Want to Write For Brown Girl? Tips For Getting Your Content Published

At Brown Girl, we’re always excited to accept new content from guest writers! Our inbox gets flooded with dozens of pitches daily from writers in every corner of the world, and we want to make sure we’re able to notice yours. Here’s how to ensure your piece stands out in our inbox and has an optimal chance of getting published.

1. Check out our site first

No, we don’t want you to write the same content as everyone else. We love fresh and new ideas and evergreen content that will make an impact for years t come! We advise you to first use the search bar on our homepage to read the content we’ve published in the past with similar keywords and terms. Then it’s worth it to review our categories on the menu bar to understand the overall ‘feel’ of Brown Girl. Finally, craft a pitch that adds value to our existing website and content strategy. 

2. Have confidence

We can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten emails saying things along the lines of, “Sorry for the typos in the piece” or “I apologize if this isn’t good.” If you don’t have confidence in your work, why should we? Feel free to ask for suggestions for improvement or feedback, but don’t sell yourself short.

3. Submit original content 

We don’t accept submissions that have been posted elsewhere – whether that’s on your personal blog, another news source, a company website or more. In the rare instances that we do, we need written permission to republish from the original place of publication. Similarly, if a piece of yours is published on Brown Girl and you’d like it to be published elsewhere, the publication must include a link back to the article on Brown Girl.

4. Basic elements to include

  • Full story or brief pitchSee below for how to craft a great pitch. If sending a story, send it in a word document or editable Google doc.
  • High-resolution headshot attached in PNG or JPG format – Please don’t insert the headshot into the word document, as we will not be able to grab it for optimal usage. This should be an original, clear picture of just you – not a picture of a picture, or one pulled from social media accounts (reduces quality.)
  • Bio 300 words max and written in third-person
  • Any or all social media handles you’d like added to the piece

5. Submitting a pitch

Feel free to submit pitches for potential articles. Note, the best pitches are:

      • Succinct, clear and to the point (4-5 sentences long)
      • Explains why this is of value to the BG audience.
      • Includes a suggested format (personal narrative, listicle, news story, editorial, etc.)
      • Includes an estimated word count (400-500 is what we generally go for, with a maximum word count of 1000)

6. Include photos 

Feel free to include any relevant images with your submission! Photos must be

  • attached to the email in JPG or PNG format
  • Credited with the photo source and caption. If we don’t have these for the images, we cannot publish it. You can write these in the email itself.
  • If you have photos that you would like to appear in specific parts of the story, feel free to send over a word doc that includes the photos within the text. We still need them attached to the email for usage, but this lets us know where you want the photos to be placed.

7. Include sample headings

While editors have full discretion on editing headlines, this gives us a good starting point that is in line with your vision for the piece. Include 1-2 potential headlines that you’d like us to use.

8. Linking

If you have sourced other websites, magazines, research papers or newspapers, make sure to properly hyperlink the sources in the text.

9. Embed Codes 

If you’re adding tweets, a Facebook post or a YouTube link in your piece, be sure to paste the embed code directly in the word doc where you’d like it to show up.

10. GIFS

If you’re adding GIFS, be sure to either embed the GIF code into your post OR save the GIF as a GIF file and email it with the proper source named.

11. Break it up 

If your piece is full of long, lengthy paragraphs, chances are we’ll skip it in favor of one that covers the topic in a more succinct manner.

12. Guest writers/contributions are unpaid

Brown Girl is a labor of love done by a huge group of volunteers working part-time to ensure the magazine represents the voices of all South Asians. While we are working on becoming a sustainable business that can pay guest contributions, it is not feasible in our current budget. When this changes, we will update this section asap!

13. Patience is key

As mentioned earlier, Brown Girl is run on a part-time, volunteer basis. All of our editors have full-time jobs/families/commitments outside of Brown Girl and, while we try to respond to emails within 24 hours, sometimes things get behind. Please give your editor a week to respond before reaching out with a follow-up. If the piece in question is timely, please preface your subject email line with ‘TIMELY: [Insert pitch or article name]’

14. Proofread your work

With so many articles to review each day, we’re strapped for time. The best way to help your editor out is to make sure you’re giving them the best version of your article. Before sending, make sure to scan it for grammar/typos/’extra’ content you can trim. Have a friend read it for another pair of eyes!

15. Don’t hesitate to follow up

If you haven’t heard from your editor in a couple of weeks, feel free to shoot them a follow-up email. Do not message Brown Girl on other social media platforms asking about the status your article, as the social media team is completely separate from the editors.

16. Don’t be down, be daring!

If your pitch is not accepted by Brown Girl, don’t get discouraged! Think of creative ways to revamp future pieces and ideas. We’d love to hear from you again so don’t be afraid to reach out. 

~ Please email all guest submissions and pitch ideas to hello@browngirlmagazine.com with a clear subject line, a short bio, headshot and your Twitter/Instagram handles. ~

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By Brown Girl Magazine

Born out of the lack of minority representation in mainstream media, Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South … Read more ›

Brinda Charry’s Debut Book ‘The East Indian’ Tells a Tale of Race and Resilience

brinda charry

“I was the only one of my kind, so it was fitting I spent time alone.”

This line from “The East Indian”, the debut novel of historian and author Brinda Charry, stung as I read it. 

Growing up in suburban Connecticut, being the only brown face in a room has never fazed me. I was always the little brown girl in the corner with waist-length hair and a name that made every teacher pause, but the feeling of “otherness” captured in this line was something I knew all too well. 

[Read Related: The Culture Series Part 1: Descendants of Indentured Diaspora a Look at Fijian Representation ]

This feeling isn’t unique. It’s the same experience of many immigrants and first-generation South Asian Americans, and that of the main character of “The East Indian” as well. 

While a work of fiction set in the 1630s, the novel paints a very real picture of immigration and race in the United States today and the human need to belong. 

It is the story of Tony East Indian, inspired by a real person documented in the country’s archives as the first known East Indian in the American colonies, but who is otherwise a work of the author’s imagination and research. 

The son of a courtesan from the Coromandel coast of India, Tony unwittingly finds himself as an indentured servant in the plantations of Jamestown, Virginia at just 11 years old. 

He accepts “Tony” as his first name — though he doesn’t care for it — because a fellow Tamil once suggested others in the world would find his real name “too hard to utter.” Then he adopts the surname “East Indian” simply because it is thrust upon him when he arrived in Jamestown. The protagonist can no longer even recall his birth name, but soon, he accepts it as a thing of his past. 

Over the course of the novel, Tony lands at the center of scandal as he works to establish a new identity as a physician. All the while, he also struggles with isolation, prejudice and the challenges of trying to maintain pieces of the culture he carried with him from abroad. 

He is confused as to why Native Americans are also called “Indians” and many colonists simply label him a “moor,” a term used for North Africans or anyone with darker skin, with no context for India or its people in this new world. 

He, feeling disloyal to his “many Gods,” converts from Hinduism to Christianity, believing it will give him more credibility and a sense of connection to his peers. He begins to eat meat and spend time at taverns, all in hopes of belonging, and assimilating with colonist ways.

As he comes of age and furthers his physician’s apprenticeship, Tony also begins to ponder questions of race and social class to no avail. He reflects: 

“I would talk to Doctor Herman and try to understand the reason behind white skin and black and brown and, more important, what greater distinctions of wit, sensibility, and soul the differences in hue signified. I read and was taught by my master the new ideas put forth by men of learning in England and Europe on the workings of the bowels, the brain, the blood; the causes of migraines, melancholy, and madness, but I never got closer to understanding the real meaning behind what they called different races of men, and if such difference exists in any profound sense that really matters.”

Overall, in “The East Indian,” Tony becomes a man. He learns of the world’s cruelty and its kindness. He learns to work, play, love, hate, scheme, grieve and care for himself and others. But, like most immigrants, he still longs for home. 

“For home is singular and unique. Everywhere else is but a stopping place, a bed in a stranger’s house, eating off plates not one’s own, an unfamiliar view from a casement,” Tony said. 

When attempts to head West and find an ocean back to India fail, Tony accepts that returning to his motherland is unlikely and resolves that he must learn to adapt.

He worries his love interest, born in the colonies, will not relate to him, for “her heart did not ache for another place beyond the sea” and also wonders what the future of his children will be. Nevertheless, he is never defeated. 

“I would thrive wherever the wind laid me,” says Tony. “[I] will be my own shelter, my landing place. Like a snail, I will carry home on my back, find it where I happen to be, make it from what I bear inside me.”

This resolution to resilience is one many in the South Asian diaspora may be familiar with, especially those descended from British-East Indian indentureship like Tony. 

Leaving or even kidnapped from their homes with little to no hope of return, thousands of Indians faced journeys fraught with violence, condemnation and injustice trying to create new lives and identities away from their homeland in places like Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana, and Jamaica. However, like Tony, they also found the strength and courage to survive and establish their own cultures and communities. 

While no details are known about the real Tony East Indian, Charry weaves a compelling coming-of-age tale that takes him as well as readers across three continents. 

The novel, like life itself, has fast and slow moments, but it is filled with vivid, historically accurate depictions of the colonial world and moving moments that keep you rooting for the main character’s triumph. 

It is this authenticity and compassion that makes “The East Indian” an invaluable modern work. There are no known first-hand accounts of the indentured or South Asian colonists in America. The only proof of the mere existence of many are the generations that have come after them. 

With several years of research put into it, Charry’s “The East Indian” serves as a rare realistic portrayal of what life may have been for these individuals; the hardships they endured, and the strength they embodied. South Asian or not, it is a rich history not only worth reading but sharing and celebrating. 

To learn more about Brinda Charry and her professional work visit her website. The East Indian is now available in print and audiobooks from all major book retailers.

Featured Image: Author Brinda Charry was born and raised in India before moving to the United States for graduate school two decades ago. She considers herself “a novelist-turned-academic-returned-novelist | Photo Credit: Lisa Arnold Photography

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By Ramona Sukhraj

With a B.S. in Marketing from the UCONN School of Business, Ramona has made a name for herself publishing over … Read more ›

The Pressures of Being the Perfect South Asian Woman

NAKED: The Honest Musings of 2 Brown Women was born in the autumn of 2018, when Mimi Mutesa and Selvi M. Bunce began sharing their poetry collections. It was scary, beautiful, and terrifying when they decided to trust each other with their most intimate thoughts. Not only did they feel relieved after doing so, but Selvi and Mimi also felt more seen as women of color. They embarked on their publication journey, so others may feel as seen as they did on that fateful autumn.

“Ingrown Hair” deals with the themes of societal and family pressures that are reflected throughout NAKED. Mimi and Selvi have always written for themselves. They see poetry as an outlet, and their poems exemplify their personal frustration and vulnerability. “Ingrown Hair” speaks to Selvi’s experience with the societal pressures of South Asian women, such as getting married, being a good wife, becoming a good mother, and leading a certain kind of life.

[Read Related: Exploring the Endless Possibilities of who I am In the Mirror]

Ingrown Hair

There is something strange beneath my skin
telling me to build a house,
make a home,
mother children.
I am not sure how to reconcile it.
My mother was strong
and a mother after all.
My philosophy has been to spend my time
on myself and the world.
I have always thought
I could simply address the thing under my skin
when it finally crawled out.
But when my family starts guessing
who will get married first, and my father
has been saving wedding money for years,
I begin to wonder
if I will have to pluck it out.

[Read Related: Reconstructing and Deconstructing our Ideals]

You can purchase your copy of NAKED on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Bookshop, and The Black Spring Press Group. Follow Selvi on Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to check out her project, Brown & Brazen.

The opinions expressed by the guest writer/blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Brown Girl Magazine, Inc., or any employee thereof. Brown Girl Magazine is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the guest writer/bloggers. This work is the opinion of the blogger. It is not the intention of Brown Girl Magazine to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. If you’d like to submit a guest post, please follow the guidelines we’ve set forth here.
By Selvi M. Bunce

Selvi M. Bunce (she/they) has written for academic and creative journals and spoken at diversity conferences and TEDx. Selvi currently … Read more ›

Moving on After Breaking up With Your Cat

“Take what you want//Take everything” reflects on a time with my partner and our cat, Layla. It’s a retelling of the chaotic night I adopted her. I didn’t know why Layla hid from me. When I chased her around, it scared her more. “Take what you want//Take everything” juxtaposes our first night, filled with misunderstanding, with the rest of the time we spent together. My fond memories call back to the loving moments Layla and I shared.

Such memories defined us; they reverberated in my partnership. I wonder if my partner, like Layla, only remembers her fear of me, over our shared moments of love. The title, a Kanye West lyric, is an acknowledgment that their happiness together–without me–destroyed my sense of self. When I see their photos, I wonder if I can see myself reflected in their eyes. I wonder if they still keep kind moments of our time together.

[Read Related: Artivist Poem Essay-Studmavati]

Take what you want//Take everything

I remember when she would look at me from behind a laundry basket.

A small simple cat with green owl eyes. She was afraid of her new home and its owner. Shit, I remember the night I got her, she hid under my bed, in the middle just out of my reach for maybe 6 hours, watching me. She didn’t eat anything the entire day. When the night fell I was afraid she’d starve or come out and attack me. I was just scared. I didn’t have a childhood pet, I’m not white, I didn’t know what to do. I picked up the whole bed and yelled that she needed to move. I chased her into the closet with a vacuum cleaner. When she ran in, I called my lover and yelled to her that she wasn’t helping enough, she needed to be there to help me. That was our first day together, me and that cat. No one will ever have that memory but me and maybe her.

It was during Ramadan, my first year fasting.

Our problems had already begun by then. Enough so that I decided to fast and show retribution. I’d try to change into a more patient and understanding self. Like the Prophet (SAW) I guess. To become someone that my lover could feel safe around. Somehow, getting a cat felt like it fit into that picture. I’d be a cat dad, you know, gentle. We’d raise her. I’d fast and become New Again. Maybe I’d wrap an inked tasbih around myself and show I’m a man of God.

I don’t know how a cat remembers fear any more than I know how a lover does.

I know her body stored it. My cat’s must have stored it too. That first night, I wish I could tell her that I was afraid too. It doesn’t make sense that I was afraid really — I’m bigger, more threatening. We don’t speak the same language anyway, so how could I ever tell her? She learned to trust me though, in her own way. Her small bean paws would press on my chest in the mornings. She’d meow to berate me for locking her out some nights, or when I was away from home too long.

She lives with my lover now. They share photos with me, they’re happy together.

I saw my lover once, it was on 55th and 7th, Broadway shined blue performance lights over us. She wore a red sacral dress. She said her mental health has never been better. I think she was trying to tell me that she’s doing well, because she knows I care for her. I don’t think she was trying to say she’s happier without me. We don’t speak the same language. I actually think they are happier with just each other. And I loved them both, so it hurts. Sometimes, not all the time. And it doesn’t always hurt that bad. Other times it does get pretty bad, though. I probably owe it to myself to say that.

I look back at the photos, the ones of our life together, and the ones of their new life.

Two green owl eyes, and two brown moonlit eyes. I look for myself in them.

[Read Related: How Love Matures as you Grow]

By Umrao Shaan

Umrao Shaan is a short storyist, poet, and ghazals singer. You can find his songs on his Instagram. His other … Read more ›