Whatever that experience is, it should offer insight into an ongoing and relevant cultural conversation for readers.
Personal essays can deal with almost any topic; some to think about are money, family, food, religion, sexuality, relationships, disability, illness (mental or physical), hormones, race, body image, drugs, travel. What does it illuminate about humans and the world we live in?
Whatever you’re writing about, it should be something that matters to people right now, or something that will matter to them forever, or both.
If it doesn’t have an obvious news peg, make sure it’s clear why your idea is important right now.
But I’ve done my best to signal to you which journals state outright on their sites that they’ll pay for your work–look for the $–and which ones are equally upfront about charging fees.
If you know of a journal or magazine that’s specifically interested in flash nonfiction and micro-essays that should be added to the list, please share your knowledge (bonus points for links, too) in comments. We are open to both experimental and traditional forms, although we do not normally publish genre fiction such as science fiction or fantasy writing, or erotica.Just please make sure they are no more than 4,000 words in length. For the most part, I’ve omitted publications that specify only that submitted essays should run “no longer than” or “up to” 5,000 or 8,000 words.It’s entirely possible that the editors of these publications will welcome something more along the lines of 500 or 800 words.Since we launched in March 2016, we have published new poetry from National Book Award-winning authors like Robin Coste Lewis and Mark Doty, as well as work from emerging poets such as Solmaz Sharif, Danez Smith, and Donika Kelly, whom we’re confident you will be reading for years to come.Alongside essays and features from READER’s staff writers, we’ve published nonfiction from contributors including Jesmyn Ward, Mira Jacob, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah and Eileen Myles. We’re thrilled to work with and publish celebrated authors, but that’s only part of the story.READER’s editors also eagerly welcome incisive, beautiful essays — both personal and critical — from freelance contributors.If you’re a writer interested in submitting or pitching yours, here’s what we’re interested to see: With personal essays, we’re looking for writing with a strong voice that doesn’t just describe your own experience, but builds on it to create something deeply valuable and compelling to readers. It might be writing about something other people haven’t experienced and will be fascinated to understand better, or a discussion of something tough or taboo that isn’t talked about enough, or an aspect of your own life that sheds light on a current news story.The bottom line is that you should know why you’re writing about whatever you’re writing about. Not every personal essay needs to have a tidy ending.And writing doesn’t have to be sad to be profound; funny is great!