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

Filed Under: Freelancing
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  • Ramon Estrada says:

    I’m a post writer. I’ve written some articles of interest. My interest is submission; how, where? I have no interest on all types of advertisement; therefore, a direct submission e-mail would be appreciated. I know my writing potential and my articles have always been published with positive comments. The newspaper I used to write for has folded.

  • Ambar Januel says:

    Thanks for sharing! We also accept article submissions: http://www.janueljohnson.com/submit-an-article

  • David says:

    Points in Case publishes comedy articles at http://www.pointsincase.com/submissions

    They’ve been very receptive to my offbeat and weird ideas. But I think they also do lists and stuff.

  • Mary Ellen Collins says:

    Has anyone had any luck with Dame magazine?
    I followed their query directions and queried on March 9. Sent a follow-up on May 3. No response at all. So frustrating!

  • Batches Of Beauty says:

    Thanks so much for this list! I’m definitely going to look into some of these as I’m looking to branch out and write for other publications rather than just my own blog.

  • Vipin Kaushal says:

    Thanks so much for this Great list!

  • Mary M says:

    Media.com accepts articles.

  • Janice says:

    We also just established an online publication for short stories and advice column. Pooling writers now at starvedforlove.com

  • Ramon Estrada says:

    I’m a retired writer that still wishes to write. Therefore, I need the address or addresses of publisher or publishers, nothing more, no advertisement. At the present, I’ve written an article, Heaven or Hell. Yes, it’s fictional, but all eternal powers are likewise.

  • Ramon Estrada says:

    I’m a retired writer that still enjoys writing. Therefore, I need a publisher (s), no advertisement. Recently, I’ve written an article, Heaven or Health. It deals with decisive decisions versus placement in Heaven or Hell.

  • Valerija says:

    Oh that’s an amazing list! Thank you so much! Also, do you know any magazines who publish articles about art? Thank you!

  • wan smith says:

    A good initiative to write about the magazines that are publishing personal essays. it is also easy for the students of UK universities to take ideas from such posts in order to get their essays being published. There are many top essay writing service UK available online to provide assistance to the newly emerged writers.

  • Kohinoor says:

    I like it
    Plz help me to untie my
    dormance potencial

  • Naresh says:

    Hello madam , I’m from India, I did project on ” AWARENESS ON INCOME TAX DEDUCTIONS”, I would like to send this information to publish. Is there any website to do so. Pls let me inform will they publish my project as a article??

  • Denise says:

    Empty Mirror regularly publishes personal essays. EM is an online literary magazine, established in 2000. The magazine is located at https://www.emptymirrorbooks.com and submissions can be made at https://emptymirror.submittable.com/submit.

    I’m the editor and would love to see more essays submitted.

  • Alal Mahmud says:

    thanks for sharing your knowledge to us. i am just searching this type of source to publish my articles.

  • Yasir Ashraf says:

    Thanks Lisa Rowan
    I was searching trough Google search which one is better article submission site Now i will try to published one of my site.

  • Jonathan says:

    Yes but you have to be a good analyzer in any field. It is a professional website for experts, academics and Ph.D students.

  • Kristin Feldkamp says:

    The Write Life, this is a really handy list that I’m currently using to submit my personal essays. I would love to add she-files.com. The mission at she-files.com is to provide a global platform that advances and informs public discussion about issues and topics of interest to women and adolescent girls through journalism and storytelling. In other words, highlighting stories and profiles of inspiring women. In under a year, we’ve managed to develop an active global audience of just under 80,000 followers. We don’t pay yet, but we have some impressive followers and can provide good exposure.

  • Marian Armstrong Rogers says:

    Thanks so much. Do you know of any online publications that accept previously published personal essays? I self published a memoir in end of 2015, each ‘chapter’ a personal story in itself. Have sold only about 500 copies – no blog, no website, no idea how to create a following. But have had notes from people I never met, who got my book at the local local library and were moved to thank me. I think others would relate to much I’ve written about: daughter’s suicide, daughter’s pancreas transplant, husband’s Alzheimer’s, AND, the small and wonderful Joy’s along the way that make me thankful for all (but the loss of my second daughter). I would be grateful for any suggestions. Still writing, it’s my life, whether a story is ever accepted or not, and I am so glad for The Write Life!
    Again, thanks,
    Marian Armstrong Rogers

  • Nickea Pittman says:

    Thanks Lisa. It’s a treasure for me. Keep doing awesome work. Being an academic writer, I always look for websites to publish my journals. Thanks again.

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