Photographer and Writer Guidelines
- What types of articles does South Carolina Wildlife look for?
SCW considers all types of articles dealing with conservation of our wildlife and natural resources, outdoor activities (hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, etc.), natural and scenic areas, the state's heritage as related to the outdoors, natural history of particular game and nongame species, and subjects on a national level of interest to outdoor-oriented readers anywhere (such as famous outdoorsmen of the past who affected our outdoor lifestyle, or environmental issues). We also are looking for well-done outdoor articles with a humorous angle. We generally do not purchase nostalgic or first-person accounts unless they are exceptionally well crafted and would appeal to a cross section of our readership.
- What parameters should I stick to as I develop ideas or articles?
As you develop article ideas, keep in mind the following points. These are some of the basic things that SCW's editors will look for as they consider your query or manuscript.
- Length and structure: Can this article be introduced, fully developed and concluded in SCW's typical length of 500 to 2,000 words? SCW feature articles often begin with a first-person, take-you-there tale from the field, an anecdote that makes the reader feel as if she is present in the moment the writer is describing. Consider crafting your introduction using this enticing introductory device.
- Photo possibilities: Would this article pair well with beautiful, high-impact images of South Carolina's woods, waters, wildlife, people and places to create a complete and appealing feature package? Can I provide photo ideas or locations that would work well with this article to SCW's photographers?
- General appeal: Will this article appeal to SCW's general audience, which includes children, adults, retirees, hunters, anglers, environmentalists, participants in outdoor recreation and sports (campers, kayakers, hikers, bikers, etc.), bird and wildlife watchers and weekend- and day-trippers? Also consider whether the article shows South Carolina in a positive light—SCW is an ambassador for the Palmetto State and respected for its editorial integrity and accuracy, and the articles selected by SCW's editors reflect this role. Because of SCW's general audience, and because it calls the S.C. Department of Natural Resources home, SCW does not cover controversial topics.
- Freshness and timeliness: Because we plan very far in advance, SCW has few opportunities to cover cutting-edge topics. Despite this obstacle, we welcome timely article ideas, and the earlier you pitch them, the better. Whether or not an article idea is timely, SCW editors always look for pieces that offer a unique perspective on the outdoors, so craft queries with freshness in mind.
- How should I submit my query or manuscript?
Queries and manuscripts may be submitted electronically, via e-mail or in hard-copy form, via regular mail, to the addresses listed at the end of this FAQ. You may send queries or manuscripts to either the SCW editor or managing editor. If you submit materials via regularl mail and would like for them to be returned to you, enclose a self-addressed envelope and return postage.
If you are submitting a query, make sure to include the following details: the subject area, the particular points to be brought out and the timeliness of the article, when applicable. You are also encouraged to include a bit of background on yourself as a writer and one to three samples of your writing (published or unpublished). If you are submitting a manuscript, please include a description of the article's scope and subject matter, along with the first page or paragraph of the article (double-spaced, please). You may also submit the complete manuscript.
- When should I expect a response to my query or manuscript?
Planning for SCW is done on a six- to eight-week cycle, so it can take up to eight to ten weeks for editors to review your query or manuscript, determine whether it will fit the magazine's needs and get back to you with feedback. While every attempt is made to respond to queries in a reasonable time, the publisher is not responsible for unsolicited material.
- What should I do if I have a question about the magazine or about my query/manuscript?
You may contact SCW's editorial staff at the e-mail addresses or phone numbers listed at the end of this FAQ. The managing editor is typically the magazine's liaison with freelance writers.
- My idea has been accepted for publication! What next?
When SCW accepts an idea or manuscript, the managing editor will contact the writer to settle publication details. The managing editor will give the writer: guidance on the desired scope, tone and style of the article; a list of expert sources to interview for the article (if needed); a specific deadline, along with details on which issue the article is scheduled for; a word limit; a payment offer (typically about 20 cents per word); and any additional details that need to be agreed upon before confirming the assignment. SCW pays freelance writers upon acceptance of their work. Once the writer and managing editor have agreed on the details, the managing editor will send a confirmation note that will serve as a contract between the writer and the magazine.
Once details of an article have been confirmed, the writer is free to work on the article in his or her own way. The managing editor will check the article's status periodically and offer support as needed. Writers are encouraged to keep in contact with the managing editor as their articles progress, and to alert the editorial staff to photographic possibilities. It is extremely important to meet your deadline, as late articles can hold up magazine production or cause your article to be canceled. If you find you will be unable to meet your deadline, notify the managing editor as early as possible. Articles may be shifted to an issue other than the one they were planned for without prior notification to the writer.
- Once it's published how can SCW and I use my article?
SCW purchases first North American serial rights on articles with the understanding that similar material will not be submitted to any other magazine within six months following publication in SCW. Our purchase agreement allows for editorial alterations at the editor's discretion (to conform to style, space and policy guidelines), and excerpts may be used to promote SCW. With prior notification to the author, special reprints protected under SCW's copyright may be provided as educational material to the state's schools.
- Does SCW accept freelance photo submissions?
SCW does accept freelance photo submissions; however, because we have two full-time photographers on our staff, we rarely use free-lance photography. When we do purchase freelance photography, we usually seek photos that we have been unable to obtain because of time or location limitations, when they are necessary for illustrating an article.
- How should I submit my photographs to SCW for consideration?
Procedures for submitting photographs for use by the magazine vary depending on the intended use of the images, the photographers' expectation regarding payment and usage rights and the number of images being submitted. Please contact the magazine's editorial staff (contact information below) to inquire about guidelines for freelance photography submissions or reader-submitted snapshots.
- What should I do if I have a question about the magazine or about my photograph?
You may contact SCW's editorial staff at the e-mail addresses or phone numbers listed at the end of this FAQ. The editor is typically the magazine's liaison with freelance photographers.
- If SCW selects my photo for publication, what can I expect?
Minimum rates for photography vary depending on the photograph and the planned use for it. SCW pays freelance photographers upon acceptance of their work. We purchase one-time rights on photographs. If you have questions about formats for photo submission, contact the editor at the e-mail address listed at the end of this FAQ.
- What about staff positions with SCW?
SCW is a part of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, and our employment policies are in line with those of the agency and S.C. state government. For more on employment with S.C. state government, visit www.jobs.sc.gov/. SCW's small staff experiences little turn over, but when we do have a position open, it is advertised to the public on the state jobs page at the above link.