So, you’ve successfully managed to avoid your social commitments to sit down and write something. After combing through it to check the grammar and that there isn’t a trail of letters from when you fell asleep on your keyboard, what’s the next step? You need to find somewhere to submit your writing online.
The online writing community is bigger and better than ever before; one Google search later and you could find your new literary home. However, it might be a case of trial and error with some submission guidelines being stricter than others or your style of writing not quite matching the publication’s. Luckily, we’ve trawled the web for you, bringing you fifty awesome websites that will be happy to receive your writing submissions and potentially even publish them.
A couple of things to note before we jump right in:
1. This isn’t a comprehensive list, so you’re welcome to add a comment with your suggestions.
2. Some of these websites operate seasonally, which means that they might not accept your submission at this point in time.
We’ve also excluded the biggest names for literary (poetry, short stories) submissions because it’s a little arbitrary to list The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and so on.
Without further ado, here are the best websites for you to submit your writing to, whether it’s heartfelt poetry or a listicle on the best Adam Sandler movies.
EDITOR’S NOTE: two of these sites have stopped publishing in the time since our coverage. If you know of any alternatives, let us know and we will check them out!
1. Poetry Foundation
Who are they? Only one of the oldest poetry magazines in the world. They aren’t stuck in the past, though – you can find many fantastic poems from modern talent in this prose treasure trove. Maybe you could be one of them?
Do they pay? Quite handsomely. $10 per every line published.
2. Carve Magazine
Who are they? A popular haven for creative types since 2000. They celebrate honest writing and work closely with writers to help promote their talent.
Do they pay? Pretty well. $25 for every poem published.
3. The Legendary
Who are they? Another pillar of the online writing community, The Legendary regularly publishes some superb underground poetry and other interesting features.
Do they pay? Not that I could see.
Who are they? They’ve been around for thirty years, so it’s fair to say they have their fans. Their typical output is varied, but is based on one central theme: quality.
Do they pay? Between $25-$300 for published materials under general submissions. They also hold two contests with massive cash incentives: $1500 for winning fiction and $1000 for winning poetry.
5. Drunk Monkeys
Who are they? As dedicated a team of editors and writers that you will find on the ol’ WWW, Drunk Monkeys are constantly working to promote and spotlight emerging excellence in the field of writing, including poetry. Due to demand, their submissions aren’t always open.
Do they pay? No, but they work their fingers to the bone until they think you’ve been promoted properly.
6. All Poetry
Who are they? Probably the place online where poets congregate to discuss, dissect, and create. If you’re looking for feedback as a new poet, we’re pretty sure one of the 500,000 members will be happy to help.
Do they pay? They hold regular poetry competitions with cash prizes as incentives.
7. The Rialto
Who are they? A seriously stylish outlet for poets based in the UK, though it seems like anyone of any background can submit. They’re on the rise and have been for the past three decades, helping to establish poetry newcomers and spotlight underrated names in the process. They’ve just released issue 85 of their magazine with them publishing at least three magazines per year.
Do they pay? £20 per published poem.
Who are they? A diligent and passionate team that have been delivering poetic excellence since 1985. They receive a serious amount of poetry each year, so if you want to be one of the 150 published each year, you best make sure you’re sending your best work.
Do they pay? Not that I could tell.
9. Arc Poetry Magazine
Who are they? A Canadian publication, but they know that writing talent doesn’t have borders, so submissions are open to all. They’ve been around for over three decades and have won more than their fair share of accolades and fans in that time.
Do they pay? $40 for any poem published across multiple mediums.
10. United Press
Who are they? A shining light for British poetry, United Press has been around for many years, publishing and promoting new talent aplenty to success. They aren’t the flashiest, but poetry doesn’t need to be.
Do they pay? Looks like a no.
Who are they? Well, they have a name that sort of explains everything. Story is a magazine dedicating to publishing the most innovative, exciting short stories out there. They run a print publication and, because they love spoiling us, regularly publish online, too.
Do they pay? $20 per page. Don’t think making your font 48px will fly with them.
12. Flash Fiction Online
Who are they? Masters of the concise, FFO are after shorter than short stories – don’t send them anything over on 1000 words. They like immediately captivating prose, but they aren’t big fans of erotica, so be sure to be selective when dipping into your portfolio.
Do they pay? $60 per story, which is pretty great.
Who are they? Literary anarchists; they aren’t seeking traditional prose. Mess with the narrative and their minds and you will be in their good books. If you think outside-of-the-box and it’s reflected in your writing, you couldn’t ask for a better platform.
Do they pay? Yes, but a maximum of $40 at a rate of 3 cents per word.
Who are they? Another group of writers who go against the grain, Shimmer mainly seek speculative fiction with a fantasy bent. Keep it tight at around 4000 words and the editors will be your new best friends. 7500 words is the maximum, but you can send them an email to justify your story if it exceeds that.
Do they pay? Pretty well considering – a maximum of $50 at a rate of 5 cents per word.
15. One Story
Who are they? Evil geniuses: they only publish one short story roughly every month with a massive amount of money going to the published writer. Your odds may not be high with this publication, which is why you should probably get around to writing your Great Expectations sooner rather than later.
Do they pay? $500! Five. Hundred. Dollars.
Who are they? Exhibitors of the wacky and strange, Crazyhorse is one of the most accepting literary magazines out there for short stories – there really aren’t many restrictions with what theme or form your submission can take. Its editors are after life’s eccentrics, so if you’re reading this while playing ping pong, you could be just their type of person.
Do they pay? Very well indeed. A maximum of $200, $20 per printed page.
17. The Sun Magazine
Who are they? Thankfully not related to the British newspaper, The Sun Magazine are uncompromising with what sort of short story you can send to them. It’s essentially open house, so if you have something odd or a masterpiece to unveil, they will be happy to receive your submission.
Do they pay? You could say that. $300 to $2,500 for nonfiction or $300 to $1,500 for fiction, plus a subscription with them for a year.
Who are they? As their name suggests, Brevity love the succinct side of short stories. If you can convey your narrative in under 750 words or less, you have a brilliant community to become a part of. Both seasoned writers and burgeoning newcomers are welcomed.
Do they pay? More than fairly. $45.
Who are they? Lovers of science-fiction, Tor has published plenty of talent in its esteemed history, including many short stories and novellas. Due to the volume of submissions received, however, they are on an indefinite hiatus, which means that they will be back, but only once they’ve reviewed previous submissions. It’ll be worth the wait when those doors open again, though.
Do they pay? A rate depending on the commercial prospects and quality of your submission.
20. Word Riot
Who are they? Always looking for new talent, this celebrated literary journal will pass the 15-year mark since launch in 2017. They’re about, and always have been, finding new talent and helping them to capture the attention of new audiences.
Do they pay? Not that I could see.
Who are they? One of the biggest culture-centric websites around, Salon is bookmarked by many people looking for thought-provoking, important essays and personal experiences. They’re huge, so be aware that you might not be successful.
Do they pay? Not sure, some previous contributors have said so.
22. The Awl
Who are they? Big believers in the value of personal essays. The Awl have been around for some time, helping writers to weave their own stories in big numbers. The mundane need not apply to be published by these guys.
Do they pay? Anywhere between $30 and $250.
23. Huffington Post
Who are they? They’re either loved or hated, but there’s no denying that HuffPo is a big player, possibly one of the biggest websites ever made, and they want you to turn your personal experience into essays.
Do they pay? Not even a penny, which I’ve always found a little weird.
24. The Toast – Now Defunct
Who are they? A popular online magazine with a mischievous side. They have a very active community who won’t hesitate to tell you what they think of your work, good or bad. Don;t let that put you off, though – The Toast is one of those websites that will grab you by the eyeballs.
Do they pay? Yep, a nice amount. $50 for your troubles.
25. Tin House
Who are they?The destination for writers of all pedigrees – looking at their testimonials will make your head spin. Being published on Tin House is something every writer needs to tick off their bucket list, but don’t even think about writing over 10,000 words for them.
Do they pay? Enough for a mortgage on a small house. $1000 max.
26. Full Grown People
Who are they? Full Grown People are fond of submissions and personal essays that center around being an adult, whether it’s a piece on the juxtaposition to childhood or something similar. They receive a mighty amount of submissions, so you may have to bear with them. It will be worth the wait, though – the community is great.
Do they pay? Sadly not.
Who are they? Couldn’t say that I’d read much of their output before putting this list together, but once I was on that website, it had me. They publish some excellent content in an eclectic range of categories, including personal essays. Bear in mind that they’re huge, so you may have to be patient with your submission.
Do they pay? Generously. Between $250 and $500.
Who are they? Massively popular, Bustle boast over a million fans on Facebook alone, so you can expect they receive their fair share of submissions, too. If you’re stuck on what to write for them, they accept a broad range of different works, including personal essays that capture the attention.
Do they pay? Depends. Unsolicited, no. Otherwise, yes.
29. Good Old Days
Who are they? As you might be able to guess, Good Old Days love nostalgia. It’s essential that you have experience of life in the 50s or earlier that you want to turn into a personal essay for them. The website is full of heartwarming and heartbreaking tales in equal measure.
Do they pay? Anywhere between $15 and $75.
30. Literal Latte
Who are they? Dedicated to the core. Literal Latte are accepting submissions every single day of the year and consider all submissions, no matter your experience. They thrive on giving chances to those who may never get them, so your personal essay could fit in well here.
Do they pay? Not for general submissions (yet), but they do hold five contests a year with three of them having $1000 prizes.
31. The Verge
Who are they? A massive entertainment and technology website that certainly doesn’t accept half-measures. They are extremely particular about what they publish and aren’t after your opinions, but if you can bring them a breaking news story, they’ll be listening.
Do they pay? Doesn’t say.
Who are they? A travel guide website that doesn’t suck. All of their features are packed with accurate information and opinion from people who have been there and done that. If you have 1000 words in you, you could be one of them. It’s also great exposure.
Do they pay? Yes, $40 for a published piece.
33. Writers Weekly
Who are they? A popular website for writers, by writers (hey, that sounds familiar). It’s filled to the brim with handy tips and guides for writers of all experiences and pedigrees – there’s bound to be something on there that can take your work to the next level. You could probably help someone out by imparting your wisdom and getting paid for it, too.
Do they pay? How does $60 for about 600 words sound?
34. Write Naked
Who are they? Probably not naturists. What they absolutely are, though, is a hugely helpful resource for writers as the website is filled with anecdotes and guides from established names in the literature world. They also love interviews and discussions about freelance writing.
Do they pay? Yes, but you might want to put the extra effort into writing something extraordinary. The editor will pay $200 for exemplary pieces.
Who are they? Proud geeks. Techopedia loves publishing anything to do with the world of tech, whether it’s an in-depth guide or an opinion piece. You might have to be well-versed in many fields to be able to competently write for them, but you’re a writer. Research is what you do.
Do they pay? Yep, and they’re proud of it. Expect $50 to $150 for your published work.
Who are they? A website dedicated to the arts and those that inhabit the theater scene. They publish a wide range of differently themed content, but with a strong opinion and facts to back up your words, you could go quite far with HowlRound.
Do they pay? Yup. $50 for 750-2000 of your fine words.
Who are they? A very successful technology blog that has been around since 2007. They’re always on-the-ball with news and welcome submissions covering a range of different topics, but your best bet is to stick to design guides and recommendations.
Do they pay? Not specified.
38. The Daily Spectacle
Who are they? Defenders of the arts. If you’re a fan of anything to do with film, TV, politics or anything within a similar category, you’re in luck. This is probably the smallest website on the list, but it looks like it’s going places – the content is great and the editorial team seem to be passionate, which is exactly what you need.
Do they pay? Not yet.
39. Screen Rant
Who are they? A massively popular pop culture website with a huge following on social media. If you’re trying to become a journalist capable of turning over breaking news stories as quick as the idea lands in your inbox, Screen Rant is one of the best places to start.
Do they pay? Yes, but payment rates are unclear.
40. Examiner – Now Defunct
Who are they? A reputable name within the entertainment circles, Examiner brings its content to millions of people each month. If you think you might be able to cope with a huge amount of people potentially reading your work, they’re welcoming submissions from just about anyone.
Do they pay? Possibly, but it’s implied it’s voluntary.
Who are they? The thinking man’s comedy website. Cracked started life as a decent magazine but have become an even better website, offering listicles with word counts that would make your typing fingers tremble. If you have a crazy theory about the newest superhero movie that you can turn into thousands of words, Cracked has to be one of the best places for you.
Do they pay? “We will pay you if it’s good.”
42. College Humor
Who are they? Probably the biggest comedy website out there. They’re constantly posting lists, whether they’re funny or not, and can help you to collaborate with artists to really bring your content to life. They’re pretty selective about who they accept to write for them, though – I applied to write for them a while ago and didn’t hear anything back, which is odd because I am hilarious.
Do they pay? Varies, but the maximum you can earn is $100.
Who are they? The slightly less socially acceptable sister site to College Humor. Only nerds need apply; if you don’t know your Pac-man from your Tetris, you might not be a good fit for them. If you’re an out-and-out nerd, writing for Dorkly will put you in touch with an awesome, unforgiving community of millions.
Do they pay? $35 for a single-page article, $75 for multi-page.
Who are they? The British Cracked. They haven’t been around for all that long, but they have the talent and community to become one of the world’s biggest websites and they certainly aren’t far off joining the elite, either. They cover everything from the world of pop culture with their list articles performing the best out of the hundreds of different things they publish each week.
Do they pay? Yes, on a views basis.
Who are they? A titan of the list world that never seems to run out of content ideas. You name it, they will make a list out of it, but they expect nothing but quality on whatever topic you’re covering, whether it’s the best cheese in Holland or the worst impersonations of Sylvester Stallone. Go for a minimum of 1500 words and reap the rewards.
Do they pay? Really well. $150 for your hard work.
46. The Richest
Who are they? Suppliers of all the lists one person could ever need. The Richest have an impressive scope of topics they cover, which means that it’s highly likely there will be something for you to write about. Their contributor program is a little complicated, but if you can stick to it, you can earn some decent money.
Do they pay? Half a dollar per every 1000 views.
47. Top Tenz
Who are they? Obsessed with the bizarre, unknown, and obscure, Top Tenz is another list-based website with a big audience. One of their most popular articles has close to 50 million views, which isn’t too bad at all. There’s no guarantee that you will hit those figures with your own listicle, but who’s to say you won’t come close?
Do they pay? $50
48. The Sportster
Who are they? A sports-centric listicle website with a lot of content to give to pro wrestling fans. Thinking of submitting to them? You better go back and start watching some Royal Rumbles because wrestling lists are the bread and butter for these guys.
Do they pay? Yes, on a views basis.
Who are they? A huge community of individuals all looking for ways to make life easier. The content on the website is predominantly to help and inform, so if there’s anything you know about that someone else might not, share your wisdom and reach a massive audience.
Do they pay? Unclear.
Who are they? Come on. You know BuzzFeed. Writing for their community section is a pretty surefire way of getting your list read by a limitless audience.
Do they pay? Nope.
There you have them: fifty awesome websites that are looking for your writing submissions. As mentioned, it obviously isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a good mixture of big names and upcoming publications you should be keeping an eye out for. If you’re an editor or publisher and your website didn’t make the cut, you are welcome to leave a comment below.
MORE writing tips:
Top 5 Networking Tips For Writers
Why You Should Never Give Up Writing
6 Tools To Help You Concentrate When Writing
Where to Submit Short Stories
Where to Submit Personal Essays
Where to Submit Listicles
They’re all over your Facebook feed, and for good reason. Personal essays by popular authors and novices alike are relatable, engrossing reads.
Sometimes, their heart-wrenching reflections stay with you for days.
For reporters or academics, it can be hard to step back from research rituals and write from personal experience. But a personal essay can endear you to an audience, bring attention to an issue, or simply provide comfort to a reader who’s “been there.”
“Writing nonfiction is not about telling your story,” says Ashley C. Ford, an essayist who emphasized the importance of creating a clear connection between your personal experience and universal topics. “It’s about telling interesting and worthy stories about the human condition using examples from your life.”
But don’t worry if your life doesn’t seem exciting or heart-wrenching enough to expound upon; think of it as writing through yourself, instead of about yourself. “There are few heroes and even fewer villains in real life,” she said. “If you’re going to write about your human experience, write the truth. It’s worth it to write what’s real.”
Where to submit your personal essays
Once you’ve penned your essay, which publications should you contact? We’ve all heard of — and likely submitted to — The New York Times’ Modern Love column, but that’s not the only outlet that accepts personal narratives.
“Submit to the places you love that publish work like yours,” Ford advises, but don’t get caught up in the size of the publication. And “recognize that at small publications you’re way more likely to find someone with the time to really help you edit a piece.”
To help you find the right fit, we’ve compiled a list of 20 publications that accept essay submissions, as well as tips on how to pitch the editor, who to contact and, whenever possible, how much the outlet pays.
We’d love to make this list even more useful, so if you have additional ideas or details for these publications or others, please leave them below in the comments!
1. Boston Globe
The Boston Globe Magazine Connections section seeks 650-word first-person essays on relationships of any kind. It pays, though how much is unclear. Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org with “query” in the subject line.
Must-read personal essay: “Duel of the Airplane-Boarding Dawdlers,” by Art Sesnovich
2. Extra Crispy
Send your pitches about breakfast, brunch, or the culture of mornings to email@example.com or the editor of the section you’re pitching. Pay appears to be around 40 cents per word.
Must-read personal essay: Gina Vaynshteyn’s “When Dumplings Are Resistance”
3. Dame Magazine
This publication is aimed at women over 30. “We aim to entertain, inform, and inspire,” the editors note, “But mostly entertain.” Send your pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org. Pay varies.
Must-read personal essay:“I Donated My Dead Body to Give My Life Purpose,” By Ann Votaw
4. Full Grown People
Essays — 4,000 words max — should have a “literary quality.” Include your work in the body of your email to make it easy for the editor to review, and send to email@example.com. No pay.
Must-read personal essay:“Call My Name” by Gina Easley.
Want to write for this Jewish parenting site? To submit, email firstname.lastname@example.org with “submission” somewhere in the subject line. Include a brief bio, contact information, and your complete original blog post of 700 words max. Suggested word count is 500-700 words. The site pays $25 per post.
Must-read personal essay: B.J. Epstein’s “How I’m Trying to Teach Charity to My Toddler”
6. Luna Luna
A progressive, feminist magazine that welcomes all genders to submit content. Email your pitch or full submission. There’s no pay, but it’s a supportive place for a first-time essayist.
Must-read personal essay: “My Body Dysmorphia, Myself” by Joanna C. Valente
7. New Statesman
This U.K. magazine has a helpful contributor’s guide. Unsolicited submissions, while rarely accepted, are paid; if an editor likes your pitch, you’ll hear back in 24 hours.
Must-read personal essay: “The Long Ride to Riyadh,” by Dave Eggers
8. The New York Times
The popular Modern Love feature accepts submissions of 1,700 words max at email@example.com. Include a Word attachment, but also paste the text into your message. Consult the Times’ page on pitching first, and like Modern Love on Facebook for even more insight. Rumor has it that a successful submission will earn you $250. (Correction added Oct. 9, 2014: Payment is $300, The New York Times writes on its Facebook page.)
Amy Sutherland’s column, “What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage,” which ran in 2006, landed her a book contract with Random House and a movie deal with Lionsgate, which is in preproduction. “I never saw either coming,” Sutherland said.
Another option is the Lives column in the New York Times Magazine. To submit, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Must-read personal essay: “When a Couch is More Than a Couch” by Nina Riggs
Salon accepts articles and story pitches to the appropriate section with “Editorial Submission” in the subject line and the query/submission in the body of the email. Include your writing background or qualifications, along with links to three or four clips.
“I was compensated $150 for my essay,” says Alexis Grant, founder of The Write Life, “but that was several years ago. All in all, working with the editor there was a great experience.” Who Pays Writers reports average pay of about 10 cents per word.
Must-read personal essay: “I Fell in Love with a Megachurch,” by Alexis Grant
Indicate the section you’re pitching and “article submission” in your subject line, and send to email@example.com. Average reported pay is about 23 cents per word.
Must-read personal essay: Justin Peters’ “I Sold Bill Murray a Beer at Wrigley Field”
Each print issue has a specific cultural theme and welcomes both fiction and nonfiction. Stories and essays of 5,000 words max earn up to $250. Review periods are limited, so check their submission guidelines to make sure your work will be read with the next issue in mind. Submit online.
Must-read personal essay: “Fire Island,” by Christopher Locke
12. The Billfold
The Billfold hopes to make discussing money less awkward and more honest. Send your pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org. Who Pays Writers notes a rate of about 3 cents per word, but this writer would consider the experience and exposure to be worth the low pay.
Must-read personal essay: “The Story of a F*** Off Fund,” by Paulette Perhach
Motherwell seeks parenting-related personal essay submissions of up to 1200 words. Submit a full piece; all contributors are paid.
Must-read personal essay: “The Length of the Pause” by Tanya Mozias Slavin
14. The Bold Italic
This publication focuses on California’s Bay Area. Strong POV and a compelling personal writing style are key. Pay varies. Email email@example.com.
Must-read personal essay: “The San Francisco Preschool Popularity Contest,” by Rhea St. Julien
Submit essays of 800-2000 words to this lifestyle site geared toward women. Pay averages about 5 cents per word.
Must-read personal essay: “Is Picky Eating An Eating Disorder?” by Kaleigh Roberts
16. The Rumpus
Focuses on essays that “intersect culture.” Submit finished essays online in the category that fits best. Wait three months before following up.
Must-read personal essay: “Not a Widow” by Michelle Miller
17. The Penny Hoarder
This personal-finance website welcomes submissions that discuss ways to make or save money. Read the guidelines before emailing your submission. Pay varies.
Must-read personal essay: “This Family’s Drastic Decision Will Help Them Pay Off $100K in Debt in 5 Years” by Maggie Moore
18. Tin House
Submit a story or essay of 10,000 words max in either September or March. Wait six days before emailing to check the status of your submission. Cover letters should include a word count and indicate whether the submission is fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.
Must-read personal essay: “More with Less,” by Rachel Yoder
Narratively accepts pitches and complete pieces between 1,000 and 2,000 words that tell “original and untold human stories.” Pay averages 6 cents per word.
Must-read personal essay: “What Does a Therapist Do When She Has Turmoil of Her Own?” by Sherry Amatenstein
Still looking for ideas? Meghan Ward’s blog post, “20 Great Places to Publish Personal Essays,” is worth perusing. MediaBistro also offers a section called How to Pitch as part of their AvantGuild subscription, which has an annual fee of $55.
This post originally ran in October 2014. We updated it in December 2016.
Have other ideas or details to add? Share with us in the comments!