Note: Please inquire about up-to-date Copyright terms
Copyright information and terms of acceptance
When you file a story with us, it is assumed that the piece is original and will be exclusive to us for 90 days worldwide in all media from the date of publication. This includes the right to distribute the story via aggregation and syndication, including via The Christian Science Monitor News Service, which provides Monitor stories to client news organizations in the US and abroad, and to post it on the Monitor's Web site and social media platforms. Please ask to see the standard freelance contributor rights agreement, which sets out the specific rights we need to be able to publish your story. Once you have been given the go-ahead to write, your editor will send you the agreement via our online signature portal. We cannot publish your work without the signed agreement.
Except in unusual circumstances, we accept a new writer's work "on spec" only. That means you give us the opportunity to read your story before we decide whether to accept it; and our agreeing to look at something on spec implies no financial or other obligation on our part. We try to render verdicts on stories quickly, but we are often inundated, and you should feel free to pester us for an answer on a perishable story. Please check the policy set by the editor of the section to which you are pitching a story.
If we commission you to write stories, there is a financial obligation on our part. If you file a commissioned story that fulfills what you pitched to us, we will pay you our basic rate for the story whether we run it or not. If the commissioned story you deliver is unsatisfactory, we will ask you to rework it or we will pay a kill fee, usually half the basic rate. We may not pay a fee, however, if the story arrives too late for avoidable reasons.
It's important that you and your editor clarify whether we are commissioning a story or asking to see a story on spec.
Payment and expenses
Our basic rate for a story is $250. But please be in touch with individual news and section editors (see entries below) about any variation from this rate. Longer stories can pay appreciably more. Short stories or sidebars often pay half the basic rate.
Targeting your written work
Targeting your images
E-mail address for queries and submissions: email@example.com
The Home Forum is looking for upbeat, personal essays from 400 to 800 words. We also welcome short poems. All material must be original and previously unpublished. For seasonal material, be aware that if you submit something that is about a particular month, holiday, event (back to school, graduation), or season, we need to receive it a minimum of six weeks ahead.
More on essays
These are first-person, nonfiction explorations of how you responded to a place, a person, a situation, an event, or happenings in everyday life. Tell a story; share a funny true tale. The humor should be gentle.
We accept essays on a wide variety of subjects, and encourage timely, newsy topics. However, we don't deal with the topics of death, aging and disease.
It's raining acorns!
In the basement, we putter and flutter
Thanksgiving for two
We are always looking for essays on travel, parenting (your experiences with children as opposed to advice for someone else), home, family, gardening, neighborhood, and community.
A flying carpet ride of memories
On this trip to Egypt, the beggars were the ones who gave
The language is different; the feeling is universal
More on poetry
Poetry that appears in The Home Forum explores and celebrates life. It provides a respite from the bleakness that appears in so much contemporary verse. We are particularly interested in poetry that has an international flavor or that offers some global or cultural insights. Short poems are more likely to be accepted (because of space constraints) than poems that are more than 18 lines long.
We do not publish work that presents people in helpless or hopeless states. Nor do we print poetry about death, aging, and illness, or anything dark, violent, sensual or overtly religious.
Submissions are now accepted only by e-mail, one poem per e-mail; no more than 5 poems submitted at one time. In order to preserve line breaks and indents, you may want to consider using a Microsoft Word attachment. (We are not able to open any other attachments. If you don't use Word, please paste the text into the e-mail.)
How to pitch and follow up
Personal essays, travel, and poetry: Submit finished work only to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please be aware that if your e-mail account has a spam filter that blocks messages from "unauthorized" senders – and you have not added Home Forum to your authorized list – you will not hear from us.)
Thank you for not e-mailing the section's editors directly; that only slows down consideration of your work. Always use email@example.com. We are not able to respond to individual submissions, but will contact you within three weeks of receiving your essay or poem if we plan to use it.
Be sure to include your contact information (e-mail address, daytime telephone, mailing address) with your submission. Please include a word count with essay submissions.
We are unable to accept:
Previously published material.
Articles that result from a press trip, free lodging or meals, etc.
We look forward to working with you.