Writer's Guidelines

Outside Bozeman is a seasonal publication that explores and celebrates the outdoor world of southwest Montana. Our magazine examines not only the dramatic beauty of the landscape and the innumerable recreational possibilities it affords, but also the issues surrounding its use and the wide range of lifestyles it engenders. It is both an interesting, entertaining journal and an informative where-to guide for fun and adventure in Bozeman's outdoors.

Our style is fun, engaging, literate, and playful. We like big words. We like irreverence. We make fun of everyone, including ourselves. We try to make our readers laugh – at others and themselves. Staid naval-gazing is only okay if it's really, really good.

Guidelines for our niche publications—Cast fishing guide, Stalk hunting guide, and Blue Light outdoor guide—are roughly the same, except for deadlines, content constraints, and wordcounts (niche pubs are digest-sized and articles are therefore shorter). Reference past issues and inquire for specific deviations.

Feature stories on outdoor activities & adventure, limited to southwest Montana and surrounding area (roughly Yellowstone River to Madison River, Bridger Range to Big Sky. Missouri River, Paradise Valley, West Yellowstone, and Yellowstone Park okay too). Personal narratives, area or event descriptions, environmental/conservation issues, wildlife exposés, humorous essays, historical anecdotes: all are fair game, but they MUST have an angle. Simple "book reports" about a topic are not for us. Query first if at all possible. We run 4-6 feature articles per issue. Length should be 800-2,000 words. Pays 15-25 cents/word, depending on quality, originality, amount of editing required, and writer tenure with Outside Bozeman. Try to include sidebars that directly or indirectly relate to the feature.

Profiles of eminent and/or interesting outdoor personalities are encouraged. Profiles must have a coherent angle – again, no book reports. Pays same as feature. Some ideas: Doug Chabot, Tom McGuane, Scott Creel, Parks Reece, Freida Johnson, Mary Ball.

Departments pay $25-$150, based on length. These are short pieces fitting into any of the following categories (this is a partial list; review the actual magazine for more departments):
Local Lore – area culture & history; 400-800 words
The New West – the changing Western lifestyle & landscape; 500-900 words
Flora & Fauna – edible plants, raptor ID, species highlight, etc.; 400-600 words
Outdoor Handbook – first aid, cooking, survival, astronomy, etc.; 400-800 words
Seasonal Activities – overview / informative description, with or without first-person anecdotal content, of a seasonal outdoor activity and/or locale; 600-800 words
Weekender – interesting road-trip options outside Bozeman proper: Big Timber, White Sulphur Springs, Dillon, etc.
Health & Fitness – training, injury prevention, medicine, etc.; 300-900 words
Pets – anything having to do with full-sized dogs – no yappers or cats; 300-700 words
Inside Bozeman – recipes, books, etc.; 300-600 words

We'll also run a Personal Essay if it's appropriate. Should be thoughtful and well-informed. The more contemplative, the better. Try to scratch beneath the surface, getting at why we do what we do out there. Pays same as feature. Humor is heartily encouraged. Cartoons, overheard quips, outdoor jokes, short yarns – just about anything that is outdoor-related and funny. Pays same as department.

Payment: We generally pay around 30 days after publication. Often sooner, occasionally later; but 30 days is the average timeframe.

Kill fees: Because Outside Bozeman is a free publication with limited resources, all articles are on spec, accepted query or not. Unfortunately, we cannot pay kill fees.

Web use: All published articles appear on outsidebozeman.com indefinitely.

Submission protocols:

  • If sending by email (preferred), attach article AND paste article into message body.
  • MS Word or rich-text format. NO WordPerfect, Pages, etc.
  • Article should be single-spaced, with ONE space between paragraphs.
  • Include a good title and subtitle if appropriate.
  • Try to obtain professional-quality photos to accompany your article, or provide a contact for our photo editor to follow up with.

Editorial calendar*:

Query/Spec Deadline: January 1
Assignment Deadline: February 1

Query/Spec Deadline: March 1
Assignment Deadline: April 1

Query/Spec Deadline: June 1
Assignment Deadline: July 1

Query/Spec Deadline: September 1
Assignment Deadline: October 1

*These dates are rough and may be adjusted a week or so either way.

Contributor tips:

  • Exclamation points do not get readers excited about sentences they would not otherwise get excited about.
  • Write tight. The fewer words, the better.
  • Don't take yourself too seriously.
  • Don't take us too seriously. We're busy people and can sometimes be curt. If we're on deadline, we might be downright grumpy.
  • Don't be offended if you don't hear from us. We try to get back to everyone, but things do slip through the cracks.
  • Don't call and email several times a month about your story's status; but at the same time, don't be afraid to check in. Most days, we're nice.
  • Do let us know if you plan to publish elsewhere anything you've submitted to us. Being a seasonal, we often run stories we received a year prior. We don't want to run the same story that recently appeared in another Montana publication.
  • Be original. Make us think, "Who is this freakin' person?"
  • Don't be narcissistic. Our readership is not your personal therapist, paid to listen to you ramble on about your insights and opinions. Unless you're writing a Pulitzer-caliber personal essay, limit the use of first-person pronouns, especially in the first two paragraphs. 
  • Outside of features, we like short articles. The shorter the article, the better the chances of it getting published.
  • Know who you're writing for. If you send us a story about quilting, bar-hopping, or bobbing your Pomeranian's ears, we'll never talk to you again.

Send all submissions to our managing editor.

Outside Bozeman
313 W. Mendenhall, Ste. 8
Bozeman, MT 59715