General Writer's Guidelines
Thank you for inquiring about submitting articles to Smithsonian Magazine. We are no longer accepting submissions by email or postal mail. Please use the Web submission form to submit a written proposal of 250 to 300 words as a preliminary query. The proposal should convince us that we should cover the subject, offer descriptive information on how you, the writer, would treat the subject, and offer us an opportunity to judge your writing ability. Background information and writing credentials are helpful. The proposal text box on the Web submission form holds 10,000 characters (approximately 2,000 words), ample room for a cover letter and proposal.
All unsolicited proposals are sent to us on speculation, and you should receive a reply within three weeks to queries sent using the Web form. If you have supporting material or clips of your previously published work available on-line, please include the URLs (links) in the area provided on the web form. If we decide to commission an article, the writer receives full payment on acceptance of the manuscript. If the article is found unsuitable, one-third of the payment serves as a kill fee.
Smithsonian Magazine is buying first North American serial rights only. Our article length ranges from a 700-word humor column to a 4,000-word full-length feature. We consider focused subjects that fall within the general range of Smithsonian Institution interests, such as: cultural history, physical science, art and natural history. We are always looking for offbeat subjects and profiles. We do not consider fiction, poetry, political and news events, or previously published articles. We have a two-month lead time.
Illustrations are not the responsibility of authors, but it is helpful to know what photographic possibilities exist regarding your subject. Photographs published in the magazine are usually obtained through assignments, stock agencies or specialized sources.