The Bitter Southerner is open to submissions in all categories.
Who We Are
The Bitter Southerner covers the American South from a modern perspective. Our goal is to tell stories about places, organizations, and people that do not fit the national media's standard narratives and stereotypes about the South. The Bitter Southerner is committed to amplifying the voices of the many cultures that together create the historic and modern cultures of the South.
What We Publish
Currently, The Bitter Southerner publishes three written stories per week. Please use the appropriate form beneath the guidelines to submit. We want to tell a full story of the South and will prioritize work by African American, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, and LGBT people and creative storytellers that want to tell about their own communities and experiences.
Our Tuesday features typically range from 2,500 to 5,000 words. Flat rate of $500, plus expenses. We also hire a photographer or illustrator for many Tuesday features. Flat rate of $500, plus expenses
Notes on the process for Tuesday Features submissions
In an effort to better manage our communication with writers, we accept Tuesday features submissions only during the first seven days of every month. This allows us to review all feature-story submissions and either accept or reject them within a month.
From the Southern Perspective
Every Thursday, we publish a short feature story, cultural perspective piece, interview, or opinion piece. These stories range from 1,000 to 3,000 words. Flat rate: $250.
Every Wednesday, we publish a personal essay (non-fiction) typically ranging from 500 to 1,500 words. We sometimes publish photographs, audio recordings, and videos of no more than five minutes. Please only send one story at a time. No compensation, but much love.
- Every story we publish should reflect its author's perspective or experience with the American South — even if that perspective is from afar.
- In your subject line please communicate what is unique about your story.
- The volume of our submissions exceeds our staff's capacity to evaluate all of them. If you have not heard from us after 6 months, that means that we will not be accepting your pitch.
- We allow profanity, but please ensure it serves the story's effectiveness.
- Few stories in The Bitter Southerner are "timely" in the way newspaper stories are. But sometimes, we publish pieces in response to current events. If you believe your story is time-sensitive — either as a response to a recent event, or if it is linked to an upcoming event or milestone — please write "TIME SENSITIVE" in the subject line.
The Bitter Southerner is seeking stories that show community and individual efforts to hold back the storm of the novel coronavirus. We want to know how individual local communities across the South, both urban and rural, are coming together. We want to identify unsung heroes of local responses.
If you have a story along those lines, you can present it here as pitch for a story you could, upon approval, begin to write, or you can submit a completed piece.
For this section, we accept personal essays. You may also include photographs, sound recordings, or videos of five minutes or shorter. You do not have to be a professional for your work to be considered. We want to gather and preserve untold stories from the South - they can be about you or a person in your community whose voice you want to preserve and share. Try to focus on just one story, not a whole life story. Submissions must not exceed 2,000 words.
Stories must be true, to the best of your memory.
We regret that The Bitter Southerner does not currently pay contributors to our Folklore Project. But if your submission is accepted, it will be treated with respect and will be broadcast to a wide and growing audience.
Every Thursday, we publish a short feature story, cultural perspective piece, interview, or opinion piece. These stories range from 750 to 3,000 words.
We prefer writers for this section to pitch us an idea in this form. Tell us why this story is important and why you are the one to tell it.
However, we also review completed pieces, and at the bottom of the form, you will find a place to upload your file - it must not exceed 3,000 words.
If you are pitching, as opposed to submitting, please include at least one writing sample. This form allows you to upload files of samples (limit: three files) and to share with us up to two URLs for online work.
This form is reserved for filmmakers who would like to publish their finished work in The Bitter Southerner's Moving Stories section.
This form is reserved for music publicists or artists requesting a debut in The Bitter Southerner's Moving Stories section.