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

Chicken soup for the soul
psphotograph/Getty Images

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 neat 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 book was a smash hit. I remember seeing it on all my friends’ bookshelves and coffee tables. Everybody I knew talked about the book because it was so widely read (sort of like Harry Potter is today).

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.

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

  • Christmas and Holiday Collection
  • Miracles and More
  • My Crazy Family!
  • Positively Happy!
  • Stories of Redemption

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

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.

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 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.”

Note: Be sure to write your entry in a computer app like Microsoft Word or Google Docs that automatically saves your work as you go, then paste it into the submission form. That way you won’t lose your work if your browser gets the hiccups. (Ask me how I know.)

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.

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’ve got 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 staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She bought a lot of Chicken Soup for the Soul books just so she could keep up during conversations with her friends. Seriously, those books were everywhere.