How would you like to get paid for your thoughts or stories about your lived experiences? From personal essays to issue-based ones, freelance essay markets might be a good fit for you.
Below you'll find a collection of paying writers' markets that accept essay pitches or submissions from freelance writers.
Paying Essay Markets
They pay $.30-.60 per word typically (for first rights) based on the length of their relationship with the writer. They accept both feature stories about adventure cycling / biking such as 2000-3000 word personal accounts about bicycle trips, and "Final Mile" essays of 1200-1500 words.
AGNI accepts stories, essays, and poems that are previously-unpublished. There are no word limits "though space is at a premium and length sometimes affects decisions." They do not publish romance, horror, mystery, or science fiction but are open to fiction borrowing elements of them. They don't publish academic essays or purely journalistic pieces, and they pay $20 per printed page for accepted prose and $40 per page for accepted poetry, up to a maximum of $300. Submissions are considered for both print and online publication.
American Educator is a professional journal published by the American Federation of Teachers. It covers "research and ideas from early childhood through higher education," such as essays explaining the significance of a research project and its findings. International affairs and labor issues of interest to AFT members may also be accepted. Articles run 1000-5000 words.
Arkansas Soul seeks to publish and amplify talented writers of color with content focused on BIPOC issues. General submissions, feature stories, personal essays, news stories, profiles, and interviews are all accepted.
Stories for Reimagine Arkansas run 500-2000 words and pay $150-300. Personal essays, first-person accounts, and op-eds run 750-2000 words and pay $100-250. Reported news stories run 500-1000 words and pay $150-250. Features run 1000-2000 words and pay $150-250. Profiles and interviews have a flexible word count and pay $150-250.
Atlanta Parent is a locally-owned print and digital magazine for Atlanta area parents. They accept personal essays of 400-500 words, practical articles of 400-600 words, and longer feature articles of 800-1200 words. Payments range from $25-50 for short articles up to 600 words and begin at $100 for features.
Briarpatch Magazine publishing work of political importance on topics such as grassroots activism, electoral politics, economic justice, labour, gender equity, indigenous struggles, and more. They accept submissions from new and experienced freelance writers alike. Pay is $150 for profiles, short essays, reviews, blog posts, and "parting shots" under 1500 words. Pay is $250 for feature stories and photo essays generally running 1500-2000 words. And pay is $350 for research-based articles and investigative reporting typically running 2000-2500 words.
"Broad Street Review is an online arts and culture journal serving the greater Philadelphia area." They publish reviews, features, previews, profiles, and essays around theater, music, visual art, exhibitions, dance, books, film, television, and design. This includes pitches for personal essays tied to life in the Philadelphia area and those related to grassroots social and political efforts, the creative economy, and public spaces. Reviews run 500-850 words, essays 750-1000 words, and previews run 300-500 words. Fees are $50 for previews, profiles, and reviews up to $100 for some longer profiles and features. Payment covers first publication rights (exclusive for 30 days), then non-exclusive rights to maintain pieces in the publication's archive.
Cineaste is a quarterly publication covering the art and politics of the cinema. They accept feature articles, interviews, film reviews, book reviews, and columns. Payments are $18 for "short take" reviews, $36 for book or DVD reviews (in print only), $45 for film reviews, short articles, columns, sidebar interviews, and essays, and $90 for feature articles and feature interviews.
DAME is a women-led, independent, reader-funded magazine. It accepts essays and reported features from freelance writers with a focus on journalism that is both accessible and intersectional. Pay is $350-750 for reported stories.
High Country News is a nonprofit news magazine covering the Western U.S. They pay $.50 - 1.50 per word, with a kill fee of 25%. They accept in-depth news and analyses from 800-2100 words, features of 2800+ words, and 750-800 word essays paying a flat rate of $400.
HowlRound accepts submissions to its journal from "contributors who are deeply invested in and committed to the theatre field." They accept pieces on theatre commoning, ideas that challenge the status quo, lesser-known or marginalized aesthetics, equity, inclusivity, and accessibility for under-represented theatre communities and practices, and theatre practice and process. They pay honorariums of $200 per essay.
LiisBeth accepts queries from new and professional feminist writers "anywhere along the gender continuum." They prioritize submissions from "womxn, trans, queer-identified writers, community voices and journalists." Pay (in $CDN) runs $500-650 for feminist enterprise profiles, $250-500 for personal essays, $800-2000 for critical analysis / issues / policy analysis submissions, $500-700 for service articles, reviews, and research briefs, and $250-500 for event round-ups, playlists, poetry, and other submission types.
Military Families is a monthly magazine for members of the military and their families. It's published by AmeriForce Media. They accept essays, interview-style profiles, advice, news reports, listicles, and more. Pay ranges from $75-200 depending on length, experience, commitment required, and whether the piece is for the print or digital editions.
The Notre Dame Magazine is a quarterly publication of the University of Notre Dame. It covers alumni activities, institutional events, people, trends, and cultural issues. They accept both features and departments as well as essays in their "CrossCurrents" section. Payment is not detailed in their writer's guidelines but is said to be "comparable to fees paid by some national publications."
Runner's World magazine accept freelance submissions, with the best chance of acceptance in departments -- What it takes to..., Rave Run, and Life & Times. Writers should send spec pieces for consideration (not queries). Stories cover inspirational stories, first-person essays about running-related experiences, and details about awesome runs (locations, what you see, how long the run is, etc.).
Sasee accepts contributions from freelance writers including essays, humor, satire, personal experiences, and features on topics of interest to women. Articles are 500 - 1000 words. This is a paying publication, but payments vary.
The Gay & Lesbian Review publishes essays, reviews, interviews, and poems. Feature articles should fall in the 2000-4000 word range, and reviews should be 600-1200 words. Payment for feature articles is $200 and payment for book reviews is $100. They also accept interviews, artist profiles, art memos, and International Spectrum column submissions.
The Malahat Review accepts poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction submissions from writers at all levels of their careers. Poets should submit 3-5 poems up to 10 pages maximum. They accept flash fiction up to 750 words as well as other short fiction up to 8000 words. Creative nonfiction can run up to 5000 words and cover any subject matter including personal essays, memoirs, travel writing, historical accounts, and biographies. Payment is $70CAD per published page.
The Sun publishes essays, fiction, and poetry. Payment for personal essays is $300-2000. Payment for fiction is $300-2000. Payment for poetry is $100-250. They purchase one-time rights.
The Washingtonian is a general interest magazine for residents of the DC area. They're open to freelance submissions for profiles, personal essays, true-crime, and narrative journalism.
Whole Life Times magazine covers topics such as natural health, alternative healing, conscious business, green living, sustainable and local food, social responsibility, the environment, personal growth, and spirituality. They pay $75-150 per 800-1000 word feature. They also have departments, a City of Angels front-of-book section, and personal essays section which are open to freelance contributors.
More About These Markets
Like all market lists on the All Freelance Writing blog, the list above pulls from the site's overall directory of writers' markets.
This is done automatically, meaning whenever a new market is added to the database, one is removed, or a listing is updated, this post will simultaneously update to reflect those changes.
Because of this, be sure to bookmark this page and check it again later if you're interested in changes to these essay writing markets.
If you find a dead link or outdated market information in the summaries here (based on currently-linked writers' guidelines), then you can click "report link" below that market in order to notify me. This lets you send an auto-generated email that will prioritize that market for review, and it also helps keep market listings here up-to-date.
Submit Your Essay Markets
Do you run a publication that pays for essay submissions from freelance writers? If so, you can submit your market for free.
Free market submissions will add your publication to the writers' market database as well as relevant specialized market lists like this one.
Note: For your market to also appear in these lists, they must include the appropriate category or contain keywords related to niches or content types. For example, descriptions mentioning essays pull into this post via a custom search, not by categories. Otherwise they will appear only in the market database and not these blog lists.