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How To Publish A Collection Of Essays

by Writer's Relief Staff | Craft: Short Story Writing , Submit A Book For Publication , Submit A Short Story Or Essay , Submit Your Writing | 7 comments

Review Board is now open! Submit your Short Prose, Poetry, and Book today!

Deadline: thursday, february 22nd.

essay collection publishers

At Writer’s Relief we are often asked how writers can get their collection of essays published, and we recommend the following tips to help essay writers approach editors and literary agents with greater confidence and success.

How can I generate an editor or agent’s interest in my book of essays?

Publication credits . If you’ve previously published essays in reputable literary journals, make sure to include these credits in your query letter . We highly recommend that you build your publication credits before approaching an editor or agent with a collection of unpublished essays. The market for an essay collection is limited unless you have significantly newsworthy experiences or have a background that proves your writing has mass appeal. Wide publication credits will help indicate readers’ interest in your work.

If you are still in the process of building credits, investigate local venues for your essays—newspapers, newsletters, etc. There are also free specialty publications covering every imaginable topic (check out coffee shops and bookstores) that may be receptive to personal essays). Start locally but aim for national exposure for the best results. If you’ve published a personal essay in a reputable national literary magazine, you’ve increased your odds of selling a collection by quite a bit.

Theme . Collections do well when they include essays with a common theme. For example, David Sedaris is best known for his humorous essays, and C.S. Lewis once published a collection of religious essays. Other themes may include women’s studies, travel, sports, or city life. Unique themes get attention—people love to read about real-life experiences that are highly unusual—but even the most outrageous stories must be backed by good writing.

Submit to Review Board

How can I find editors or literary agents who work with essay collections?

Research, research, research . Study the essay collections at local bookstores and libraries—and don’t forget to investigate the nonfiction areas such as travel, cooking, or parenting. Note who publishes these collections and what kind of essays are selling. Check the books’ acknowledgment pages for possible references to literary agents or editors.

Study book reviews and buy compilations of essays (for example, The Best American Essays ) to learn where each was published. And don’t forget about networking. Writers’ groups, college English departments, conferences—get to know fellow writers and ask questions.

Search for literary agents who welcome essay collections. You can find thousands and thousands of resources online and in bookstores. You’ll need to examine literary agency listings carefully in order to determine which are best for you. And, if you’re short on time, Writer’s Relief can help you. We maintain a database of information—current and constantly updated—to help you target your submissions more successfully. We’ve been helping writers get their work published since 1994.

essay collection publishers

Interesting, always go the independent route. Learn to believe in your own merit. Take your time when writing. Don’t get into this industry with the mindset that you are going to make copious amount of money. Frankly, the writung industry has been depreciated by too many 2nd-rate writers.

Gene Kingsburg

My essay project is “Integral Perspective Of The Human Factor In A Mechanical, Digital World Environment”. It is 14 double-spaced pages, consisting of 7 parts, an introduction, a brief conclusion, and my background. It is a positive response for thought and action in the dehumanizing trend we are living in technology, climate change, education, culture,economy, and interpersonal relations. I want to publish the essay if I can. Whether I receive any compensation is immaterial.

Farima Fooladi

Hi, I am working on editing 20 essays from different writers,they share a main event in their journey which is the theme of the collection. Do you have any advise on how to find a publisher for such a collection¿ Thank you

Writer's Relief Staff

There are a few options you have. You may find this article about querying for short story collections useful:

Also, we’ve found that submitting your essays individually and having them published in different literary journals increases your chances of getting a collection of them picked up for publication.


My essays have been published individually, but now I want them in one publication without the editor’s having edited out some of my breezy writing style!!! I write on art/artists/events such as the Medici’s at the Met Museum and just about anything I feel like writing. I am published in two online magazines and have been published in print magazines.

Isabella T.

I’ve only written one essay so far, but I’m confident that I can develop it into a “series,” so to speak. The essay was my response to a school assignment requesting a story about a tragedy or significant adversity I’d experienced and how I overcame it. I chose to write about my four-month-recent suicide attempt. The detail I went into is truly gut-wrenching, but it is my truth, and I need to live it and speak it unapologetically. I shared my essay with a few other staff members at my school, most of whom have provided me with encouraging feedback. If I were to continue the essay into a series, I would most likely focus on my mental health journey and the incredible ways in which it has impacted me. It’s always been my dream (a rather stubborn one, might I add) to write and publish a book, but I never knew I could publish a collection of essays. Truth be told, I wasn’t aware they were a possibility until very recently; a memoir and a poetry book were really the only ideas I had. But a series of essays compiled under a single main theme seems much more achievable and tolerable, especially at my age (I’m a minor). I haven’t the slightest clue how to go about making this dream into a reality, but I know for certain that I’m willing to try. As ambitious as I am, however, I can’t do it alone; I would greatly appreciate a bit of guidance from anyone willing (and qualified) to give it. I understand that I have a lot to learn – I’ve barely even grazed the surface thus far – but I believe I am fully capable. I’m young, yes; one would assume I have ample time. The hard truth? Life is short. That’s something I’ve already learned time and time again even prior to The Incident. I’ve fought this war my entire life up to this point, and I will never stop fighting it. That’s not okay, not by any means – but most things aren’t, right? As world-shattering as the truths that hide in the dark crawlspaces of Life are, they’re still the truth. They’re still my truths, still my stories. Stories I need to share with the world. There are people out there like me – more than we want to admit – and they need to hear my story. They need to see my strength to find within themselves their own. I am determined to fight as long as I must to give them that, and that fight starts with finding my own Village to help me. So to whoever may read this: if you are willing, capable, and qualified to provide advice or guidance, I ask that you please take a little time to do so, and I in turn will give you my time. Thank you to all who read this, and thank you to Writer’s Relief for giving me the space and opportunity to share.

Blog Editor

Hi Isabella,

Thank you for reaching out to us, and for sharing your journey with us.

We recommend taking a look at our free publishing toolkit. There are numerous articles about writing, publishing, finding an agent, etc.

We also think the following articles might be helpful: and

We hope these resources will help you with your writing journey.


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The Writer’s Journey: Where To Publish Personal Essays


Table of Contents:

1. what is a personal essay , 2. key features of personal essays:, authenticity: , individual perspective: , emotional connection: , 3. how to write a personal essay, choosing a topic: , organizing your thoughts: , adding details: , being honest: , 4. where can you publish personal essays, online literary magazines: , writing communities and blogs: , newspaper and magazine op-ed sections: , literary anthologies and essay collections: , online writing contests: , specialized niche websites: , 5. guidelines for submission:, 6. reading submission guidelines:, word count: , formatting requirements: , theme or topic preferences: , submission method: , rights and originality: , 7. craft an engaging title and introduction:, 8. polishing your essay:, proofreading: , clarity and coherence: , conciseness: , 9. originality and avoiding plagiarism:, 10. adhering to ethics and sensitivity:, 11. submission process and follow-up:, key concepts and profound details, conclusion:.

essay collection publishers

Just Press Play To Hear The Piece.

While no one can deny the power of personal essays, there are many reasons why you might be looking for a place to publish your own. You may have been asked to submit an essay to a contest or publication and want to know if it meets their standards, or maybe you’re just hoping to get some feedback on your latest writing project.

Whatever your reason is for Essay Publishing, book publishers New York  got you covered! Keep reading for information on where to publish personal essays and what they look like.

Personal essays are a great way for individuals to express their thoughts, experiences, and opinions on a personal topic. Whether a lighthearted tale or a heartfelt reflection, these essays give readers a glimpse into the writer’s mind and emotions.

To ensure that your essay is impactful and engaging, it can be beneficial to seek professional assistance. Ghostwriting services can help you bring your ideas to life and create a well-crafted essay that resonates with your readers. These services enable you to collaborate with an experienced writer who can transform your thoughts into clear and engaging prose.

Moreover, proofreading services can play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of your essay. These services involve meticulously reviewing your essay to identify and correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Additionally, professional proofreaders can offer valuable feedback on the overall clarity, structure, and coherence of your writing.

It’s important to find your unique voice and share your personal experiences with the reader when it comes to personal essays. However, don’t underestimate professional assistance’s impact on the final result. 

When writing a personal essay, make sure that the following key features are included in it

Personal essays are all about being true to yourself. You can be honest and authentic, sharing your genuine feelings and experiences.

Each personal essay is unique because it comes from your viewpoint. It’s your chance to share what matters and how you see the world.

These essays often aim to connect with readers emotionally. Whether it’s joy, sadness, excitement, or contemplation, personal essays can evoke various emotions in readers.

By understanding and emphasizing the key features of personal essays, writers can craft compelling pitches to attract publishers’ attention. Pitching to publishers opens doors for personal essays to be published, shared, and appreciated by a wider readership, creating opportunities for meaningful connections and impact.

For Essay Publishing, you first need to know how to write it. Here is how you can write a personal essay in a few steps:

Select a topic, akin to finding a book title by its plot, that is meaningful to you…

. It could be a personal story, an idea, or an experience you want to share. 

Plan how you want to present your story. Consider the beginning, middle, and end of your essay. You also need to plan on formatting for publishing according to the requirements of where you want to publish. When you think through all of this, the process of writing an essay further can be easy.

Use descriptive language, as detailed in how a writer can edit a narrative , to paint a vivid picture for your readers. Include sensory details to make your essay more engaging.

Be true to yourself. Don’t be afraid to share your true feelings and experiences, even if they might feel vulnerable.

When it comes to sharing your work with the world, finding the right platform is crucial. Here are various places where you can consider sharing your stories:

These websites are like treasure troves of interesting content. Places such as “The Sun Magazine,” “Tin House,” and “Narratively” love personal essays. 

They’re on the lookout for captivating stories that touch the hearts of their readers. These platforms aim to collect different perspectives and thoughts, making them perfect for your essays.

Websites like “Medium” and “WordPress” offer spaces for writers for Essay Publishing. They provide an excellent opportunity to showcase your work to a broad audience. 

Additionally, Medium has a Partner Program that could reward you based on how much people enjoy reading your essays.

Consider sharing your essays with the opinion sections of well-known newspapers like “The New York Times,” “The Guardian,” or “The Washington Post.”

These places have lots of readers and discussions. Contributing here allows you to be part of important conversations happening in society.

Some organizations create collections of essays on particular themes. Submitting your work to these collections can get your essays published in print or online, giving you exposure to a wider audience.

Writing contests hosted by websites like “Writer’s Digest”  and “The Writer Magazine” are great avenues for getting your essays noticed. 

These contests often have different themes and offer prizes, making them an exciting way to share your stories.

Depending on the topic of your essay, there are websites dedicated to specific interests. Whether about travel, parenting, mental health, or lifestyle, these platforms cater to diverse topics, providing a perfect space for your unique stories.

Submitting your essays to different platforms requires attention to specific publishing contracts , guides and practices. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown to help you ace the submission process:

Before submitting, carefully read and understand the submission guidelines and publisher-author relations of the platform you’re interested in. 

Each platform has its own set of rules, preferences, and expectations for submissions. Pay close attention to details such as:

Ensure your essay meets the specified word count requirements. Some platforms might have a specific range they prefer.

Check for specific formatting guidelines, such as font size, spacing, or file format (e.g., .docx, .pdf).

Some platforms might have themes or topics they’re particularly interested in. Align your essay’s subject matter accordingly.

Note whether submissions are accepted via email, online forms, or submission portals. Follow the specified submission procedure.

Understand the platform’s policies regarding ownership of the content. Ensure your essay is original and not previously published elsewhere.

Capturing the attention of editors or readers starts with an enticing title and introduction. Craft a title, similar to how you’d write a thank you note , that reflects the essence of your essay and compels the reader to delve deeper. 

Your introduction should be engaging, drawing in the audience and setting the tone for the rest of the essay.

Editing and revising your essay are crucial steps before submission. Ensure your writing is clear, concise, and error-free. Here are some tips:

Check for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and punctuation issues. Consider using grammar-checking tools or seeking assistance from a trusted proofreader.

Ensure your ideas flow logically and are presented coherently. Avoid overly complex sentences or jargon that might hinder readability.

Eliminate unnecessary details or repetitive information. Keep your essay focused on its central theme or message.

Maintain the authenticity of your work by ensuring it is entirely original. Avoid plagiarism by attributing sources correctly if using external references or quotes. Plagiarism can severely impact the credibility of your submission.

Be mindful of sensitive topics or personal information shared in your essay. Respect the privacy of the individuals mentioned and adhere to ethical considerations. Ensure your content does not harm or offend any particular group or individual.

Follow the platform’s submission instructions meticulously. Submit your essay within the specified timeframe, if provided. After submission, be patient. Responses may take time. If allowed, follow up politely if you haven’t received a response within the expected timeframe.

The world of personal essays offers a myriad of opportunities for aspiring writers. From online journals to renowned newspapers, the options are vast. Selecting the right platform involves understanding your essay’s theme, audience, and aspirations as a writer. 

Authenticity, clarity, and adherence to submission guidelines are paramount for Essay Publishing. Lastly, embracing your unique voice makes your essays resonate with readers across the globe.

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Dog Man and Petey face their biggest challenges yet in the tenth Dog Man book from worldwide bestselling author and illustrator Dav Pilkey.

Dog Man is down on his luck, Petey confronts his not so purr-fect past, and Grampa is up to no good. The world is spinning out of control as new villains spill into town. Everything seems dark and full of despair. But hope is not lost. Can the incredible power of love save the day?

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Philip Roth: The Biography

Appointed by Philip Roth and granted independence and complete access, Blake Bailey spent years poring over Roth’s personal archive, interviewing his friends, lovers, and colleagues, and engaging Roth himself in breathtakingly candid conversations. The result is an indelible portrait of an American master and of the postwar literary scene.

Bailey shows how Roth emerged from a lower-middle-class Jewish milieu to achieve the heights of literary fame, how his career was nearly derailed by his catastrophic first marriage, and how he championed the work of dissident novelists behind the Iron Curtain.

Bailey examines Roth’s rivalrous friendships with Saul Bellow, John Updike, and William Styron, and reveals the truths of his florid love life, culminating in his almost-twenty-year relationship with actress Claire Bloom, who pilloried Roth in her 1996 memoir, Leaving a Doll’s House.

Tracing Roth’s path from realism to farce to metafiction to the tragic masterpieces of the American Trilogy, Bailey explores Roth’s engagement with nearly every aspect of postwar American culture.

The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country

In New York Times bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub's riveting thriller, uncovering secrets in the past draws one woman into a killer's web.

On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Taking the stage after the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, Gorman captivated the nation and brought hope to viewers around the globe. Her poem “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country” can now be cherished in this special gift edition. Including an enduring foreword by Oprah Winfrey, this keepsake celebrates the promise of America and affirms the power of poetry.

The Midnight Library: A Novel

A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig's enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

Over twenty years ago, the heiress Patricia Lockwood was abducted during a robbery of her family's estate, then locked inside an isolated cabin for months. Patricia escaped, but so did her captors — and the items stolen from her family were never recovered.

Until now. On the Upper West Side, a recluse is found murdered in his penthouse apartment, alongside two objects of note: a stolen Vermeer painting and a leather suitcase bearing the initials WHL3. For the first time in years, the authorities have a lead — not only on Patricia's kidnapping, but also on another FBI cold case — with the suitcase and painting both pointing them toward one man.

Windsor Horne Lockwood III — or Win, as his few friends call him — doesn't know how his suitcase and his family's stolen painting ended up with a dead man. But his interest is piqued, especially when the FBI tells him that the man who kidnapped his cousin was also behind an act of domestic terrorism — and that the conspirators may still be at large. The two cases have baffled the FBI for decades, but Win has three things the FBI doesn't: a personal connection to the case; an ungodly fortune; and his own unique brand of justice.

The Hate U Give

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Want more of Garden Heights? Catch Maverick and Seven’s story in Concrete Rose, Angie Thomas's powerful prequel to The Hate U Give.

But with the odds decidedly not in her favor, Amelia knows this feeling can’t last forever. After all, what can?

The Lost Apothecary: A Novel

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.

Good Company: A Novel

Flora Mancini has been happily married for more than twenty years. But everything she thought she knew about herself, her marriage, and her relationship with her best friend, Margot, is upended when she stumbles upon an envelope containing her husband’s wedding ring—the one he claimed he lost one summer when their daughter, Ruby, was five.

Flora and Julian struggled for years, scraping together just enough acting work to raise Ruby in Manhattan and keep Julian’s small theater company—Good Company—afloat. A move to Los Angeles brought their first real career successes, a chance to breathe easier, and a reunion with Margot, now a bona fide television star. But has their new life been built on lies? What happened that summer all those years ago? And what happens now?

With Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s signature tenderness, humor, and insight, Good Company tells a bighearted story of the lifelong relationships that both wound and heal us.

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records. In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth. Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything. Provocative and chilling, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev features a backup chorus of unforgettable voices, a heroine the likes of which we’ve not seen in storytelling, and a daring structure, and introduces a bold new voice in contemporary fiction.

The Masters Review

9 Presses That Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts

Do you have a book-length manuscript that is ready to submit? Consider sending it to one (or many) of these nine awesome presses that accept unsolicited manuscripts. We are huge fans of these presses and are so grateful for the work that they do. So go ahead: check out this list of opportunities.

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This independent press only publishes up to three titles per year, but welcomes submissions of literary fiction and creative nonfiction. Their writers include M. Allen Cunningham, Margaret Malone, Harriet Scott Chessman, and others. Atelier26’s books have been recognized by the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Balcones Fiction Prize, the Flann O’Brien Award, and more. Check it out.

Black Balloon

This publisher is an acclaimed imprint of Catapult, an independent publisher that also offers online and in-person writing classes and fosters new and emerging writers. Black Balloon is seeking fiction and narrative nonfiction with an innovative writing style and unique voice. Their books have been featured in The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, O: The Oprah Magazine, Esquire, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Atlantic, and NPR’s All Things Considered, among others. They accept manuscript submissions via Submittable twice yearly. Read more about Black Balloon here.

Coffee House Press

This is a small press that publishes literary novels, full-length short story collections, poetry, creative nonfiction, book-length essays and essay collections, and memoir. Their next reading period opens on September 1st, 2018, and is capped at three hundred, so it’s best to submit promptly. They have published Gabe Habash, Hernan Diaz, Eimear McBride, and others. Visit the Coffee House site for more information.

Two Dollar Radio

This acclaimed, boutique press has published exceptional writers such as Masande Ntshanga, Sarah Gerard, Shane Jones, and others. Their books have been recognized by the National Book Foundation, picked as “Editor’s Choice” by The New York Times Book Review , and made best-of lists at several other publications. For more details, check out their site.

This acclaimed publishing project is looking for fiction and nonfiction written by women. They have published writers such as Renee Gladman, Joanna Ruocco, and Marianne Fritz. Each fall, they publish two books simultaneously. More information is available on their website.

Fiction Advocate

This small press focuses on publishing fiction, creative nonfiction, and literary criticism by new and emerging voices. Submissions are currently open for both book-length works of literary criticism and novels. Their books have won multiple awards and been recognized by The New Yorker, Bookforum, and NPR. Learn more about it here.

SF/LD Books

Short Flight/Long Drive Books is currently accepting submissions. They are looking for poetry collections, short story collections, nonfiction, novels, novellas, and essay collections. Their authors include Chloe Caldwell, Elizabeth Ellen, Chelsea Martin, and others. Go for it!

Pank, originally a literary journal founded by M. Bartley Seigel and Roxane Gay, is going to be publishing full-length books for the first time beginning in 2018. This press is looking for poetry, novels, short story collections, and multi-genre work. You c an submit here.

Dzanc Books

The Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction recognizes daring, original, and innovative writing with a $10,000 advance and book publication. Although the deadline for this is September 15th, this is a very worthy press to follow for yearly opportunities such as these. They have published writers such as Yannick Murphy, Suzanne Burns, Roy Kesey, and others. Learn more about Dzanc here.

by Julia Mucha

Summer Short Story Award 3rd Place: “Iron Boy Kills the Devil” by Sheldon Costa

Happy thanksgiving.

essay collection publishers

How To Publish Personal Essays – From Small Press To Collections

  • by Robert Wood
  • June 1, 2015
  • One Comment

Standout Books is supported by its audience, if you click and purchase from any of the links on this page, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products we have personally vetted. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Though they get less press than novels and short fiction , personal essays actually have one of the most welcoming markets in publishing. Dedicated essayists have a great chance of seeing some form of publication, so long as they’re willing to put the work in and understand the marketplace.

That’s why in this article I’ll be exploring the ins and out of publishing your personal essays, starting with how you can secure publication on the lowest rungs of the industry ladder, and then leading up to the anthology or collection publication of multiple essays. But whether you’re a writer of novels, plays, or personal essays, the first piece of advice will always be the same…

Read, read, read

As with any art form, there are trends in the personal essay market. It’s also the case that most publications will have preferences about things like tone, length, subject, and structure. Because of this, whether you’re writing essays in general or for a particular publication, the first step is reading as many as you can get your hands on.

Your research should be focused, however. Reading the great essays , collections by writers such as George Orwell or Oscar Wilde , is of course a good idea but the bulk of your reading needs to be targeted at the sort of publication you’re writing for.

There are many kinds of small touches, technicalities of rhythm and pace, which can only be learnt by reading good examples, but most publishers won’t just be interested in whether your work is good – they’ll be interested in whether or not your work suits their publication. The key is to study their publications relentlessly, first deliberately striving for the ‘feel’ of the work they publish and then gradually allowing it to become a natural style.

This sounds difficult, and at first it will be, but there are two facts which should make beginner essayists feel better:

  • The ability to assume a style is one which gets easier and easier with practice. The more different styles you learn, the easier you’ll find the whole process, and very quickly you’ll have a wardrobe full of styles you can slip into to suit the occasion.
  • Generally speaking, the better established the publication the less strict they’ll be about conforming to a set style. The demands on quality go up of course, but publications with existing industry and readership respect will be less concerned with the safety of conformity, and more concerned with showcasing the best of your unique talents.

It will take a while for these facts to come into play, but you should feel reassured that however difficult you find it starting out, that’s as difficult as it gets.

Reading should be a constant through your attempts to gain publication, but what you read should change according to where you are on the essayist’s pyramid.

The pyramid

The essayist’s pyramid is a way of combining the different levels of essay publication with the work it takes to move from one to the next. The pyramid basically consists of four levels. At the base are local and specialist publications, the next level up is regional publications, then national and international publications, then successful collections.

The pyramid doesn’t just represent a hierarchy; it’s a guide to progressing from one level to the next. One of the biggest deciding factors in whether a publication will consider your work is your reputation and publication history. Because of this, it’s necessary to have a lot of local publications under your belt before you contact a regional publication, a lot of regional publications before you try for national, and finally to be a frequently published national essayist before you can expect to be successful with a collection of essays.

Self-publishing gives you the ability to skip any of these steps, releasing your work to the world through blogging or e-books. While these are valid routes they’re unlikely to lead to success on their own unless you have a unique viewpoint or presentation. Instead it’s advisable to view websites as you would any other publication. Yes all websites are available to anyone, but realistically they still fall into a structure so similar to ‘local / regional / national’ that they can be discussed in the same breath. Once you have a few essays on a few minor websites you can try moving up, and keep going until there’s sufficient audience to follow you to your own online venues and digital publications.

So now we’ve looked at the route essayists can take to success, it’s time to discuss how they can get started.

Finding publications

The more local a publication the more likely they’ll be to publish you. This isn’t just a matter of circulation, but it doesn’t hurt. A sense of community + a small pool of potential talent = welcoming publishers. For the same reason specialist magazines, those which deal with a specific realm of subjects, are likely to be similarly well disposed towards your work.

Local publications can be found… well… locally. Eateries, libraries, and healthcare centers are good places to search. Established local publications, especially newspapers, will often have adverts for less well-known magazines.

If you’re working online then it’s just a matter of searching around and gauging which publications will be most appropriate for your work. Either way this approach is one which works all the way to the top of the pyramid. Regional publications will contain adverts for local ones, and national magazines are a good source for regional publications.

Each block of the pyramid stays aware of the block below (everyone wants to know where the talent is coming from), and so the more you work the more recognizable you’ll be to those you need to contact next.

The submission system

As I mentioned in my article on publishing short fiction, if you’re serious about publication then you need to establish a system where you’re always submitting and waiting to hear back about a submission.

Waiting to hear back from one publication before submitting to another is wasted time. Ideally you should have a few articles ready to go ‘out’ when you begin, then spend the time before you hear back writing more.

Every writer experiences more rejection than acceptance (mainly because the same piece can be rejected a hundred times, but only accepted once.) You shouldn’t be disheartened, but equally you shouldn’t let any necessary rejections on your road to success waste time you could spend succeeding.

Reading, writing, and submitting are a constant process. Getting published is a job, and it’s one you have to keep showing up for. Do so, though, and you can reach the achievement every essayist dreams of…

Collections and anthologies of personal  essays

‘Anthologies’ are collections of essays in which your work can be featured, whereas you can publish a ‘collection’ made up entirely of your own work.

To make it into an anthology you need to scour literary magazines for one with a theme you think you’d suit. Here the need to tailor your writing to the publication in question is more important than ever. Hang a list of their guidelines in your writing space and stick to it . Anthologies gather most of their audience based on interest in the overall theme, so deviating from it will get your work quickly dismissed.

If you’ve worked your way up the pyramid those who have already featured your work will likely be thrilled to trumpet your achievements, so if you do make it into an anthology make sure to contact former publishers. They may want to advertise your work, or even have you write something.

This is doubly the case when you publish a collection all your own, as there will be fewer other sources of exposure. Thankfully former publishers will almost always be genuinely happy to acknowledge your success, and it will also help their own prestige to be associated with a successful author. Collections are almost always the exclusive preserve of famous essayists – the kind you see week-to-week in national newspapers – but there is a healthy market for self-published collections by lesser-known but established authors, especially when they deal with specialist topics. Whether you’re a beer brewer, a trout fisher, a doll collector, or really almost any kind of hobbyist, there’s a niche for your work already waiting.

Building the pyramid

As I said before, finding some form of publication is just a matter of hard work. Moving up the pyramid you need to keep experimenting with your style and making sure that the work you’ve done on one level supports what you’re attempting to do on the next. A firm base is vital, and is the greatest tool in what have to be constant efforts to improve both your art and the places it can be found.

Above all, remember these three things:

  • Always be reading, writing, and submitting.
  • Write with your publication of choice in mind.
  • Keep building.

For more advice on the logic behind entering competitions and anthologies try Should you enter a writing competition? Or for how to build an email list, a must for writers who will be moving from publication to publication, check out Why you need to have an email list right now .

Robert Wood

Robert Wood

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The 10 Best Essay Collections of the Decade

Ever tried. ever failed. no matter..

Friends, it’s true: the end of the decade approaches. It’s been a difficult, anxiety-provoking, morally compromised decade, but at least it’s been populated by some damn fine literature. We’ll take our silver linings where we can.

So, as is our hallowed duty as a literary and culture website—though with full awareness of the potentially fruitless and endlessly contestable nature of the task—in the coming weeks, we’ll be taking a look at the best and most important (these being not always the same) books of the decade that was. We will do this, of course, by means of a variety of lists. We began with the best debut novels , the best short story collections , the best poetry collections , and the best memoirs of the decade , and we have now reached the fifth list in our series: the best essay collections published in English between 2010 and 2019.

The following books were chosen after much debate (and several rounds of voting) by the Literary Hub staff. Tears were spilled, feelings were hurt, books were re-read. And as you’ll shortly see, we had a hard time choosing just ten—so we’ve also included a list of dissenting opinions, and an even longer list of also-rans. As ever, free to add any of your own favorites that we’ve missed in the comments below.

The Top Ten

Oliver sacks, the mind’s eye (2010).

Toward the end of his life, maybe suspecting or sensing that it was coming to a close, Dr. Oliver Sacks tended to focus his efforts on sweeping intellectual projects like On the Move (a memoir), The River of Consciousness (a hybrid intellectual history), and Hallucinations (a book-length meditation on, what else, hallucinations). But in 2010, he gave us one more classic in the style that first made him famous, a form he revolutionized and brought into the contemporary literary canon: the medical case study as essay. In The Mind’s Eye , Sacks focuses on vision, expanding the notion to embrace not only how we see the world, but also how we map that world onto our brains when our eyes are closed and we’re communing with the deeper recesses of consciousness. Relaying histories of patients and public figures, as well as his own history of ocular cancer (the condition that would eventually spread and contribute to his death), Sacks uses vision as a lens through which to see all of what makes us human, what binds us together, and what keeps us painfully apart. The essays that make up this collection are quintessential Sacks: sensitive, searching, with an expertise that conveys scientific information and experimentation in terms we can not only comprehend, but which also expand how we see life carrying on around us. The case studies of “Stereo Sue,” of the concert pianist Lillian Kalir, and of Howard, the mystery novelist who can no longer read, are highlights of the collection, but each essay is a kind of gem, mined and polished by one of the great storytellers of our era.  –Dwyer Murphy, CrimeReads Managing Editor

John Jeremiah Sullivan, Pulphead (2011)

The American essay was having a moment at the beginning of the decade, and Pulphead was smack in the middle. Without any hard data, I can tell you that this collection of John Jeremiah Sullivan’s magazine features—published primarily in GQ , but also in The Paris Review , and Harper’s —was the only full book of essays most of my literary friends had read since Slouching Towards Bethlehem , and probably one of the only full books of essays they had even heard of.

Well, we all picked a good one. Every essay in Pulphead is brilliant and entertaining, and illuminates some small corner of the American experience—even if it’s just one house, with Sullivan and an aging writer inside (“Mr. Lytle” is in fact a standout in a collection with no filler; fittingly, it won a National Magazine Award and a Pushcart Prize). But what are they about? Oh, Axl Rose, Christian Rock festivals, living around the filming of One Tree Hill , the Tea Party movement, Michael Jackson, Bunny Wailer, the influence of animals, and by god, the Miz (of Real World/Road Rules Challenge fame).

But as Dan Kois has pointed out , what connects these essays, apart from their general tone and excellence, is “their author’s essential curiosity about the world, his eye for the perfect detail, and his great good humor in revealing both his subjects’ and his own foibles.” They are also extremely well written, drawing much from fictional techniques and sentence craft, their literary pleasures so acute and remarkable that James Wood began his review of the collection in The New Yorker with a quiz: “Are the following sentences the beginnings of essays or of short stories?” (It was not a hard quiz, considering the context.)

It’s hard not to feel, reading this collection, like someone reached into your brain, took out the half-baked stuff you talk about with your friends, researched it, lived it, and represented it to you smarter and better and more thoroughly than you ever could. So read it in awe if you must, but read it.  –Emily Temple, Senior Editor

Aleksandar Hemon, The Book of My Lives (2013)

Such is the sentence-level virtuosity of Aleksandar Hemon—the Bosnian-American writer, essayist, and critic—that throughout his career he has frequently been compared to the granddaddy of borrowed language prose stylists: Vladimir Nabokov. While it is, of course, objectively remarkable that anyone could write so beautifully in a language they learned in their twenties, what I admire most about Hemon’s work is the way in which he infuses every essay and story and novel with both a deep humanity and a controlled (but never subdued) fury. He can also be damn funny. Hemon grew up in Sarajevo and left in 1992 to study in Chicago, where he almost immediately found himself stranded, forced to watch from afar as his beloved home city was subjected to a relentless four-year bombardment, the longest siege of a capital in the history of modern warfare. This extraordinary memoir-in-essays is many things: it’s a love letter to both the family that raised him and the family he built in exile; it’s a rich, joyous, and complex portrait of a place the 90s made synonymous with war and devastation; and it’s an elegy for the wrenching loss of precious things. There’s an essay about coming of age in Sarajevo and another about why he can’t bring himself to leave Chicago. There are stories about relationships forged and maintained on the soccer pitch or over the chessboard, and stories about neighbors and mentors turned monstrous by ethnic prejudice. As a chorus they sing with insight, wry humor, and unimaginable sorrow. I am not exaggerating when I say that the collection’s devastating final piece, “The Aquarium”—which details his infant daughter’s brain tumor and the agonizing months which led up to her death—remains the most painful essay I have ever read.  –Dan Sheehan, Book Marks Editor

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass (2013)

Of every essay in my relentlessly earmarked copy of Braiding Sweetgrass , Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer’s gorgeously rendered argument for why and how we should keep going, there’s one that especially hits home: her account of professor-turned-forester Franz Dolp. When Dolp, several decades ago, revisited the farm that he had once shared with his ex-wife, he found a scene of destruction: The farm’s new owners had razed the land where he had tried to build a life. “I sat among the stumps and the swirling red dust and I cried,” he wrote in his journal.

So many in my generation (and younger) feel this kind of helplessness–and considerable rage–at finding ourselves newly adult in a world where those in power seem determined to abandon or destroy everything that human bodies have always needed to survive: air, water, land. Asking any single book to speak to this helplessness feels unfair, somehow; yet, Braiding Sweetgrass does, by weaving descriptions of indigenous tradition with the environmental sciences in order to show what survival has looked like over the course of many millennia. Kimmerer’s essays describe her personal experience as a Potawotami woman, plant ecologist, and teacher alongside stories of the many ways that humans have lived in relationship to other species. Whether describing Dolp’s work–he left the stumps for a life of forest restoration on the Oregon coast–or the work of others in maple sugar harvesting, creating black ash baskets, or planting a Three Sisters garden of corn, beans, and squash, she brings hope. “In ripe ears and swelling fruit, they counsel us that all gifts are multiplied in relationship,” she writes of the Three Sisters, which all sustain one another as they grow. “This is how the world keeps going.”  –Corinne Segal, Senior Editor

Hilton Als, White Girls (2013)

In a world where we are so often reduced to one essential self, Hilton Als’ breathtaking book of critical essays, White Girls , which meditates on the ways he and other subjects read, project and absorb parts of white femininity, is a radically liberating book. It’s one of the only works of critical thinking that doesn’t ask the reader, its author or anyone he writes about to stoop before the doorframe of complete legibility before entering. Something he also permitted the subjects and readers of his first book, the glorious book-length essay, The Women , a series of riffs and psychological portraits of Dorothy Dean, Owen Dodson, and the author’s own mother, among others. One of the shifts of that book, uncommon at the time, was how it acknowledges the way we inhabit bodies made up of variously gendered influences. To read White Girls now is to experience the utter freedom of this gift and to marvel at Als’ tremendous versatility and intelligence.

He is easily the most diversely talented American critic alive. He can write into genres like pop music and film where being part of an audience is a fantasy happening in the dark. He’s also wired enough to know how the art world builds reputations on the nod of rich white patrons, a significant collision in a time when Jean-Michel Basquiat is America’s most expensive modern artist. Als’ swerving and always moving grip on performance means he’s especially good on describing the effect of art which is volatile and unstable and built on the mingling of made-up concepts and the hard fact of their effect on behavior, such as race. Writing on Flannery O’Connor for instance he alone puts a finger on her “uneasy and unavoidable union between black and white, the sacred and the profane, the shit and the stars.” From Eminem to Richard Pryor, André Leon Talley to Michael Jackson, Als enters the life and work of numerous artists here who turn the fascinations of race and with whiteness into fury and song and describes the complexity of their beauty like his life depended upon it. There are also brief memoirs here that will stop your heart. This is an essential work to understanding American culture.  –John Freeman, Executive Editor

Eula Biss, On Immunity (2014)

We move through the world as if we can protect ourselves from its myriad dangers, exercising what little agency we have in an effort to keep at bay those fears that gather at the edges of any given life: of loss, illness, disaster, death. It is these fears—amplified by the birth of her first child—that Eula Biss confronts in her essential 2014 essay collection, On Immunity . As any great essayist does, Biss moves outward in concentric circles from her own very private view of the world to reveal wider truths, discovering as she does a culture consumed by anxiety at the pervasive toxicity of contemporary life. As Biss interrogates this culture—of privilege, of whiteness—she interrogates herself, questioning the flimsy ways in which we arm ourselves with science or superstition against the impurities of daily existence.

Five years on from its publication, it is dismaying that On Immunity feels as urgent (and necessary) a defense of basic science as ever. Vaccination, we learn, is derived from vacca —for cow—after the 17th-century discovery that a small application of cowpox was often enough to inoculate against the scourge of smallpox, an etymological digression that belies modern conspiratorial fears of Big Pharma and its vaccination agenda. But Biss never scolds or belittles the fears of others, and in her generosity and openness pulls off a neat (and important) trick: insofar as we are of the very world we fear, she seems to be suggesting, we ourselves are impure, have always been so, permeable, vulnerable, yet so much stronger than we think.  –Jonny Diamond, Editor-in-Chief 

Rebecca Solnit, The Mother of All Questions (2016)

When Rebecca Solnit’s essay, “Men Explain Things to Me,” was published in 2008, it quickly became a cultural phenomenon unlike almost any other in recent memory, assigning language to a behavior that almost every woman has witnessed—mansplaining—and, in the course of identifying that behavior, spurring a movement, online and offline, to share the ways in which patriarchal arrogance has intersected all our lives. (It would also come to be the titular essay in her collection published in 2014.) The Mother of All Questions follows up on that work and takes it further in order to examine the nature of self-expression—who is afforded it and denied it, what institutions have been put in place to limit it, and what happens when it is employed by women. Solnit has a singular gift for describing and decoding the misogynistic dynamics that govern the world so universally that they can seem invisible and the gendered violence that is so common as to seem unremarkable; this naming is powerful, and it opens space for sharing the stories that shape our lives.

The Mother of All Questions, comprised of essays written between 2014 and 2016, in many ways armed us with some of the tools necessary to survive the gaslighting of the Trump years, in which many of us—and especially women—have continued to hear from those in power that the things we see and hear do not exist and never existed. Solnit also acknowledges that labels like “woman,” and other gendered labels, are identities that are fluid in reality; in reviewing the book for The New Yorker , Moira Donegan suggested that, “One useful working definition of a woman might be ‘someone who experiences misogyny.'” Whichever words we use, Solnit writes in the introduction to the book that “when words break through unspeakability, what was tolerated by a society sometimes becomes intolerable.” This storytelling work has always been vital; it continues to be vital, and in this book, it is brilliantly done.  –Corinne Segal, Senior Editor

Valeria Luiselli, Tell Me How It Ends (2017)

The newly minted MacArthur fellow Valeria Luiselli’s four-part (but really six-part) essay  Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions  was inspired by her time spent volunteering at the federal immigration court in New York City, working as an interpreter for undocumented, unaccompanied migrant children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Written concurrently with her novel  Lost Children Archive  (a fictional exploration of the same topic), Luiselli’s essay offers a fascinating conceit, the fashioning of an argument from the questions on the government intake form given to these children to process their arrivals. (Aside from the fact that this essay is a heartbreaking masterpiece, this is such a  good  conceit—transforming a cold, reproducible administrative document into highly personal literature.) Luiselli interweaves a grounded discussion of the questionnaire with a narrative of the road trip Luiselli takes with her husband and family, across America, while they (both Mexican citizens) wait for their own Green Card applications to be processed. It is on this trip when Luiselli reflects on the thousands of migrant children mysteriously traveling across the border by themselves. But the real point of the essay is to actually delve into the real stories of some of these children, which are agonizing, as well as to gravely, clearly expose what literally happens, procedural, when they do arrive—from forms to courts, as they’re swallowed by a bureaucratic vortex. Amid all of this, Luiselli also takes on more, exploring the larger contextual relationship between the United States of America and Mexico (as well as other countries in Central America, more broadly) as it has evolved to our current, adverse moment.  Tell Me How It Ends  is so small, but it is so passionate and vigorous: it desperately accomplishes in its less-than-100-pages-of-prose what centuries and miles and endless records of federal bureaucracy have never been able, and have never cared, to do: reverse the dehumanization of Latin American immigrants that occurs once they set foot in this country.  –Olivia Rutigliano, CrimeReads Editorial Fellow

Zadie Smith, Feel Free (2018)

In the essay “Meet Justin Bieber!” in Feel Free , Zadie Smith writes that her interest in Justin Bieber is not an interest in the interiority of the singer himself, but in “the idea of the love object”. This essay—in which Smith imagines a meeting between Bieber and the late philosopher Martin Buber (“Bieber and Buber are alternative spellings of the same German surname,” she explains in one of many winning footnotes. “Who am I to ignore these hints from the universe?”). Smith allows that this premise is a bit premise -y: “I know, I know.” Still, the resulting essay is a very funny, very smart, and un-tricky exploration of individuality and true “meeting,” with a dash of late capitalism thrown in for good measure. The melding of high and low culture is the bread and butter of pretty much every prestige publication on the internet these days (and certainly of the Twitter feeds of all “public intellectuals”), but the essays in Smith’s collection don’t feel familiar—perhaps because hers is, as we’ve long known, an uncommon skill. Though I believe Smith could probably write compellingly about anything, she chooses her subjects wisely. She writes with as much electricity about Brexit as the aforementioned Beliebers—and each essay is utterly engrossing. “She contains multitudes, but her point is we all do,” writes Hermione Hoby in her review of the collection in The New Republic . “At the same time, we are, in our endless difference, nobody but ourselves.”  –Jessie Gaynor, Social Media Editor

Tressie McMillan Cottom, Thick: And Other Essays (2019)

Tressie McMillan Cottom is an academic who has transcended the ivory tower to become the sort of public intellectual who can easily appear on radio or television talk shows to discuss race, gender, and capitalism. Her collection of essays reflects this duality, blending scholarly work with memoir to create a collection on the black female experience in postmodern America that’s “intersectional analysis with a side of pop culture.” The essays range from an analysis of sexual violence, to populist politics, to social media, but in centering her own experiences throughout, the collection becomes something unlike other pieces of criticism of contemporary culture. In explaining the title, she reflects on what an editor had said about her work: “I was too readable to be academic, too deep to be popular, too country black to be literary, and too naïve to show the rigor of my thinking in the complexity of my prose. I had wanted to create something meaningful that sounded not only like me, but like all of me. It was too thick.” One of the most powerful essays in the book is “Dying to be Competent” which begins with her unpacking the idiocy of LinkedIn (and the myth of meritocracy) and ends with a description of her miscarriage, the mishandling of black woman’s pain, and a condemnation of healthcare bureaucracy. A finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction, Thick confirms McMillan Cottom as one of our most fearless public intellectuals and one of the most vital.  –Emily Firetog, Deputy Editor

Dissenting Opinions

The following books were just barely nudged out of the top ten, but we (or at least one of us) couldn’t let them pass without comment.

Elif Batuman, The Possessed (2010)

In The Possessed Elif Batuman indulges her love of Russian literature and the result is hilarious and remarkable. Each essay of the collection chronicles some adventure or other that she had while in graduate school for Comparative Literature and each is more unpredictable than the next. There’s the time a “well-known 20th-centuryist” gave a graduate student the finger; and the time when Batuman ended up living in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, for a summer; and the time that she convinced herself Tolstoy was murdered and spent the length of the Tolstoy Conference in Yasnaya Polyana considering clues and motives. Rich in historic detail about Russian authors and literature and thoughtfully constructed, each essay is an amalgam of critical analysis, cultural criticism, and serious contemplation of big ideas like that of identity, intellectual legacy, and authorship. With wit and a serpentine-like shape to her narratives, Batuman adopts a form reminiscent of a Socratic discourse, setting up questions at the beginning of her essays and then following digressions that more or less entreat the reader to synthesize the answer for herself. The digressions are always amusing and arguably the backbone of the collection, relaying absurd anecdotes with foreign scholars or awkward, surreal encounters with Eastern European strangers. Central also to the collection are Batuman’s intellectual asides where she entertains a theory—like the “problem of the person”: the inability to ever wholly capture one’s character—that ultimately layer the book’s themes. “You are certainly my most entertaining student,” a professor said to Batuman. But she is also curious and enthusiastic and reflective and so knowledgeable that she might even convince you (she has me!) that you too love Russian literature as much as she does. –Eleni Theodoropoulos, Editorial Fellow

Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist (2014)

Roxane Gay’s now-classic essay collection is a book that will make you laugh, think, cry, and then wonder, how can cultural criticism be this fun? My favorite essays in the book include Gay’s musings on competitive Scrabble, her stranded-in-academia dispatches, and her joyous film and television criticism, but given the breadth of topics Roxane Gay can discuss in an entertaining manner, there’s something for everyone in this one. This book is accessible because feminism itself should be accessible – Roxane Gay is as likely to draw inspiration from YA novels, or middle-brow shows about friendship, as she is to introduce concepts from the academic world, and if there’s anyone I trust to bridge the gap between high culture, low culture, and pop culture, it’s the Goddess of Twitter. I used to host a book club dedicated to radical reads, and this was one of the first picks for the club; a week after the book club met, I spied a few of the attendees meeting in the café of the bookstore, and found out that they had bonded so much over discussing  Bad Feminist  that they couldn’t wait for the next meeting of the book club to keep discussing politics and intersectionality, and that, in a nutshell, is the power of Roxane. –Molly Odintz, CrimeReads Associate Editor

Rivka Galchen, Little Labors (2016)

Generally, I find stories about the trials and tribulations of child-having to be of limited appeal—useful, maybe, insofar as they offer validation that other people have also endured the bizarre realities of living with a tiny human, but otherwise liable to drift into the musings of parents thrilled at the simple fact of their own fecundity, as if they were the first ones to figure the process out (or not). But Little Labors is not simply an essay collection about motherhood, perhaps because Galchen initially “didn’t want to write about” her new baby—mostly, she writes, “because I had never been interested in babies, or mothers; in fact, those subjects had seemed perfectly not interesting to me.” Like many new mothers, though, Galchen soon discovered her baby—which she refers to sometimes as “the puma”—to be a preoccupying thought, demanding to be written about. Galchen’s interest isn’t just in her own progeny, but in babies in literature (“Literature has more dogs than babies, and also more abortions”), The Pillow Book , the eleventh-century collection of musings by Sei Shōnagon, and writers who are mothers. There are sections that made me laugh out loud, like when Galchen continually finds herself in an elevator with a neighbor who never fails to remark on the puma’s size. There are also deeper, darker musings, like the realization that the baby means “that it’s not permissible to die. There are days when this does not feel good.” It is a slim collection that I happened to read at the perfect time, and it remains one of my favorites of the decade. –Emily Firetog, Deputy Editor

Charlie Fox, This Young Monster (2017)

On social media as in his writing, British art critic Charlie Fox rejects lucidity for allusion and doesn’t quite answer the Twitter textbox’s persistent question: “What’s happening?” These days, it’s hard to tell.  This Young Monster  (2017), Fox’s first book,was published a few months after Donald Trump’s election, and at one point Fox takes a swipe at a man he judges “direct from a nightmare and just a repulsive fucking goon.” Fox doesn’t linger on politics, though, since most of the monsters he looks at “embody otherness and make it into art, ripping any conventional idea of beauty to shreds and replacing it with something weird and troubling of their own invention.”

If clichés are loathed because they conform to what philosopher Georges Bataille called “the common measure,” then monsters are rebellious non-sequiturs, comedic or horrific derailments from a classical ideal. Perverts in the most literal sense, monsters have gone astray from some “proper” course. The book’s nine chapters, which are about a specific monster or type of monster, are full of callbacks to familiar and lesser-known media. Fox cites visual art, film, songs, and books with the screwy buoyancy of a savant. Take one of his essays, “Spook House,” framed as a stage play with two principal characters, Klaus (“an intoxicated young skinhead vampire”) and Hermione (“a teen sorceress with green skin and jet-black hair” who looks more like The Wicked Witch than her namesake). The chorus is a troupe of trick-or-treaters. Using the filmmaker Cameron Jamie as a starting point, the rest is free association on gothic decadence and Detroit and L.A. as cities of the dead. All the while, Klaus quotes from  Artforum ,  Dazed & Confused , and  Time Out. It’s a technical feat that makes fictionalized dialogue a conveyor belt for cultural criticism.

In Fox’s imagination, David Bowie and the Hydra coexist alongside Peter Pan, Dennis Hopper, and the maenads. Fox’s book reaches for the monster’s mask, not really to peel it off but to feel and smell the rubber schnoz, to know how it’s made before making sure it’s still snugly set. With a stylistic blend of arthouse suavity and B-movie chic,  This Young Monster considers how monsters in culture are made. Aren’t the scariest things made in post-production? Isn’t the creature just duplicity, like a looping choir or a dubbed scream? –Aaron Robertson, Assistant Editor

Elena Passarello, Animals Strike Curious Poses (2017)

Elena Passarello’s collection of essays Animals Strike Curious Poses picks out infamous animals and grants them the voice, narrative, and history they deserve. Not only is a collection like this relevant during the sixth extinction but it is an ambitious historical and anthropological undertaking, which Passarello has tackled with thorough research and a playful tone that rather than compromise her subject, complicates and humanizes it. Passarello’s intention is to investigate the role of animals across the span of human civilization and in doing so, to construct a timeline of humanity as told through people’s interactions with said animals. “Of all the images that make our world, animal images are particularly buried inside us,” Passarello writes in her first essay, to introduce us to the object of the book and also to the oldest of her chosen characters: Yuka, a 39,000-year-old mummified woolly mammoth discovered in the Siberian permafrost in 2010. It was an occasion so remarkable and so unfathomable given the span of human civilization that Passarello says of Yuka: “Since language is epically younger than both thought and experience, ‘woolly mammoth’ means, to a human brain, something more like time.” The essay ends with a character placing a hand on a cave drawing of a woolly mammoth, accompanied by a phrase which encapsulates the author’s vision for the book: “And he becomes the mammoth so he can envision the mammoth.” In Passarello’s hands the imagined boundaries between the animal, natural, and human world disintegrate and what emerges is a cohesive if baffling integrated history of life. With the accuracy and tenacity of a journalist and the spirit of a storyteller, Elena Passarello has assembled a modern bestiary worthy of contemplation and awe. –Eleni Theodoropoulos, Editorial Fellow

Esmé Weijun Wang, The Collected Schizophrenias (2019)

Esmé Weijun Wang’s collection of essays is a kaleidoscopic look at mental health and the lives affected by the schizophrenias. Each essay takes on a different aspect of the topic, but you’ll want to read them together for a holistic perspective. Esmé Weijun Wang generously begins The Collected Schizophrenias by acknowledging the stereotype, “Schizophrenia terrifies. It is the archetypal disorder of lunacy.” From there, she walks us through the technical language, breaks down the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual ( DSM-5 )’s clinical definition. And then she gets very personal, telling us about how she came to her own diagnosis and the way it’s touched her daily life (her relationships, her ideas about motherhood). Esmé Weijun Wang is uniquely situated to write about this topic. As a former lab researcher at Stanford, she turns a precise, analytical eye to her experience while simultaneously unfolding everything with great patience for her reader. Throughout, she brilliantly dissects the language around mental health. (On saying “a person living with bipolar disorder” instead of using “bipolar” as the sole subject: “…we are not our diseases. We are instead individuals with disorders and malfunctions. Our conditions lie over us like smallpox blankets; we are one thing and the illness is another.”) She pinpoints the ways she arms herself against anticipated reactions to the schizophrenias: high fashion, having attended an Ivy League institution. In a particularly piercing essay, she traces mental illness back through her family tree. She also places her story within more mainstream cultural contexts, calling on groundbreaking exposés about the dangerous of institutionalization and depictions of mental illness in television and film (like the infamous Slender Man case, in which two young girls stab their best friend because an invented Internet figure told them to). At once intimate and far-reaching, The Collected Schizophrenias is an informative and important (and let’s not forget artful) work. I’ve never read a collection quite so beautifully-written and laid-bare as this. –Katie Yee, Book Marks Assistant Editor

Ross Gay, The Book of Delights (2019)

When Ross Gay began writing what would become The Book of Delights, he envisioned it as a project of daily essays, each focused on a moment or point of delight in his day. This plan quickly disintegrated; on day four, he skipped his self-imposed assignment and decided to “in honor and love, delight in blowing it off.” (Clearly, “blowing it off” is a relative term here, as he still produced the book.) Ross Gay is a generous teacher of how to live, and this moment of reveling in self-compassion is one lesson among many in The Book of Delights , which wanders from moments of connection with strangers to a shade of “red I don’t think I actually have words for,” a text from a friend reading “I love you breadfruit,” and “the sun like a guiding hand on my back, saying everything is possible. Everything .”

Gay does not linger on any one subject for long, creating the sense that delight is a product not of extenuating circumstances, but of our attention; his attunement to the possibilities of a single day, and awareness of all the small moments that produce delight, are a model for life amid the warring factions of the attention economy. These small moments range from the physical–hugging a stranger, transplanting fig cuttings–to the spiritual and philosophical, giving the impression of sitting beside Gay in his garden as he thinks out loud in real time. It’s a privilege to listen. –Corinne Segal, Senior Editor

Honorable Mentions

A selection of other books that we seriously considered for both lists—just to be extra about it (and because decisions are hard).

Terry Castle, The Professor and Other Writings (2010) · Joyce Carol Oates, In Rough Country (2010) · Geoff Dyer, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (2011) · Christopher Hitchens, Arguably (2011) ·  Roberto Bolaño, tr. Natasha Wimmer, Between Parentheses (2011) · Dubravka Ugresic, tr. David Williams, Karaoke Culture (2011) · Tom Bissell, Magic Hours (2012)  · Kevin Young, The Grey Album (2012) · William H. Gass, Life Sentences: Literary Judgments and Accounts (2012) · Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack, and Honey (2012) · Herta Müller, tr. Geoffrey Mulligan, Cristina and Her Double (2013) · Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams (2014)  · Meghan Daum, The Unspeakable (2014)  · Daphne Merkin, The Fame Lunches (2014)  · Charles D’Ambrosio, Loitering (2015) · Wendy Walters, Multiply/Divide (2015) · Colm Tóibín, On Elizabeth Bishop (2015) ·  Renee Gladman, Calamities (2016)  · Jesmyn Ward, ed. The Fire This Time (2016)  · Lindy West, Shrill (2016)  · Mary Oliver, Upstream (2016)  · Emily Witt, Future Sex (2016)  · Olivia Laing, The Lonely City (2016)  · Mark Greif, Against Everything (2016)  · Durga Chew-Bose, Too Much and Not the Mood (2017)  · Sarah Gerard, Sunshine State (2017)  · Jim Harrison, A Really Big Lunch (2017)  · J.M. Coetzee, Late Essays: 2006-2017 (2017) · Melissa Febos, Abandon Me (2017)  · Louise Glück, American Originality (2017)  · Joan Didion, South and West (2017)  · Tom McCarthy, Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish (2017)  · Hanif Abdurraqib, They Can’t Kill Us Until they Kill Us (2017)  · Ta-Nehisi Coates, We Were Eight Years in Power (2017)  ·  Samantha Irby, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life (2017)  · Alexander Chee, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (2018)  · Alice Bolin, Dead Girls (2018)  · Marilynne Robinson, What Are We Doing Here? (2018)  · Lorrie Moore, See What Can Be Done (2018)  · Maggie O’Farrell, I Am I Am I Am (2018)  · Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race (2018)  · Rachel Cusk, Coventry (2019)  · Jia Tolentino, Trick Mirror (2019)  · Emily Bernard, Black is the Body (2019)  · Toni Morrison, The Source of Self-Regard (2019)  · Margaret Renkl, Late Migrations (2019)  ·  Rachel Munroe, Savage Appetites (2019)  · Robert A. Caro,  Working  (2019) · Arundhati Roy, My Seditious Heart (2019).

Emily Temple

Emily Temple

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Janey Burton

Publishing a short story collection or a book of essays is a subject that attracts some conflicting advice.

On one hand, there are those who are immediately dismissive, saying many publishers don’t publish short stories at all (true), or short stories don’t sell (often true), or publishers will only buy a collection of stories from a well-known author (not exactly untrue).

On the other hand, there clearly are collections of short stories and books of essays being published and sold every year, and you can name some of them because they’ve been a tremendous success. So, it’s not like they’re imaginary or something.

You’re not being gaslit, it’s just that publishing a collection of short stories or essays is not all that straightforward. It’s not like publishing a full-length book – which is hard, but at least the route is clearer.

Muddying the water is that from time to time there’s an article saying ‘short stories are dead and over, no publisher wants to buy them’ or, alternatively, ‘short stories are enjoying a revival, as proof here are some famous writers who have published successful collections’.

It’s difficult to get a straight answer, because neither article is wrong – not even when they confuse you by listing bestselling collections while explaining how the form makes no money and is near extinction.

Do publishers buy collections of stories or essays?

Most publishers want full-length fiction and non-fiction. They buy collections of short stories or books of essays when, for good reason, they want the author on their list. Such a reason might be the rare occasions that the author or their short story or essay goes viral. For example, ‘Cat Person’ by Kate Roupenian. (You knew I was going to use that as an example, didn’t you, because it’s the only genuinely viral short story, and it went viral twice.)

Famously, Kate Roupenian got a two-book deal for a collection of short stories and a novel. In the US, the advance was seven figures, and in the UK, six figures. However, please note that it’s likely the vast majority of the reported advance, on both sides of the pond, was for the novel.

This is pretty standard when publishers buy a collection of short stories or a book of essays: they’ll buy the collection as part of a deal where the other book(s) are full-length, and only if they know they can sell the collection based on the success of one or more stories/essays already published, or on the author’s name, or their backlist sales.

Do short story collections and books of essays sell?

Books of essays or short stories may do well, but mainly when they’re written by someone with some profile, and therefore an existing audience. For example, it’s common for a columnist for one of the national newspapers to produce a collection of their columns: see Caitlin Moran’s backlist or, if you must, Jeremy Clarkson’s. Or, writers build up an audience elsewhere before publishing a book of essays – this is common among comedians and bloggers, such as Samantha Irby, who broke out as an author with her second book of essays We Are Never Meeting in Real Life .

Sometimes it’s the name and only the name: Tom Hanks’ collection of stories was clearly bought based on his enormous popularity. With the greatest respect to the nicest man in Hollywood, his stories – all featuring a typewriter – were otherwise unlikely to set the publishing world on its heels.

Do I need to be famous before I can sell my collection?

Stephen King is often trotted out as the name to beat when people want to discourage authors from trying to debut with a collection. However, Stephen King wasn’t always famous, and his path is instructive. He was publishing stories in magazines from the mid-60s. Carrie , his first published novel, came out in 1974. Night Shift , his first collection of short stories, wasn’t published until 1978.

Obviously, things have changed since Stephen King was first writing – you can put your work up on the internet and gather an audience that way, and self-publishing is much easier and cheaper now – but, if we’re using him as a model, the point is that he didn’t debut by publishing a collection of stories. He wrote and wrote and eventually placed short stories in magazines, then published a novel, then published a collection. Arguably, this is still the best model to follow in the absence of virality or fame from a place other than writing.

How should I approach publishing a short story collection or book of essays?

If you’re considering publishing your short stories or essays in a collection, have a think first. If you’d like to publish them traditionally, do you have the sort of platform that would interest a publisher? If not, can you build one up?

You could approach indie publishers who work with short stories, but it’s worth noting that if they buy a collection, they are likely to publish in an even shorter print run than a big publisher would, and neither is likely to reprint. If you did manage to sell all 3000 or so copies, the book will basically fall out of print and you should ask for your rights back.

Some people go straight to self-publishing a collection, but that’s an even harder road – all the difficulties of selling a self-published book, plus short stories aren’t a popular genre, so it will be difficult to do even as well as an indie publisher would with your work. Is that what you want? It’s fine if it is! But be aware, you’re almost certainly not going to get much money or recognition just because you jumped straight to a book of short stories rather than taking the longer route.

Get a track record first

If you want to be published traditionally and want a chance of selling a successful collection, then you need to play the long game.

Have you published any stories or essays in a magazine (print or online) or entered them into competitions ? Have you tried to build up a track record of your writing that would show existing interest in your work? Do that first. Literary agents read those magazines.

And apart from anything, if you go the other way around and publish the collection first, you can’t later place them in magazines or enter them in competitions – they’re only open to previously unpublished works. That’s important, because unless you are prolific, like Stephen King (nearly 45 stories in the 15 years before Carrie , 11 collections of stories in the decades since, 200 published stories – that kind of prolific) you may regret having already published your best ones in a collection that didn’t make many sales or get you noticed.

Maybe you’re an outlier. Maybe you can find a different way of doing things. But it’s unlikely.

All I’m really suggesting is you make a plan that builds to publishing a collection of short stories, or a book of essays, rather than putting it first on your list.

And if you want help with that plan, you might benefit from a mini consultation with me.

This post was first published on 15th August 2021.

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Rebecca Hussey

Rebecca holds a PhD in English and is a professor at Norwalk Community College in Connecticut. She teaches courses in composition, literature, and the arts. When she’s not reading or grading papers, she’s hanging out with her husband and son and/or riding her bike and/or buying books. She can't get enough of reading and writing about books, so she writes the bookish newsletter "Reading Indie," focusing on small press books and translations. Newsletter: Reading Indie Twitter: @ofbooksandbikes

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Notes Native Son cover

Well, essays don’t have to be like the kind of thing you wrote in school. Essays can be anything, really. They can be personal, confessional, argumentative, informative, funny, sad, shocking, sexy, and all of the above. The best essayists can make any subject interesting. If I love an essayist, I’ll read whatever they write. I’ll follow their minds anywhere. Because that’s really what I want out of an essay — the sense that I’m spending time with an interesting mind. I want a companionable, challenging, smart, surprising voice in my head.

So below is my list, not of essay collections I think everybody “must read,” even if that’s what my title says, but collections I hope you will consider checking out if you want to.

Jo Ann Beard

If you have a favorite essay collection I’ve missed here, let me know in the comments!

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Writing Tips Oasis - A website dedicated to helping writers to write and publish books.

19 Top Publishers for First Time Authors

By Katrina Kwan

publishers for first time authors

Have you just written your first book?

Take a deep breath because you’re one step closer to get your book published.

And don’t think publishing houses won’t be interested in your book because it is your first one.

Below you’ll find 19 top publishers for first time authors.

1. Turner Publishing

Todd Bottorff is the current president of Turner Publishing, which has been around for almost 40 years. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, since its inception, it’s one of the biggest and most revered indie names in the US book industry. In fact, its titles are available in more than 55 countries.

Turner Publishing has multiple imprints like Hunter House, Ramsey & Todd, and Keylight Books. Together, these produce both fiction and nonfiction books for readers of all ages. Two of its recent commercial hits are Valerie Rice’s cookbook Lush Life and Kim Hooper’s psychological novel No Hiding in Boise .

Interested first-time authors are more than welcome to email their manuscripts to Turner Publishing.

2. Tin House

Starting as a magazine in 1999, Tin House expanded its horizons in the industry and served as a humble Bloomsbury imprint. Six years after its founding, the company became independent. Now, it operates in Portland, Oregon, and releases a few dozen titles annually.

Tin House is dedicated to supporting art in its varied forms. Apart from well-reviewed workshops and seminars, it has a huge book catalog ranging from poetry collections and literary nonfiction to fiction. This includes Elisha Washuta’s acclaimed essay collection White Magic and Khadijah Queen’s Anodyne .

This indie publisher is specifically looking for unagented writers who don’t have published titles. Check the submissions page for the dates of their two-day submission windows that occur three times a year.

publishing companies for first time authors

3. Epicenter Press

For over three decades, Epicenter Press has become a significant source of nonfiction writing on Alaska and the surrounding region. Originally located in Fairbanks, Alaska, it’s now headquartered in Kenmore, Washington, and has imprints like Fanny Press and Coffeetown Press.

While the majority of its catalog is nonfiction— including biographies, history books, and true crime— Epicenter Press also has some noteworthy fiction. In particular, the publisher has mystery novels like Janet L. Smith’s A Vintage Murder and Don Stuart’s Final Adjournment .

Epicenter Press accepts submissions from writers and agents alike. As long as it meets the geographical and cultural requirements, your work will be reviewed.

4. The MIT Press

With a global presence and one of the highest standards in scholarly publishing, The MIT Press continues to encourage scientific curiosity and foster societal progress. Founded 60 years ago, it’s headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and promises to be a more inclusive and diverse publisher.

The MIT Press publishers nonfiction titles for intellectuals, researchers, and anyone interested in the arts and sciences. Its subjects range from humanities and information science to social science, game studies, and design.

Recently, the press released Alexander Monea’s The Digital Closet and Chris Salter’s Sensing Machines . If you have a manuscript in mind for The MIT Press, search for the relevant acquisitions editor to contact.

5. Unnamed Press

Despite having only been around since 2014, Unnamed Press has already grabbed the attention of media outlets with its stellar titles. Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, its authors have won awards such as the Pulitzer Prize and Man Booker Prize.

As an indie publisher, Unnamed Press represents literary voices that are uncompromising, diverse, and socially conscious. This is why its fiction and nonfiction collection has Meghan Tifft’s gothic fiction From Hell to Breakfast and Kristine Ong Muslim’s sci-fi set Age of Blight .

If you’ve gone through the catalog and believe that your book fits in terms of genre and themes, send your query online .

6. Chronicle Books

Since 1967, Chronicle Books has been one of the leading indie publishers in San Francisco, California. With a multi-level office, it doesn’t have problems handling everything from production to sales and editing — all while developing a working environment that’s safe and inviting to people of different backgrounds.

Chronicle Books’ adult selection focuses on nonfiction categories like entertainment, art, and lifestyle. On the other hand, its children’s catalog boasts both fiction and nonfiction. A couple of the publisher’s best-selling titles are Marilyn Chase’s Everything She Touched and Ralph Steadman’s A Life in Ink .

As of writing, Chronicle Books is open to unsolicited submissions for both children’s books and adult nonfiction.

7. Tilbury House

Originally known as Harpswell Press with a focus on regional titles, this indie business eventually became Tilbury House. Over the decades, it accumulated a sizable number of children’s literature. Today, Tilbury House is a widely respected and commercially successful publisher operating in the town of Thomaston, Maine.

Tilbury House has children’s book series like How Nature Works and Reimagined Masterpieces . Likewise, its adult catalog has acclaimed works like Martha White’s E. B. White on Dogs and Robert Reilly’s Life in Prison .

Similar to Chronicle Books, the company has always been accepting of unagented submissions . You can send manuscripts of children’s nonfiction about science, diversity, and history. For adult books, Tilbury House specifically wants instructional titles and writings about Maine.

8. Holiday House

Established way back in 1935 in New York, New York, Holiday House is one of the landmark publishers of children’s literature in the world. With such a rich history, the company unfailingly provides both classics and new titles that entertain, inspire, and educate young minds.

Holiday House has one of the largest collections of fiction and nonfiction for kids and teenagers. You can find books about cultural diversity, history, mathematics, and the alphabet. The titles tackle themes such as disability, conservation, gender issues, and civil rights in a way that kids can easily understand.

While it doesn’t print coloring books and activity books, Holiday House is open to hardcover fiction and nonfiction projects. Interested writers can submit their children’s book manuscripts online .

9. Uproar Books

Publisher Rick Lewis heads Uproar Book, his company that’s dedicated to sci-fi and fantasy. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, it’s only been around since 2018 but has successfully launched titles beyond the US, thanks in part to widely accessible digital releases.

Uproar Books is home to sci-fi and fantasy novels with humorous, thrilling, and Gothic elements. These include J. R. H. Lawless’s The Rude Eye of Rebellion and Jamie Thomas’s Asperfell . Plus, the publisher has the translated version of Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We , the Russian dystopian classic from 1924.

At present, Uproar Books only accepts manuscripts and queries from agented and solicited authors. On the bright side, you can check the submission page at a later date to see if they’ve made changes to their submission window.

10. Workman Publishing

The late Peter Workman established the titular independent publishing company in 1968. Over the next decades, it expanded in both its market reach and portfolio size. Today, Workman Publishing operates in New York, New York, under the leadership of Carolan Workman.

With eight imprints (including Timber Press and Artisan Books), the publisher has an extensive collection of titles in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. You can instantly fight amazing reads about self-help, business, and history — or read YA novels like A. K. Small’s Bright Burning Stars and Olivia Chadha’s Rise of the Red Hand .

While a few imprints are presently closed to unsolicited manuscripts, others are eager for submissions from writers and agents alike. Browse the submissions page to read the different guidelines for imprints like Timber press and The Experiment.

11. Blind Eye Books

Based in Bellingham, Washington, Blind Eye Books specializes in fiction titles that have a main character from the LGBTQ community. In particular, the publisher is always on the lookout for such stories in sci-fi, romance, mystery, and fantasy genres.

Apart from its specific protagonist criterion, Blind Eye Books is keen on quality storytelling. For example, Astrid Amara’s fantasy novel The Devil Lancer is a recipient of the Rainbow Award. Similarly, Ginn Hale’s Wicked Gentlemen received the Gaylactic Spectrum Award.

Blind Eye Books accepts both physical and digital submissions . Interested writers should carefully read the guidelines and editor preferences.

12. Chicago Review Press

Curt and Linda Matthews launched Chicago Review Press nearly 50 years ago. Instead of chasing literary trends, the indie company from Chicago, Illinois, represents stories with a lasting impact that deserve a larger audience. Today, it has more than a thousand books — with 50 more titles added annually.

Chicago Review Press specializes in outstanding nonfiction. The publisher has many offerings in history, true crime, social science, film, music, and politics, to name a few. Recently, it released Amanda Oliver’s Overdue and Jonathan Mack’s A Stranger Among Saints .

Interested writers should first send a query to the appropriate acquisitions editor prior to submitting a proposal.

13. University of California Press

Simply known as UC Press, this university press in Oakland, California, pushes for critical thinking, social progress, and knowledge development. Instead of catering only to researchers and scholars, it strives to help both experts and general readers better understand society and the natural world.

Founded in 1893, the University of California Press focuses on nonfiction (and classic fiction). Subjects range from Asian Studies and African Studies to psychology, religion, language, economics, and music. Some great reads include Kenneth Burke’s A Rhetoric of Motives and Sara M. Benson’s The Prison of Democracy .

Writers should visit the resource page for book authors to know more about acquisitions editors and the publishing process in general.

14. Stone Pier Press

Based in San Francisco, California, Stone Pier Press hopes that society learns to be more environmentally conscious and understanding when it comes to food. Thus, the non-profit publisher specializes in books that teach people about sustainable solutions that individuals and families can practice right at home.

With partners like The Good Food Institute and Center for Food Safety, this non-profit press has titles for adults and kids. Owen Wormser’s beautifully illustrated Lawns Into Meadows is perfect for homeowners while Leslie Crawford’s award-winning Gwen the Rescue Hen is a wonderful read for children.

Stone Pier Press has stopped searching for children’s books, but writers are still free to submit samples of cookbooks, YA fiction, and narrative nonfiction, among others.

Apress is the go-to publisher for readers who want to learn about computer technology. Situated in New York, New York, it currently has more than 3,000 books, all of which are critically evaluated by experts in different technologies.

Whether you’re new to game development and Python or you’re searching for the latest developments in machine learning and enterprise software, Apress has more than enough titles to offer. Professionals particularly like Alex Libby’s Practical Svelte and Valentino Gagliardi’s Decoupled Django .

Check the proposal submission page to get an online form and discover the right acquisitions editor for your book.

16. DAW Books

Donald A. and Elsie B. Wollheim established this acclaimed publisher of sci-fi and fantasy more than 50 years ago. While it’s now part of Penguin Random House, the New York-based DAW Books maintains its familial roots with the help of its current publishers and owners.

Within the aforementioned genres, DAW Books covers distinct subgenres. These include epic fantasy, contemporary fantasy, crime mystery, urban fantasy, and space operas. Ben Aaronovitch’s Amongst Our Weapons and E. J. Beaton’s The Councillor , for example, are both fantasy titles but are widely different.

DAW Books would love to see more manuscripts from agents and writers in underrepresented groups. You can submit your sci-fi or fantasy project online — and this applies whether you’re in the US or not.

17. Counterpoint Press

Headquartered in Berkeley, California, Counterpoint Press is a unique company because it originates from three different indie publishers. Established in 2007, it prints fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that break boundaries and offer fresh perspectives.

Specifically, Counterpoint Press is interested in literary writing. While you won’t find cookbooks and romance novels here, you’ll enjoy reads like acclaimed author Kathryn Ma’s The Chinese Groove and W. Scott Poole’s Dark Carnivals .

Unfortunately, it currently only accepts manuscripts from new authors represented by a literary agent. Still, you should open the submissions page again in the future in case they expand their submissions window to include unsolicited manuscripts as well.

18. Small Beer Press

Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link manage Small Beer Press, a publisher in Easthampton, Massachusetts. It’s known for its eclectic titles and sustainable printing process, which uses recycled materials. Apart from its charming brick-and-mortar bookstore, it also has an online store dedicated to ebooks.

Small Beer Press is filled with excellent books in literary fiction. Richard Butner’s short story collection The Adventurists earned exceptional reviews from Publishers Weekly. Also, Elizabeth Hand’s Generation Loss won the Shirley Jackson Award.

Prospective authors should check the Small Beer Press catalog before sending physical submissions .

19. Page Street Publishing

Based in Salem, Massachusetts, Page Street Publishing has been around for a decade. More recently, it’s undergone significant organizational change as it hopes to be a more inclusive publisher with diversity in both its workforce and author list. Like Small Beer Press, it utilizes environmentally-conscious materials.

Kids and teenagers will appreciate its exceptional portfolio of picture books and YA novels, respectively. Moreover, Page Street Publishing also has nonfiction titles that cover topics like vegan cooking, baking, humor, and hobbies such as knitting and lettering.

Currently, the publisher is open to submissions from authors of YA fiction, picture books, and nonfiction.

Do you know any other publishers for first time authors? If so, please tell us about them in the comments box below!

K. Z. Kwan is a freelance writer based out of Halifax, Canada.

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The Writing Contests, Grants & Awards database includes details about the creative writing contests—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, and more—that we’ve published in Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. We carefully review the practices and policies of each contest before including it. Ours is the most trusted resource for legitimate writing contests available anywhere.

Tupelo Press

Snowbound chapbook award.

A prize of $1,000, publication by Tupelo Press, and 25 author copies is given annually for a poetry chapbook. Submit a manuscript of 20 to 36 pages with a $25 entry fee by...

Red Hen Press

Women’s prose prize.

A prize of $1,000 and publication by Red Hen Press is given annually for a book of fiction or nonfiction by a writer who identifies as a woman. Laila Halaby will judge. Using...

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Little Tokyo Historical Society

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Mississippi Arts Commission

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Biographers International Organization

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A prize of $5,000 is given annually for a work-in-progress by a writer who has not published a biography, history, or other book-length work of narrative nonfiction. The winner...

Selected Shorts

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University of Washington

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Airlie Press

Airlie prize.

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Persea Books

Lexi rudnitsky editor’s choice award.

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TulipTree Publishing

Wild women story contest.

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Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation

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National Endowment for the Arts

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The Word Works

Washington prize.

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James Jones Literary Society

First novel fellowship.

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Indiana Review

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Prairie Schooner

Raz-shumaker book prizes.

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Janet Reid, Literary Agent

"Never miss a chance to do good"--David Stanley

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Essay collections.

I have written a collection (55k words) of memoir essays...sort of a memoir of unconnected chapters. I've sold some that have been published in large and small magazines. I have queried a zillion agents without success and have concluded that unless the author has some celebrity, agents (and the large publishers) are not interested in this sort of thing. Just too uncertain to make enough money to justify the time and effort. I'm okay with that. I am thinking I might try the small publishers directly. I am not interested in self publishing at all. May I ask for any advice you might offer.


Good tips here, Janet. Doesn't platform count for something if you happen to be one of the "exceptions"? You may not have a perspective on a major historical event, but you write about life and the world about you in a way that evidently others enjoy. That "evidently" is demonstrated by the fact you have a huge blog following, or you're a regular commentator on NPR, or millions of Twitter followers hang on your every tweet. Something about the author's memoir, or essay collection, has to tell the editor, "Lots of people will buy this." Another crushing truth about publishing is, yes, they're in it for the money first and foremost. That seems harsh to us arty types who like being creative because that's who we are, and financial gain isn't paramount in our minds. But publishing's a business filled with people who want to feed their families, put gas in their cars, pay their bills, and maybe buy some nice things. Thanks for asking your q., Opie. Good insights, Janet--thank YOU! :)

Opie: that's also a problem in novels, having episodic chapters that don't have a larger "narrative arc" as Janet writes. Is there someway you can organize the essays so that there is an arc? A larger overall point? I'm thinking of Chicken Soup of the Soul type books. What made them such a sell-out (are they still?) Janet, are you able to share, in vague-protect-privacy language, what it was about the memoirs that you thought had real potential but received no nibbles?

"No, not everyone has led a life that's interesting to other people." ^^ This is one of those things that I think we often forget about simply because it's an unpleasant reality. There are some people who have lives I'd love to read about—ahem...Julie Weathers...ahem—and others, like myself, who have led a life that people would not want to pay to read about.(not necessarily dull but not salable either) Side note: I think many people think of smaller publishers as a sort of fallback, which isn't necessarily the best approach.

Well hello, I could have been today's Opie but I am not. My memoir collection (essays/articles/columns)connects to readers in a general sense as shared experience with insight. Some are funny, informative and quite moving. The book's arc and flow carries readers along my life/writing path from first published piece as, why I wrote what I wrote and what happened after. And I have built a platform, of sorts, above my minnow in a mud puddle fame. A winner right? Slams on brakes here. Like you Opie, I have queried a bazillion times and the response from some agents has been very supportive and actually quite respectful and nice. Makes me feel as if writing the book was the right thing to do but not at the right time. And that is because in order for a memoir like mine, and perhaps yours, to make it we have to do, at least, two things. Publish books that make people want to read about us the author OR write something that goes so viral readers clamor to know who we are and what we are about. I have often called "query" a four letter word for all writers, but for essayists like us, "platform" should be spelled WTF. Taking a memoir class helps, I did that. Everybody there had a story, some amazing, some self-serving, some just plain BS. But what I really learned was to ask myself, "the question": What would make someone want to spend twenty bucks on your story? More importantly, why would someone spend a significant chunk of time out of their lives to read your essays? If you can answer that you do have a winner.

Opie, what are your writing goals? Do you want to be a essayist? If that is where you want to focus your time and energy, then writing for magazines (just as you have been) might be a better fit than trying to publish a full-length book. If you really do want to publish a beginning-to-end memoir, can you do what Lisa suggested and discover the red thread that connects your essays? Step back and show us the bigger picture. Whatever you decide to do with your memoir, don't forget your other writing projects if you have them.

OP, the silver lining is, you had some of them published. So you know the writing isn't half bad and that other people actually enjoy your work. That is more than some debut authors know when they start querying! That narrows down what you need to work on. Sounds like everyone here has already pointed out what that might be! Good luck.

This is a tough position to be in. Even though OP is against it, my initial feeling was this was a tailor made case for self-publishing. However, I think others are much better informed on this topic. Carolynn, Lisa, and Amy made some excellent points. Good luck to you.

OP, I think you may have a better chance if your essays are humorous in the vein of Erma Bombeck, Art Buchwald, or our own Julie M. Weathers. People's lives may not be as interesting as we ourselves would like to imagine, but if you can make people laugh that's a whole other ballgame. People will fork over the $16 for a good laugh on the first page even if no one has ever heard of you. Maybe I'm wrong, but I know I would. Good luck!

I feel awful for "saying this out loud" so to speak, but when I hear about a series of unrelated personal essays, I think that's a blog. There is SO much of this sort of thing out on the internet for free, there has to be a seriously compelling reason to invest in the cost to produce it on paper (and/or e-book form), and for anyone to spend money on it. A woman at my church self-pubbed, knowing how hard it is to sell memoir, but she has tirelessly supported her work and has had quite gratifying success with it. Like EMG, this sounds to me like a candidate for this kind of debut.

I guess my question would be what kind of 'no's Opie is getting. I would feel extremely nervous sending a collection of essays to a small publisher if I'd only been getting form rejections (of course, I get nervous writing emails to family members). And what are your motives for wanting to be published, Opie? I'm little unpublished nobody over here, but what you want out of getting published might be achieved by alternative methods. I'm not familiar with publishing essays, but if they're largely unconnected, is there a particular reason you're aiming for a book deal as opposed to getting the essays published individually (as you have been doing)? If you can narrow down on the reason, you might be able to focus your efforts more effectively on a particular route. But what do I know? Best of luck!!

You know, I've led a seriously interesting life. I've done way more than the average person, know more 'celebrities', have had more experiences, gotten to do many, many things most women never entertain trying let alone doing. It's been a great, fun ride. But the bottom line is, who cares? Oh sure, maybe in conversation, I might mention something, but honestly, no one wants to read an unrelated series of events of my life because, I'm no one. So they don't care. This sounds harsh, but it's true. OP, you have had the opportunity to sell some of your experiences. I have too. But an entire, $12 or $15 worth of unrelated life experiences when no one knows who you are is going to be an almost impossible sell. Now, if you could find a way to have a running narrative through them with a cohesive story, you could make it a work of fiction and that might sell it. But then you're faced with, what next? You've written your experiences, woven them so people are dying to read them and now, when you are expected to write the next book, what have you got? If your heart is set on the essays of your life, continue to write them and find outlets such as magazines and such. If your heart is set on a book, imagine a concept/story that people can't put down and write that. Either way, be prepared for a lot of rejection before someone loves your work. If they ever do.

I think the tipping point here is the spot between successful writer and celebrity writer. A celebrity writer could pull it off because their work would get air time in many markets. A successful writer will only be able to reach those who have an interest in the genre they write in. Pehaps Diane is right and these would make a good blog. Maybe it will become successful enough that you become a celebrity. There is only one way to really find out and that is to do it.

"Unconnected chapters means there's no narrative arc." Oh, that pesky fatal flaw, the words used when an editor read my first attempt at writing a book. I like the advice given by Janet, and others here. Is the collection a lighthearted collection of humorous essays, ala David Sedaris? Is it more of a soul searching, been there done that, collection of experiences which could help others, ala Chicken Soup for the Soul? Honestly. This is why I'd never attempt to write non-fiction - or a memoir. For one, I think it's got to be one of the hardest writing forms to do, and to do it well. Hello Betsy Lerner and THE BRIDGE LADIES. Then there was Cheryl Strayed and WILD. So many others. Anyway. H.A.R.D. If I could just veer OFF TOPIC a sec... Julie Weathers - yes, there were quite a few children, and some of the names I ran across were Leanna Donner, Eliza Donner, Virginia Reed - who survived. Virginia Reed was 13 at the time. One of the Donner girls - only 4. I think the other, 11. Maybe they are the ones...? John Frain - Jay Fosdick was believed to have been one of those cannabilized. Starved Camp was the actual name of one of the camps where some survivors wintered. Forlorn Hope was another camp and a phrase used to describe the current state of mind -even at the worst of it. Timothy Lowe - thanks! And yeah, so many instances of this happening (more than we care to know...) Thanks to all who took a guess or let me know they got it. Back to the regularly scheduled program!

I’m breaking the rules today. Thoughts on memoir class for an essayist. There were fifteen of us sitting around a huge table. First meeting we went from person to person sharing why we were there. Of the ones I remember there were three cancer survivors, (scary), a best friend and spouse of two people who did not survive cancer, (sad), a wealthy woman who wanted to share her amazing life, (it wasn’t that amazing), a professional story teller who wanted to tell her story of being a story teller, (huh), a young girl who had spent a year in India and Nepal, (been there, did that but in another country) and me, my statement to the class: “I met my parents for the first time after they died.” It certainly got the class and teacher excited. I even told them I was interviewed on national TV regarding the backstory of the pitch. That was almost ten years ago, the memoir sits unfinished in a file drawer. Of the fifteen, I became a columnist and the story teller has published 2 books. My point, well, I don’t have one other than we all have a story and that was 199 words of mine. I still think Janet should have a 100 word memoir or essay contest. Oops back to Carkoon for me.

At the moment I'm listening to the audio book Between You and Me: Confessions Of Comma Queen by Mary Norris. It's a memoir of unconnected life events BUT they are all woven together by Mary Norris' knowledge of the English language. Perhaps the format is the problem. Trying to sell a collection of unconnected. As a reader I need to feel an emotional arc. How could you connect these stories and give the 55k words an overall emotional arc, an overall theme?

Opie/NM: If you can find a way to hook your experiences into current events, that would be a great way to sell a story to a magazine. For example, "My pet Shih Tzu was a stunt double for Donald Trump's hair." I've been tempted to write about my experience in exile on Carkoon, but there are two things against that: 1) "Carkoon" is owned by Disney (which, btw, the Carkoonians are very happy about. It seems, during the George Lucas regime, you could never be sure things were in the same place they were yesterday). 2) Janet might enjoy it so much, she'll send me back so I could write a sequel... 8-O

I have a somewhat unrelated question: is a breathtaking writing style enough? If your collection of essays with no platform, a fantasy novel with a cliché plot, a literary novel with no solid story-arch, but the writing style is rich and engaging, is that enough?

How refreshing the sentence "Crushing facts...No One Else Cares". A newbie to this blog, I've found it eye-opening to read after a year of rejections. We are forever optimists. Great quotation. "A man must love a thing very much to practice it not only without hope of fame or fortune but [also] without hope of doing it well." G.K. Chesterton Opie - Good luck and hope you find that unique thread to weave a pattern into your work. Could it be risk, loss, lessons learned, the untold secrets of the color yellow, the benefits of growing older, or even 'why I drink whiskey at 8:00 AM'?

Colin, you are too funny! But no, my experiences, while unique, have no real thread to tie them all together except that they belong to me. And I am unfortunately, not famous so no one really cares. Oh, people will express an interest when I mention something, but their interest wouldn't hold up once the stories started flowing because...just because. So I'll continue to work on my PNHistRom and see where that takes me. And if it goes nowhere, I can always fall back on something else though I would still write.

"In an unexpected turn in the US elections today, Colin Smith - not only a dark horse, but an Englishman, won Super Tuesday in a landslide. For both parties. Let's got to Chet for a breakdown of the numbers ..." I quit, Colin's comment is the winner. See y'all on the other side of the returns!

Hello, Kae!! *BIG WAVE* What a brave soul you are... uh... I mean, welcome to the blog comments!! Lovely to have you around. :D

Angie – I loved Between You and Me! I've read David Sedaris. Another writer of collections of humorous personal essays is Jenny Lawson. I read about 3/4 of her first book. Yes, she's hysterically funny, but I lost interest just over half-way through and never finished. She does have a through-line of “life with mental illness,” but it wasn't enough to sustain me. Her blog is huge though, and she has two books, both of which are best sellers. So there's certainly a market for the humorous stuff. Maybe OP can pick one set of essays that have some sort of through-line, and develop that set into a full-length single-topic memoir or maybe even a full-length novel. You can always “become famous”. Try running for president. The field seems especially needy this time around.............

Wait, wait, wait... Can I vote for Colin in both primaries? Finally, a candidate I can believe in - one that a) doesn't know he's running and b) one that we can exile to Carkoon should we all suddenly need to move to Canada.

lol... "dark horse"! Don't forget, I'm of British stock. Thoroughly Western European genes. I'm so white, they could market me as sunscreen. I daren't go outside in shorts for fear of damaging people's corneas. But I appreciate the sentiment. Y'all are too nice. :D

This hits home for me..I have one novel published, but my agent has been shopping my memoir around since October and I am getting that sinking feeling. Though it does have an arc, and *I* feel it is compelling, apparently the world does not. It's hard to face reality sometimes, but perhaps the essays can be reworked into a novel, or some other work, even a memoir if it is changed some. On the bright side, a friend of mine did just get her memoir published. So there is hope, it does happen! I will only say what I am doing: 1. File drawer. 2. Work on something else. 3. In six months, revisit file drawer.

Whoops! I forgot to do newbie orientation for Kae! Welcome to the comments of Janet's blog, Kae Bell . I hope your experience will be fun and rewarding, and not simply an extension of the pit of despair in which you currently reside, if you are a writer like the rest of us. On the top right of the blog, you will find some useful links. If you want to understand some of the odd, seemingly meaningless words we like to throw around (e.g., "QOTKU", "Carkoon", "synopsis"), there is a glossary you can use for reference. If you wish to become further identified with the regular commenters, there's a list of Blog Commenters and their Blogs. Please contact me to be added to that list. Christina Seine has created a lovely Pintrest page you can be added to, and if you want us to know generally where you are in the world, you can add yourself to the map. On behalf of my fellow commenters, and Mighty QOTKU herself, I hope your time with us is both pleasant and... um... educational. You can find the Emergency Exit doors to the left and the right of the aircraft... oh sorry, wrong speech... ;)

Did somebody mention blogging? To most of you Reiders and lurkers, your writing-world is, in overwhelming numbers, fiction, either in process or published. You non-fiction writers are immersed in fact and platform. Essayists are different. We splay ourselves for the reader. It’s not easy writing about that which defines who we are. Essayists are brave writers because we reveal that which others tuck away and hide behind make believe. To seek a national audience beyond a blog is courageous for essayists because the consequences of our reviews affect us personally. Connecting the dots for writers like us is near impossible. Getting published in any form is God-damned hard. And I know that because every single one of you reading my words right now knows the game. That is why we are here. Essayists are not simply bloggers we’re writers too.

Kae, what Colin is trying to say is there is No Exit. This is no fault of Jean Paul Sartre. You have entered the belly of the beast. Please try to keep your demons on a leash, but under no circumstances should you ever tame them. Tamed demons simply do not sell. Welcome to the shark tank.

I found this question interesting, and it prompts a few questions for me, too (I'm usually a lurker here, commenting infrequently, but always gaining a lot from Janet's posts and subsequent comments from readers). I, too, have a collection of essays. They aren't connected by a story arc either, but rather by theme. I suppose one could call it an unorthodox travel memoir--the theme is middle-aged woman traveling for a year in Europe, going from farm to farm, working and learning (beekeeping, wine-making, olive harvesting, etc), and examining our relationship to the land and to each other in this context. The essays range from quite funny to tear-jerking; foreign language struggles, culture clashes, to various people's experiences of war. I always try to find a way to tie it to the land, though. I've done a lot of research for querying my novel, have thrown myself into the chum bucket, and have been querying widely. But I know almost nothing about querying memoir or travel essays--especially without the story arc Janet mentioned. I think my essays fall somewhere in between those two (i.e. memoir/travel). I'm wondering if the thematic core I've described here would suffice in the absence of a true story arc. Based on Janet's reply to the OP, I think humor might be the best angle I can offer, and could perhaps front-load the collection with those. But not sure. It currently exists as a blog, but not one I've promoted at all; only among family and friends. Not all essays on the blog are suited for the collection, and others are still on my laptop, not the blog. But if any thoughtful reader here wishes to see it, you can click on my name here (I think?). I hope that's kosher--I'm not trying to do my own blog promotion here. I'm sincerely interested in feedback from this thoughtful group of writers about the viability or interest in such a collection. Perhaps it's only destined to be a blog for family/friends. If you send me a message through the blog form there I can point you toward the funniest or saddest or most poignant of the posts, rather than have you sift through all of them. At the very least, I can promise you some pretty pictures and travel inspiration. (I'm happy to give you travel tips, too.) But I'd be grateful for any thoughts about whether it would grab interest as a collection, and the best approach for querying, if so. Janet, I hope this is OK.

Thanks Colin! I appreciate the guidance and the welcome!

Jennifer D: Janet's link rule is that it's okay to post links as long as you aren't trying to increase anyone's bank account or naughty bits. Some of us (e.g., me) feel a little awkward posting links to our own blogs. But since you're not me (at least I don't think you are), here a link to your blog: My initial thought from your comment is whether there's some way you can connect the various aspects of farming into a travelogue, or maybe pick a broad theme, maybe one of growth (e.g., learning through travel how the ordinary can be extraordinary) so you start of in the first chapter with one set of presuppositions, and end up in the last chapter with those presuppositions challenged. Just some ideas. :)

EM: LOL! OK. You're doing the next newbie orientation! ;)

Excellent thought, Colin. I'll revisit the blog and the stuff that didn't get onto the blog, and see if that emerges as a possibility. Even if the growth theme doesn't seem to work (though there was certainly growth), perhaps another will fit with your suggested approach. Thanks for offering up the idea. If you'd have seen my face before posting any mention of my blog, you might have laughed. I stopped just short of hitting "post" and sent an email to Janet to check if it was OK, because I didn't want to be That Asshole, as I said to her. I didn't know her rules about it, but I do now. Thanks. I only wish I'd had some "naughty bits" to add to the blog, alas my travel adventures were mainly G-rated, except for some swearing when I was attacked by a rogue bee at the apiary. So PG-13, I guess?

Jennifer D - Here's a list of memoirs/collected essays that came to me off the top. I think all but the first author already had celebrity and/or platforms, so if you don't have that, you might research what made the first one publishable and/or what was the "hook". Gretchen Berg – I Have Iraq in my Shoe Cheryl Strayed – Wild David Sedaris – Me Talk Pretty One Day Jenny Lawson – Let's Pretend This Never Happened Mary Norris - Between You and Me Stephen King - On Writing [of course I had to list this one!]

Colin, I am far too impolitic to do the initial welcome. We would never have another newbie again if I did the welcome. Let's not frighten them away. We need you to soften them up a bit. You make kale smell grand. Which is why you, and not I, are being elected president of the United States (or mayor of Carkoon) today. I get the two confused. Back on topic, I must agree with Diane- a disjointed memoir has mostly evolved into blogs. Even my tiny blog of despair has become my own bit of memoir. I am sure that does make memoir without an arc or hook a harder sell. Although I am very interested in all the vignettes and memoirs here in the shark tank. I am always in search of new characters to shake up my fiction.

EM: Mayor of Carkoon?! I think not. You saw what happened last week when Janet tried to send me back there. I haven't had a query rejected that quickly! I'm persona non grata there--or I would be if they knew what that meant. For the record, I'm okay with that. I like it here. :D

Looking at this as a reader, from a humanist perspective, I think everyone's lives are incredible in their own ways, that everyone has a story to share. Just look at HONY, which is constantly proving this through the captions of their photographs. Some of the most moving and memorable moments come from people who are just living their everyday lives, that Brandon just happened upon and provided an outlet for. My life is richer for hearing some of these stories, and I hate to think how I might have missed them had such an outlet not existed. But publishing is a business, and as others have noted, the primary goal is financial. Everything else--being able to touch people, move people, share your story--is a beautiful byproduct, but not the purpose of the industry. I inherently disagree with it--as an artist and an idealist, I think everyone should have their voice heard and be able to tell their stories because everyone's lives are different and everyone has something to add to this living experience (and as Doctor Who likes to say, there's not one person in this world who isn't important. Yeah, I went there). But that's my own idealism, not the reality. As an industry, I understand and respect that the rules and standards are put in place for a reason--it's a business, and businesses need to make money. But, Opie, you do have options. That's the great thing about today. HONY "broke the rules" by adding short, personal essays to his photographs. Other writers "broke the rules" by sharing their story via blogs, mixed media, self-publishing. If traditional publishing is your dream, absolutely go for it--find that thread and follow it to create a narrative and then keep querying. That narrative is vital to storytelling no matter what medium you're working in. But know that you have options, too, to share your voice and your story--it's just a matter of figuring out which one works best. Best of luck.

In any non-fiction book proposal, one of the main questions to ask yourself is "Who would be my targeted audience? Not all readers in general, but who would feel compelled to buy my book? Once I reached past 11 different sub-groups, I realized that I have a story; about living before, during and after a wildfire in a rural setting. Having a career in Forestry has given me training and resources that the average person would not have concerning prepping and wildfires. When I wrote about the fire on my blog, people actually blogged about taking note of what we did and applied it to their property, for where they were living. There is one group of the readers right there. Also, we stayed on; not moving away and letting someone else clean up. No, the forest doesn't recover right away when the soil is burnt down to rock, and yes, the wildlife suffers from injury, lack of food and shelter for years afterward. My house burned over while I watched from my hayfield, my horses were let loose to fend for themselves, and then the aftermath of terribly burnt, blinded cows screaming until they could all be put down is something that needs to be written down for others to learn from. That's why I am writing my story; there are who people want to know. Hopefully someone will want to publish it. But I won't know unless I try.

*hi-fives Susan for the Who reference*

Kae, I'd say that we're more like The Hotel California, once you check in you can never check out. Jeez, I love the Eagles so much I could write an essay about them, but don't worry Reiders, I won't. Here's the link. Colin if you could do the honors please...

Colin: High-five back atcha! ;) I'm convinced DW should be required viewing, or part of a humanities curriculum, if only to keep reminding us of our humanity when the world forgets. That's the power of storytelling right there!

OMG Janice, the cows. Makes me cry. Breaks my heart. I'd buy the book because my son-in-law fights wild fires when he's called upon to help.

2Ns: My pleasure: Susan: Who is the only reason to own a TV! :) Great storytelling has been a hallmark of the show, even when the budget couldn't make it as good as the writers imagined.

OP here. I've lurked here for a while and sincere thanks to Janet and to all the posters. Janet and you others pretty much confirm what I thought was the case. Particular thanks to 2Ns for her thoughts. Unlike you guys I don't think of myself as a writer. It is something to which I never aspired. I'd like to think I am a storyteller but even that is something about which I am not so sure. My story is pretty simple. In my late fifties, about a dozen years ago now, I sent my best friend a longish email recounting a recent experience. His reply surprised story was so interesting and agreeably told I should submit it someplace for publication. Of course I ignored him but a year or two later his earlier comments gave me the courage to submit a different story to a large print publication and I was pretty astounded when they bought it. Over the years I have been lucky enough to sell a number of stories to various print publications, large and small. ("Sell" is sort of a generous term to use when I get $10, but some have gone for three figures...) Writing is an avocation for me. I enjoy pondering, recalling various events in my life, many in which I am more observer than participant, and to often gently explore the emotions they may generate. No, there is no arc to these. Some are funny (I think) some serious, some in between. I just sit down and begin writing when something pops into my mind that I wish to think about or recall. A story about when I ran away from home at age eight all the way to my backyard or another about my mom's decades of dramatic accounts about her yearly perceived struggles getting ingredients for a dish served at a family dinner, ending when I reached my sixties. So I really write for my own enjoyment. I do not need to have a book published to be satisfied. I guess I thought that since I had some modest success with individual stories and received some very nice comments from some readers I would look into seeing if I could get a collection published. (Sort of a Chicken Soup thing, I suppose, but without the excess emotion or inspiration and not with a single theme.) Not at all an ego thing so I am not at all interested in self publishing. I don't show my stories to anybody unless they get published....except to that original best friend who, sadly, nears the end of a medical story from which he will not recover.

1eye, I'm sorry about your friend. That's always so very hard to go through. (your name is way long so sorry, I shortened it) I'm thinking after your explanation that doing the essay route is, for you, going to be the best way to get your voice heard. And that's a wonderful thing! Janice, you made me cry. :( I'm going off topic for a sec... HOLY CRAP! SNOW!!! Okay, that is all...

Jennifer D - one thing I do to see how essayists organize books on one topic but with very different essays is to see if there's a table of contents. Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist is a great example. **off topic** I'm recently returned from a trip to NOLA. I visited the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone, famous for all the famous writers who have stayed there over the years. I sipped bourbon and thought fondly of this group.

1eye (stealing from nightsmusic) I'm very sorry about your friend

1 eye, (I shortened your name too), you may not think of yourself as a writer but you certainly are one. Tack onto writer, words like record keeper, story teller and history saver. Your experiences are of value and it is wonderful that you have found a way to share them, even if it's for ten bucks. When at a crossroads in my own writing, and to paraphrase something Janet said to me, (which I have shared here often), if what you are writing brings you joy, then you should continue on your path. You and I both know, plus a few other Reiders here whose parents liked Ike know, there's a richness to what we have experienced in our lives that should be saved. This is not to diminish the experiences of those living wonderful and enriching lives now, not to dismiss their struggles or difficulties, not to overlook the deadening burden of things like student debt and politics gone crazy, but if we don't do what you are doing, if we don't share what it was like to us then the foundation shoring up their future crumbles. Okay I'm off my soapbox, have commented way too many times today. Breathe easy Reiders I'm off to work and out of your hair Janet.

2Ns, 1I... love it! :) Isn't it true that any sale to a magazine is noteworthy on a query, since not only does it say someone liked your stuff enough to pay money for it, but that it was critically assessed by an editor who was willing to part with cash for it? Clearly, the more prestigious the mag, the better it looks on a query. But even $10 is good--I wouldn't sneeze at it. :) I'm commenting way too much. OK... sorry.

Oh, 2n's. My parents liked Hoover! We're all storytellers. Some of us tell real ones, some of us tell the ones in our minds, but we belong to a fraternal organization, mostly unorganized and with so many different branches, that is almost as old as time. It's a fine organization to belong to. And it's still snowing! Supposed to get 9 inches by this evening.

This is one memoir that you're going to want to read. It will be BIG. It's written by a friend of mine. (No reflection on her.) Running on Red Dog Road and Other Perils of an Appalachian Childhood by Drema Hall Berkheimer, http//, and other fine booksellers. Due for publication April 14. I hope I got the Info correct. If I didn't, look it up--and the reviews.

Here you are, Rena. Hopefully, since this isn't increasing *my* bank account, Her Sharkiness will permit it: Running on Red Dog Road and Other Perils of an Appalachian Childhood by Drema Hall Berkheimer

1eye (1i?) - I'm sorry about your friend. That is hard. It sounds like he started something good, though. I would consider you a writer. Actually, you are technically more of one than me since I've only been doing this hard-core hobby for a few years and am not yet published. I think people on this blog come from about every background, part of the world, and present day situation. Best of luck with whatever you decide to do! O.T. - did I hear Colin (or possibly a shih tsu?) was running for pres? Because I will vote for either one right now based on current candidates. OK, shutting up now...

Lennon: There are rumors that Puddles the Stunt Dog might be running as an Independent. Do they allow write-in votes? :)

I voted for both Colin and the Shih Tzu in the primary. Colin will make an excellent president and the Shih Tzu can do everything else

What a timely post this morning. My writer's group meets tonight, and "Why do we write?" is the scheduled topic. Because you have to get the story out of your own head, or get it into someone else's? To be published? Published for a sake of personal achievement, recognition, fame, money? Figuring out why I would write, have written, or should write, seems to be the key to knowing when I have been successful. Thank you, guys and gals, for this blog, and your candid thoughts. Thoughts on ALL things, I've learned hanging out here!

2Ns...thanks for the kind words, and thanks to others as well. I read a piece in the NYTimes a couple of years ago by Saul Austerlitz, "The Lost Art of the Condolence Letter" in which he says, "I write to remember and to be remembered." I thought that was pretty good. Yah, my kids have seen things I've written that get published but I have a lot more that has not been. I think one day I'll print it all out and put it in a file in a drawer for them to find a long time from now. Jeez, since I'm soon 70 perhaps I'd better get going! Because I write my tales for my own enjoyment I follow my self imposed rules that anything I get published must be in print....something tangible I can hold (talk about being an old fart)...and I gotta get paid something, anything. No freebies.

I self-published a compilation of essays (blog posts) back in Dec of 2011, titled "How Did This Happen? Lunch with Imaginary Friends and Other (mostly) True Stories." I described it as slices of life from the "empty nest" years that, it turns out, aren't so empty after all. I had very low expectations for sales and knew the only people who would buy it were friends and family. Because it's true, no one else cares. The reason I did it was to see whether I could. At the time, I kept hearing how easy it was to self-pub and ALSO how incredibly difficult it was. I figured the only way to find out whether it was easy/difficult for ME was to try it. It wasn't all that difficult and I'm really glad I did. The most interesting feedback was from two of my nieces, and the most flattering was a reviewer who said it reminded him of Bill Bryson's writing. Anyway, the point is that there are many reasons, other than sales, for publishing a collection of essays. In your case, 1eye, there is incalculable value in passing on your stories to your children and generations to come. I wish I had realized when I was younger how much I would come to regret not writing down or recording the stories told by relatives who have since died. And yes, you are a writer. Best of luck to you, whatever you decide.

This post comes at a perfect time for me. Since mid-November I've sent out 14 queries (eight women, six men) for what I call a non-fiction book, and what others might call "memoir." It's funny, and in my query letter I said "...this is what happens when David Sedaris rewrites A Year In Provence." I have gypsies, a contractor who went to prison for manslaughter, an African princess, and title NOT to the apartment building I've renovated twice, but to the crappy little one next door. So far, I've received requests for 50-100 pages from four agents, all of them women, and form rejections from the other four. So, some sort of reply from all the women. From the men, nothing. Not even a form rejection, which I've found really odd, since my husband plays a prominent role in the story. He's an Ivy League educated trial lawyer, I'm a college dropout from Iowa. We're quite different, and yet we're a perfect fit. It's still out with one agent who requested pages. I received rejections from the other three, but they were the nicest rejections ever written: "You had me laughing from the first paragraph, no small feat at 5AM.", "I found myself longing to sit down with you over some liquor-infused champagne to hear all the details" and "I enjoyed your clever writing and, strangely, I suppose, your fraught adventure in France." And yet, all three said the same thing - books like this have become fairly hard to publish, it's a competitive market, and publishers want a "platform." I'll cast the net wider, but I have a couple of questions: 1. Should I only query women? 2. Would changing my last name to Kardashian help?

I'm also an essayist/memoirist. If your essays are "literary," you will have the best luck with small presses with an artsy feel, like Heart and the Hand, Green River Press, Gray Wolf, etc, and university presses like the University of Georgia. It's also possible to get the attention of one of these presses by publishing in a literary magazine, or entering a chapbook contest. Chapbooks are often made up of an essay collection or short prose of some kind. You can find reputable literary magazines by searching for "Pushcart Prize rankings" - there are a couple of lists online of magazines ranked by how many Pushcarts they've won, and that is reasonably legit. If your essays are not "literary," the best way to get your book published is to get an essay in a high-profile place like The New York Times' Modern Love, Motherlode, or Opinionator sections; Washington Post's Post Everything, or the personal essay column of a large newspaper like the Boston Globe. If your essay hits big, you'll get interest in your other work and agents may contact you. But it sounds like the most important thing for you is to keep writing - so keep placing essays, and as you get more paying markets, aim for more prestigious markets, and that may provide the satisfaction you're looking for. Good luck!

No One Else Cares. Boy, that has been going through my head all day. It's been kind of a gloomy day here, and I've been ruminating about how little I understand the publishing business. I read, read, read as much as I can about it, but always feel a bit out of synch. OP, it's great that you are satisfied with your writing and with how it's been published.

If you can't tell me what the book is about in 25 words or less, it's really hard to pitch it. And I don't mean just to me, I mean it's hard for me to pitch it to an editor, an editor to her boss, or to the acquisitions meeting, for sales to pitch it to accounts, for film guys to pitch it to producers, for subrights agents to pitch it to audio publishers and translation agents. Even beyond that, word of mouth (the single best way to expand your audience) is essentially one reader pitching it to another. When you ask a friend what they're reading and they go into a meandering monologue trying to explain it, you're probably gonna tune out before they've gotten very far. Whereas if I say "Cinderella's a cyborg" or "supervillains face off" you know right away if you'd be interested or not. This is why high-concept stuff is easier to sell, because it's simply easier to talk about. I dearly love some books that are difficult to explain, but those aren't the ones I tend to push on acquaintances. Opie and the other essayists might look into Medium. It's a platform that seems well-suited to essays and long-form writing without the legwork of trying to get eyeballs on a personal blog.

"Cinderella's a cyborg." I loved the Lunar Chronicles. Just sayin'. Wonderful storytelling. Shutting up now. Really. :D

Putting on my dusty librarian hat: There is a difference between an autobiography, a memoir and collection of essays. We shelve these in different places in the library. Biographies have their own Dewey Decimal classifications. Memoirs do not. (Auto)biographies are about a person (ie, Dawn French's "Dear Fatty"). Memoirs are about a subject (theme, event) irrespective of the person (ie that beguilingly strange memoir about a mother who takes her ill little daughter to South America for an exorcism; how did that end up in our collection?). Essay collections tend to be given a subject, depending on what they're about, and shelved accordingly. (hint for everyone writing a book of any kind: do you know what shelf it would go on in the library? You really need to know this, so you know how to pitch it to agents/editors/readers. For those who would say, "shelve it in fiction", do you know what genre sticker we should whack on it? Do you know which "If you enjoyed..." list we should put it on? You should. If you can't classify it, how can we?)

Commenting on the sly from the Day Job, as the home internet is down for the neighbourhood. Bethany asked: a breathtaking writing style enough? If your collection of essays with no platform, a fantasy novel with a cliché plot, a literary novel with no solid story-arch, but the writing style is rich and engaging, is that enough? Almost. Very much almost. Sometimes so almost that some readers will forgive the gravest of sins if you can hook them with the writing. Last year I read an indie Fantasy author whose permafree novel hooked me . His voice and style had good pacing. It promised so many, many things... ...all of which the rest of the series failed to deliver. And that was a great big shame. If you look through the GoodReads ratings, you'll find quite a mixed bag of reactions. I read about three of his books in hopes that he'd pull a smerp out of a hat somewhere, but he didn't. Alas.

Julie, I want to hug you! Thank you for understanding; I believe that is why it's important to write this book so that others can understand also. Living right in the middle of it as it happens gave us a perspective that not many have experienced. Caroly2nns - Your son is one of my sub-groups :) thank him for his service - he has one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Nightmusic - :( We had to force ourselves to look for the good. I remember the first time I laughed out loud afterwards - it was when I had a chipmunk with no ears show up on my doorstep for birdseed! I realized that if wildlife can tough it out, so could we :) 1eye- You are a writer - you were just busy collecting stories for awhile :)

Janice, Well, my post made no sense due to my rearranging. Anyway, you need to write this book. People need to know. "Ah, I'll just burn this trash instead of paying to haul it off." 7,000 burned acres and hundreds of dead cattle and horses later, not to mention the personal property and someone would have gladly paid you that $15 to haul trash. Don't give up on it. My dad was a fire watcher for years in the western Montana mountains out of Lincoln, MT. It's important for people to know. It's bad enough when you can't help it due to lightning.

Judy Moore, Since it's Super Tuesday (still fiscal Super Tuesday until everyone wakes up Wednesday) I'll cast a vote: I strongly discourage you from changing your last name to Kardashian. Lots of baggage that'll come with that move. That leaves your alternative: querying only women. I don't know the demographics of the agent profession (except they all grew up in Lake Woebegone), but I suspect you'll still have the vast majority to query. If you allow write-in votes, I'd suggest that your sample size was too small and you try a few more males. If all else fails, self-publish and give it as a gift to that husband. I bet he'll defy the odds and accept it without even needing a query.

Sometimes I wish I was a morning person so I could hang out here when the reef is crowded with Reiders. But this is good practice for the lonely life of a writer. Instead I'll just remind y'all what a superlative line Michael Seese had during the most recent contest: "They won't find her until spring, when the ice has grown weary of her, too." Oh, that just dances on your tongue like a swizzle stick.

John, look at the bright side. If you were around when the party was in full swing, you could spend hours here. It's a great place to be, but I decided sometime back, those hours could be spent writing. I leave a comment early and (most of the time) don't return until late at night if I have time. I miss a lot, but there are priorities and Janet's WIR covers some of the good stuff. Judy Moore, I hate to say this, but timing is everything. Publishing is no exception. Ten, even five years ago, agents would've been all over your story. It sounds wonderful and like John said, perhaps you just haven't queried enough agents. If, however, you keep getting the same response "great writing, but hard to publish" you may have to save it for later. Everything goes in cycles and perhaps in a few years agents will once again be looking for expat adventures. Good luck, I hope to someday read it.

Or, I hope to read it someday. Anywho, I was going to send you an email, but it seems like there's no way to contact you directly. (Janet wrote about this not too long ago.) I was going to tell you that I know an agent who is interested in anything that pertains to France. She might be just the agent you need to contact. I don't have that info on me (I'm typing all this from my phone) but when I get home I can send it to you.

(Completely out of order in case y'all are wondering what Janice is talking about. I couldn't stand the typos and had to get up in the middle of the night to fix them.) Y'all are very kind in comments about a Julie Weathers, whatever it would be. Crazier Than A Peach Orchard Pig, But Mostly Harmless, by Julie Weathers. Yep, I can see that doing well. This really is like the story I told about the lady in Surrey. She bemoaned no one wanting her "My man done me wrong story" when she was sitting on a fascinating story about giving it all up to go help in Indonesia after a tsunami and teaching women to make elephant dung paper for note cards to support their families. Anything can sell if it's written well. A Southern Belle Primer: Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma is one of my favorite little essay books. I'm not sure how well that book sold, but it's hilarious and she's written other southern belle etiquette primers with fascinating stories. Erma Bombeck. Kae, welcome to the tank. Original questioner, I don't know what the answer is. If you feel strongly about your project, find some way to publish. Life is short. 1eye. I'm glad you found your voice, but so sorry to hear about your friend. Janice, I agree about the heartbreak of the fires. Every year we have range fires in west Texas. Everyone thinks, "Oh, what can burn out there? It's all sand. There's more out there than you think or there wouldn't be thousands of cattle. A train will spark a fire, lightning, many times some moron tossing a cigarette out of a vehicle, arson, carelessness. Ranchers scramble to move cattle, open gates, cut fences, but invariably we wind up with one of them on the news the next day, wiping tears away, talking about neighbors coming in to ride pastures to put down burned cattle. We hear helicopters for days as everyone who has one sweeps pastures trying to locate crippled, burned, missing cattle. Every danged year. Even if they don't look damaged, cattle suffer from smoke inhalation, burned feet that slough weeks later, and other damage. It's gut wrenching. The first range fire of the season cranked off Feb. 1 and burned 1,700 acres near the LX Ranch in the Panhandle. Good luck with the book. It needs to be written.

Colin: Too nice? Nonsense! We're desperate.

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Rafal Reyzer

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80 Best Magazines & Websites That Publish Personal Essays

Author: Rafal Reyzer

Wouldn’t it be great to find a whole list of magazines that publish personal essays, and even pay you for the privilege?

Well, you’re in luck because you’ve just found a list of magazines that accept essay submissions around pop culture, personal finance, personal stories, and many other topics. If you’re passionate about crafting personal essays and your work typically falls within a range of 600 to 10,000 words, consider submitting your essays to the organizations listed below. They generally offer compensation of $50-$250 for each accepted essay. After this guide, you may also want to check my list of the best essays of all time .

Here are the top magazines and publications that publish thought-provoking essays:

1. the new york times – modern love.

“Modern Love” accepts essay submissions via email at [email protected] with the essay subject or potential title as the email subject line. Submissions should be original, true stories between 1,500 and 1,700 words, sent both as an attached Microsoft Word-compatible document and pasted into the body of the email. The team collaborates with writers on editing, and authors are compensated for published work. Submission info .

2. The New York Times – Opinion Essays

To submit an essay to this publication, fill out the provided submission form with the essay and a brief explanation of your professional or personal connection to its argument or idea. The essay should include sources for key assertions (either as hyperlinks or parenthetical citations). Although all submissions are reviewed, the publication may not be able to respond individually due to the high volume of entries. If there’s no response within three business days, authors are free to submit their work elsewhere. Submission info .

3. Dame Magazine

DAME is a women’s magazine that prioritizes accessible and intersectional journalism that dives into context rather than breaking news. Their stories are unexpected, emotional, straightforward, illuminating, and focused on people rather than policy. They aim to reveal new or surprising information, provoke action or empathy, simplify complex issues, introduce fresh ideas, and foreground the people most affected by discussed topics. Submission info .

4. The New Yorker

The New Yorker welcomes letters to the editor sent to [email protected] and includes your postal address and phone number. For fiction submissions, send your work as a PDF to [email protected] or mail it to their New York address. They review all submissions within ninety days and will only contact you if they decide to publish your work. Submission info .

5. The Atlantic

The Atlantic is keen on high-quality nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Familiarity with their past publications can guide your submission. All manuscripts should be submitted as a Word document or PDF. They only respond if they’re interested in discussing your submission further. Separate submission channels exist for fiction and poetry. Submission info .

6. The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail welcomes your original experiences, viewpoints, and unique perspectives for your daily first-person essay. A good essay should have an original voice, an unexpected view, humor, vivid details, and anecdotes that illuminate a wider theme. While a successful essay could be funny, surprising, touching, or enlightening, it should always be personal and truthful, rather than political or fictional. Submission info .

7. The Guardian

To contribute to this publication, you should identify the most relevant section and contact the commissioning editor with a brief outline of your idea. You may be invited to submit your work speculatively, meaning payment will only be provided if your contribution is published. It’s important to note that your contribution should be sent electronically and will be published under standard copyright terms with payment at normal rates unless agreed otherwise before publication. Submission info .

8. Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times is open to opinion articles on any subject, with most published pieces being about 750 words long. Submissions must be exclusive to them and not published elsewhere, including personal blogs or social media. Full drafts of articles are required for consideration and should include the author’s name, the topic, the full text, a short author biography, and contact information. Submission info .

9. The Sun Magazine

The Sun publishes personal essays, short stories, and poems from both established and emerging writers globally, particularly encouraging submissions from underrepresented perspectives. Their contributors’ work often garners recognition in prestigious anthologies and prizes. The Sun seeks personal essays that are deeply reflective, celebrating hard-won victories or exploring big mistakes, aiming to make newsworthy events feel intimate and wrestle with complex questions. Submission info .

Slate invites pitches that are fresh, and original, and propose strong arguments. They appreciate ideas that challenge conventional wisdom and encourage you to clearly articulate the insights your reporting can uncover. A concise pitch is preferred, even if a full draft is already written. You should include a short bio and any relevant published work. They advise waiting a week before pitching to other publications, and if an editor passes, refrain from sending it to another editor at Slate. Submission info .

VICE is primarily interested in mid-length original reports, reported essays, narrative features, and service journalism related to contemporary living and interpersonal relationships. They welcome stories informed by personal experiences and insight but advise writers to consider what makes their story unique, why they’re the right person to tell it, and why it should be on VICE. While all stories don’t need to be tied to current events, a timely element can distinguish a pitch. They also accept quick-turnaround blogs and longer features. Submission info .

12. Vox Culture

Vox Culture seeks to provide readers with context and analysis for understanding current entertainment trends. They are interested in pitches that answer significant questions about major movies, TV shows, music artists, internet culture, fame, and women’s issues in the entertainment business. Notably, they are not interested in personal essays or celebrity interviews. Past successful stories have ranged from exploring Disney’s move away from traditional villains to analyzing historical inaccuracies in popular shows. They accept story pitches ranging between 1,000 and 2,500 words. Submission info .

Aeon, a unique digital magazine since 2012, is known for publishing profound and provocative ideas addressing big questions. Their signature format is the Essay, a deep dive into a topic, usually between 2,500-5,000 words, approached from a unique angle and written with clarity to engage curious and intelligent general readers. Aeon’s contributors are primarily academic experts, but they also welcome those with significant professional or practical expertise in various fields. Submission info .

14. BuzzFeed Reader

This platform welcomes freelance pitches on cultural criticism, focusing on current or timeless topics in various categories like books, technology, sports, etc. Essays should offer a unique perspective on how these subjects reflect our society. The content must be relevant, advance ongoing dialogues, and add value to the existing discourse. Submission info .

15. The Boston Globe

Boston Globe Ideas welcomes a variety of content including op-eds, reported stories, book excerpts, first-person essays, and Q&A features. Submissions should be sent directly, not as pitches. Please include your submission in the body of the email, not as an attachment. Briefly explain why you’re uniquely qualified to write this piece. Ensure your submission hasn’t been published or under review elsewhere. Submissions page .

16. The Bold Italic

This platform is actively seeking submissions in the genre of personal narrative essays. These pieces can encompass a broad range of experiences from the hilariously light-hearted to deeply poignant, encapsulating the vibrant and diverse experiences of living in your community. Submission info .

Before pitching to a Medium Publication, thoroughly understand its unique style by reviewing published content and submission guidelines. This ensures your work aligns with their preferences. With numerous Medium Publications available, persist in your submissions until you find a fitting outlet. Submission info .

18. Refinery29

Refinery29 Australia is committed to empowering women and underrepresented groups, with a particular focus on Australian women and trans and gender-diverse individuals, primarily Gen-Z and millennials. We publish a diverse array of content, from timely personal essays to reports on race, reproductive rights, and pop culture, all with a distinctly local perspective. They aim to shed light on the world around us, and highly value pieces that capture the unique Australian experience, be it in subject matter or authorial voice. Submission info .

ELLE’s annual talent competition is back for, seeking out the next superstar in writing. The winner will have their 500-word piece, inspired by the hashtag #RelationshipGoals and focusing on a significant relationship in their life. Submission info .

20. Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan is looking for first-person features that cover all aspects of beauty. This can include writing personal essays or narratives about your struggles with adult acne, your journey to an all-natural beauty routine, or other unique beauty experiences. We are also open to opinion pieces about beauty trends or movements that resonate with you. Submission info .

Bustle encourages freelance pitches across different verticals such as Lifestyle, Books, News and politics, Fashion and beauty, and Entertainment. We value pitches that are brief yet comprehensive, including a sample headline, a 2-3 sentence description of the piece, your plan for photos, sources you have access to, your clips if you haven’t written for us before, and your standard rate. Make sure to understand what we’re looking for and convey your story idea clearly and professionally. Submission info .

22. The Walrus

The Walrus seeks short essays (up to 1,200 words) that are timely, focused, and sourced from Canada and globally. These can be reported narratives, memoirs, or mini-features on specific topics. Each essay should exhibit a distinct argument, a strong writing voice, and present an original and significant viewpoint. Writers new to The Walrus or those without long-form journalism experience are particularly encouraged to contribute to this section. Submission info .

23. Autostraddle

Autostraddle welcomes pitches, works in progress, and completed submissions. Any issues with the submission form should be emailed to Laneia Jones with the subject line “SUBMISSION ERROR”. Questions about the submission process can be directed to Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya with “SUBMISSION PROCESS” in the subject line. Please note that pitches or submissions sent via email will not be accepted. Submission info .

24. Narratively

Narratively focuses on original and untold human stories, welcoming pitches and completed submissions from diverse voices. They use Submittable for managing submissions. To better understand what they’re looking for in new writers, contributors can review their guidelines, and the best pitches they’ve received, and ask questions to their editors about how to pitch. Submission info .

25. Catapult

Catapult offers a regularly updated list of submission and freelancing opportunities. Some current options include Black Fox Literary Magazine, open for fiction submissions; Carina Press, seeking romance manuscripts; Elegant Literature, welcoming submissions for its contest; Inkspell Publishing, looking for romance manuscripts; Interlude Press, seeking original novels featuring diverse casts; and Intrepid Times, accepting stories about romance while traveling. Submission info .

26. Jezebel

At Jezebel, the high volume of daily emails (over 500), including tips and questions from readers, makes it impossible to respond to all of them, even though they are all read and appreciated. Their primary job involves posting 60+ items a day, and due to workload constraints, they may not always be able to reply to your email. Submission info .

27. Bitch Media

Bitch Media seeks pitches offering feminist analysis of culture, covering a wide array of topics including social trends, politics, science, health, life aspects, and popular culture phenomena. They publish critical essays, reported features, interviews, reviews, and analyses. First-person essays should balance personal perspectives with larger themes. Both finished work and query letters are welcome. However, due to the volume of submissions, they cannot guarantee a response or that every pitch will be read. Submission info .

28. Broadview

Broadview magazine prefers pitches from professional writers for unique, audience-focused stories. While unsolicited articles may be accepted, the initial idea pitch is recommended. Responses to each pitch are not guaranteed due to high submission volumes. Submission info .

29. Briarpatch Magazine

Briarpatch Magazine accepts pitches on a variety of political and social issues, valuing stories from diverse voices. They seek well-researched, fact-backed pieces aimed at a non-specialist, progressive audience. They recommend writers to first pitch their ideas, including contact info, estimated word count, recent publications, and a short writing sample. The magazine aims to respond within one to two weeks after the pitch deadline for each issue. Submission info .

30. Maisonneuve

Maisonneuve Magazine welcomes non-fiction writing submissions in various forms (reporting, essays, memoirs, humor, reviews) and visual art (illustration, photography, comics). They do not accept fiction, poetry, or previously published work. They prefer well-developed, well-researched pitches, but also accept polished drafts if the writer is open to edits. To understand what the magazine is looking for, it’s recommended to read some recent issues or check their website. Submission info .

31. Room Magazine

Room Magazine seeks original fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and art from individuals of marginalized genders, including women (cisgender and transgender), transgender men, Two-Spirit, and nonbinary people. Simultaneous submissions are welcome, and submissions can be made through Submittable. Submission info .

32. Hazlitt

Hazlitt is currently not accepting submissions but it might reopen soon. They seek original journalism, investigative features, international reporting, profiles, essays, and humor pieces, but they are not considering unsolicited fiction. Pitches with proposed word counts are preferred, and they have a section called “Hazlitt Firsts” for reviews of experiencing mundane things for the first time as adults. Submission info .

33. This Magazine

This Magazine seeks pitches for their annual Culture Issue with a DIY theme, open to various topics related to DIY spirit. They publish Canadian residents only and prefer queries over already completed essays or manuscripts. They look for unique stories with a social justice angle, and pitches should include reasons for telling the story, relevant sources, and potential takeaways for readers. Submission info .

34. Geist Magazine

Geist magazine seeks submissions with a literary focus, including short non-fiction for the Notes & Dispatches section (around 800-1200 words) with a sense of place, historical narrative, humor, and personal essays on art, music, and culture. They encourage submissions from diverse writers and will pay writers $300-500 for accepted pieces. Submission info .

35. Discover Magazine

Discover magazine seeks pitches from freelance writers for science-related stories that enlighten and excite readers, with a conversational tone and high reader interest. Pitch one idea per email, mentioning the newness of the science and specific studies and researchers to be cited. Include your science-writing credentials and best clips in the pitch and send them to [email protected]. Payment starts at $1/word for print and typically $300/story for web, with rights purchased for both. Submission info .

36. Eater Voices

Eater Voices accepts personal essays from chefs, restaurateurs, writers, and industry insiders about the food world. To pitch, email a brief explanation of the topic and why you are the right person to write about it to [email protected]. Submission info .

37. The Temper

The Temper is an online publication focused on sobriety, addiction, and recovery, challenging drinking culture. They seek diverse and intersectional stories written through the lens of addiction, covering various topics like sex, food, relationships, and more. Submissions are currently closed, but they are especially interested in amplifying voices from marginalized and underrepresented groups. Submission info .

38. Chatelaine

Chatelaine is a prominent Canadian women’s magazine covering health, current events, food, social issues, decor, fashion, and beauty. To pitch, read the magazine first, and submit a one-page query letter explaining the idea’s fit for the magazine, section, and format. They prefer email submissions with at least two previously published writing samples, and response time may take six to eight weeks. Submission info .

39. Conde Nast Traveler

Condé Nast Traveler seeks pitches for reported and personal travel stories with inclusive coverage, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled communities. Focus on stories and angles rather than destinations, check for previous coverage, and offer a fresh perspective. If pitching a personality, indicate exclusivity and access. Consider your expertise in telling stories, especially about marginalized communities, and disclose any sponsorships. Keep pitches brief, including a suggested headline, angle, sources, and why it’s timely. Responsible travel stories are prioritized during the pandemic. Submission info .

40. Boston Globe Ideas

Globe Ideas is dedicating an entire issue to young people’s voices and stories. Teens are invited to share their aspirations, concerns, and experiences about mental health, school, social media, and more, up to 700 words or through short notes, videos, or illustrations. This is a chance for teens to set the record straight and tell the world what matters most to them. Submission info .

41. Babbel Magazine

Babel welcomes submissions from all linguists, focusing on accessible and stimulating articles about language. Writers can submit feature articles or propose ideas for regular features, and guidelines for contributions are available for download. For those with ideas but not interested in writing, they can also suggest topics for articles through email. Submission info .

42. HuffPost Personal

HuffPost seeks to amplify voices from underrepresented communities, including BIPOC, LGBTQ, and people with disabilities. They accept freelance pitches on a wide range of topics, providing clear guidelines for submissions. They also encourage visual creatives to submit their work, and all published contributors are paid for their work. Please note that due to the volume of submissions, individual responses may not be possible. Submission info .

43. Adelaide Literary Magazine

Adelaide magazine accepts submissions in various categories, including fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, translations, book reviews, interviews, and art/photography. Fiction and nonfiction submissions have a size limit of 5,000 words, while book reviews have a limit of 2,000 words. They do not accept previously published work or simultaneous submissions. Artists retain all rights to their work, and upon publication, rights revert to the author/artist. Submission info .

44. bioStories

BioStories welcomes nonfiction prose submissions of 500 to 7500 words, with the typical piece being around 2500 words. Submit via email to [email protected], pasting the submission in the email body with the subject line “biostories submission” and your last name. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but immediate notification is required if accepted elsewhere. Multiple submissions are allowed at a one-month interval, and the work must be previously unpublished in print and online. Noncompliant submissions will not receive a response. Submission info .

45. Quarter After Eight

Quarter After Eight welcomes innovative writing submissions in any genre from both new and established writers. To withdraw work, use the “withdraw” option on Submittable for the entire submission or the “note” function to specify which pieces to withdraw; do not email about withdrawals. Submission info .

46. The Rappahannock Review

The Rappahannock Review accepts original and innovative writing in various genres, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and audio pieces. They encourage experimentation and creativity, seeking enthralling voices and compelling narratives. Additionally, the magazine showcases a variety of visual artists and welcomes submissions for consideration in each new issue. Submission info .

Allure is seeking writers to contribute pieces that explore beauty, style, self-expression, and liberation. They are looking for writers with relevant credentials and experience in the field, and they offer compensation of $350 for reported stories and $300 for personal essays. Submission info .

48. MLA Style Center

The Modern Language Association is inviting students to submit research papers written in MLA style for consideration in their online collection “Writing with MLA Style.” Essays should be 2,000 to 3,000 words in length and must be written in English. Works-cited-list entries do not count toward the word limit. Submission info .

49. Marie Claire

Marie Claire magazine is dedicated to highlighting the diversity and depth of women’s experiences. They offer award-winning features, essays, and op-eds, as well as coverage of sustainable fashion, celebrity news, fashion trends, and beauty recommendations. Submission info .

SELF magazine is actively seeking new writers, particularly from marginalized communities, to contribute to their health and wellness content. They are interested in pitches that offer helpful insights on topics related to health, fitness, food, beauty, love, and lifestyle. The focus should be on improving personal or public health clearly and straightforwardly. Submission info .

51. Her Story

HerStry is a platform that focuses on the experiences of women-identifying persons, including cisgender women, transgender women, non-binary persons, and more. They accept personal essays that are true stories about the author, with a length between 500 to 3,000 words. They pay $10 for each published personal essay here, but there is a $3 submission fee (with limited free submission periods). Stories are read blind, and explicit or offensive content is not accepted. Submission info .

52. Griffith Review

Griffith Review accepts submissions based on specific themes for each edition. They welcome new and creative ideas, allowing writers to express their voices in essays, creative and narrative nonfiction-fiction, and analytical pieces. Submissions should generally range from 2,000 to 5,000 words, with up to four poems allowed on theme. Submission info .

53. Literary Review of Canada

The Literary Review of Canada welcomes prospective writers, photographers, and illustrators to submit specific review proposals, essay pitches, or general queries. They prefer to receive unsolicited review topics and essay ideas rather than completed work and do not accept simultaneous submissions. Submission info .

54. Harper’s Magazine

For Harper’s Magazine, nonfiction writers should send queries accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Ideas for the Readings section can be sent to [email protected], but individual acknowledgment is not guaranteed due to volume. All submissions and queries must be sent by mail to their New York address. Submission info .

55. Virginia Quarterly Review

VQR only considers unpublished work, submitted online via Submittable. One prose piece and four poems are allowed per reading period, but multiple submissions in the same genre will be declined unread. Simultaneous submissions are permitted, but if accepted elsewhere, notify them immediately via Submittable. Submission info .

56. The New England Review

New England Review is open for submissions in all genres during specific periods. They accept fiction, poetry, nonfiction, dramatic writing, and translations. The magazine only considers previously unpublished work, and simultaneous submissions are allowed. They welcome submissions from writers of all backgrounds and encourage diverse perspectives. Submission info .

57. One Story

One Story seeks literary fiction between 3,000 and 8,000 words, any style, and subject. They pay $500 and provide 25 contributor copies for First Serial North American rights. Only unpublished material is accepted, except for stories published in print outside North America. Simultaneous submissions allowed; prompt withdrawals upon acceptance elsewhere. Accepts DOC, DOCX, PDF, and RTF files via Submittable. No comments on individual stories. No revisions of previously rejected work. Translations are accepted with proper attribution. No emailed or paper submissions, except for incarcerated individuals. Submission info .

58. The Threepenny Review

The Threepenny Review accepts submissions for fiction, poetry, travel essays, and Table Talk pieces. They pay $400 per story/article and $200 per poem, granting first serial rights and copyright reversion to the author. Mailed manuscripts require a self-addressed stamped envelope, while online submissions should be in Word format with a single document for prose or poetry. Submission info .

59. Zoetrope: All-Story

Zoetrope: All-Story is currently not accepting general submissions. They will announce when submissions reopen and update the guidelines accordingly. Submission info .

60. American Short Fiction

American Short Fiction accepts regular submissions of short fiction from September to December. The magazine publishes both established and new authors , and submissions must be original and previously unpublished. Manuscripts should be typed, double-spaced, and accompanied by the author’s contact information. Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but authors must withdraw their work if accepted elsewhere. Payment is competitive and upon publication, with all rights reverting to the author. American Short Fiction does not accept poetry, plays, nonfiction, or reviews. Submission info .

61. The Southern Review

The Southern Review accepts work during its submission period. They only consider unpublished pieces in English and accept simultaneous submissions. If your work is accepted elsewhere, promptly notify them via email with the subject line “withdrawal.” Do not submit work via email, as it will be discarded. They do not consider submissions from anyone currently or recently affiliated with Louisiana State University within the past four years. It is recommended to familiarize yourself with the journal’s aesthetic by subscribing before submitting your work. Submission info .

62. Boulevard Magazine

Boulevard seeks to publish exceptional fiction, poetry, and non-fiction from both experienced and emerging writers. They accept works of up to 8,000 words for prose and up to five poems of up to 200 lines. They do not consider genres like science fiction, erotica, horror, romance, or children’s stories. Payment for prose ranges from $100 to $300, while payment for poetry ranges from $50 to $250. Natural Bridge Online publication offers a flat rate of $50. Submission info .

63. The Cincinnati Review

The Cincinnati Review accepts submissions for its print journal during specific periods: September, December, and May. miCRo submissions are open almost year-round, except during the Robert and Adele Schiff Awards and backlogs. They welcome submissions from writers at any stage, except current/former University of Cincinnati affiliates. Simultaneous submissions are allowed, and response time is around six months. Payment is $25/page for prose, $30/page for poetry in print, and $25 for miCRo posts/features. Submission info .

64. The Antioch Review

The Antioch Review seeks nonfiction essays that appeal to educated citizens, covering various social science and humanities topics of current importance. They aim for interpretive essays that draw on scholarly materials and revive literary journalism. The best way to understand their preferences is to read previous issues and get a sense of their treatment, lengths, and subjects used in the publication. Submission info .

AGNI’s online Submission Manager is open from September 1st to midnight December 15th, and again from February 15th to midnight May 31st. Manuscripts can also be submitted by mail between September 1st and May 31st. AGNI considers prose in various genres, including personal essays, short stories, prose poems, and more. They do not publish academic essays or genre romance, horror, mystery, or science fiction. Simultaneous submissions are welcome, and sending through the online portal incurs a $3 fee, but regular mail submissions can be made to avoid the fee. Submission info .

66. Barrelhouse

Barrelhouse accepts unsolicited submissions for book reviews through their Submittable online submissions manager. They pay $50 to each contributor and accept simultaneous submissions. There is no maximum length, but most published pieces are shorter than 8,000 words. They only accept Word or rich-text (.rtf) files and prefer poetry to be submitted as a single document. Submissions for their print and online issues are currently closed, but book reviews are open. Response time is approximately six months. Submission info .

67. Tin House Online

Tin House is a good company that offers a two-day submission period three times a year for writers without a current agent and no previous book publication (chapbooks accepted). They accept fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry, both in English and in translation (with formal permission). Completed drafts are required. They are particularly interested in engaging with writers from historically underrepresented communities. Submission info .

68. One Teen Story

One Teen Story publishes 3 stories annually and welcomes submissions from teen writers aged 13-19. They seek original, unpublished fiction across genres, focusing on the teen experience. Great short stories with compelling teen characters, strong writing, and a well-structured narrative are encouraged for submission to their contest. Submission info .

69. Bennington Review

Bennington Review accepts unsolicited submissions through Submittable during their reading periods in fall, winter, and spring. They seek innovative and impactful fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, film writing, and cross-genre work. Response times vary, but they aim to respond within five to eight months. Accepted contributors will receive payment ranging from $25 per poem to $250 for prose over six typeset pages, along with two copies of the published issue and a copy of the subsequent issue. Submission info .

70. Epoch Literary

Epoch Literary accepts poetry submissions of up to five poems, short fiction or essay submissions as a single piece or a suite of smaller pieces, and visual art and comics for the cover. They do not publish literary criticism or writing for children and young adults. Electronic submissions are open in August and January, with a $3 fee, part of which supports the Cornell Prison Education Program. Submission info .

71. The Gettysburg Review

The Gettysburg Review accepts poetry, fiction, essays, and essay reviews from September 1 to May 31, with a focus on quality writing. Full-color graphics submissions are accepted year-round. It’s recommended to read previous issues before submitting, and sample copies are available for purchase. The journal stays open during the summer for mailed submissions or those using Submittable and purchasing a subscription or the current issue. Submission info .

72. Alaska Quarterly Review

The publication accepts submissions of fiction, poetry, drama, literary nonfiction, and photo essays in traditional and experimental styles. Fiction can be short stories, novellas, or novel excerpts up to 70 pages, and poetry submissions can include up to 6 poems. They aim to respond within 4 to 12 weeks, but authors can inquire about their manuscript status after 4 weeks if needed. Submission info .

73. Colorado Review

Colorado Review only accepts submissions through its Submittable portal and no longer accepts paper submissions. They encourage writers to be familiar with their publication before submitting and provide sample copies and examples of recently published work on their website. They look for engaging stories with original characters, crisp language , and a provocative central problem or issue. Submission info .

74. The Georgia Review

The Georgia Review accepts submissions both online and by post, but not via email. Submissions are free for current subscribers. They do not consider unsolicited manuscripts between May 15 and August 15 and aim to respond within eight months. Previously published work will not be considered, and simultaneous submissions are allowed if noted in the cover letter. They offer different prizes for poetry and prose and accept submissions in fiction, poetry, essays, and book reviews. Submission info .

75. New Letters

New Letters accepts submissions year-round through Submittable, with a small fee waived for current subscribers. They welcome up to six poems, one chapbook, one piece of nonfiction, one short story (graphic or traditional), or one novella per submission. Simultaneous submissions are allowed if notified, and response time is approximately six months. They publish short stories up to 5,000 words, novellas up to 30,000 words, graphic short stories up to ten pages in color or black and white, and chapbooks up to 30 pages. Submission info .

76. Shenandoah

Submissions for comics will reopen soon. The Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets will be open for a limited time. Poetry submissions are considered in November and spring. Prose submissions will open soon. Short stories, creative nonfiction, and flash fiction are welcome. Editor Beth Staples looks for writing that challenges and offers diverse perspectives. Submission info .

77. TriQuarterly

TriQuarterly, the literary journal of Northwestern University, welcomes submissions in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, video essays, short drama, and hybrid work from both established and emerging writers. They are especially interested in work that engages with global cultural and societal conversations. Submissions are accepted through Submittable, and they charge a small reading fee. Submission windows vary by genre. Submission info .

78. E-International Relations

E-International Relations invites current and former undergraduate and Master’s students to submit their highest-graded essays and dissertations for publication. They seek work that is of academic utility to other students and demonstrates engagement with the subject, using pertinent case studies/examples and engaging with complex literature and ideas. Submissions must meet specific entry criteria, including word count, language standards, and full bibliographic references. Submission info .

79. Longreads

Longreads publishes the best long-form nonfiction storytelling and accepts pitches for original work. They pay competitive rates and prefer pitches via email to [email protected]. Fiction is not accepted, and submissions using generative AI tools will be rejected. You can also nominate published stories by tweeting with the #longreads hashtag. Submission info .

80. Education Week

EdWeek welcomes submissions from various perspectives within the K-12 education community, including teachers, students, administrators, policymakers, and parents. Submissions should be concise, relevant to a national audience, and have a clear point of view backed by factual evidence. We value solution-oriented and practical pieces that offer best practices, policy recommendations, personal reflections and calls to action. Essays longer than 1,000 words or shorter than 600 words will not be considered. Please submit in Word format via email. Submission info .

If you want to get your essays published in a print magazine or an online publication, it’s time to approach the appropriate section editor or send your work via a submissions page. Even in a world where so much content is produced by AI, publications are still interested in receiving great writing written in a conversational tone. Just make sure to follow the guidelines (especially those around word count) and show off your flamboyant writing style in a prestigious online magazine. Next up, you might want to check a list of the top sites that will pay you to write,  or my extensive list of publishing companies .

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If We Could All Feel God’s Love: PW Talks with Savannah Guthrie

In her more than a decade as a Today coanchor, Savannah Guthrie has referenced her Christian faith countless times. “It’s a huge part of who I am,” Guthrie tells PW . The former attorney and celebrity journalist digs into her past to give insights on prayer, belief through hardships, the meaning of God’s love, and more in an essay collection, Mostly What God Does , out this week from Thomas Nelson.

Why do you want to share what you’ve learned about faith?

No one is more surprised than me that I am writing a book at all, let alone about faith. I wrote a couple of children's books a few years back, so from time to time I get offered to write another. I've always said no, because I have a job and two little kids. But last year, a publisher approached my agent [Cait Hoyt of CAA] and asked if I would want to write about my faith. For the first time, it wasn't an immediate “no way.” I was intrigued, challenged, and excited—I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Before I knew it, I had a structure and a plan, so I said yes. My faith means so much to me and I feel like I have something worth telling people: mostly what God does, is love them.

Your beliefs helped you get through the anxiety of your first day on the Today Show. How else has your faith impacted your career?

If I have a big interview or something that I'm intimidated or scared about, prayer is a huge part of my preparation. It’s what gives me the courage to go forward. It doesn’t provide a certainty that things will go well, that it will be a great interview, or that people will like it; it’s just a certainty that I won't be alone—God will be with me.

My first day anchoring the Today Show I was so terrified, and I came down with a blinding migraine. I remember laying in the dark on my dressing room floor 20 minutes before air thinking: How am I going to do this? And then this verse I had memorized years and years before suddenly popped into my head: “I look to the hills, where does my hope come from? It comes from the lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Not only did the words help me to realize to look up and out for my hope, but the fact that that verse came to me was like a wink from God saying: “You’re not alone, I'm here with you.” It was a great comfort to me and that’s a comfort I've relied on again and again.

Is there a specific essay you found most challenging to write?

Some questions of faith—why does God permit suffering? Why is there evil in this world? Why do bad things happen to decent people? —are so difficult they’re intractable. I guess that’s why no one in all of time has ever come up with a satisfactory answer. I felt like I couldn’t ignore these questions, nor could I really answer them.

In the essay What About Job? I talk about a woman I saw interviewed on 60 minutes . She lost her 6-year-old daughter in the Sandy Hook massacre, and she is a person of great faith. She said the most profound and gut-wrenching thing when the interviewer asked her if she could still hold on to faith despite losing her daughter. She said: “When I get to heaven, I want to hear two things: ‘Well done my good and faithful servant’ and ‘Hi mom.’” I could never read that or say that without crying. It was such a profound testament to faith. I invited her to lunch, and we sat and talked about faith. There are no answers to these questions. What I came to learn is that faith and doubt are not opposites; they go hand in hand; they coexist. To be human is to reside with your faith and with your doubt. God is okay with that.

Self-criticism is one of the greatest struggles you say you’ve grappled with. What part of your faith has helped you challenge those thoughts?

I’m not writing this book from some mountaintop where I’m imparting my wisdom to you. I have a very chipper exterior, but internally I have a lot of self-doubt. I still struggle. I fail and disappoint myself every day. My faith has shown me I can bring my whole authentic self to God and find out that he loves me anyway. And I think those moments of shame, struggle, torment, and disappointment with myself are the moments of my greatest closeness to God. Love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness are so profound that you are almost glad for the thing that brought you to that point.

Who is the intended audience for this book?

There is this old saying you might hear a pastor say: “The preacher preaches the sermon he or she needs to hear.” In a way, I’m my reader. I need to hear this—it’s a salve for my soul and the reminders I need. I imagine someone like me, someone who believes, but sometimes doesn't believe, someone who loves God but isn’t always sure what God’s intentions are toward her. We’ve all been there. This isn't a book to proselytize or convince. I think you could be a person of no faith, or a different faith entirely, and still find themes that are appealing and comforting for your soul.

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Sponsored content | 5 best essay writing services in 2024: review of legit college paper websites.

essay collection publishers

  • High-quality, plagiarism-free papers.
  • Stress-free money-back guarantee.
  • Possibility to track your order.
  • Free plagiarism report and 10% first-time discount with the code LWS10.
  • Quick price calculator.
  • Support agents can sometimes be slow.
  • Free revisions are limited.

PaperHelp is a trusted essay writing service with many professional writers and academics ready to help you with any college task. Prices start from $13.00  per page, and there is a price calculator available on their website so that you can have an idea of the cost of your paper before ordering it.

The order process is quite simple; you only need to fill out the order form with your assignment details. What’s cool about PaperHelp is that this college writing service doesn’t require you to provide any personal information you’re not willing to share – only your email is required to place an order.

After placing an order, the system will match it with a professional in 10 to 15 minutes, and the online paper writer will start working on your order immediately.

With PaperHelp’s academic writing service, you can get updates on your order status by email, SMS, or simply by checking your account control panel. Their support team is available 24/7, ready to answer any questions or concerns.

You can try their services at a discounted price, as they offer a 10% discount for first-time users (use the LWS10 code during checkout). This way, you can better understand whether this is the solution for you without spending big bucks.

Lastly, their loyalty program allows you to accumulate credits on each order, which can later be used toward future assignments.

#2. BBQPapers  — Best for Research Papers and Dissertations

BBQPapers  Best for Research Papers and Dissertations

  • Excellent paper quality.
  • Absolute best essay writers in the industry.
  • 10% first order discount with the code HELLOBBQ.
  • Active and responsive support team.
  • Direct communication with a paper writer is possible.
  • Free revisions.
  • A loyalty program offers generous lifetime discounts.
  • No price calculator to get an instant quote.

BBQPapers is the best college essay writing service in the USA in terms of quality and professionalism. It has a team of over 500 professional essay writers who have delivered over 100,000 papers to tens of thousands of customers over the years.

This company has been especially recognized for its papers’ quality and great customer service. While this isn’t the cheapest service, the quality output is well worth it. For this reason, we think this is the top choice for papers that require rigorous research and extensive analysis.

To order a paper, you must sign up and calculate the price while filling out the order form, which is less convenient than using a price calculator. After receiving the final version of your paper, you will have ten days to request revisions and send your comments on how the college essay writer could improve their work.

Prices start at $9.94 for proofreading, $11.70 for editing, and $17.55  for writing. You can get a 15% lifetime discount on all your future papers if you buy more than ten essays from BBQPapers.

BBQPapers offers a 10% first-order discount for new customers, so be sure to use the code HELLOBBQ to claim it.

#3. EssayPro  — Best for Balance Between Quality and Affordability

EssayPro  Best for Balance Between Quality and Affordability

  • Ability to pick your own writer.
  • Direct communication with a professional writer is possible.
  • Unlimited revisions.
  • Free plagiarism report.
  • No price calculator.
  • Reports of typos and grammar errors in final drafts.

EssayPro is a legit essay writing service that connects professional writers with college students who need an excellent assignment on short notice. Their primary services include writing, rewriting, editing, and proofreading.

The ordering process is easy. All you need to do is complete a form detailing your assignment details and upload the necessary files. Professional college essay writers will then bid on your assignment, and you can pick one based on pricing, rating, number of completed orders, job completion rate, and customer reviews. Writers will also provide a free plagiarism report at your request.

Once your paper is ready, download it and request revisions if necessary. EssayPro can help you with a research paper, admission essay, lab report, thesis, or academic dissertation. This site covers all high school, college, and university writing assignments.

Their prices start at $11.40 , but there is no price calculator to quickly estimate the cost. EssayPro operates as a bidding-based platform, and professional paper writers offer the final price. The most prominent standout feature of EssayPro is that their prices don’t dramatically scale depending on the urgency of your paper and stay roughly the same across all deadlines.

For this reason, EssayPro is the top pick for students who need their papers written urgently and are looking for a good balance between price and quality.

#4. ExtraEssay  — Best for Last-minute College Papers

ExtraEssay  Best for Last-minute College Papers

  • Great quality.
  • On-time delivery guarantee.
  • 15% discount for first-time customers.
  • Urgent turnaround time available (1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours).
  • Price calculator to get a quick cost estimate.
  • Decent reputation, lots of positive essay writing service reviews.
  • Slightly more expensive than other services.
  • Documented negative experiences with some support agents.
  • Plagiarism report costs $15.

ExtraEssay has been writing college papers since 2016. During this time, they have amassed a large team of over 3,500 experts who can help you with all writing emergencies.

They offer a wide range of college essay services and do not only focus on academic assignments. You can use this service for some non-conventional tasks like PowerPoint presentations, retyping (handwriting to word), rewriting, paraphrasing, equation solving, and more.

Similarly to EssayPro and PaperHelp, ExtraEssay has a cost estimator for your convenience. The prices are on par with BBQPapers, with basic essays starting at $13.00  per page. Choose the type of paper you want, and select your academic level, deadline, and preferred word count to receive the total cost of your order. If you need to reach them, their team is available 24/7.

One of the unique features of ExtraEssay is that it’s the only website that offers a 1-hour delivery. However, this urgency level only applies to short essays of up to three pages.

Although they can deliver your work quickly, we found that some writers at ExtraEssay can struggle to provide complex, university-level assignments on short deadlines. It might be better only to use their urgent academic writing services if you find yourself in a pickle and need a simple assignment produced on very short notice.

Overall, even though this academic writing company sits in fourth place in our list of the best paper writing services, ExtraEssay is a relatively good choice for anyone who’s looking for good quality at a fair price.

#5. WritePaperForMe  — Best Cheap Essay Writing Service

WritePaperForMe  Best Cheap Essay Writing Service

  • Cheap services, good quality.
  • Quick & timely delivery.
  • Installment payments for big orders.
  • College essay writers are available 24/7.
  • Free unlimited revision.
  • Price calculator.
  • Slow customer support.
  • Plagiarism reports are offered for a fee.
  • Sometimes, you have to copy-edit your paper to adapt it to your writing style and language.

When it comes to cheap essay writing services online, you have to be extra cautious. Writing is a complex activity, so the lower the price, the higher the chance that you will get a carelessly written, maybe even plagiarized, paper that you won’t be able to submit to your instructor.

However, this isn’t the case with WritePaperForMe, as this is one of the few legit essay writing services that provide well-written, original papers at a low price. If your budget is tight, this is the perfect option to choose. The company mostly works with knowledgeable ESL writers from Kenya to offer a quality service at a low price. Prices here start at only $6.99  per page.

They will blow you away with the range of services they offer. So, whether you need a case study, a PowerPoint presentation, college essay help or assistance with mathematical assignments, WritePaperForMe will accommodate you.

To make their professional essay writing services even more accessible, they offer customers to pay in installments for expensive papers, as they understand that you might not be able to provide the lump sum right away.

FAQs: College Essay Writing Service Explained

You’re probably desperate to write your paper if you found yourself typing ‘write my college essay’ into Google search.

This can indeed be a challenging task. For this reason, we answered some of the most common questions that students seek answers to when choosing an essay writing service.

What if I am not satisfied with my paper?

This is a common concern when ordering essays online, and it is entirely justified. Thankfully, all the paper writing services presented in this article offer a free revision service. If you are not satisfied, you can send detailed comments to the writer, and they will make the necessary adjustments to your paper.

The least flexible college essay service on this aspect is PaperHelp, which only allows three revisions. All the other services will offer unlimited revisions, at least for some time after product delivery.

If revisions don’t help, you can ask for a full refund. However, in most cases, you must explain why you did not find the work satisfactory.

How far in advance do I need to order?

It is important to try your best to request an assignment as early as possible. Most of the essay writing websites featured in this article have a very short deadline of three hours, except for WritePaperForMe, which has a minimum deadline of six.

However, even the best and fastest writers cannot produce a well-researched 30-page assignment in under three hours. But the best essay writing services will undoubtedly deliver if you need a short assignment done at the last minute.

Will a native English speaker write my essay?

Most websites allow you to choose between a native English speaker or an ESL online essay writer. An ESL writer is usually cheaper and sometimes better if you’re not a native speaker of English yourself.

If you choose PaperHelp, for instance, you must select a writer from the TOP category to guarantee a native English speaker from the U.S., Canada or the U.K. However, a writer from the TOP category will cost up to 50% more.

Is buying essays online confidential and safe?

When using a paper writing service, confidentiality is a must. EssayPro and PaperHelp provide complete anonymity, even when using their services and speaking to their writers and representatives.

Other than that, these websites take the highest precautions to protect your financial information by offering secure payment options. Lastly, none of the featured companies will ever share your personal information with third parties unless you provide them with written permission.

Are essay writing services legit?

Yes, legitimate essay writing services exist, but it may take some time to find a trustworthy service if you’re ordering for the first time. If you read Reddit threads dedicated to college paper writing services, you will see hundreds of positive reviews about companies that write essays for you.

Besides, some reputable websites are dedicated to helping students find reliable essay writing help online by collecting customer reviews on assignment writing services.

Where do essay writing companies find their professional essay writers?

Every essay writing company is different, therefore the approach to hiring writers can differ from one company to another. Most companies hire freelancers all across the globe to be able to provide essay writing services round the clock and in any timezone.

Successful candidates usually hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a field that they apply to and successfully pass a few grammar tests to be able to get access to students’ orders.

Some other companies also have in-house teams of writers. These professionals typically proofread and copy-edit all the academic writing assignments done by freelancers and improve the content if it lacks depth, research, or has any stylistic flaws.

Will my paper be plagiarism-free?

If you turn to a reliable essay writing service for help, you can rest assured that the content you will receive is original. A professional essay writer will craft a paper tailored to your requirements. Besides, you will remain its sole owner because reputable companies never resell the academic papers they write.

Some academic writing companies like BBQPapers and EssayPro provide originality reports free of charge to give you peace of mind that your essay is unique and free from plagiarism.

Are essay writing services legal?

One aspect that many students ponder over is whether it is legal to use a professional essay writing service. Plenty of misinformation is spreading, leading some students to think that purchasing a paper from an essay writing website could be illegal.

Let’s make one thing absolutely clear. It can never be illegal to purchase a written piece of work. The student simply requests a paper, and an expert essay writer provides a written piece of content that matches the requirements.

This is a transaction between a company and an individual, and nothing could imply a breach of legality. You can be sure it is safe and legal to use online essay writing services. No laws exist against using such services, regardless of what you may have been told.

Moreover, any trustworthy essay writing site has a clear disclaimer and a terms/conditions page that outlines the terms of use. It shows that these services are acting within the law and are not breaking any regulations.

A custom essay writing service is a third party that provides assignments, reports, and essays for personal private use. Therefore, the website is not liable for what happens with its content.

Reliable Essay Writing Services: Summing Up

Hopefully, this article gave you a better understanding of the topic and helped you find an essay writer service that could perfectly match you. Getting qualified college paper help  is easy if you know what to look for.

Each college paper service is unique, with its advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to you to pick the one that will help you achieve the best result possible. Life gets busy, and sometimes, we just do not have the time to dedicate hours and hours to writing essays. These services can be true lifesavers and free up some time for you to focus your energy on other important goals.

We will leave you with this final tip: if you ever request a writing service, provide detailed instructions. This information will help writers produce high-quality papers that match your expectations.

Article paid for by: Ocasio Media The news and editorial staffs of the Bay Area News Group had no role in this post’s preparation.

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