to Teach Charity to My Toddler

Not sure where to share your personal essays? Here’s your list of sites to target.

6. The Sun Magazine

Publications in The Sun Magazine have won Pushcart Prizes and been selected for Best American Essays — so if your story gets chosen, you’ll be in good company. And since the editors “tend to favor personal writing,” that I-driven nonfiction essay might just be the perfect fit. (Fiction and poetry are also accepted.)

Pay ranges from $300 all the way up to $2,000 for accepted prose. The easiest way to send your story is online through Submittable.

Must-read personal essay: “Cleaned Out,” by Barbara Ehrenreich (Editor’s note: The Sun puts its stories behind a paywall…which is why they can afford to pay their writers so handsomely!)

7. New Statesman

This U.K. magazine has a helpful contributor’s guide. Unsolicited submissions, while rarely accepted, are paid; if an editor likes your pitch, you’ll hear back in 24 hours. Email [email protected] to get started.

Must-read personal essay: The Long Ride to Riyadh,” by Dave Eggers

8. The New York Times

The popular Modern Love feature accepts submissions of 1,500 words max at [email protected] Include a Word attachment, but also paste the text into your message. Consult the Times’ page on pitching first, and like Modern Love on Facebook for even more insight. Payment is $300, The New York Times writes on its Facebook page.

Amy Sutherland’s column, “What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage,” which ran in 2006 and landed her a book contract with Random House.

Another option is the Lives column in the New York Times Magazine, which is “open to anyone with a good tale to tell.” Better yet: the submission guidelines encourage writers to “embrace your own strangeness.” To submit, email [email protected].

Must-read personal essay: “The House Where My Husband Doesn’t Exist” by David Khalaf

9. Creative Nonfiction Magazine

One unique aspect about Creative Nonfiction Magazine is their high acceptance rate of unsolicited pitches. So it’s a great stop for blossoming writers, as well as those with more experience.

To submit online, a $3 reading fee is charged to non-subscribers (and the magazine no longer accepts paper submissions). The fee ensures you will be paid if your work is accepted, which typically adds up to a $125 flat rate $10 per printed page. Read over their submission calls before pitching since each issue sticks to a theme. 

Must-read personal essay: Caitlin Dwyer’s “Inheritance

10. Slate

“Slate,” according to its own submission guidelines, “is known for making smart, witty, persuasive statements.” So if you’ve got something to say, email your pitch (not your drafted post) to the appropriate section editor.Send personal essays to [email protected]. Average reported pay is about 24 cents per word.

Must-read personal essay: Justin Peters’ “I Sold Bill Murray a Beer at Wrigley Field

11. Slice

Each print issue has a specific cultural theme and welcomes both fiction and nonfiction — and even poetry! Stories and essays of 5,000 words max earn up to $250. Review periods are limited, so check their submission guidelines to make sure your work will be read with the next issue in mind. The easiest way to send in your work is through Submittable.

Must-read personal essay: Fire Island,” by Christopher Locke

12. Skirt Magazine

Skirt Magazine is “all about women – their work, their play, families, creativity, style, health and wealth, bodies and souls.” Editors welcome pitches for personal essays of 600-800 words and give preference to Charleston-based writers. Check their submissions calendar for upcoming themes. Pay varies.

Must-read personal essay: Patricia Williams Lessane’s “Mighty Black Mothers

13. Motherwell

Motherwell is a publication that tells all sides of the parenting story. They seek parenting-related personal essay submissions of up to 1200 words. Submit a full piece online via Submittable; all contributors are paid.

Must-read personal essay:The Length of the Pause” by Tanya Mozias Slavin

14. The Bold Italic

This publication focuses on California’s Bay Area. Strong POV and a compelling personal writing style are key. Typical pay is $50 per article, though higher rates can be negotiated for “complex” pieces. Email [email protected] with the subject line  “Pitch: [Name], [Article Title].”

Must-read personal essay: “Thanks, Mom, for the Secondhand Panties”” by Linda Freund

15. Bustle

Submit essays about health, mental health, relationships, and identity to the appropriate editor at this lifestyle site geared toward women. They also are accepting pitches to their two series, Family Thread and Living With. The editors ask that you only send pitches, not full drafts. Pay averages about 10 cents per word.

Must-read personal essay: “I Snuck Into A Celebrity Wedding On Palm Beach & I Would 100% Do It Again” by Alexandra Antonopoulos

16. The Rumpus

Focuses on essays that “intersect culture.” Submit finished essays online in the category that fits best. Wait three months before following up. Payment is lean, but possible: Eligible contributors can opt in to receive an even share of the $300 budget the publication sets aside monthly.

Must-read personal essay:Not a Widow” by Michelle Miller

17. The Penny Hoarder

This personal-finance website welcomes submissions that discuss ways to make or save money. Read the guidelines before emailing your submission. Articles should be between 700-900 words. Pay varies.

Must-read personal essay: This Family’s Drastic Decision Will Help Them Pay Off $100K in Debt in 5 Years” by Maggie Moore

18.Vox’s First Person

The First Person section of Vox.com publishes personal essays “with unique perspectives on complicated issues.” Submit pitches or completed drafts to [email protected]. They are open to a variety of topics, but claim past success with pieces on parenting, relationships, money, identity, mental health, and job/workplace issues. Pay varies.

Must-read personal essay:I Was a Child of Chernobyl” by Sophia Moskalenko

19. Narratively

Narratively accepts pitches and complete pieces that tell “original and untold human stories.” Submit online in the category that most closely fits your essay, which should be between 1,500 and 4,000 words. Pay averages 9 cents per word.

Must-read personal essay: What Does a Therapist Do When She Has Turmoil of Her Own?” by Sherry Amatenstein

This post was updated in July 2019 so it’s more useful and relevant for our readers! It was originally written by Lisa Rowan and updated by The Write Life team.

Photo via Pexels

Featured resource

Essay Writing: How to Find the Story in You – and Sell It

This six-week online personal essay writing course will guide you through every step of the process, from essay idea to salable piece.

277 comments

  • Mithra Ballesteros says:

    Wow, excellent list! But no mention of Huffington Post. They don’t pay but the exposure is excellent, esp some of thei subcategories like Huff/Post50.

    • Alexis Grant says:

      Good add, Mithra!

      • Polina says:

        Are these US -only? Does anyone know of any such a range for UK?

        • Lisa Rowan says:

          Hi Polina,
          Each publication will vary, although I’ve heard that many will accept submissions from around the world!
          Good luck,
          Lisa Rowan
          Editor

          • Ms. Ngan says:

            Thanks a lot to Lisa and the writelife website.
            I’m a new writer, I’ve just finished writing a personal true life story about my mom who’s passed away in 1995. We are Chinese. I was educated in United States decades ago, still here.
            Would Write Life like to receive a small part of my mom’s story as submission, if so, how much will I get paid?!

          • Lisa Rowan says:

            Hi there,
            We don’t accept submissions like yours, but one of the publications mentioned in this post may be happy to receive your work!
            Good luck,
            Lisa Rowan
            Editor

          • Anurag says:

            Thank you so much for this information. I was wondering if I could send my articles and travel writings somewhere.

          • David Fenelus says:

            This list is very helpful Lisa Rowan and thanks. I would like to add http://www.nuwla.com if I may to this list. It’s a platform I created for regular people in the black community to submit content to inspire and inform the black community diaspora. We launched on December 15, 2015.

          • Mam I’m from India and very enthusiast to write of any topics like as essay or books.but so far have no idea where I pushed to select one of the best platform where this can get select it for all.
            As I here want to know give me email or website where I can write personally on about Nature as I topics is “Neighbour of the water”.in that title I am written about 500+words.this is based on short story so that it can published any of journal or more like I appraise or got fame…plz help me in this regard.Thanks!
            My email [email protected]

          • Arya Jha says:

            Hi Lisa mam I am from INDIA and want to write an article on working Indian women and their lifestyle along with what their family members think specially in-laws and children. Well I just want to know whether such article will be accepted if I apply in any of the INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINES.

    • Dana Kobernick says:

      Thanks for this great list, Alexis!
      Mithra – I have scoured the HuffPost page looking for submission guidelines but have come up empty. The “Send us a blog-pitch” link is not working either. Any suggestions? Thank you!

      • William Dameron says:

        I can help you out. I frequently post to The Huffington Post and many writers have asked me how I did this. I’ve written a blog post with some suggestions. It’s been successful for quite a few. Hope it works for you and if it is, let me know!

        http://living-authentically.blogspot.com/2014/08/how-to-become-blogger-for-huffington.html

        • Dana Kobernick says:

          Thanks so much for responding, William! I will take a look at your blog post and let you know if I am successful.

        • Soni Cido says:

          Thank you William…

        • Holly Helmstetter says:

          William, Thank you! I emailed the link to myself to have it handy after I’ve familiarized myself with items that made it onto Huffington Post. I’d be proud to have something of mine show up there, to get a chance to support them. I mostly write fiction novels but I’ve been published in FAMILY CIRCLE MAGAZINE (a non-fiction piece) and am not averse to opening up my market.

        • alison Figueroa says:

          I just checked out your blog. Great information. Thank you so much. I will look into this.

    • mishi says:

      Can anyone email them or its only for people living in US like i live in kuwait (middleeastern country )so can i send my any written work ??

      • Janis Couvreux says:

        Hello Mishi,
        In response to your questions about submitting to the Huffington Post, you might be interested in this link explaining how things have recently changed for prospective bloggers/contributors to the Huffington Post. http://www.carefulcents.com/get-published-on-the-huffington-post/

        I myself was invited to blog for them a little over a year ago, following an article of mine that their “blogging editor” came across in another publication. Per this link, https://contributor.huffingtonpost.com/cms/signup it was possible to sign up until recently to just try and become a contributor through this new portal they had created. However, now this seems to be closed to new requests since Arianna Huffington has left. Things seem to be evolving, so my only suggestion is just to keep tabs on it, write to editors, try and make an inroad. Frustrating, yes. Good luck!

  • Annie says:

    Thanks for the great list!

  • William Ballard says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for the list and valuable information. I will be making some pitches to these publication real soon. 😉

  • julie says:

    The Write Life continually surprises me. There’s always very informative & useful content 🙂

  • Alexis Grant says:

    Hi Julie — Thanks! I am obsessed with this post… I’m going to use it to place some pieces of my travel memoir. Kudos to Lisa for putting together such a valuable list!

    Alexis Grant
    Founder of TWL

    • Gai Reid says:

      THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU LISA! I have been searching for months for this sort of guidance. I write travel based narratives, but so many magazines are looking for “round ups” and other helpful articles, it was feeling like good old story telling was being sent to the sidelines. I think I’m now obsessed too Alexis! Time to get pitching.
      Good luck everyone.

  • Hattie says:

    To add to the list: Creative Nonfiction! We’re always reading and often are looking for personal essays on specific themes. We’re just about to announce some new calls for submissions. https://www.creativenonfiction.org/submissions

    • Alexis Grant says:

      Thanks so much for this idea, Hattie! (P.S. Love your name — that’s one that runs in my family!)

    • Lisa says:

      Ooh, another good addition. Thanks for chiming in!

      • Lucinda says:

        hi Lisa,

        my name is Lucinda and I am 10 years old. I am a Passionate writer an I can tell anyone that finding websites that I can post my stories on can take me months but now you have posted these websites I can finally find the perfect website to post my stories on
        so from the bottom of my heart I thank you Lisa
        thank you

    • angela says:

      It’s worth mentioning that there is a $25 fee to SUBMIT to Creative Nonfiction. I know it’s a reputable magazine and many writers would love to be included in their fine collection of personal essays, but I find this fee offensive. There are many of us writers willing to write and submit for free for the exposure alone but to have to PAY to even be considered? Shame on them.

  • Joshua Lawson says:

    Helpful list! Thanks, Lisa.

  • Sabita says:

    This is such an awesome list, particularly because it’s well-supported by sample essays against each publication.

    Just today, i put my personal story to pitch as a guest post, and here i’m with such a wonderful list.

    I just loved it Lisa. Thanks for putting it all together.

  • Janet Singer says:

    Great suggestions. Thank you! I’m trying to get the word out about my upcoming book, Overcoming OCD: A Journey to Recovery, and essays are a great way to do that!

  • Sereena Assih says:

    Thanks for this list, I’ll definitely pursue writing a personal essay. I’ve got some ideas that I’d like to develop.

    I’m from the UK and you mentioned The New Statesman, do you know of any other British sites that accept personal essays? Or do you think a US site would give me a chance?

    • Lisa says:

      Don’t limit yourself when submitting—if sites or pubs want writers from a certain location only, they should specify in their submission guidelines. Especially in our technological state of being able to work from around the world, your location shouldn’t be an issue!

      • Sereena Assih says:

        Thank you for the encouragement.

      • rossana parsons says:

        Hi Lisa,
        Loved your article. I am looking for an outlet that would accept a piece I’ve written concerning a right-leaning political view of things. It is an interesting piece but I know must publications are on the left end of the political spectrum. Any ideas?

        • Heather van der Hoop says:

          Thanks for your question, Rossana. I don’t know of any outlets off the top of my head, but many are interested in diverse ideas and opinions, so I wouldn’t write off all the publications on this list. Another option would be to ask the members of our Facebook community — they may have some ideas!

          Heather
          TWL Assistant Editor

          • Lorri Cotton says:

            Rossana,
            If you write conservatism-based pieces, the perfect place for you is http://www.conservativepushcoalition.com
            They are a brand new website that is less than 3 months old and they already have 250,000/day, and it’s growing rapidly. They don’t pay for the first 10 articles, but after that, they do. We are always looking for more like-minded writers to join us. Find us on at Conservative Push Group and one of the editors/staff will direct you on how to get started. The site primarily supports Ted Cruz, but that’s only one facet. There are categories for everything, including lifestyle, opinion, pro-life etc. Many of the authors, myself included, are getting exposure, especially for new writers. The writing on the site is exquisite and we are all like a family. Come on by and check us out. I can’t wait to see what you submit. 🙂

    • merilyn pepito says:

      Dear Rossana:
      try Pick – Me – Up Magazine. They have a digitized version, too.

  • Margery says:

    Your list was very helpful-thanks!

  • Julie J Severson says:

    Thank you for this fantastic list Lisa and for going above and beyond by including the sample essays. This is a very valuable post.

  • Jeff Peterson says:

    Hello,

    I’m not quite sure if I’m here in the right forum (but since I’m here, I may as well continue!)

    I’m fairly new to ‘online’ writing (I have a total of 10 articles submitted and published online, through 3 different sites). At some point in time here, though, I hope to bring my writing to a bit of a ‘higher’ level.

    I have a cousin that has had quite a colorful history in employment, and life in general, and I am pondering writing about some of these events. He has been an underwater welder (and had gotten the ‘bends’ at one time); he’s been a logger here in the rugged U.P. of Michigan (and still does this in his “off” time), and is an airline pilot at Spirit Airlines now (current, but pretty much in the retirement side of his career).

    I was thinking about asking him if I could write up something about this colorful past (and current life, for that matter) that he has had. Can you offer any ideas or advice about this?

    Any help would be appreciated. I don’t really know where I want to go, or can go, from this point.

    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,

    Jeff Peterson

    • Lisa says:

      Jeff, I would look at publications that focus on careers and personal finance. I’ve written a few pieces for The Billfold, which is anything-goes when it comes to jobs, making ends meet, interesting careers, and so on. I always find myself chuckling at The Billfold, too.

      It sounds like he’s done a bit of traveling to participate in these lines of work, so you might consider travel sites or regional publications. Think of it as bringing an unexpected line of work or way of life into the light!

      Good luck- sounds like fun!

  • Jee Ann says:

    There’s also Global Comment, where they accept a lot of different articles, including personal essays. They pay $50 for featured posts.

  • Adina says:

    Helpful list! I would add medium.com, it has great stories!

  • Karin says:

    Also, the Guardian has “The One That Got Away” – “Do you have one that got away? Send your story of lost love to [email protected] and we’ll publish the best.” http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/23/the-one-that-got-away-david-sedaris

  • Gloria says:

    awesome list. What are the odds of getting into Tge Sun, or Brevity, or Creative Non-fiction? This is a great place to start. Thank you.

    • Heather van der Hoop says:

      I’m not sure of the odds, Gloria — but if I find a resource, I’ll share it here!

      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

    • Lisa says:

      Gloria,
      I would encourage you not to worry about the odds- just submit! I once mentioned that I was looking for “smaller” or “more niche” places to pitch than some of my favorite, big-time websites. A colleague asked me what I had to lose by pitching the “big guys.” I didn’t have an answer for her. 🙂
      Good luck,
      Lisa

  • FRED J ABARHAMS says:

    You might want to add “Ducts.org” to your list. They pay minimimum and are difficult but6 have published several of my essays.

  • William Dameron says:

    Boston Globe Connections pays $500. I published there in August 2014. Great experience with the editor.

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2014/08/16/can-you-should-you-consumed-with-how-you-walk/myU419WZBhWKAekuKFwsrI/story.html

    • Heather van der Hoop says:

      Thanks for sharing, William!

      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

    • Carol Weis says:

      Hi William ~ I just submitted a piece to Veronica Chao at the Globe for the Connections column. How quickly did she/they get back to you after submission?

      • William Dameron says:

        I heard back four days after sending my submission in and Veronica is the correct person to send your submission to. What I loved was the custom artwork that goes with your piece. Good luck!

        • Carol Weis says:

          Thanks, William! I sent it four days ago, but know she just got promoted to Editor of the Sunday Magazine, so I’m hoping her response-time was pushed back and that I’ll still hear from her. I read your Connections piece. I can see why it was accepted. Wonderful writing and such a fresh idea!

    • bright says:

      hello william, thanks for your post. I’ve a piece i’ll love to send to Global connection but i don’t know how to start because this is my first and i want to make it right. Can u help me pls.
      Cheers!

      • William Dameron says:

        Not sure exactly what you are looking for in terms of help. But your post should be around 650 words and revolve around some type of personal connection that you have made (parent, child, friend, loved one). Send it to [email protected] and just include a brief bio. Best of luck!

  • Burns the Fire says:

    Fantastic list and resource. Thank you!

  • Val says:

    We are always looking for great writers as well at BonBon Break. http://www.bonbonbreak.com/submissions

  • Maria Ashworth says:

    I just finished a personal essay. Thank you for the super list. I love the other magazines chiming in with a call for submissions.

    • Heather van der Hoop says:

      We’re happy to hear from other magazines as well — it’s great to see so many options for personal essays! Good luck with your submission!

      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

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