Write for BitterSweet: Share Your Story

Coming to the Table National GatheringHere is all you need to know about writing for BitterSweet. For more information about who we are, please click HERE.

One purpose of this blog is to assist people, especially descendants of the enslaved, in their research. Details matter! We ask that you please include as many details as possible about the names of enslavers and enslaved, plantations, farms, towns, birthdates, years, other names, etc. Others NEED this information.

We Are Excited To See What You’ve Created!

We welcome writers from all backgrounds, and are looking for 1000-word short stories, essays, poetry, book or film reviews, interviews, introductions to relevant websites. We would also love to hear from people together, pairs who are linked through slavery. Please consider submitting personal stories related to issues of racism, the legacies of slavery, the harms of white supremacy and white privilege, and work currently being done to:

  • Share family stories during and after the era of institutionalized slavery;
  • Make connections within families or between disparate communities;
  • Advance healing and reconciliation for individuals, families, communities and the nation.

What Makes A Strong Post? 

A strong post touches the heart and captures the essence of a place, character, situation or relationship.  It shows the reader what something means to you or others, especially on a spiritual and/or emotional level. It doesn’t attempt to provide a full accounting of an entire lifetime or journey, but gives us a slice. If you are a writer of European descent, please consider the perspective and experiences of the enslaved individuals. You do not write on their behalf, but you include and prioritize them in how your story is shaped, and your focus choices.  Important details are also shared (names, dates, places, events) that may help others in their research. 

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

Please click HERE to read much more about topics, images, things to consider, and being published on BitterSweet. *We ask that everyone writing & submitting read through the FAQ’s in advance.

Welcome To Our Community Of Authors!

  • Please send us a quick EMAIL to let us know what you are planning, or have already written, so that we may best coordinate scheduling, topics, etc.; 
  • Please read over this entire page, and the FAQ’s;
  • We will not edit and publish your submission without your permission.  All edits will be approved by you first;  
  • Please be aware that we are a small team.  It may take several weeks to review a piece, provide feedback, and make a decision.  We will be sure to let you know we have received it though!

How To Submit Your Piece

We have a Submissions Template for you!  Using the template is not required, it’s just here to make your life easier. Click HERE to get there.

Before you submit your article to us, please run through this checklist. (See FAQ’s if you have questions):

  1. Is it approximately 1000 words?
  2. Does it include specific names, dates, locations (especially first and surnames of the enslaver and enslaved, farms, plantations, towns). Remember these may be missing puzzle pieces for many.
  3. If you descend from enslavers and are of European heritage: are you taking care to center the possible experiences and details of the enslaved and their descendants?  Please reach out for guidance if needed, it can be tricky but it’s vitally important. 
  4. Have you put it into a Google Doc (using our template or not)?
  5. Does it include 2-4 impactful photos and captions? (see FAQ if you need guidance on which to choose, or contact us for support)
  6. Does it have a title?
  7. Have you identified and included a minimum of ten relevant tags?
  8. Are attributions or acknowledgment of sources included?  
  9. Does it include your name, email, bio and photo?
  10. Sent us an email letting us know you’ve shared your Google document?

If you’ve done the above, you are ready to submit!

We appreciate you, look forward to your contribution, and to being in touch!


*Next steps:  Your contribution will be reviewed by at least one BitterSweet team member to make sure its content is relevant to the blog’s purpose and its language avoids extremes of offensiveness or disrespect.  If your contribution seems to be outside the blog’s purpose or if the BitterSweet team has a concern with its language, we will discuss it with you.  Nothing will be turned down without an explanation, and no contribution will be edited without your agreement. A reminder that we are a small team and it may take several weeks to get back to you with feedback and a decision.  

Once any edits are accepted and your submission is ready to post, we will invite you to be an author in WordPress so you may more easily manage your post and comments.  If you are not comfortable with WordPress and prefer we post on your behalf with your bio linked, we can do that too.  We will be sure to stay in touch and let you know we’ve received your submission.  

Does my original material still belong to me?

Absolutely! For all original material posted in BitterSweet:

  • Copyright and ownership remain with the original writer, even if a member of the BitterSweet team sets up and publishes the post, and even though inquiries about the post may go to members of the BitterSweet team (they will be forwarded to you to respond to if you choose);
  • No restrictions on where else posts on this blog may be published, but there is an expectation that writers comply with the requirements of other publications and sites;
  • BitterSweet displays a copyright notice to remind visitors and readers to observe all the conventions and legalities. They may quote lines and short excerpts from a blog post as long as they cite the writer and source. They may not quote without attribution. They also may not excerpt substantial portions or an entire post without the permission of the writer;
  • BitterSweet may not give permission to anyone to copy posts or substantial portions of posts. Permission to copy may only be given by the author (you!);
  • The team will refer anyone requesting permission to copy or publish elsewhere to the original writer, and in so doing, will disclose whatever contact information the original writer provided.

Fair Use, Attribution and Copyright Guidelines for Writers Using Material from Third Parties.

By making content available in a post, you represent and warrant that:

  • The downloading, copying and use of the content will not infringe the proprietary rights, including but not limited to the copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret rights, of any third party;
  • If your employer has rights to intellectual property you create, you have either (i) received permission from your employer to post or make available the content, including but not limited to any software, or (ii) secured from your employer a waiver as to all rights in or to the content;
  • You have attributed quotations, cited resources and otherwise fully complied with any third-party licenses relating to the content, and have done all things necessary to successfully pass through to end users any required terms. 

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