The Creative Nonfiction Foundation is pleased to announce that, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, we’re starting a new monthly magazine, set to debut this fall. Each issue of True Story will feature one exceptional work of creative nonfiction, which will be distributed in print and digitally (though not available online).
Submissions should be between 5,000 and 10,000 words long, on any subject, in any style. Surprise us! The only rules are that all work submitted must be nonfiction and original to the author, and we will not consider previously published work.
We’ll pay $300 on publication and give you 10 free copies of “your” issue.
We’ll do our best to respond to submissions within three months. We can’t promise to consider work submitted for True Story for any of CNF’s other projects or publications—but we reserve the right to do so.
Guidelines: Essays must be previously unpublished and no longer than 10,000 words. Multiple submissions are welcome, as are entries from outside the United States. You may submit essays online or by regular mail:
There is a $3 convenience fee to submit online. Subscribers to CNF/TS never pay a reading/convenience fee of any kind when submitting, though. Ever. Not a subscriber? Choose the discounted subscription add-on when uploading your submission.
**Please note that we will check all submissions against our subscriber database. Submissions uploaded through the free option by non-subscribers will not be read.
Do you have an idea for a literary timeline? An opinion about essential texts for readers and/or writers? An in-depth, working knowledge of a specific type of nonfiction? Pitch us your ideas; Creative Nonfiction accepts query letters for the following sections of the magazine:
AFTERWORDS is the final page of the magazine. We're open to just about any idea that can be presented completely in one page, though we are more inclined toward pieces that take a lighter look at the genre, craft, and/or industry. Examples: First sentences from first books (#38); The ever-expanding nonfiction subtitle (#39); Side gigs for the nonfiction 99% (#45).
BETWEEN THE LINES focuses on the business of writing and the contemporary publishing landscape. This section is reserved for more serious, newsy (in a general way) topics.
Examples: The future of literary magazines in America (#38); A defense of navel-gazing (#39); The line between documentation and exploitation (#44).
REQUIRED READING catalogues and explores essential texts for nonfiction readers and writers. Pieces can be as simple as a list or as complex as a lyric essay.
Examples: David Shields' inspirations and recommendations (#38); Norman Mailer's indispensible nonfiction, as recommended by his biographer (#39).
THEN & NOW tracks significant developments in the genre and can include timelines or other creative comparisons.
Examples: A history of the genre (and the magazine) from 1993 to 2009 (#38); Environmental writing since "Silent Spring" (#44); Our longstanding obsession with true crime (#45).
LIFE ONLINE provides a unique perspective of what the literary life is like online. Examples: The virtual realities of online advice columnist Sugar (#42); Of online anger, puppy dogs and ice cream (#43); Is online publishing permanent enough/ (#44).
UNDER THE UMBRELLA explores one subset or type of writing that falls under the creative nonfiction umbrella--dad memoir, extreme travel writing, as well as lesser-known kinds of creative nonfiction--and the patterns that connect these types of writing.
Examples: CNF's Armchair Guide to Stunt Writing (#38); Family History Narrative (#41); Sex Worker Memoirs (#45).
WRITER AT WORK offers an analysis of or an in-depth look into a specific writer's writing process.
Examples: Gay Talese's approach to composition (#39); E.B. White's use of literary effect in "Death of a Pig" (#41).
Note: Nothing increases your publishing chances more than a familiarity with the magazine; we recommend you become a subscriber, but a working knowledge of our recent issues is a great place to start, too.
Queries only. Please do not send completed pieces. Please do not send attachments. Please send brilliant, original ideas and a solid plan for turning those ideas into brilliant pieces of writing.