Know Your Market
Westworld magazine is the largest-circulation publication in western Canada, with 550,000 subscribers in B.C., 515,000 in Alberta and 350,000 in Saskatchewan. The Westworld magazine network includes B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan editions, with four issues published annually in B.C. and Saskatchewan and five in Alberta.
Primarily a travel magazine, Westworld showcases local, regional and international travel stories – with the emphasis on "stories" – along with articles on travel trends, the technical and practical aspects of travel and travel-related issues (such as sustainable travel and conservation) and concepts (e.g., "Is There anything Left to Explore?" and "1491: The Year China Discovered the World" – before the Europeans). In addition, the Alberta and Saskatchewan editions feature non-travel articles on issues of particular importance in those provinces.
WW readers are smart, educated and travel savvy – busy people who expect a good read, inspiration, advice and information. As a result, WW's editors are always looking for new-to-us writers who have a fresh voice – writers who are curious and knowledgeable and have a unique story to tell or who can put an unexpected twist on the familiar. With each issue, WW strives to surprise and intrigue its audience, to leave readers with a sense of publicity and a greater awareness of – and connection to – the world around us.
Note: Before submitting queries or article on spec, writers are encouraged to read at least one year's back issues of the appropriate edition for WW's tone, style, focus and vision – and, just as relevant, for stories and destinations already featured. Queries need to be crafted for the specific editorial departments within the magazine.
No Promotional Gush
WW writers ruthlessly avoid travel-brochure gush, hyperbole ("It is a land of snow-capped mountains, glittering lakes and sapphire-blue skies, where bears roam and majestic eagles soar"), clichés and adjectival excess. WW aims to inform, enlighten and captivate – with facts and strong writing, not fluff.
Writers We Love
WW contributors tend to be full-time writing professionals who have won some of the magazine industry’s top writing awards. We also work with writers who have limited experience yet are excellent wordsmiths with obvious talent.We look for writers who are enthusiastic about the art of storytelling and who have a curious and distinctive voice, who have a fresh take and real insight on a subject and who understand the techniques of good storytelling and magazine feature writing: the compelling anecdote, colourful characters, lively quotes, telling details, flow, rhythm and structure. Note: We will read stories on spec sent to the WW executive editor or WW Saskatchewan editor by email with a cover note (see “How to Query”).
Story ApproachWW readers expect to experience a destination directly – through the words and actions of people the writer encounters as well as through the writer’s personal experience and narrative. Our preferred writing style is thoughtful, unique, often first-person (though third-person can lend a quiet authority to the right subject), usually present tense, sometimes humorous – and always reflects a passion for the subject.
Many WW articles work on several levels. For example, an article might be the adventure story of a man’s near-death experience while rafting the Nile. On another level, that same story works as a profile of one of the world’s top explorers. On another level, it is a window into a world few have seen, with facts and intriguing descriptions of a landscape, a people and a culture that are fascinating to read about. Such stories have depth, complexity and added interest.
ResearchWriters need to demonstrate a breadth and depth of knowledge about their subject that is authoritative – to ensure good writing, but also because WW readers often plan their own travels based on WW stories. Writers must bolster their logic, conclusions, narrative and first-hand experiences with interviews and thorough research. Precision is also important. For example, rather than “backdropped by mountains” write “backdropped by the Coast Mountains.” Don’t write “It was a big horse,” note how many hands it was exactly. As well, identify flora and fauna by name: e.g., “Fields of poppies and buttercups,” rather than “Fields of flowers.” Facts and specifics – not hyperbole – are a must.
We Do Not PublishPoetry; fiction; why-I-love (fill in the country/province/state); testimonials; accounts of family vacations.
WW works almost exclusively with freelance writers. Some story ideas are editor-generated, others are writer-generated; most are assigned a year to two years before publication. Writers must usually experience a particular destination in the season that the story will likely run.
Note that some columns are written exclusively by one columnist.
How to Query
- Before submitting anything, read several recent issues of WW magazine (the appropriate edition(s)). We will not review a query on a destination/subject that we have featured in the last two to three years, in any edition.
- No phone calls, please; we have a small staff. Instead, email the executive editor – or the Saskatchewan editor for WW Saskatchewan stories (see “Contact Us,” below) – with an original, well-composed, carefully thought out one-page proposal that demonstrates your writing style. If you are new to WW’s editors, please attach samples of recent, published magazine features and a short bio. Note: Please do not direct editors to websites for writing samples, rather, attach clips as attachments. Queries forwarded by regular mail – with clips attached – are also acceptable. Pitches aimed at specific sections of the magazine are recommended.
- A place is not a story idea. We need a compelling reason to assign an article: a specific, unique angle, news that makes the subject fresh, a writer’s enthusiasm for and familiarity with the topic.
- Queries should include a thorough outline of the proposed article. Show how your subject is timely and appropriate for WW magazine. Write a proposed lead, a short summary of the content – noting potential interviewees, research sources, highlights, anecdotal info, news hooks and special or unique-to-you insider leads into the subject – and a conclusion. If the query is for a column, identify which column it is intended for.
- Because of the volume of queries received, all writers who query WW receive a standard letter of acknowledgement within the first week of receipt of their query. The editors follow up on this letter – within two weeks – ONLY IF interested in the story. If no follow-up is received within two weeks of receipt of the query acknowledgement letter, writers are encouraged to find another market for their article.
- WW will sometimes buy second rights for an article that has been previously published.
- WW is not responsible for the return or loss of unsolicited manuscripts and photographs.
- Plan ahead. Every issue of a magazine is in production for at least three months prior to when it reaches readers. This means editors are already designing and putting the final touches on the content of the Christmas/winter issue in early September. Stories are generally assigned in season (i.e., ski stories are assigned the previous winter). In general, WW editors assign at least a year ahead of when a story will likely be published.
This is the only column in Westworld that is considered only on an on-spec basis. These 750-word columns are short stories with, for the most part, a definite plot line, some kind of tension, a definite climactic moment and a kicker of an ending. They are the kind of travel anecdotes any traveller can relate to, are often humorous or poignant, and should feature facts, social commentary and historic background about the destination in the telling. We generally use one photograph taken by the writer to accompany these columns. Please send complete 750- to 800-word manuscripts for consideration to the WW executive editor (see “Contact Us,” below). Please put “Postcard Query” in the subject line of the email. Note: This column currently appears in the WW BC and WWA editions. Please contact the assistant editor (See “Contact Us,” below) for samples.
WW’s writer fees are competitive within the professional magazine industry, with rates starting at 60 cents per word on publication of a fully satisfactory manuscript; some stories pay on acceptance at discretion of editor. Rates vary depending on the experience of the writer and difficulty of the assignment; some departments and features have set rates rather than per-word rates. Contributors receive a complimentary copy of the issue in which their work appears, and will receive additional payment for Web usage and any photos used (see Usage Rights, below). Specific payment details/exceptions are noted on each writer’s assignment letter/purchase order.
Usage Rights (Including Web)
WW buys First North American rights for the WW magazine network – all editions (WW may bank a story for one year or more). This includes electronic rights for Canada Wide Media Ltd. If a story is posted on the BCAA, AMA or CAA Saskatchewan websites, an additional fee of $50 is paid to the writer (fee includes any photos supplied by the writer). If second rights are sold, it is expected that three months will have passed before the article first appeared in WW. The writer cannot sell second rights to a story until it has run in all three editions of WW – unless the WW executive or WW Saskatchewan editor advise otherwise.
We rely on WW’s freelancers to provide carefully researched, accurate copy (please note that we have stopped using freelancers whose copy had significant inaccuracies). WW is unable to do extensive verification on stories submitted and writers are expected to be accurate on all counts: spelling of names, historical facts, highway numbers, directions, place names and caption details. Note: All writers are sent typeset galleys of the final edits of their stories. We ask that writers read these galleys for accuracy of all facts and information in case anything has been inadvertently changed during the editing process. (At the galley stage, wording/structure has already been approved by both editor and writer.) Some stories are also sent in layout format to writers for assistance with captions, etc.
Spelling and Style
WW uses the Canadian Oxford dictionary; the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style for style issues; CP Style for style issues related to uniquely western Canadian points not found in the first two reference books. Some in-house exceptions are noted in WW’s house style guide. We also use metric for the most part; imperial when it is an industry standard (e.g., boating). Individuals, after being introduced by their full name, are referred to subsequently by surname only.
Upon story assignment, the assigning editor discusses potential photography needs with the writer. Further discussions are then handled directly by Westworld art director Rick Thibert () and associate art director Gayleen Whiting (), with guidelines given (see “Supplying Images for Print” guidelines). Writers with professional, magazine-quality images are paid according to the magazine’s photography rate sheet (available from the art directors). Professional photographers are encouraged to discuss their portfolios directly with WW’s art directors.
Image Specifications for Photographers and Illustrators Supplied to Canada Wide Media
The preferred delivery file formats for image submissions are:
- JPEG High Quality (level 12)
- DNG Other Image Quality Parameters
For highest quality, capture images as RAW.
Because alterations that photographers may to TIF or JPEG images cannot be easily detected, the unalterable DNG format is gaining acceptance as a preferred image submission file format.
Note: It is not recommended that use use JPEG as a capture format. Use JPEG as a delivery format only if necessary.
Important: Adjust your cameral parameters so that the COLORSPACE (a.k.a. ColorMode or ColorMatrix) is set for ADOBE RGB, a wide gamut space when intended for print. The sRGB or CMYK colourspace is not acceptable for submission to magazines.
Digital images should not be colour corrected, resized, retouched, cropped or sharpened.
Image quality may also be accepted by the ISO rating. The ISO rating indicates the level of sensitivity of the camera to light. Higher ISO ratings are associated with noisier images. Use 100 ISO when possible or use a tripod.
Resolution affects the quality of the image. The resolution of a digital image is defined as the number of pixels it contains. an example of 2 megapixel image is 1734 pixels wide and 1156 pixels high and has a resolution of 2,004,504 pixels, rounded off to 2 million pixels or 2 MP.
Image size required for print
Double Page Spread 16 MP
300 dpi @ 100% size
266 dpi @ 100% size
Full Page 8 MP
300 dpi @ 100% size
266 dpi @ 100% size
Half Page 4 MP
300 dpi @ 100% size
266 dpi @ 100% size
Example image resolutions for digital cameras
2 MP = 1734 × 1156 7.5 MP = 3354 × 2236 3 MP = 2124 × 1416 8 MP = 3462 × 2308 4 MP = 2454 × 1636 12 MP = 4242 × 2828 6 MP = 3000 × 2000 16 MP = 4902 × 3268
Include your name and contact information as well as a brief description of the image.
Manuscripts are confidential between writer and editor, and must remain so until publication. Please decline any requests your subjects may make to preview your story. If they persist, gently refer them to the WW executive editor or WW Saskatchewan editor.
Publishing is a deadline-driven business. Writers who think their manuscript will come in late should contact the WW executive editor or WW Saskatchewan editor well in advance. As well, in the course of researching the story, if it is not going the way you thought it would, please discuss with the handling editor well before deadline. We may not want a story that is fundamentally different from the one agreed upon; or, we may agree that the research has uncovered an even better story.
Send story drafts electronically, via email, to the WW executive editor or WW Saskatchewan editor, as requested: Microsoft Word files only. Please use minimal formatting: no caps; no indents on new paragraphs (flush left and separate with one line); no coloured text; same font throughout; single-space only; no footnotes; no special margins or boxed material.
Fixes and structural and line editing are part of the editorial process. We reserve the right to edit and rewrite articles to comply with our style and the magazine’s writing standards. After a first edit, a manuscript will often be sent back with questions and suggestions before a copy edit is done. Author proofs are usually provided again after final edit, at galley stage. The title of an article and the explanatory “deck”(subhead) beneath it are as important in displaying the article as the layout and design. We welcome your suggestions, though this display copy is ultimately an editorial responsibility. The same is true for captions.
Are sometimes available. Please contact WW Kirsten Rodenhizer at .
- AMA members: Please phone 1-800-222-6400
Thank you for your interest in Westworld magazine. Your writing and unique way of looking at the world make the magazine possible – and worth reading.
Please address all proposals/queries, on-spec manuscripts and letters to Westworld Alberta, as well as international story queries for the Westworld network, reprint and website questions, to:
Westworld magazine network
Mailing address and phone/fax for all Westworld editors and art directors:
4th Floor, 4180 Lougheed Highway
Canada V5C 6A7