Sierra Magazine: Market Spotlight

For this week's market spotlight, we look at Sierra Magazine, the bimonthly print and online environmental publication of the Sierra Club.
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Sierra Magazine is a national bimonthly print and online magazine for the grassroots environmental organization the Sierra Club. They publish journalism, art, photography, and video dedicated to protecting the natural world.

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(The Sun Magazine: Market Spotlight.)

The editors say, "Combining features on green living and outdoor adventure with reporting about threats to the environment, Sierra brings together leading journalists, photographers, and filmmakers to convey the ideals at the heart of the Sierra Club's mission."

Pays $1 per word for features of 2,000 to 4,000 words or $250-1,000 for department articles of 250 to 1,000 words. It should be noted that this is a highly competitive market.

What They're Looking For

There are two main places freelance writers can try to break in to Sierra. The first is through feature-length pieces, which are narrative nonfiction pieces "that relate significant environmental and conservation issues, adventure travel, natural sciences, self-propelled sports, and trends in green living through classic storytelling devices." They're more interested in national and international stories than local issues.

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The editors say, "We welcome adventure-travel pieces that weave personal experiences, scientific discoveries, and ecological insights into the narrative. We are more interested in showcasing environmental solutions than adding to the list of environmental problems. We are not interested in general essays about environmentalism or highly technical writing. We do not publish unsolicited cartoons, poetry, or fiction."

While most department pieces are written by staff editors or contributing writers, there are three sections of Sierra that are open to freelance submissions:

  • Enjoy. Positive and inspiring topics that will help readers add more value to their lives through lists, factoids, photos, how-tos, recipes, quotes, statistics, tips, or other quick-hit presentations.
  • Explore. Organized into "Trailhead," short vignette (750 words) about a meaningful experience in the outdoors; "Survive," illustrated retelling of outdoor adventures gone wrong; and "Gear," product reviews for adventure travelers and outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Protect. Focuses on issues of national or international concern, or regional issues that have national implications.

How to Submit

Potential writers can submit "well-researched, tightly focused queries" via email (in the body of the email, no attachments) to submissions.sierra@sierraclub.org.

Click here to learn more and submit.

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Freelance Writing

In this workshop, you will work with a published article writer to develop, research and write two articles suitable for publication in magazines you've identified as appropriate markets. You will get feedback from your instructor on your first and second draft of both your articles.

Click to continue.

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