Chronically Lit is open to pitches and submissions for the first time in over two years! Woo hoo! Please read this entire page before submitting.
We only consider writing from people with chronic illness. If you do not personally have a chronic illness, invisible illness, mental illness, or disability, please do not submit. Although we deeply respect the caregivers, doctors, parents, children, and romantic partners of those with chronic illness, we aren’t currently an outlet for their stories.
We define “chronic illness” broadly. If you have a long-term illness that you live with and manage, we are interested in your story. That includes people who consider themselves disabled and those who do not, people who struggle with mental but not physical illness, and those who are searching for an explanation for their symptoms and remain undiagnosed. If your story is about an acute illness, meaning you became sick and then fairly quickly overcame or cured that illness, we feel for you, but CL isn’t the home for your writing.
What Chronically Lit Publishes
We are currently open to submissions that fall under the following categories:
- Personal Essays: Help us make CL a wonderful home for first-person stories of people living with chronic illness. We are open to a variety of writing styles and experimentation. Examples of what we love: “Wait, But Have You Tried—” by Michelle Rial, “On Telling Ugly Stories: Writing With a Chronic Illness” by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, “Before” by Alysia Li Ying Sawchyn, “What Pain Wants” by Sonya Huber (scroll down or search her name to read)
- Comics: Does your personal chronic illness story take the form of a comic? If so, we’d like to look at it. Examples of what we love: anything by Michelle Rial
- Reviews: Reviews allow us to examine how chronic illness, disability, and mental illness are portrayed in literature, arts, and entertainment, and how those of us with related experiences relate to such portrayals. Your review should read like a personal essay and contain as much of “you” as it does the works being reviewed. Book and movie reviews pique our interest the most, but we are open to other review ideas. For reviews, please send a pitch with a few sample paragraphs rather than a full draft. Also, please pitch a review of work you primarily enjoyed! We are fine with nuance and even critique, but if your goal in reviewing is to rip something to shreds, it isn’t for us.
The Bottom Line: Chronically Lit exclusively publishes true, first-person stories, comics, and reviews created by people with chronic illness. At this time, we do not read submissions that are strictly fiction, poetry, or art, or submissions from people who do not experience illness themselves, first-hand. Submissions of these types will not receive a response.
You can pitch a review of anything, but you’ll probably have a higher chance of acceptance if you choose a movie that is easily streamable or a book on this list:
- Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
- A Fish Growing Lungs by Alysia Li Ying Sawchyn
- Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
- The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang
- Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life by Sandra Beasley
- Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir by Lauren Slater
- Meaty: Essays by Samantha Irby
- Brujas: The Magic and Power of Witches of Color by Lorraine Monteagut
- Acid Revival: The Psychedelic Renaissance and the Quest for Medical Legitimacy by Danielle Giffort
Chronically Lit Submission Guidelines
Although there is no hard word count range, we favor writing that falls between 1,000 and 1,500 words. Exceptional micro/flash and long-form pieces may also be considered on occasion.
Detailed Submission Instructions
- Please email your pitches and submissions to chronicallylitmag [at] gmail [dot] com
- Format the subject line as follows: [CATEGORY]: “Your Title.” For example, PERSONAL ESSAY: “Headache City”
- Paste your text pitch or submission in the body of the email, not as an attachment. Only include an attachment if you are submitting a comic or hybrid work with specific formatting.
- Include a paragraph about yourself, briefly explaining the role chronic illness plays in your life, if that isn’t evident from the pitch.
- Give us at least a month or two before following up on your pitch or submission. We practice slow living over here. 🙂
We ask for first serial rights, which means we only consider work that has never been published before, either in print or online (your own website and social media count). We also ask for electronic archival rights, or permission to keep your work online forever. Our rights are nonexclusive, so you can republish the work elsewhere later. If you do republish the work, we ask to be mentioned as the first publisher.
We pay a flat rate of $100 for essays and reviews and $50 for comics and micro/flash essays.