How to Pitch Texas Monthly
Who We Are
The national magazine of Texas!
What We’re Looking For
Every story we publish has a strong Texas focus and/or features Texans. We’re looking for well-reported stories of varying lengths, as well as visual stories, essays, and thoughtful commentary. We value great storytelling, humor, vivid characters, distinctive voices, and fresh perspectives. We’re particularly interested in stories from outside of Austin, where we’re based.
What We Pay
Our standard print rate is $1/word. Digital rates vary based on the scope of reporting, the writer’s experience, and turnaround time.
What to Include in Your Pitch
Pitches should include a description of the story, a broad plan for how you’ll go about reporting and writing it (whom you plan to talk to, where you may need to travel, and any early thoughts you have on the story’s structure), and a little bit about you.
Additionally, the best pitches we receive:
- Are stories, not topics. This means you’ve done some research and identified a specific angle. For example, this is a topic: “I want to write about travel in Big Bend,” and this might be a story: “In the last two years, a threefold increase in the number of tourists visiting the Big Bend region has led to a worrying spike in wilderness rescues.”
- Do not include drafts written on spec. Though we may accept these on very rare occasions, we strongly prefer to work with writers from the get-go to make each story a Texas Monthly story.
- Include a possible headline for the piece you’re pitching. It doesn’t have to be a witty masterpiece; use it to give us a sense of your thesis on the subject matter. Tip: One strategy for zeroing in on what’s grabby about a story is to draft a headline that starts with “how” or “why.”
- Include a description of how your story will be different, if Texas Monthly has covered the subject of your pitch before.
- Include up to five clips of your own work. If you’re pitching an essay, include an essay clip; if you’re pitching a long reported feature, include a long reported feature clip.
Because most Texas Monthly contributors are either based in Texas or have a strong connection to Texas, an explanation of your relationship to Texas is helpful. (If you have no relationship to Texas but you have a really, really good Texas-centric idea, pitch us anyway.)
Who to Pitch
If you’re still flummoxed about who to pitch after reading about our sections below, don’t panic: we’ll pass any errant pitches to the appropriate party. Our editors typically respond to pitches we’re interested in within one week, but if you decide to pitch your idea elsewhere during that time, just send a quick follow-up email letting us know.
Public relations representatives may send press releases and pitches to [email protected], noting the section you’re pitching in the subject line. The contacts below are for writers’ use; outreach from organizations to these addresses hinders editors’ ability to connect quickly with new voices.
Arts & Entertainment
Texas Monthly’s arts and entertainment section covers a lot of ground: music, film, television, online culture, books, visual and performing arts, and more. To that end, our stories unpack the breadth of Texas culture through a variety of formats: reported essays, features, photo essays, entertainment news analysis, cultural criticism, how-to guides, stylish profiles, and more. We rarely assign long features to writers we’ve never worked with before; start smaller, and we’ll work up from there.
Ahead of pitching, consider why you are the best person to write this story and what distinguishes your angle from anything else that’s out there. For a story to be a good fit for this section, it needs to have a strong, Texas-focused angle that illuminates something informative, intriguing, and/or surprising about the Lone Star State, the artists who work here, and/or the state’s cultural zeitgeist. Your story should have a timely peg, or a case for why now is the time to write about this person or subject, and be written in an insightful, clear way that resonates with residents and with national readers.
- Sharp cultural analysis and arts criticism
- Unique approaches to profiles
- Considered, well-reported features
- Compelling yarns about how cultural events come together
- Zany and timely guides
Pitch Rafe Bartholomew ([email protected]) with any story related to Texas sports with a distinct angle. From grassroots and niche athletics all the way up to the major college and professional teams in the state, we like to mix it up.
- Analysis and commentary about the issues surrounding major Texas college and professional team sports
- Profiles of Texan athletes competing in both high-profile and niche sports
- Reporting on salient moments in Texas sports history
- Topical reporting on Texas high school sports and its role in Texans’ lives
- Broader commentary on Texas sporting culture
News & Politics
Reporters in this section write with a deep familiarity with the state and the figures driving news stories. Texas politics writing has long been defined by strong voices and incisive humor, and we’re always searching for writers who can bring those qualities to sharp reporting and thoughtful analysis. Though we encourage pitches with salient pegs, and we often run quick-turnaround stories, we recommend that first-time Texas Monthly writers pitch stories with at least a few days’ lead time.
- Spotlights on Texans behind the news
- Deep analysis of trends and dynamics
- Strong scene-based reporting
- Smart, funny commentary on Texas politics and issues
The Being Texan section seeks to explore identity, culture, and the traditions that make the Lone Star State stand out. This section includes the Texanist, David Courtney’s long-running column, as well as stories about history, quirky subcultures, the Best Thing in Texas and Meanwhile in Texas series, and other assorted stories that delve into what it means to be a Texan.
Pitch Rose Cahalan ([email protected]) with:
- Surprising or overlooked stories and figures from Texas history
- First-person essays for the Texas Firsts series
- Ideas about quirky subcultures rooted in a sense of place, such as competitive accordion-playing, lawn-mower-racing, or mum-making
- Short, timely Best Thing in Texas (good news) ideas or Meanwhile in Texas (weird news) ideas
- Texas-centric riffs on national news
Travel & Outdoors
Texas Monthly’s Travel & Outdoors section helps readers explore the state with smart, well-researched service stories that offer advice on everything from the best hotels and vacation rentals to where to hike, bike, or visit a Japanese garden. We also report on outdoor news, from the spike in Texans visiting Colorado to the increase in vandalism in state and national parks. Features and essays are in the mix too.
- Small-town travel stories and trip guides for Texas towns and cities
- Travel essays that combine personal perspectives with service info
- Animal stories for our ever-popular Critters section
- Hunting and fishing stories
- Gardening ideas and service stories
- Timely natural history stories that educate and inform
- Thoughtful and substantive trend pieces
Style & Design
- Interviews with artisans and designers for our long-running Made in Texas series
- Photo-heavy tours of interesting living and work spaces in Texas
- Architecture stories
Food & Drink
Pitch Courtney Bond ([email protected]) and Kimya Kavehkar ([email protected]) with ideas about good eats and good drinks. Statewide trends and roundups are encouraged, as are ambitious reported projects and ideas with series potential. Hyper-local stories must have a compelling narrative that would appeal to a wider audience. We are also looking for food essays and remembrances. (Before pitching, keep in mind that taco editor José Ralat and barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn write most of Texas Monthly’s taco and barbecue stories.)
Texas Monthly is proud of our tradition of long-form storytelling, and we look for writers with distinctive voices and proven records of obsessive reporting. We jump at any story that: has a strong narrative arc; illuminates a grander theme beyond its core narrative; might interest our readers both in Texas and nationally; and has a clear “why now?” Again, we don’t typically assign long print feature stories to writers who don’t have significant feature-writing experience, so particularly if you haven’t worked with Texas Monthly before, we encourage you to start by pitching shorter, 2,500-words-or-less digital features.
Pitch J. K. Nickell ([email protected]) with:
- Moving narratives, wild yarns, and true crime
- Profiles of remarkable Texans. Rather than pitching profiles of megafamous celebrities, which we usually assign internally, pitch us under-the-radar legends, folks with unusual occupations, and zany outsiders
- Deep dives into Texas institutions, like Buc-ee’s
- Vivid, immersive subculture stories
- Reported essays
Photography & Illustration
Please pitch Claire Hogan ([email protected]).