When shaping an article for us, consider first that it must be strongly rooted in our region. The lack of this foundation element is one of the biggest reasons for our rejecting material. If you send us a piece about peaches, even if it does an admirable job of relaying the history of peaches, their medicinal qualities, their nutritional magnificence and so on, we are likely to reject it if it doesn't include local farms as a reference point.
We want features to have entry points. As we use it, the term includes sidebars and extended captions designed to bring in a reader not enticed by the main subject. Using peaches again as an example, if we wanted 2,500 words, perhaps 1,800 words would be devoted to the main body, 300 words would cover U-Pick places; 250 words would cover the technicalities of peach processing and 150 words would be devoted to a recipe.
Traditionally we covered the Northwest Michigan counties of Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Crawford, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Manistee, Otsego, Cheboygan and Mackinac. We now regularly venture beyond our traditional turf, however, and run pieces based in the northeastern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.
General categories of interest include:
We are keenly interested in environmental and land-use issues but seldom use material dealing with such issues as health care, education, social services, criminal justice and local politics.
We encourage writers to submit essays about the region, but they must go beyond a listing of all the reasons you love Northern Michigan. If you'd like to submit an essay, read some of our past pieces (most run in the departments "Up in Michigan" and "Reflections on Home"). We receive many that have a historical or nostalgic theme, which we'd like to round out with some contemporary topics.
This is key. We need articles built with information. Many of the pieces we reject use writing style to fill in for information voids. That's not to say we don't appreciate style, but style and voice are strongest when used as vehicles for sound research.
Please use it.
It's best when writers contact us a year in advance for seasonal material, since this gives us the time we need to photograph the subject. This is particularly important for subjects that should run in the early months of a season and require outdoor photography. We put the June issue together in April, when our forests are denuded and gray and ice floes dot the lakes; December is done in October, when there's no snow. Long lead times are less important for seasonal pieces that don't rely on outdoor photography. These we can accept within 90 days of likely publication, but be forewarned: Our issues are planned out 13 months ahead. If we agree to a seasonal piece to run the following year, we will pay you on acceptance.
One-time right to publish in our magazines and right to publish on our web site.
Length: Articles work best for us at 1,500 to 3,000 words. Departments are limited to 700 words.
Send hard copy along with disk to:
Jeff Smith, Editor
Prism Publications / MyNorth Media
148 East Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49684