Call for Pitches: Tough Cookie

If you give a mouse a cookie, chances are he’s going to ask for a glass of milk. And if you give a Cake Zine a cookie, we’ll make an entire magazine. After exploring the nexus of humility and puff pastry in Humble Pie, Cake Zine is closing out our year with Tough Cookie, publishing just in time for the holidays.

A term for someone who refuses to, ahem, crumble under pressure, “Tough Cookie” goes out to everyone with a strong will and a sweet tooth. Our editorial team welcomes stories of true grit and courageous spirit, no matter the outcome, as long as it somehow relates to cookies. Tell us about flunking out of Girl Scouts, the demise of the Tate’s Bake Shop unionization effort, finally winning the family cookie swap, or a life-changing message delivered via fortune cookie. “Cookie” is up for creative interpretations—browser cookies, animal crackers, and mass-produced brands all apply. 

We’re looking to feature a diverse array of cookies from cultures and cuisines around the world, from alfajores to Chips Ahoy! This is a “holiday issue,” so untraditional pitches related to seasonal traditions are welcome, but not required. If you go this route, prioritize the unexpected. 

We’re looking for advertisers. Email: 

Essential details

  • Pitches for Tough Cookie written pieces are due by 9 a.m. EST on July 25, 2023.
  • Visual Contributor submissions are due by 9 a.m. EST on July 31, 2023
  • All Tough Cookie stories will be assigned by early August.
  • We are a small print publication with very limited space. All of our pieces go through a rigorous editorial process with multiple rounds of revision over several weeks.  
  • Tough Cookie will be released in Dec 2023.

Types of writing we’re looking for

Cake Zine has published everything from critiques of phallic desserts across history, investigations into pie as a metaphor for rejection on Love Island, to condemnations of “deepcakes” in the age of “is it cake?” We've printed taxonomies, fables, interviews with directors and sex workers, and much more.

We welcome broad interpretations of “Tough Cookie.” Just be clear about how your pitch relates to the theme. Pitch us:

  • Historical deep dives that pair solid research/reporting with a critical eye
  • Cookies recipes accompanied by a short thematic intro
  • Flash fiction 
  • Poetry
  • Unexpected interviews
  • Personal essays
  • Lyric essays 
  • Cultural criticism (literature, film, art, and pop culture)
  • Profiles
  • Humor pieces
  • Underrepresented magazine storytelling formats such as comics, listicles, and historical taxonomies. If it doesn’t fit in another publication, we want to hear about it.

Types of visual contributions we’re looking for

If you would like to be commissioned to create an illustration to accompany an accepted pitch, please get in touch. Not an illustrator? Not to worry, we welcome all visual mediums (that we can print). If you have an existing body of work you think might pair well with the theme of this issue, we would love to see it. 


We pay creators. We’re a small, self-funded publication with flat rates based on length. All commissioned contributors will receive a copy of Tough Cookie. 

  • Shorter pieces (350 words or less), poems, and recipes: $125-$175 
  • Mid-length (500 to 1K words): $200
  • Longform (2K words - plus or minus): $300
  • Visual art: $200
  • Misc content: Based on conversations with editors.

    Instructions & What to Include

    Send pitch emails to with “WRITING PITCH — Last Name” or “VISUALS PITCH — Last Name” in the subject line.

    Pitches for Tough Cookie are due by 9 a.m. EST on July 25, 2023.

    • For all types of content, please tell us about yourself and provide a few links to relevant work that demonstrates your style, voice, and tone, whether in a major publication or personal blog. We are committed to publishing burgeoning voices and care more about your talent and ideas than your resume. We also prioritize work by and centering BIPOC, women, and queer people. 
    • Please include the entire pitch in the body of your email. If you are pitching multiple pieces please include them in the same email.

    For Non-fiction

    • Include a sample headline (to demonstrate the angle) and estimated word count.
    • Provide a few sentences about your story idea. It’s not enough to share a topic—what is your take on the topic? How does it advance, complicate, or expand what we know or how we think about the subject of your piece?
    • Feel like you have the silhouette of a piece, but don’t feel like you’ve fully nailed the crux of it yet? Feel free to include some reference links to articles/media/content that capture the approach you’re hoping to take and an explanation of how you’ll make it your own.
    • For reported pieces, provide a few sample sources. 

    For Recipes

    • Include a sample recipe title, a few sentences about the recipe and how it adheres to the Tough Cookie theme, plus a brief info about the major flavors/techniques. 

    For Fiction and Poetry

    • Fully written rough drafts are strongly preferred. We will also accept robustly outlined pitches if you provide other examples of your fiction or poetry work.
    • Maximum 2000 words. Shorter forms are welcome!

    For Illustration and Visual Storytelling

    • Please link to a website, instagram, etc. with work samples.
    • If you don't have work online to share, attach 3-6 images to your email. Either as individual image files (no bigger than 3 MB each) or a single pdf (no bigger than 15 MB).