Submission Guidelines for Freelance Writers

Sending Queries

First, we prefer receiving queries via email but realize some areas of Alaska do not have great or any Internet. If you send queries via email, please state “alaska query” in the subject line and send it to Via traditional mail, send queries to Susan Sommer, 301 Arctic Slope Ave., Ste. 100, Anchorage, AK 99518

Second, queries that include a complete manuscript will receive a quicker reply. Also, please make mention of any photographic support you have.

Now… Thank you for your interest in Alaska magazine, a publication designed for Alaska enthusiasts.

Alaska magazine has, for more than 75 years, served as the most respected, best known authority on all things Alaska, giving its readers the finest Alaska-oriented writing, photography and destination information.

Whether you’re an established writer or photographer, or just getting started, and have a photo or story idea that will show Alaska to our readers in a fresh and exciting way, we want to hear from you

General Guidelines:

First and foremost, Alaska magazine is a publication about experiencing Alaska, for those who love and dream about Alaska, by authentic Alaska experts.

A story must have two attributes before it will be considered for publication. First, its focus must be on Alaska. Equally important, the story must be an example of superlative writing, preferably with a well-developed narrative at its core.

Whether it’s a history piece on Aleut baskets or an adventure tale about hiking in the Brooks Range, it should always have an “Only in Alaska” aspect. A story on a mall in Alaska, for example, won’t work for us; every state has malls. If you have a story about a Juneau mall run by someone who’s also a Bush pilot and part-time trapper, maybe we’d be interested. If you have a story about a village store in Chevak where everyone from the surrounding Bush meets to swap gear and tall tales—let’s talk. The point is, Alaska stories have to be vivid, focused and fresh. Alaska is like nowhere else—we need our stories to be the same way.

Please keep the bigger picture in mind when planning your stories. We expect breathtaking photos with every story; we will run stories submitted without photos but preference will be given to contributors who provide both a compelling story and dynamic images. When shooting, please create high-resolution shots that stress mood and action rather than clichéd big, broad scenic. We look for about five photographs to be submitted for every 100 words submitted. We also expect contributors to submit ideas about sidebars, reference maps, diagrams—any appropriate supporting information that will make your story a whole offering for our readers. Gather sources for video, links, maps and other options we can use to supplement your story online, to give additional dimensions and interactivity to your story and transform it into an appealing option to present on our tablet edition and website.

FEATURES: Our main feature stories range between 700-2,000 words long. We are looking for inspirational, practical and topical coverage for our 10 annual issues, which will cover cruising, winter/Iditarod, fishing, summer, adventure, wild Alaska, heritage, Alaska Native culture and vacation planning. For example, an inspirational piece related to cruising should include something related to Southeast Alaska that you will not find in the travel brochures, that will surprise, that will inspire readers to take a cruise. A practical piece on wild Alaska might inform readers on how they can immerse themselves in the flora and fauna of our state. A topical piece on our history might look at the impact of the earthquake and what we have done since then. First-person accounts will be considered.

Queries for features should include details on photography and sidebar content (we like to call them reader takeaways) you can provide to enrich the story.

ESCAPE: Formerly our Travel section, the Escape section is intended to give readers a reason to get out and explore the Last Frontier. Departments in this section will range between 800-1,200 words. First-person accounts will be considered for our My Alaska Adventure department; they must truly be an adventure to be worthy of the magazine. The departments in this section of the magazine are not about how to travel in or to Alaska; they are about why to get up and go. Include “takeaway” information that can help readers get to the place and learn more about its activities, history and culture.

OUTDOORS: The Outdoors section of department articles draws from a variety of Alaska outdoors subjects, including fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, birding, adventure sports and extreme activities and experiencing Alaska’s natural wonders. Departments in this section will range between 800-1,200 words. The writing style should be active and anecdotal. Include “takeaway” information that can help readers experience Alaska’s outdoors themselves.

One Alaska Sportsman story in this section each month is focused on a particular traditional fishing or hunting pursuit. The goal is to tell our readers about a unique quarry and destination they can enjoy in Alaska at a specific time of year. It might be spring black bears in southeast Alaska or rainbow trout in Illiamna. This should include how-to, where-to and when-to details as a sidebar.

ALASKA HISTORY: This has long been an Alaska hallmark, and in 2014 the state is celebrating many anniversaries. Too often, however, writers suggest stories that have already run: homesteading, the Gold Rush, the Aleutian campaign of World War II. There are plenty of untapped veins out there. Find them. Word count should be 800-1,000 words.

ALASKA NATIVE CULTURE: Tell us about one of the many ways Alaska Native culture infuses life in Alaska with richness, beauty and ingenuity. Word count should be 800-1,000 words.

END OF THE TRAIL: We welcome your submissions to honor your Alaska pioneer in the pages of our magazine. End of Trail submissions are not compensated, should be about 100-300 words and include an image. We may contact you for additional information.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Alaska magazine is dedicated to depicting life in Alaska through high-quality images of its people, places and wildlife. Color photographs from professional [and semi-professional] freelance photographers are used extensively, and selected according to their creative and technical merits. Photographic submissions must be high-resolution digital images that are sharp and properly exposed.

Low-resolution images can be sent for first-round consideration, but they must be copies of high-resolution raw images. Slides, transparencies and prints will not be accepted. Also, no digital composites. Historical black-and-white prints for which negatives are not available can be submitted in any size.

All photo submissions will be carefully packaged before being returned. Alaska magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited photographs.

Other Important Notes: We only want to use original, previously unpublished articles and photos; please let us know if you have submitted the idea or article for consideration to any other publication, or if you plan to do so.

We pay on publication and reserve the rights to use editorial content on our website and for other purposes without additional compensation. (More details are outlined in our contracts). Plan on revising and rewriting sections of the story before final acceptance. Our pay rate is between $200 and $700, based on the word count of the published version, with additional pay for use of any photos by the author. A total maximum payment of up to $1,500 goes to writers/photographers who submit both for publication and are accepted.

Queries should be submitted via e-mail (in .doc format as an attachment or in the body of an email) to the editor at

Again, thank you for your interest. We look forward to seeing your submission.

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