Chicken Soup for the Soul Will Pay You $200 for Your Personal Story or Poem

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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 essays and poems to include in upcoming books. If yours is chosen, you’ll get a check for $200. 

If you’re not familiar with the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, allow me to acquaint you with this publishing house. 

Way (way, way) 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 now publishes a variety of Chicken Soup for the Soul books on specific topics like faith, raising kids and, yes, even cats.

How to Make Chicken Soup for the Soul Submissions 

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

  1. Age Is Just a Number

  2. Christmas Is in the Air

  3. Listen to Your Dreams

  4. Stories About Self-care and Me Time

  5. Stories of Divine Intervention

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 something that happened to you or someone you know.
  • 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 the book is published, you’ll receive 10 copies and a check for $200.

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

Good luck!

Lisa McGreevy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.