We are currently accepting pitches to the Ploughshares Blog via email. We have compiled this contribution page to increase your chances of success at having a pitch accepted, and encourage you to read the page in its entirety.

We currently accept pitches for the following categories of writing:

  • critical essays
  • personal essays
  • blended longform essays
  • interviews
  • book reviews

Each category has slightly different pitch guidelines.

Critical Essays
Critical essays have for many years made up the backbone of the Ploughshares Blog. They engage in deep analysis of literature, both mainstream and niche, offering something new to the conversation about what writing can achieve and how storytelling is significant. They deal in the sociopolitical, the emotional, and the academic. They are strong in voice and distinct in argument. They may overlap slightly with personal essays.

When pitching a critical essay, please identify your subject matter, angle, and expected word count, and include two to three writing samples (published or unpublished). Please also consider why your subject is relevant now, and mention specific pieces of news or historical events it is tied to, if any–though note that we do not expect all essays to be tied to a specific news event. If we have published work on your subject matter previously, explain how your piece will differ. We want to see strong, new arguments, analytical thinking, and, of course, strong writing.

We regret that we cannot accept submissions of completed drafts; we prefer to work with writers to shape their pitches and essays to best fit our tone. All pitches, however, will receive a response.

The subject line of your pitch email should be PITCH: Critical Essay on [Subject Matter]. You may address your email to Ellen Duffer, our blog editor and Ploughshares’ managing editor.

Critical essays are between 1,300 and 1,900 words and receive payment based on word count, starting at $20 paid the month following publication.

Personal Essays
Personal essays for the Ploughshares Blog should have a tie to literature, though we recognize that this may not be direct or overwhelming. They should be strong in character, narrative, voice, and introspection. They should demonstrate, in some capacity, growth or change. They may overlap slightly with critical essays.

When pitching a personal essay, please briefly explain your narrative and the change you hope to portray. Please also include your expected word count and two to three writing samples (published or unpublished).

We regret that we cannot accept submissions of completed drafts; we prefer to work with writers to shape their pitches and essays to best fit our tone. All pitches, however, will receive a response.

The subject line of your pitch email should be PITCH: Personal Essay on [Subject Matter]. You may address your email to Ellen Duffer, our blog editor and Ploughshares’ managing editor.

Personal essays are between 1,300 and 1,900 words and receive payment based on word count, starting at $20 paid the month following publication.

Blended Longform Essays
We are looking for longform essays that are a blend of literary criticism and personal essay. In these pieces, we are looking for strong voice, narrative, and growth/change (in the very broadest of terms). We would also consider pitches for longform essays that are strictly literary criticism, though are inclined to prefer the former. We are particularly interested in pieces that consider the role of literature.

Strong pitches will identify subject matter, angle, argument, relevance to the Ploughshares audience and today’s reader, and a brief (one- or two- paragraph) analysis summary. They will also include expected word count and two to three writing samples (published or unpublished, with at least one indicating some sort of depth of analysis and ability to write “long”).

We regret that we cannot accept submissions of completed drafts for our longform category. All pitches, however, will receive a response.

The subject line of your pitch email should be PITCH: Longform Essay on [Subject Matter]. You may address your email to Ellen Duffer, our blog editor and Ploughshares’ managing editor.

Longform essays run over 3,000 words, with word count largely determined by the complexity of the subject matter, and receive payment of $30 the month following publication.

Interviews
We occasionally publish interviews of authors and individuals otherwise involved (in some way) with the publishing industry. Please check our archives before pitching an interview to ensure that we have not interviewed your subject before.

In your pitch, please include the individual’s name, if you have secured contact with this person, why an interview with this person is relevant now, exptected word count, and two to three writing samples (published or unpublished). The subject line of your email should be PITCH: Interview – [Name of Subject].  You may address your pitch to Ellen Duffer, our blog editor and Ploughshares’ managing editor. You may submit a completed interview for consideration. All submissions will receive a response. We do not consider pitches or submissions regarding interviews with individuals who are related to the interviewer; we also do not accept pitches or submissions regarding interviews with current Ploughshares or Emerson College employees.

We find that the best interviews are conducted over the phone or via in-person–follow-up questions are important, and interviews conducted over email without back-and-forth are usually lacking some key information or emotional pull.

Interviews are between 1,300 and 1,900 words and receive payment based on word count, starting at $20 paid the month following publication.

Book Reviews
We will only consider reviews for books that are forthcoming; book reviews are published prior to book publication dates.

In your pitch, please include the title, author, publisher, and publication date book you would like to review, as well as two to three writing samples (published or unpublished). The subject line of your email should be PITCH: Review – [Book Title] – [Book Publication Date]. You may address your pitch to Amelia Hassani, our associate blog editor. You may also submit a completed for review for consideration. All submissions will receive a response. We do not consider pitches or submissions covering books written by a friend or family member of the reviewer; we also cannot accept reviews of books written by current Emerson College or Ploughshares employees. Ploughshares will provide writers of accepted book review pitches with a copy of the book to be reviewed.

Book reviews are around 800 words and receive payment of $15 the month following publication.

Both Amelia and Ellen can be reached at blog@pshares.org.