7 Personal Essay Markets that Pay Freelance Writers $100 – $1,000 – by William Opar

7 Personal Essay Markets that Pay Freelance Writers $100 – $1,000 – by William Opar

Finding lucrative opportunities in the vast landscape of freelance writing can feel like stumbling upon buried treasure. However, if you’re a wordsmith with a penchant for personal essays, you’re in luck!

There exists a niche of publications hungry for captivating narratives, willing to pay top dollar for your storytelling prowess. These markets offer financial rewards and a platform for your voice to resonate with audiences far and wide.

So, if you’re ready to turn your life experiences into compelling prose, and reap the rewards, join me as we explore seven personal essay markets that pay freelance writers $100+ or more per article.

  1. The New York Times’ Modern Love

The New York Times’ Modern Love column is a highly regarded platform for personal essays on relationships, love, and contemporary romance. They also explore various aspects of love and human connection, including familial love, friendship, and self-love. Your essay should offer a unique perspective or insight into these themes.

Their submission window runs from March through June and September through December. Submission guidelines: https://www.nytimes.com/article/how-to-submit-a-modern-love-essay.html

They pay $300+ for essays of 1,500 – 1,700 words.

  1. Vox’s First Person Magazine

Vox’s First Person section is a platform that welcomes personal essays on a wide range of topics, including culture, identity, politics, and social issues. They’re seeking personal essays that shed light on important social issues through your unique experience. Ensure your story is provocative, and offers a fresh perspective.

Submission guidelines: https://www.vox.com/pages/how-to-pitch-vox-pitching-guidelines

They pay $400 – $500 per essay for 800 to 1500 words.

  1. Longreads

Longreads is a magazine that publishes in-depth, engaging, well-crafted narratives, essays, and investigative pieces.

They’re interested in a wide range of topics, including but not limited to culture, politics, science, technology, personal essays, and reported features. They prioritize thought-provoking, original stories that resonate with our diverse audience.

They accept pitches for original nonfiction works, including reported essays, personal essays, features, and reading lists. Email your pitch to hello@longreads.com.

Submission guidelines: https://longreads.com/submissions/

They pay $500 per essay for 2000 – 6000 words.

  1. The Sun Magazine

The Sun is a reputable literary magazine that accepts personal essays, interviews, and poetry submissions. They seek creative writing that explores the human experience with vulnerability, honesty, and a unique perspective. They encourage submissions from marginalized voices.

Submission guidelines: https://www.thesunmagazine.org/submit/essays-fiction-poetry

They pay $200+ per essay.

  1. Allure Magazine

Allure magazine primarily focuses on beauty, skincare, makeup, and wellness. It provides readers with information, tips, and advice on a wide range of personal care and grooming topics. They accept pitches on feature articles covering new beauty products, trends in skincare and makeup, celebrity beauty routines, interviews with beauty experts, and guides for achieving specific looks.

Submission guidelines: https://talkingbiznews.com/biz-news-help-wanted/allure-is-looking-for-writers/

They pay $3,000 for personal essays up to 2000 words from published authors. However, for writers who haven’t published a book, the rate for personal essays typically ranges from $250 to $500.

  1. Dame Magazine

Dame magazine is a publication that provides thought-provoking content on issues related to women’s rights, social justice, culture, and politics. They aim to provide a platform for diverse voices and perspectives, particularly emphasizing issues affecting women.

Submission guidelines: https://www.damemagazine.com/pitch-dame/

They pay $350-750 for reported stories.

  1. Slate Magazine

Slate is an online magazine that covers current affairs, politics, culture, and technology. Its editorial focus tends to be progressive-leaning, with a blend of news analysis, commentary, and cultural criticism. Slate publishes a mix of original reporting, opinion pieces, and reviews, often with a critical or contrarian perspective.

Submission guidelines: https://slate.com/pitch

They pay about $300 for 1,000 – 2,000 words.


Whether you’re recounting moments of triumph, navigating the complexities of relationships, or unraveling the mysteries of existence, a publication eagerly awaits your story. Take the plunge, submit your work, and let your words ignite conversations, evoke emotions, and leave an indelible mark on readers’ hearts and minds.

Your voice matters, and your stories deserve to be heard, so don’t hesitate to unleash your creativity and claim your rightful place among the esteemed freelance writers who dare to share their truths.