Order Of the Good Death Pitch Guide

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, as well as ensuring that all people have access to a good death, and the resources needed to achieve it, so the articles we publish will reflect this. We do not feature pieces that have been published elsewhere.

– Email pitches to our editor and director, Sarah Chavez at submissions@orderofthegooddeath.com

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 and stories. Say you want to write about Native burial spaces in the U.S., or green 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 an original 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 prioritizing:

  1. What we’d like to see most are pitches for pieces that focus on the many ways death intersects with race, disability, gender, immigration, class, politics, and capitalism are what we want to see most.
  2. Stories that showcase individuals and organizations who are taking death positive action in their communities, and offering alternatives to the funeral industrial complex by applying the concepts of community care and mutual aid to the end of life. What are the ways people are working to make end of life and death care more equitable, affordable, and accessible? Like Mario’s Caskets, A Place To Dieor this collective of Black midwives working to stem the mortality rates of Black mothers and infants.
  3. Articles that challenge or examine gaps in death education, practices, or advocacy:
    • Gentrification and funeral homes.
    • Cultural appropriation and commodification in teaching and practice.
    • What barriers and obstacles are there in mortuary science programs for BIPOC students? How do these things manifest in a professional funeral service setting? With families?
  4. Practical Guides that answer important questions like, how do I talk to my therapist about death? How can we honor a life in the absence of a funeral? Or, how to talk about death positivity and suicide.
  5. Features on the many ways humans have been reckoning and interacting with mortality, death, and the afterlife, throughout history and today; through art, the corpse, terror management theory, religion, and culture (that includes pop culture!). We want fascinating pieces that challenge our beliefs and practices, and enrich our understanding. 

Some examples:

The Unbreakable Spirit of Black Gospels During Funerals

Exploring Grief In Animal Crossing

How Death Positive Women Kickstarted a Civil War  

Victorian Murder Collectibles and Our Enduring Fascination With True Crime

Diet culture is just another way of dealing with the fear of death

Personal Essays: 

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.
  • Mourning and memorialization of missing persons, or victims of violent death.
  • Preparing your children for the death of their parent or sibling.
  • Healthcare, death,  chronic illness and/or disability.
  • Neurodiversity and death, grief.
  • Disability and working in death care.
  • Are you a home funeral or green burial advocate and you want to offer these ideas and services to your community that may be skeptical or hesitant for cultural, historical, or religious reasons?

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. We do not accept paid or sponsored content.
  • 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 published articles about or have covered on the Ask A Mortician channel.
  • Completed drafts. We just don’t have the time to read through an entire piece, so please adhere to the 2-3 paragraphs mentioned above.

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’d 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 organization, so it is not nearly as much as we’d like, but we value you and your labor. Rates begin at $150+ and vary depending on length, reporting, field work, etc.

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.