I love the personal essay. It’s one of my favorite genres of writing. When I first started writing essays, I did it in order to get some published clips for my resume, something to show agents and editors when I was ready to try to get a book published. Now I have twelve published essays. But along the way, I fell in love with the essay for its own value.
Even as I am working on revisions to my novel, I continue to write essays. On Monday I finished one and sent it in to Writer’s Digest and started another one that I hope will be a good fit for an anthology a friend is putting together. The bottom line? They are just fun to write. Quick and satisfying. Like Ann Lamott said, (paraphrasing here) essays are like a one-night stand whereas the novel is like a long and difficult marriage.
However you feel about that, if you write essays—or if you think you might like to give it a try—here are 7 major markets for personal essays. I found these in an article by Susan Shapiro in the March/April 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest, “Cracking Major Markets With Personal Essays.” Click on the links below to learn more about each market. Good luck!
The New York Times Modern Love (1500-1700 words)
The New York Times Magazine Lives (800 words)
Cosmopolitan (query with idea first)
P.S. For a great anthology of essays, check out Phillip Lopate’s The Art of the Personal Essay. Here’s a nice review.