Mother Earth Living Freelance Writer/Query Submission Guidelines
Mother Earth Living tests all of our potential article topics with a group of online readers called our Editorial Advisory Group. We welcome queries at all times on topics suitable for any time of year. As we receive queries, we file them for future testing with our Editorial Advisory Group. If a topic scores well with this group, we contact the writer who pitched it to work out further details before potentially assigning the article. We conduct surveys with our Editorial Advisory Group every three to six months, so please note that your pitch will be tested in the survey we conduct in the months following your submission.
Please direct all queries to editor @ motherearthliving.com. Provide a brief pitch of your article—a two- to three-sentence summary of the topic you wish to cover, the main points of the article, the approximate length and any formatting ideas you may have.
Contracts and Payments:
Once we determine we have interest in publishing your article, the assigning editor will contact you to discuss length, deadline and payment. When an agreement has been reached, you will receive a Mother Earth Living freelance contract by email detailing the assignment. Mother Earth Living buys non-exclusive first North American and reprint rights. Payment is upon publication. Please return the contract at your earliest convenience. After submission of the article, please submit an invoice to Susan Melgren at smelgren @ motherearthliving.com. This is our signal to pay you upon publication of your article.
Tone of Articles:
We strive to create a readable, positive, user-friendly magazine that will be entertaining and informative for readers interested in living a healthy, environmentally conscious lifestyle. The best way to understand Mother Earth Living’s content and tone is to read the magazine, especially previous examples of articles similar to the one you’re working on. Various sections of the magazine have different requirements. Articles in the four departments—Home, Health, Food and Garden—should be succint and shorter than features. Features are longer and frequently require vendor resources—information on where you can buy certain products.
Our readers are smart, educated and savvy consumers who strive to create a healthy home and lifestyle for their families in our busy, modern world. Article topics should be informative, well-written and detailed enough that the reader can understand the basics of the topic, know enough to get started, and learn where to turn for further information. While our readers are well-versed in the topics of sustainable and healthy lifestyles, they are often venturing into new topics for the first time or digging in to supplement basic knowledge, so your tone should address the smart, capable beginner.
We reserve the right to return an assigned manuscript that is deemed unacceptable for a rewrite at no additional cost to Mother Earth Living. This may include doing additional research, rewriting for clarity, or smoothing out problematic sections. If upon those changes, the manuscript is still deemed unacceptable, a “non-use fee”—25 percent of the initial fee—will be paid, and the article will not be used.
We also reserve the right to make any and all edits deemed necessary to make your article fit the style, tone and content of the magazine as a whole.
Resources, References and Sources:
The information in your article—whether long or short—needs to be attributed. If you are quoting an interview subject, this is as simple as providing the quote. However, if you’re writing about pesticides and health, water purity, chemicals in food or any other subject in which research is needed to verify health or scientific claims―you need to cite expert sources. These may include leading researchers, university studies, government agencies or other valid groups that distribute reliable information.
For most articles, we require a Resources sidebar that includes sources where readers can obtain products related to the article, as well as books and websites where they can learn more. For instance, an article about buying healthy honey may include three to five national retailers (with contact info), a website where readers can search for local honey in their area, and a couple of books about high-quality honey.
We expect you to turn in an article that is accurate, and we will fact-check it before publication. To expedite that process, you must include a list of sources and contacts for your piece. This information may not be published in the final article, but it must be supplied for fact-checking.
We expect writers to show journalistic initiative (i.e., to do some digging, sort out various perspectives on a topic). If we feel an article fails to fully cover the topic, we retain the right to return the article for additional information.
Quoting from books, studies and journals may be necessary for your article. Please note them in your text. The information may be edited out of the final version, but at least this way the source is right at our fingertips. If you’re quoting from Web information, please include the URL in parentheses right in the text. If you quote from a printed source that is not available to fact-check online, you should make a photocopy of the pertinent page and mail it to the editorial office.
If you’re quoting from a book: All we need is the title and author name.
If you’re citing an article: List the full name of the publication (no abbreviations), date published (either Month, Day, and Year, or Volume and Number), and page numbers (New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 45, no. 3; May/June 2002, p. 203-224.) Please note that scientific journals are acceptable sources, but consumer magazines generally aren’t.
Quoting authors and experts: Please list the person’s professional affiliation, place of business, and academic degrees. We will not list academic degrees in published articles, however.
Quotes and anecdotes from everyday individuals are often part of lifestyle profiles, and these add color and real-life experiences to the articles. We need to know each person’s name (spelled correctly, of course) and city of residence. When referring to them in your text, give the first and last name of homeowners at first mention, then use first name throughout article. For experts, use the last name throughout.
For the fact-checker to verify quotes and information cited in your article, you need to provide contact information for each person interviewed, including a phone number and an email if possible. This is critical, since we may need a new quote, clarification, or even approval if the quoted information is controversial.
Once we’ve settled on a due date for your article, we expect you to turn in the piece by the end of that assigned day. If you anticipate that you’ll be unable to meet a deadline, please contact your assigning editor as early as possible (preferably a week or so in advance) to reschedule. We’ll make every effort to be flexible provided you keep us posted on the progress of your work.
Jessica Kellner, Editor-in-Chief; jkellner @ motherearthliving.com
Allison Martin, Managing Editor and Home section editor; amartin @ motherearthliving.com
Tabitha Alterman, Food and Garden editor; talterman @ motherearthliving.com
Gina DeBacker, Health editor; gdebacker @ motherearthliving.com
Book submissions and administrative issues (invoices, contracts, copies of magazine) are handled by Susan Melgren, smelgren @ motherearthliving.com.
When in doubt about anything, please ask. Feel free to call or email your assigning editor with questions or for help. It is much more efficient for everyone if we are all on the same page going into the assignment than if you put in time and effort in the wrong direction. We generally adhere to AP writing style. For additional style questions, please contact your assigning editor. Many thanks,
Mother Earth Living editors