How to Pitch The Order of the Good Death

So, you want to write for us? Great! Here’s a handy guide, to help you know more about what we’re looking for (and also what we aren’t looking for!).

There are two kinds of people in this world, folks that want to write for The Order, and ones that…don’t. If you fall into the latter category, no need to read further! Instead, go watch a fun makeup tutorial, or listen to a podcast!

For the rest of you, please read on.

So, you want to write for us? Great! Here’s a handy guide, to help you know more about what we’re looking for (and also what we aren’t looking for!).

Most of our advocacy centers on the ways we think about, remember, and interact with our dead, so the pieces we publish will reflect this. We do not feature pieces that have been published elsewhere.

– Email us at  

Be sure to include “pitch” in your subject line. If your pitch is about a current event or timely subject, you can also include “time sensitive” in your subject line and we’ll do our best to look it over ASAP.

– In 2-3 paragraphs let us know why your piece is a perfect fit for The Order, and give us some details. Don’t forget to tell us why you are the best person to write it, or what particular insight you’ll be able to lend to the subject.

– Include links to previously published works, preferably things that are similar to your pitch, (for example, don’t send us something from an academic journal if you’re pitching a personal essay, if possible). Please no attachments.

Some things to keep in mind:

Topics are fine, but what we’re really into are ideas. Say you want to write about Native burial spaces in the U.S., or maybe natural burial? That’s great, but we really love it when writers push the envelope further (see the linked examples). We want stories that challenge our basic ideas about a subject, and reveal something about our society, beliefs, ourselves and our relationship with death.

Be original! Obvious, right? If Swedish Death Cleaning is a hot topic, and everyone is covering the subject, chances are we won’t be interested unless you have a completely unique take. Research what is already out there on a subject and give us a completely different angle.

What we’re looking for:

Don’t get us wrong, we love a great concept for a piece, but these are the things we want to feature more of this year.

  1. Pieces on the many ways death intersects with race, disability, gender, immigration, class, politics, and sex.

2. How death denial and terror management theory manifest themselves in our beliefs, behavior, and impact us.

Some examples:

A Mortician Challenges Our Obsession With Looking Young 

Eating Toward Immortality

This May Be the Darkest Theory Yet About Why Donald Trump Keeps Winning

  1. Since 2018 is The Year of Action at The Order, we are looking for more stories that showcase individuals who are taking death positive action in their communities, like in this recent piece on repatriating the remains of Julia Pastrana, this piece on caring for a deteriorating cemetery,  or this collective of Black midwives working to stem the mortality rates of Black mothers and infants.

Profiles on established or noteworthy artists, innovators, and activists that are addressing issues around death, dying, and grief, that will not only resonate with our audience, but inspire them, too.

Did you use that new death awareness app for a month? Spent the night in a coffin at this LA Bed and Breakfast? Visit the Sandra Bland exhibit in Houston? We want to live (die?) vicariously through you – tell us about it! These pieces shouldn’t be reviews per se (although there can be elements of that included), but experience based pieces our readers can relate to – How did the event change your perception or habits, or reflect current events, our culture, or world around us?

4. We probably don’t have to mention it, but we will – we love obscure, strange, unknown history and folklore, (death-centric, of course), especially if you can put a personal spin on it! For example, maybe your grandfather owned a pair of Necropants (What?! Please email us IMMEDIATELY), or this piece from Order member Kelly Christian that weaves together history, a personal story, and current events.

What we don’t want:

– Pitches from businesses or people that sell a deathy related product, looking to write a piece about what product, book, or services they offer.

– Listicles. Lists are fun and super useful if you need to go shopping for your cat’s quinceañera, but not really what we’re looking for. (We are looking for invites to your cat’s quinceañera, though).

– Things we’ve already covered on our blog or on the Ask A Mortician channel.

– Completed drafts. We just don’t have the time to read though an entire piece, so please adhere to the 2-3 paragraphs mentioned above.

Additional tips and guidelines:

Personal Essays:

Not only do we already have someone on staff that regularly covers this, but there are already so many great places that feature personal essays on death and grief, that we are only looking for experiences that aren’t often included, or given a platform.

Some ideas:

  • Dealing with death, grief, and mourning of incarcerated persons.
  • Death and grief in families separated by immigration and/or deportation.
  • Preparing your children for the death of their parent or sibling.
  • Healthcare, death, and disability.

Reviews or Pop Culture Pieces:

We already run a pop culture/review series so we aren’t looking for pieces along these lines, unless you can deliver a piece like this, or this.

Word Count:

We don’t have a firm word count, but the sweet spot for our audience is 800 – 1,000. We’re flexible, let’s talk.

Most of the pieces we publish at The Order have been commissioned by us, and we frequently invite or approach writers we love to address a specific topic. If you think someone would be a perfect fit for us, drop us a line!

Yes, we do pay! We are a small nonprofit, so it is not nearly as much as we’d like, but we value you and your labor and can offer something to our contributors.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We will try to follow up with you within two weeks if we are interested. We’re a very small operation, so unfortunately we just don’t have the manpower to respond to, or provide feedback to everyone, but are so grateful for your time and that you thought to share your work with us.