Seattle Magazine's Writer Guidelines

So, you want to write for Seattle magazine? Many of our best ideas come from our freelancers, but we receive dozens of queries a day. Before you read our writers' guidelines (and commit them to memory, of course), we'd like to offer these tips on how to get a freelance gig with us.

  • Always pitch an actual story idea. Sending an email that simply lets us know you're a freelance writer available to write doesn't really tell us a lot about you, such as what you're interested in writing and how you'd write it.

  • Actually read the magazine before you pitch. Get to know the regular columns and departments. In your pitch, explain where in the magazine you think your story would best fit. Of course, everyone thinks their story should be on the cover, but there's a whole science that goes into what we select as cover stories, which brings us to...

  • Highlight the trend in your story pitch. Keep in mind that cover stories usually tend to be reader service-oriented: Best Restaurants, 10 Great Northwest Getaways, Top Docs, etc. but we also like them to be trend-driven.

  • If pitching a travel story, only pitch regional travel stories. Because people pick up Seattle magazine to learn more about this city and the surrounding region, we rarely publish travel stories on Mexico, Europe, etc. But our readers do love to take trips within the Northwest, so we're looking for interesting regional travel stories for the upscale traveler that haven't been widely covered elsewhere in the media. We cover the geographic area between B.C. to Portland to Spokane (or a bit further east) to the coast. Know how to write newsy stories as well as the lighter stuff. The majority of our pitches are from travel and food writers, which is fine, but what we're really in need of are writers who want to write about juicy, newsy topics going on in the Seattle area. These stories would most likely run in the Hot Button department or as a feature.

Who do I pitch my story to? 

All story pitches can be directed to editorial director, Rob Smith, at [email protected]. Please CC digital producer, Nat Rubio-Licht, at [email protected]

Query Procedures

We Do Not Accept Queries Over the Phone.

Queries should be submitted in writing via e-mail or fax only and consist of four parts:

  1. What is the story? A brief synopsis written in the style of your proposed piece.

  2. How will you tell it? Detail what sources you will use and how you will research the story.

  3. Why? Answer the "so what?" Why is this story important now? Why is this story right for Seattle magazine? How is this relevant to our city?

  4. Why are you the right person to tell this story? What are your credentials and experience? What's your expertise and access to the subject matter?


What Should I Avoid In A Query?

Don't send us queries that have nothing to do with life in Seattle. Even though our magazine covers a broad range of topics, there are a few we're not interested in. We're often perplexed why we get queries from people who don't live here but visited and want to write about their experience while they were here. We're not interested. We also don't accept queries on travel stories focusing on areas outside the Pacific Northwest or areas that aren't frequented by locals, i.e. "My recent trip to Europe." Finally, we do not accept poetry. Your story idea must be relevant to our readers' lives and must tap into a current vein be it food, shopping, politics, social issues, etc.

We are also mostly interested in experienced writers who have written specifically for consumer magazines like ours.

How Will I Know If You've Accepted My Query?

Sometimes it takes us months to get around to reading queries. Because of our staff size and the volume of queries we receive, it is impossible for us to respond to every query. We will do our best to respond to your query in the timeliest manner possible. We prefer that you follow up with us via email. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.

Sometimes your pitch isn't exactly what we're looking for, but we like your tone, your approach and the way you think. If that happens, we'll usually keep your pitch and clips on file and contact you if a story comes up that we think you might be interested in. You never know; you could hear from us a year after you pitched us for a totally different reason.

If you want the opportunity to sell your story to another publication after we've had a chance to review it, please indicate a time frame (ie. "If I don't hear from you within 30 days, I'll assume you're not interested and will begin to pitch the story to other publications.") We won't take it personally.

If you are to get an assignment from us, style and content, as well as deadline and payment, are negotiated when the assignment is made. The editor will then issue a contract to be signed by both writer and editor.

Payment Procedures

Freelance writers are paid on or about 120 days after publication, and sometimes later. Expenses such as phone calls, mileage, meals and trips are generally not reimbursed. Seattle magazine purchases exclusive one-time print reproduction rights for a period of 90 days from publication and all online/electronic distribution rights.

All editorial material is protected by copyright.

Tiger Oak Media retains the right to reprint editorial material for promotional use by a Tiger Oak publication, with credit given.

Please keep in mind that you're not going to be making lots of money writing for these publications. The average department length story (1200 words) pays about $350 and the average feature length story (1500-3500 words) pays from $400-$1,000, depending on the story. Some very short pieces (200-300 words) pay $50-$100. These rates are not guaranteed and vary widely. You will, however, receive the best looking local clip you'll ever get and have a ball working with our team.


  • Contact us with questions.

  • We cannot be responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, slides, photographs or other material.

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