We publish personal essays, short stories, poems, and black-and-white photography in print and online in our monthly magazine.

We’re looking for narrative writing and evocative photography from all over the world. Send us work that maps the human landscape, where the light catches on the faintest joy, where darkness sometimes threatens to overwhelm, and where never marks the spot because the truth is never so simple.

First-time authors and award-winners alike find their place in The Sun. We are particularly interested in submissions from marginalized voices.

Our uncommonly supportive community of readers includes 60,000 print subscribers and thousands more website visitors. And The Sun is ad-free, so when we share your work, we don’t crowd it with distracting sales pitches.

Detailed submission guidelines, including our compensation rates, are available on our website.

Essays, Fiction, & Poetry

Writing that can turn heads, open hearts, and change minds.

We publish personal essays, short stories, and poems by established and emerging writers from all over the world.

We encourage submissions from writers whose perspectives are underrepresented in or missing from The Sun. We are particularly looking for work by writers of color, queer and trans writers, writers with disabilities, incarcerated writers, and others who are marginalized on the basis of their circumstances or identity.

Writing from The Sun has won the Pushcart Prize and the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers.

Our contributors’ work has also been selected for many of the Best American anthology series, including Best American Essays, Poetry, Short Stories, Spiritual Writing, Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Sports Writing.

Personal Essays

$300 and up

Send us your essay that’s too personal for any other journal — the one where you’re so unguarded you need editors you can trust and compassionate readers who will honor your vulnerability.

Share a clear-eyed reflection on your big mistakes, a joyful celebration of your hard-won victories, or a testament that makes a newsworthy event feel intimate instead of faceless.

We’re looking for essays that seek to understand the world from a fresh perspective and that wrestle with questions that don’t have easy answers.

READ SAMPLE ESSAYS ▶ 

Fiction

$300 and up

Send us your emotionally honest story – the one that helps us learn what it feels like to be someone else.

Share satire that hits close to home, tragedy that's cathartic without being manipulative, or a parable that lingers long after we finish reading.

We’re looking for stories in any genre of fiction that take risks to tell us something true about ourselves.

READ SAMPLE STORIES ▶ 

Poetry

$150 and up

Send us your poem that basks in the mysteries of the universe – the one where the smallest detail tells us about our place in the world.

Share reflections on your relationships, questions for God, or an elegy for something you’ve lost.

We’re looking for poems – usually narrative but always accessible – that invite us into your confidence and lead us to revelation.

READ SAMPLE POEMS ▶ 

Guidelines

Length

We have no formal word limits, but we tend not to publish work longer than 7,000 words.

We will consider up to 5 poems at once — please save them together in a single submission file.

Formatting

We prefer manuscripts in any legible 12-point font with double-spaced paragraphs, page numbers in the footer, and 1-inch margins.

On page 1 please include the author’s name, submission title, and genre.

While we appreciate careful proofreading, we don’t disqualify submissions for formatting inconsistencies or typos. Please don’t withdraw and resubmit just because you spot a mistake.

FAQ

Simultaneous Submissions

We are happy to consider manuscripts that have also been submitted elsewhere. Please notify us immediately if your work is accepted by another journal.

Response Time

We try to respond to each submission within three months, though occasionally it takes longer.

Submission Status

Please use Submittable to check the status of a submission.

Withdrawing a Submission

Please use Submittable to withdraw a submission from consideration.

To withdraw just one poem from a submission of multiple poems, please send us a message through Submittable with the title of the poem you'd like to withdraw.

Payment

We offer payment upon publication of accepted work. We pay via PayPal or direct deposit.

Rights

We purchase one-time print and online publishing rights. Click here to view a sample contract.

Readers Write asks readers to address subjects on which they’re the only authorities. Topics are intentionally broad in order to give room for expression. We publish only nonfiction in Readers Write.

Writing style isn’t as important as thoughtfulness and sincerity. There is no word limit, but we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the section before you submit.

Please review our full submission guidelines and sample writing to ensure your work is a good fit.

Upcoming Topics

Pain
Due December 1, 2022

Are you buying the giant bottles of aspirin? Nursing a heartbreak? Or maybe you kind of like it when something stings? Let us know how pain has shaped who you are.

Coffee
Due January 1, 2023

Are you a one-cup person? A four-cup person? Don’t touch the stuff? Do you dream about sipping a caffè macchiato on a tree-lined terrace in Venice, but mostly end up sucking down gas-station brew on your way to work? Tell us what’s brewing.

Idols
Due Febuary 1, 2023

Who did you look up to but don't anymore? Who took their place? What teacher, pop star, family member, or religious leader has been a guiding light in the darkness? Or was it all smoke and mirrors? Tell us your true story.

We’re interested in black-and-white photographs. We’re not looking for photojournalism, just unique perspectives on the world around us — especially human interactions.

Please review our full submission guidelines and sample photographs before sending us your work.

The Sun Magazine