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 contact? 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 20 publications that accept essay submissions, as well as tips on how to pitch the editor, who to contact 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 magazine@globe.com with “query” in the subject line.

Must-read personal essay:Duel of the Airplane-Boarding Dawdlers,” by Art Sesnovich

2. Extra Crispy

Send your pitches about breakfast, brunch, or the culture of mornings to submissions@extracrispy.com or the editor of the section you’re pitching. Pay appears to be around 40 cents per word.

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

3. Dame Magazine

This publication is aimed at women over 30. “We aim to entertain, inform, and inspire,” the editors note, “But mostly entertain.” Send your pitch to editorial@damemagazine.com. Pay varies.

Must-read personal essay: “I Donated My Dead Body to Give My Life Purpose,” By Ann Votaw

4. Full Grown People

Essays — 4,000 words max — should have a “literary quality.” Include your work in the body of your email to make it easy for the editor to review, and send to submissions@fullgrownpeople.com. No pay.

Must-read personal essay: “Call My Name” by Gina Easley.

5. Kveller

Want to write for this Jewish parenting site? To submit, email info@kveller.com with “submission” somewhere in the subject line. Include a brief bio, contact information, and your complete original blog post of 700 words max. Suggested word count is 500-700 words. The site pays $25 per post.

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

personal essays

6. Luna Luna

A progressive, feminist magazine that welcomes all genders to submit content. Email your pitch or full submission. There’s no pay, but it’s a supportive place for a first-time essayist.

Must-read personal essay:My Body Dysmorphia, Myself” by Joanna C. Valente

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.

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 1,700 words max at modernlove@nytimes.com. 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. Rumor has it that a successful submission will earn you $250. (Correction added Oct. 9, 2014: 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, landed her a book contract with Random House and a movie deal with Lionsgate, which is in preproduction. “I never saw either coming,” Sutherland said.

Another option is the Lives column in the New York Times Magazine. To submit, email lives@nytimes.com.

Must-read personal essay: When a Couch is More Than a Couch” by Nina Riggs

9. Salon

Salon accepts articles and story pitches to the appropriate section with “Editorial Submission” in the subject line and the query/submission in the body of the email. Include your writing background or qualifications, along with links to three or four clips.

“I was compensated $150 for my essay,” says Alexis Grant, founder of The Write Life, “but that was several years ago. All in all, working with the editor there was a great experience.” Who Pays Writers reports average pay of about 10 cents per word.

Must-read personal essay:I Fell in Love with a Megachurch,” by Alexis Grant

10. Slate

Indicate the section you’re pitching and “article submission” in your subject line, and send to slateoffice@slate.com. Average reported pay is about 23 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. 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. Submit online.

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

12. The Billfold

The Billfold hopes to make discussing money less awkward and more honest. Send your pitch to notes@thebillfold.com. Who Pays Writers notes a  rate of about 3 cents per word, but this writer would consider the experience and exposure to be worth the low pay.

Must-read personal essay: The Story of a F*** Off Fund,” by Paulette Perhach

13. Motherwell

Motherwell seeks parenting-related personal essay submissions of up to 1200 words. Submit a full piece; 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. Pay varies. Email producers@thebolditalic.com.

Must-read personal essay:The San Francisco Preschool Popularity Contest,” by Rhea St. Julien

15. Bustle

Submit essays of 800-2000 words to this lifestyle site geared toward women. Pay averages about 5 cents per word.

Must-read personal essay:Is Picky Eating An Eating Disorder?” by Kaleigh Roberts

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.

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. 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. Tin House

Submit a story or essay of 10,000 words max in either September or March. Wait six days before emailing to check the status of your submission. Cover letters should include a word count and indicate whether the submission is fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.

Pay varies.

Must-read personal essay:More with Less,” by Rachel Yoder

19. Narratively

Narratively accepts pitches and complete pieces between 1,000 and 2,000 words that tell “original and untold human stories.” Pay averages 6 cents per word.

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

Still looking for ideas? Meghan Ward’s blog post, “20 Great Places to Publish Personal Essays,” is worth perusing. MediaBistro also offers a section called How to Pitch as part of their AvantGuild subscription, which has an annual fee of $55.

This post originally ran in October 2014. We updated it in December 2016.

Have other ideas or details to add? Share with us in the comments!

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248 comments

  • 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.

      • 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.

          • 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 kumardev100@gmail.com

          • 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!

    • 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 ??

      • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

      • 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?

        • 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 facebook 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. 🙂

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

  • Margery says:

    Your list was very helpful-thanks!

  • 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 mind@theguardian.com 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.

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

    • 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?

      • 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!

  • 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

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

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