Personal Essay Magazine Submission Guidelines

Below is a list of more than 100 literary journals and magazines that publish personal essays and other creative nonfiction. Some pay. Some don't. I plan to update this list and add to it, so if I missed anything, let me know. Happy publishing!

AARP The Magazine

Adult Magazine


AGNI Online
Reading Period: Sept. 1 to May 31
No word count limit

The Archipelago

Submissions currently closed

Atlas Review
Essays no more than 5,000 words

The Austin Review 

The Believer

Black Fox Literary Magazine
Submission periods are Jan. to June and July to Dec. for summer or winter issues
Essay submissions no longer than 5,000 words

The Boston Globe
Connections column: 650-word essays
Perspective column: 800-word essays

Submissions not received between May 1 and Oct. 1
Nonfiction submissions up to 8,000 words

Brain, Child
Personal essays between 800 and 4,000 words

Essays that are 750 words or fewer

Submissions under 2,000 words

The Butter
No steadfast guidelines


Cleaver Magazine
Accepts submissions year-round

Coachella Review
Read year-round
5,000 word limit

Creative Nonfiction
4,500 word limit for nonfiction

Dame Magazine “First Person” column

2,000 words or fewer

Dirty Chai
Creative nonfiction under 3,500 words
Submission period ends 1.31.15

Not currently taking submissions
5,000 word limit

Drunken Boat  

Nonfiction submission period ends 1.1.15
5,000 word limit

Eleven Eleven
Reading period Sept. 15 to Oct. 15
7,000 word limit


Submission period is Jan. 15 to Mar. 15

Eunoia Review
Not currently taking submissions

Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction
General submission period: August 15 to November 30
8,000 word limit for general submissions

Fringe Magazine

The Frisky

Submissions accepted Sept. 1 to May 1

Full Grown People
Essays 800 to 4,000 words

Gloom Cupboard
Prefer nonfiction submissions of 2,000 words or fewer

Usually publish pieces that are 3,000 to 6,000 words
Accepts nonfiction submissions between Oct. 1 and Apr. 1

Nonfiction submissions 3,500 to 7,000 words


Hippocampus Magazine
Essays and memoirs should be no longer than 3,500 words.

The Humber Literary Review
Essays between 2,000 and 6,000 words


No word limit
Reading period is year-round

Online submissions: no guidelines. “Send whatever you want.”

Prefer essays fewer than 1,500 words

Literal Latté
Accept submissions year-round
Essays up to 6,000 words

Literary Mama

The Literary Review
Essay submissions deadline is 5.31.2015

Submissions no longer than 3,000 words

Los Angeles Times – "LA Affairs",0,992682.htmlstory
Essays: Submission word count is 700 to 900 words.

The Los Angeles Review
Reading periods: Apr. 1 to Oct. 1 and Nov. 1 to Mar. 1
Essays up to 4,000 words

The Louisville Review

Prose up to 5,000 words

Lunch Ticket
Reading period is Feb. 1 to Apr. 30
Nonfiction pieces up to 5,000 words

The Magnolia Review

The Manifest-Station
Essays up to 3,000 words

Marie Claire


Midnight Breakfast
1,000 to 10,000 words

Modern Loss
Personal essays 600 to 800 words

Monday Night New Lit
Reading period is Sept. 15 to Dec. 15
Prose up to 5,000 words

Monkey Bicycle
Nonfiction pieces up to 2,000 words

More Magazine

Narrative Magazine
Accept submissions year-round
Essays: 2,000 to 15,000 words


The Nervous Breakdown

New Pages – Call for Submissions

New York Times – "Modern Love"
Essays: Submission word count is 1500 to 1700 words.

The Normal School
Reading period is Sept. 1 to Dec. 1 and Jan. 15 to Apr. 15

Orion Magazine 
Submissions open in spring
Pieces under 5,000 words

Pacific Standard

Nonfiction submissions up to 4,000 words

The Pinch Literary Journal
Accept submissions between Aug. 15 and Mar. 15
Creative nonfiction no more than 5,000 words

Reading period is June 1 to Jan. 15 for journal submissions.
Nonfiction fewer than 6,000 words

Post Road Magazine
Submission periods are Feb. 1 to Apr. 1 and June 1 to Aug. 1

A Public Space
Submissions accepted from Sept. 15 to Apr. 15

Put A Egg On It

Review Review

Revolution House
Submissions currently closed

Ricochet Magazine
Submissions currently closed

River Teeth
Submissions are accepted Sept. 1 to Dec. 1 and Jan. 1 to May 1

Role Reboot
Essays between 600 and 1,200 words

Pieces are 800+ words

Rosebud Magazine
Accept submissions year-round

The Rumpus
Essay submissions of any length

Reading period is Sept. 1 to Apr. 30


Santa Monica Review

Features are 500 to 1,500 words

Essays 800 to 1,100 words
Accept submissions year-round

Next reading period is Jan. 1 to Mar. 1 (Theme: “Desire”)
Maximum word count is 5,000

Small Print Magazine
Submissions up to 8,000 words

Sonora Review
Submissions accepted from Sept. 1 to May 1
Pieces under 10,000 words

So to Speak
Reading periods are Aug. 20 to Oct. 25 and Jan. 1 to Mar. 15
Essays up to 4,500 words

Southern Humanities Review
Reading periods are Aug. 1 to Dec. 1 and Feb. 1 to May 1

Star 82 Review
Pieces up to 1,000 words

Pieces 1,500 to 3,500 words


The Sun
Word count: under 7,000 words

Sundog Lit
Nonfiction contest deadline is Jan. 1, 2015
Essays should not exceed 3,000 words.

3:AM Magazine

Teen Vogue
Pitches to
Pieces 700 to 2,000 words

Tin House
Submissions accepted Sept. 1 to May 31
Deadline is Mar. 15, 2015 for “Theft” theme
10,000 word limit for essays

The Toast

Under the Sun
Short essays
Reading period is Aug. 15 to Jan. 2

Essays 2,000 to 6,000 words

Word Riot
Accept full-length personal essays (1,000 to 6,500 words) and short nonfiction pieces (650 words or fewer)


The Yearbook Office

Accept submissions Jan. 1 through May 31 and Aug. 1 through Nov. 30
No maximum word count

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 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 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 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 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 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”

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 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

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 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 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

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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