AMC outdoors Editorial Guidelines

Editorial Guidelines for Contributors

Features

In each issue of AMC Outdoors, two compelling features tell stories about people and places that stimulate readers' curiosity and engage their passion for the outdoors. Features typically are assigned to professional writers six months to a year in advance and are due four months before publication date.

We are always on the lookout for stories that showcase an outdoor activity in a new and exciting way, offer a tangible sense of place and meaning, or profile individuals with unique approaches to conservation in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. We are interested in stories that lend themselves to stunning imagery and that feature people of diverse backgrounds and ages sharing their connections to the outdoors and recreation.

Features range from 2,000 to 2,500 words.

Departments

Our editorial departments make up the front matter of AMC Outdoors. They are designed to be short, in-depth articles that provide readers with news and advice on a variety of outdoor recreation and conservation topics. While some departments are written by staff editors or regular contributors, the following are open to freelancers:

  • Currents is a timely roundup of outdoor news and issues relevant to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Whether reporting on energy efficiency, ethical down, or newly created trails, Currents offers hard news stories on topics our readers care about. The department is made up of three pieces: a lead story of 600 to 650 words, a shorter article of 300 words, and an infographic.

  • Learn How provides readers with useful, hands-on instruction for enhancing their experience in the outdoors. Articles take the form of how-to skill building; recent topics include how to sharpen crampons, how to fix a bike flat, and how to identify signs of frostbite. The department is made up of two pieces: a lead story of 600 to 650 words and a shorter article of 300 words.

  • Reflections, the newest edition to the magazine, was created as an entry point for new contributors to AMC Outdoors. Written in the first-person, this 600-word personal essay—often inspirational or community-building—shares insight into the writer's relationship with the outdoors.

Queries/Contacts

While we occasionally accept unsolicited manuscripts, we prefer to receive a query letter conveying the tone and scope of a proposed piece. When submitting ideas, it's important to keep in mind that AMC Outdoors is an association magazine; topics should be of interest to the organization's membership. We recommend looking over several issues, with an eye toward the subject matter and voice, before drafting your query. We work several months in advance of publication date, which means writers must be writing at least three months in advance of publication (longer for features). Please submit your queries with sufficient lead-time for reporting, writing, and editing.

Please allow two to four weeks for replies. All queries can be sent to amcpublications@outdoors.org with a subject line referencing the appropriate editor:

  • Features and Reflections: Jennifer Wehunt, editor in chief

  • Currents and Learn How: Marc Chalufour, senior editor

  • Voices and Field Notes: Ryan Smith, managing editor

Assignments and Payment

All assignments require a signed, written contract. AMC Outdoors retains all rights to the story in perpetuity. Contributors may be reimbursed for some expenses and receive complimentary copies of the issue. Payment is based upon the length and complexity of the assignment, as well as a writer's demonstrated expertise regarding the subject matter. We generally pay $750 for features and $150 to $350 for departments.

Photography

AMC Outdoors relies on regional photographers working throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic for our powerful images. We welcome photo submissions for review; see below for typical subject areas. We occasionally commission professional photo shoots for cover and feature images. For cover photos, we look for action-oriented, exceptional images set in jaw-dropping landscapes, usually featuring people interacting with the outdoors. Lead-time for photo selection is generally three months to a year before issue publication; we frequently assign seasonal shoots a year in advance.

Typical photography needs include:

  • Outdoor activities: hiking, camping, climbing, skiing, snowshoeing, cycling, paddling, etc. We’re most likely to use photos that feature people in the foreground, engaged in an activity and clearly having fun

  • AMC-related lodgings, events, and facilities, in all seasons

  • AMC members, volunteers, or staff at work on the trail, on the water, or at a facility

  • Landscapes, waterways, and wildlife of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, in all seasons

All photo submissions should be a minimum resolution of 300dpi and include a description of where the photo was taken. If you’d like us to review your work for possible future assignments, please send a link to an online gallery or portfolio. Please do not email files larger than 2MB. Photography fees are negotiated on an individual basis; the general range is $50 to $300.

We welcome complimentary or donated images for our library, to be used as needed in the publication and on the website. For all photography questions, please contact Marc Chalufour, senior editor, at amcpublications@outdoors.org.