Rural Missouri Magazine

Submissions

Rural Missouri’s guidelines for freelance submissions

Rural Missouri magazine is the official monthly publication of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.

We strongly encourage you to study back issues of our publication to gain an idea of what we publish. Our content is available for review on our web site, www.ruralmissouri.coop.

Pieces we are primarily interested in are: Missouri history, unique personalities, interesting places to visit and stories which demonstrate quality of life in rural Missouri. We publish only stories with a Missouri tie. All stories should have strong human interest, as we are highly selective in the articles we choose to publish.

We also are interested in trend stories which cover a rural topic in a journalistic, well-balanced approach including interviews with key people involved. Topics for trend stories include rural health care, education, transportation, new technologies, environment, etc. Trend stories should be timely and of a statewide interest and rural nature. We also prefer that stories have a good shelf life, as they might be held for six months or more before publishing in some cases.

Writing
Rural Missouri does not publish poetry or fiction, nor do we have space for monthly columns from freelance writers. We also rarely purchase reminiscence stories or stories written in first person. Writing in a similar style (AP) and format as our staff greatly improves the likelihood of our interest in purchasing your story. Required length of a feature story is 1,100-1,200 words.

We look for articles which exhibit clear, concise writing. As a writer, we want you to paint a picture and draw us into that person’s life, their world, a historic moment in time or a specific place. Make us feel like we’ve known the story subject forever or that we’ve been to the place you describe. Attribution for all sources used along with a list of sources is required, particularly for history pieces or stories quoting statistics. Who says what facts you share are true? The readers (and our editors) want to know. Give us good, attributable quotes. Please keep in mind that when we buy a story, we expect you to be your own fact checker, but we do our due diligence as well. Stories lacking proper attribution or which are found to contain any level of plagiarism will not be purchased.

After an article is published is NOT the time we want to find out you misspelled a name, quoted a statistic incorrectly or changed the date of a war. Your reputation as a writer, as well as our reputation, is on the line. So please double-check your facts. Also — not everything on the internet is truth, nor should it be the primary source for a story. And remember, history pieces, no matter what the topic, should be colorful and have personality, too. (NOTE: If you’re unclear on these points, please ask for examples — we’ll be happy to send you story samples that meet our criteria.)

Photography
Rural Missouri is a photography-oriented publication. We are interested in stories which can be illustrated with strong photographs or artwork. Writers making inquiries should provide well-developed ideas for illustrating their stories, as in most cases a Rural Missouri staff member will shoot pictures to accompany a freelance story. Writers that provide their own photo support should be able to provide high-resolution (at least 300 dpi) images with attention to composition (snap shots and smartphone photos do not qualify as magazine-quality high resolution).

Editing
A story is rarely written in publishable form the first time out of the gate, so if a story inquiry has been accepted and submitted to Rural Missouri’s editors, expect to have some feedback regarding edits that will need to be made to the piece before the story is considered fully “accepted.” Rural Missouri’s editors reserve the right to edit stories which have been purchased for publication.

Fees are competitive but vary widely depending on the level of writing skill, ability to work with Rural Missouri’s editors on editing stories and availability of photo support, illustrations, artwork, etc. Payment is delivered upon full acceptance of the submitted piece.

Queries
We strongly suggest sending a well-written, detailed query letter before submitting a story. We may have already covered the topic, may currently be working on a story of the same nature, or the topic may not fit our publication.

In your contact cover letter or email, describe in as much detail as possible what the story is about, why it would interest our readers and what ideas you may have for illustrating the story. Also include brief information about yourself, particularly your writing experience. Samples of your previously published work (in a .doc or Adobe PDF form) or active links to samples are a required component of a successful query. All mailed story submissions or query letters should be accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope with appropriate postage. Stories submitted without a self-addressed stamped envelope with appropriate postage will not be returned.
Submissions are considered on speculation with no obligation to purchase. Please do not send original photographs or original artwork. Please allow one week for reply to email submissions and 6 to 8 weeks for reply on mailed submissions.

Address all query letters or freelance submissions to:
Zach Smith, field editor • Rural Missouri
PO Box 1645 • Jefferson City, MO 65102

E-mail submissions may be sent to:
zsmith@ruralmissouri.coop

Updated: December 2018

 

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Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives

Rural Missouri
2722 E. McCarty Street
P.O. Box 1645 • Jefferson City, Mo. 65102
573-659-3423

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