Writing & Selling Personal Essays: 12 Holiday Bonus Markets

Kristin Bair O'KeeffeBy Kristin Bair O’Keeffe

Happy holidays, everyone! To get you ready for 2009, I thought I’d end this year with a jumbo list of paying markets for your personal essays. I’ve included a little something for everyone so get to it!

“My Turn,” Newsweek
Weekly essay. 850-900 words. Stiff competition (Newsweek receives over 800 submissions a month for this spot), but a great challenge!

“Women in the Outdoors,” Bugle Magazine
Monthly essay in the Elk Foundation’s magazine. 1,000-3,000 words. Gotta be outdoorsy to write this one (and know a thing or two about elk).

Indie-Music.com
An online magazine looking for personal essays by musicians and music industry professionals. Any rockers out there? 800-3,000 words.

Good Old Boat: The Sailing Magazine for the Rest of Us!
Are you a fan of cruising boats from the 1950s-1990s? Here’s your market! A couple of good opportunities in this publication: “Reflections” (350-750 words) and “Cruising Memories” (1,500-2,500 words).

“Destinations,” Backpacker
Nine issues per year. Personal essays about a recent trip experience. Most essays include an Expedition Planner sidebar (useful info about the destination). 1,500-5,000 words.

Midwest Today
A quarterly, general interest magazine. Looking for short, true-life stories set, of course, in the Heartland. Up to 2,000 words.

“The Last Word,” Plenty: The World in Green
Bimonthly print and online magazine with a focus on protecting the environment. Essays must have a strong eco-connection. Maximum of 800 words.

“First Person,” Hemispheres Magazine
Monthly inflight magazine of United Airlines. Essays cover a wide range of topics. 1,200-1,400 words.

“My Testimony,” Essence
Monthly lifestyle magazine for African-American women. “My Testimony” explores some aspect of emotional life, relationships, or culture. Requests a query letter for essays. Monthly circulation of over one million. Challenging, but a great opportunity.

Alaska Magazine
Publishes ten issues a year. General interest magazine about Alaska, for Alaskans, by Alaskans. Requests a query letter for essays.

The Funny Times
Monthly humor forum. What’s funny? Anything! Food, politics, death, pets, etc. 500-700 words. Great place to work your funny bone.

The Subway Chronicles
Print and online forum for stories about the New York subway system. Lots of nonfiction opportunities: essays (up to 3,000 words), nonfiction shorts, “Top 5” lists. (Pays only for essays.)

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Kristin Bair O’Keeffe moved to Shanghai, China, in April 2006 and has been writing about this incredible country ever since. Her blog, “Shanghai Adventures of a Trailing Spouse,” chronicles her adventures (and misadventures) in Shanghai and garners the attention of readers all around the world. Her essays about the China experience can be found in The Baltimore Review and To Shanghai With Love (forthcoming). As a respected writing instructor, she has taught hundreds of writers over the past fourteen years and is currently teaching both fiction and nonfiction writing in Shanghai.

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2 Responses to “Writing & Selling Personal Essays: 12 Holiday Bonus Markets”


  1. 2 Elizabeth December 4, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Great resources. Thanks, this was very helpful.


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