- Writers’ Guidelines
- Hunting/Fishing Writers’ Guidelines
- Photography/Artwork Guidelines
- Submitting Queries and Assigned Articles
Texas Parks & Wildlife, the Outdoor Magazine of Texas, is a monthly magazine published by Texas Parks and Wildlife. We are looking for strong, well-researched and eloquently written stories on all aspects of the Texas outdoors. Texas Parks & Wildlife covers state park destinations, conservation issues, trends, and such outdoor activities as fishing, hunting, camping, bicycling, canoeing and hiking. Keep in mind that we publish many features that don't necessarily fit into the categories listed below.
- This front-of-the-book department is a collection of short (100-700 words), lively articles covering news and trends in the outdoors across the state. We particularly welcome submissions from freelancers for this department.
- Skill Builder
- How do you tie fishing knots? Train your dog to avoid rattlesnakes? Pack a first-aid kit? These authoritative how-to lessons (700 words) brief readers on a variety of outdoor skills.
- Legend, Lore and Legacy
- As the title indicates, this award-winning department (1,000 words) encompasses a wide range of stories. We’ve run profiles of people who’ve left a legacy on the Texas outdoors (wildlife artist Orville Rice, duck hunting guide and conservationist Jimmy Reel); legends (tales of the Big Thicket), and lore (the horned lizard and other natural history pieces).
- State Parks
- These destination pieces (1,500-2,500 words) cover a Texas state park in a compelling way that would make readers consider visiting it. Stories have included “Glorious Goliad,” bass fishing at Possum Kingdom and hiking in Pedernales. Stories should convey a strong sense of place, weave in the natural history of the park and describe the primary activities. Include a sidebar on facilities, how to get there, and reservations phone number.
- Conservation stories
- Stories have included “Crabbers Sing the Blues: A Losing Season for Blue Crab” and a feature on the fate of the prairie dog. These pieces must be informed by good science and reflect a balanced approach. Include quotes from experts at TPWD, reliable research universities or elsewhere.
- We prefer that stories be written in an active rather than passive voice.
- Use present tense when possible.
- Use good quotes. Quotes from 2-3 experts, whether from inside or outside TPWD, add much to the reliability of a story. A pithy quote is also an excellent way to help paint a picture for the reader. Sidebars, subheads and other devices for breaking up copy are welcome.
- Be aware of the magazine’s audience.
- Hunting and fishing stories should emphasize the challenges, pleasures and rewards of the entire outdoor experience rather than simply the taking of game. Many of our readers are neither hunters nor anti-hunters, and we want to build as many bridges as we can with that group, showing them that hunters share many of their interests.
- Readers love to learn about a hunter or fisher who is passionately interested in
wildlife-viewing, wildflowers or other outdoor-related activities. Such experiences
can be included either in the main body of the story or in a sidebar, as appropriate.
If you enjoy watching neotropical migratory birds while spring turkey hunting, you could
do a sidebar on what species you saw and that can probably be seen in the area covered
in the story, and give birding tips. Other ideas for sidebars include:
- -- information about requirements for hunting or fishing on public lands
- -- the best places to hunt or fish for a particular species on public or private lands
- -- tips on the best hunting or fishing methods (unless that is the main thrust of the story)
- -- conservation programs or successes related to the species in the article (TPWD programs and others)
- -- threats to the continued survival of the species in the article and what is being done about them, especially if hunter/fisher groups or funds generated by hunters and fishers are helping fund the effort
- -- experiences related to introducing someone to the outdoors
- -- recipes for preparing wild game or fish
- Harvesting of Game.
- Since TPW magazine is a general-interest, family-oriented magazine, hunting and fishing stories, while dealing honestly and matter-of-factly with the fact that game is harvested, should take care to avoid emphasizing body count and killing. It is usually not necessary to give details on the methods used to harvest animals. It is sufficient to say that the animal was shot, or boated, or released or that the hunt ended with the successful taking of the game (or not). Naturally, articles dealing with specific hunting or fishing techniques will go into considerable detail of this type, but it should be done tastefully. If you provide photos, no pictures of mounted animals, please see photo guidelines.
- Use care in dealing with issues that affect conservation.
- Hunters and fishers are as concerned as anyone with caring for game and the habitat where it lives, and this needs to come through in articles in the way we show respect for game and the environment, not to mention the sensibilities of our readers. Avoid graphic descriptions of blood and gore while being honest about the fact that game is harvested. Show respect for the game in both text and photographs. Some examples of ways to handle this follow.
No: Among the five of us, we had 50 dead geese piled up on the ground.
Yes: Each of us took our limit of geese.
(The body count is not important, but the way you treat harvested game is.)
No: On the way to my blind, I killed a rattlesnake.
Yes: On the way to my blind, I was startled by a rattlesnake.
(You may indeed kill a rattlesnake while hunting, but we don’t want to hear about it, nor do we want to rile readers who object to such behavior.)
No: I cut a limb from a tree to probe for hidden obstacles in the water.
Yes: I used a stick to probe for hidden obstacles in the water.
(Harming vegetation is forbidden on most public land, and many private landowners don’t appreciate it, either.)
Digital images may be submitted in either TIFF (uncompressed) or RAW format. Include small JPEG’s for viewing, and separate all images into folders by article.
- Digital images should be supplied to us on CD or DVD and must be Macintosh OS X compatible. They should be accompanied by a printout of the thumbnails with file caption. Please include as much metadata information as you can with each file. This should include your contact information, and captions. You may also provide a link to your submission that can be viewed online. Please make sure the link is live for up to two months, and that images again include captions, or are organized by article. On a case-by-case basis, lower resolution images such as JPEGs can be sent by email for small-scale reproduction. The magazine will not return CD and DVD submissions.
- Transparencies in any format, 35mm and larger and high resolution digital images are accepted.
- Photographers may submit duplicate transparencies for consideration, provided that originals can be furnished on request. Each transparency must be labeled, stamped or marked with the photographer's name and address. A caption or description of each transparency or image must be included with every submission. All transparencies or images will be returned if this is not complete.
No color prints or negatives will be accepted.
We occasionally use previously published photos in departments such as the letters page. Payment for use of the photos will be one-half the original payment.
- Properly exposed transparencies are preferred.
- One-half stop overexposed is better than any underexposure. Do not underexpose for deeper color saturation.
- Make it your goal to submit images that are as good as or better than those you see in our magazine.
- Edit your photos carefully before submitting. More is not better. Submit no more than 80 images per story. Use separate slide file pages or electronic folders for each story submission so images can be reviewed by topic. Transparencies not used will be returned promptly.
- Photographs of a location such as a state park should evoke a sense of place.
- Photos should show an intelligent selection of subject and time of day. For hunting stories, no pictures of mounted animals, please.
- Artwork to be published will be on assignment to illustrate a specific story.
- Contact the magazine art director for size and medium limitations. Payment to be determined. We occasionally use previously published photos in departments such as the letters page. Payment for use of the photos will be one-half the original payment.
Payment photo schedule:
- Front cover: $500
- Wraparound and gatefold: $400
- Other covers: $250
- Inside color rate per individual picture
- More than a full page: $180
- Three-quarters to a full page: $165
- One-half to three-quarters of a page: $125
- Less than one-half to a quarter of a page: $80
- Less than a quarter of a page: $40
- Payment is upon publication.
- The magazine retains possession of
color separations for all photos and art published. No original separations leave the
magazine, but duplicates are available at cost. Occasionally, other publications
request the use of Texas Parks & Wildlife separations. No freelance material will be
released without the permission of the contributor, but it will be the responsibility
of the contributor to arrange for compensation from the requesting publication.
Texas Parks & Wildlife will exercise care in the handling of all material received, but the department will not be responsible for loss or damage. Color separator is responsible for the care of color photos and art while in his possession.
Editorial OfficesTexas Parks & Wildlife magazine
4200 Smith School Road, Bldg. D
Austin, TX 78744
Phone: (512) 389-8793
- Please submit query letters, including no more than two story ideas per letter, with three published clips to:
- Louie Bond, Editor
- All photos should be submitted to:
- Sonja Sommerfeld, Photo Director
- Please submit assigned articles by email as an attachment or pasted in as text. Be sure your name, address and phone number are on your manuscript.