Got a Good Story About Your Cat or Dog? You Could Make $250 for Sharing It

A man is lost in the couch as his dog holds the remote in his mouth.
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We’ve all got a story (or two) to tell. Yours could earn you money.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is accepting stories and poems to include in upcoming books. If yours is chosen, you’ll get a check for $250.

Back in the early 1990s, two popular motivational speakers put together a book filled with inspirational stories.

“They called it Chicken Soup for the Soul because they wanted it to soothe and provide comfort, just like their grandmothers’ cooking,” according to the company’s website.

The company eventually expanded its selection and has since published more than 275 titles within the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series that have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide. Books focus on specific topics like faith, raising kids and cats.

How to Make Chicken Soup for the Soul Submissions

Right now, the publisher is soliciting stories and poems for books in these subgroups:

  1. Funny stories (deadline: April 30, 2024)

  2. Cat stories (deadline: June 30, 2024)

  3. Dog stories (deadline: June 30, 2024)

  4. Miracles, messages from heaven, angels (deadline: Feb. 28, 2024)

  5. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, New Year's (deadline April 30, 2024)

  6. The power of thinking positive (deadline: Feb. 28, 2024)

If you’ve got a personal experience to share that fits one of these topics, here’s what you need to know.

Guidelines for Chicken Soup for the Soul Stories

Your story should:

  • Be written in the first person.
  • Be a true story that happened to you or someone you know. If you ghost-write a story for someone else, that person’s name should be listed as the author (they can acknowledge your help in the bio section).
  • Have a clear beginning, middle and end.
  • Create emotion in the reader.
  • Come from the heart.
  • Be no longer than 1,200 words.
  • Not be a biography, term paper, thesis, letter or journal entry.
  • Not be about politics or anything controversial.

Submitted stories must be true. The publisher does not accept creative writing essays or fictional material.

Guidelines for Chicken Soup for the Soul Poems

The guidelines for poetry submissions are a little more relaxed. Your poem should:

  • Tell a story that helps the reader learn about your experience but be in poetry form.
  • Not focus on rhyming or sound like a greeting card.

Chicken Soup for the Soul only accepts story and poetry submissions that have not been previously published.

How to Submit Your Entry

Submitting your entry is easy. Simply fill out this online form, add your story or poem to the correct field, and hit “Submit.”

After you submit the form, you’ll see a confirmation message on your screen that the publisher received your entry. That’s all there is to it!

Well, not exactly. There’s one more thing left to do, and it might be the most difficult.

Be patient.

Pro Tip

Write your entry in a computer app like Google Docs that automatically saves your work as you go, then paste it into the submission form to avoid losing your file if the browser quits unexpectedly.

It may take the publisher a long while to get back to you. The website explains: “We get thousands of submissions for each book and we only have room for 101 pieces, so please don’t take our silence personally!”

If your story or poem is selected, you’ll receive an email asking for explicit consent to publish your work.

One month after publication, you’ll receive 10 copies of the book and a check for $250.

If you have an experience you want to share, fire up your computer or pull out your notebook and get to work.

Lisa McGreevy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Deputy editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors updated this post.