29 Publishers that Pay for Personal Essays

For those who have a true story to share, then this list is for you. It’s a list of publishers that pay for personal essays.

I’ve included a wide variety of publications here. All of them pay for the essays they publish. You’ll find contact information, as well.

For those interested in learning more about writing and publishing personal essays, I highly recommend watching my hour long discussion with the editor of HuffPost Personal. (Essays published in HuffPost often reach millions of readers.)

Also, for those looking for even more options, you may want to look into literary journals that publish creative nonfiction. Literary journals tend to want submissions of complete drafts, and are less likely to pay, but are still a good option for many writers. Authors Publish has an older list of such journals here.

For paid subscribers, if you have any requests, in terms of future lists you would like me to put together, please let me know! (This list was requested by a subscriber.)

  1. Open Secrets is an online magazine (hosted by Substack) that publishes memorable and revealing personal essays on the topics we are taught to keep “secret.” They are open to essays (1,000 to 1,500 words) on all personal experiences. They pay authors $100 per essay. For more information, refer to this page.
  2. The Doe is a digital publication that shares anonymous, verified personal narratives to promote civil discourse. They are accepting pitches for stories from voices across the spectrum, including first-time writers. They publish anonymous, first-person narrative pieces and personal, verified non-fiction pieces full of vivid anecdotes. They want writers to keep their drafts to 500-700 words. According to their Twitter post, they pay around $100-300 per story. To learn more, visit this page.
  3. HuffPost Personal is a personal stories section in HuffPost (a news and opinion website). Their personal stories are “original, authentic, compelling and told in the first person.” To pitch, refer to this page. Watch our interview with the editor here.
  4. Oh Reader is a print and online magazine about reading. They are “looking for stories about your experiences as a reader, insight into the effect of reading on humans, humorous takes on the world of words, and anything else you as a reader or writer might be interested in sharing.” They pay a flat rate of $200 per published article. Details here.

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