Writer Guidelines

Witches&Pagans Contributor's Guidelines

Witches&Pagans is a magazine for all people who share a deep love and commitment to the Earth and to the Pagan community. Witches&Pagans gladly accepts contributions of essays, factual articles, fiction, poetry, rituals, interviews, artwork, and photographs relevant to our subject matter and goals. (Separate guidelines are available upon request for poetry, reviews, interviews, and debate essays; and for those wishing to submit review copies. We also have a stylesheet for punctuation/usage.)

Please include your preferred contact information and a brief bio with all submissions. At minimum, we need your pen name and email address or phone number; preferably your check-cashing name, pen name if you use one, postal address, Website (if you have one), phone number, and a brief bio. Put it on the manuscript itself, not just the email message to which the file is attached. We cannot accept submissions without a way to reach you! See below for details about anonymity.

General Parameters: Witches&Pagans is dedicated to helping explore our spiritual, emotional, and practical lives in a way that respects all persons, creatures, and the Earth while offering immediate application to our everyday lives. Folks of all paths may send their work, but our focus falls on material expressing a Pagan spirituality. We refuse to accept material that demeans persons or practices; we do not publish personal attacks, gossip, or diatribes: Witches&Pagans is a tool, not a weapon. Check out a previous issue of our magazine or visit our Website to see what kind of material we like to buy.

All submissions must be the original work of the author/artist. If you collaborate with other folks, we need to hear from all parties concerned or else be assured that you have the legal authority to assign rights to the work. Witches&Pagans valiantly supports and defends the rights of creative people to control their own material; we do not condone plagiarism or copyright infringement of any kind and will take action in that regard if necessary. This also means that we require citations for factual submissions – if you quote someone, mention a specific theory or argument, etc. then you must give its origin. Please double-check your sources; when writing about historical examples, always refer back to ancestral traditions and original documents, not to modern literature or coven texts alone. See our stylesheet for examples of how to format footnotes and so forth.

We are aware that you have worked hard on your writing, it is personal and special to you, and contains your unique voice. Nonetheless, we usually find it necessary to edit for length, clarity, and grammar – sometimes at the last minute before publication. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that your article will appear precisely as you submitted it. If you do not want your material edited in any way, please do not submit your writing to us. (Also, please inform us of deliberate uses of non-traditional spelling so the tone of your work does not get accidentally altered.) We will do our best to make you and Witches&Pagans both look good in print.

Please send us the final draft of your manuscript. Once you have submitted a manuscript, do not send a revised version of it unless specifically requested by the editor. We may ask for a revised version of the original manuscript – but we may also just start editing it ourselves, and ask you for additional information that we can simply paste in, such as footnotes. Multiple versions of the same manuscript in our files can cause confusion over which one is supposed to be published.

If you have previously contacted Witches&Pagans about your piece, please reference that prior contact in the cover letter accompanying your manuscript! I deal with dozens of people every month and, as much as I'd like to, I just can't remember everyone off the top of my head. So remind me when and how you made contact before.

Witches&Pagans maintains contact with a number of regular contributors, but happily accepts freelance submissions. The easiest way to get your foot in the door is by writing letters to the editor, reviews, or short articles; you can work up from there, so don't feel that you have to begin with a huge feature piece. On the other hand, if you have a longer piece, go ahead and send it in; there is no prerequisite for writing for us. Don't be shy if you do not consider yourself a "professional" writer or artist. Witches&Pagans depends upon the contributions of our readers to make this magazine a reflection of the Pagan community as a whole.

Acceptance: When a manuscript meets our needs, I will notify the author of my interest. This means that I want to hold the item for possible publication; it doesn't guarantee publication because sometimes I have to make last-minute changes in an issue. I do not accept anything based on a proposal or sample alone; if I like the idea, I will ask to see a full manuscript and base my decision on that.

Compensation: Witches&Pagans is a community-supported resource, and as such, most of our articles are written by volunteers. We are proud to offer a free one-year subscription for all short fiction and non-fiction articles of 1000 words or more, as well as four (4) contributor's copies of the issue(s) in which your work appears. Should your work appear in multiple issues, you can gift the extra subscriptions to your friends!

Individual (especially commissioned) articles may be paid for in cash; please contact the editor to discuss your proposal. Major article writers and columnists are also offered generous advertising trade in exchange for their work. Payment for artwork, photography, and other visual works is negotiated individually. Reviewers will receive two (2) copies of the issue in which their review appears; it is also normal for us to provide a free copy of the material (book, CD, etc) of the material to be reviewed.

Rights: Witches&Pagans is a community resource; in order to present your article to the widest possible audience, we require non-exclusive print and digital rights of the edited, designed and published version for use in the printed and digital versions of the magazine in perpetuity and on the Witches&Pagans website in perpetuity unless withdrawn by the author. If you inform us you would like to withdraw a piece, we would promptly remove it from the site. (Obviously, we can't unpublish it from the magazine itself.)

You retain all other rights; since our rights are non-exclusive, you can use, publish, share, post or otherwise distribute the original, unedited article in any venue or form you like. We do request that you inform us of any prior use of your piece so we can properly credit other publishers. 

Format: Submit all written material in electronic format. Our first choice is Open Office writer file attachments emailed directly to editor2 (at) bbimedia.com, other acceptable file attachment formats include text files and commonly used word processing programs; you may also paste the text of your manuscript directly into an email message. Use a plain, legible font or typeface large enough to read easily.

Diversity: Witches&Pagans seeks to represent the whole fascinating spectrum of humanity as relevant to our subject matter. Therefore we want to publish material by members of all different ethnic traditions, racial heritage, sexes and sexual orientations, religions, ages, body shapes and sizes, levels of physical ability, lifestyles, degrees of experience, geographic locations, and so forth. We neither encourage nor discourage submissions based on the author's age. If you are under 18, you may submit your work for our consideration; however, if it is accepted for publication, you will need to have a parent or legal guardian co-sign the contract.

Topics: Leadership, organization, techniques, and infrastructure in the Pagan/Gaian community; ecology, gardening, herbalism; scientific mysticism, magic, shamanism, liturgy, and ritual; activism, social issues, and political concerns; personal development, prayer, and insight experiences; spiritual fiction (including science fiction and fantasy); scholarly research, history, anthropology, legends, folklore, mythology, God and Goddess lore; recipes; interpersonal relations, and sexuality; celebrations of Nature, love, birth, death and other transitions; humor; interviews/profiles of individuals, groups, or sacred sites.

In selecting an angle, consider some basic points. First, the above topics are general – you need something more specific before you start writing. Narrow down the broad subject area to a single incident or argument, or to a set of related ones. Second, say something new and interesting. If you have seen a given subtopic covered more than once in a Gaian/Pagan magazine within the last year or two, think twice before trotting it out yet again. Third, follow through on what you present – never just complain about some awful problem and then conclude your piece without suggesting a response or solution. Tell readers what they can go do about it. The same holds true for more positive articles where readers may want to learn more about your subject. Fourth, no advertorials! If you want to recommend a product, write a review, and not for your own product. (We need an objective opinion on your product, so please contact us if you'd like something you make or sell to be reviewed and if we are interested, we'll find a contributor to review it. Specific review copy submission guidelines are also available.)

There are some things we always love to see because we don't get enough of them: anything that includes an innovative and effective solution to a ecological/theological problem; humor, particularly if it pokes fun at religion or government in a lighthearted rather than snide way; and serious scholarship which is delightful instead of dry. We'd like to see more high-quality fiction and poetry too. Then there's a nebulous category of stuff that defies description but which immediately grabs our attention, particularly if it seems likely to have the same effect on people browsing the newsstands. See our separate article on Upcoming focus topics, under Submission Guide, to match your interests to a specific issue.

Columns: The regular columns are each written by a specific author. Occasionally a columnist retires and we have an opening for a new column. Most of our columnists began as feature writers. If you have been writing features for us and want to write a column, please submit a proposal complete with column title, proposed topic, length per installment, and outline of the first eight installments. (We typically sign new columnists for eight issues, after which we may choose to renew the contract.) Should we approve the proposal, you will be asked to submit the first four installments, and we will make our final decision based on that sample.

Names and Anonymity: We offer various levels of discretion for the comfort of our contributors.

  1. If being published under your real name would cause irrevocable harm to your life (real, not imagined, danger of custody or job loss, physical harm etc.) we recommend that you don't submit material to any paper publication, Pagan or mundane, on Pagan subjects. Please don't put your life in our hands. We call this the RED ALERT level of anonymity.
  2. If being published under your legal name would cause you major embarrassment, but no permanent harm, submit material only under your byline, and include a email address and phone number ONLY. This will force us to contact you via phone or email in order to get a copy of the magazine to you or to pay you for your work. We call this the YELLOW ALERT level of anonymity. Please put the words "YELLOW ALERT" after your pen name so that we know you have deliberately decided to leave out your legal name and snailmail address.
  3. If you'd rather be published under your Craft name, but it won't really get your dander up if we goof, put your legal name and your Craft name on your submissions, along with your email and snail mail addresses as well as your phone number. We will try very hard to always print your Craft name, but accidents happen. We call this the GREEN LIGHT level of anonymity.
  4. If you always publish under your legal name, we will prostrate ourselves in your general direction and kiss your feet but we know that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to afford this level of transparency in their lives. We look forward to a world in which no one would ever need a Craft name (though some may want to have one anyway). We call this the ANGELIC level of anonymity.

For those of you really concerned with anonymity, we recommend that you stick with publishing under Craft names with ezines that don't need to know who you are in order to acquire legal rights to material, pay authors, or deliver contributor copies using U.S. mail. Those are the things that require us to know your legal name, and once we have that information, even our best efforts can't guarantee that the information won't slip out of our hands.

Bio: We prefer to print an author bio and headshot with all feature-length material such as articles, essays, column installments, etc. (We usually do not print a bio with reviews, letters to the editor, poems, and other very short things.) Include your bio at the end of your manuscript when you first submit it. If you do not include a bio, we will have to pester you for one; and if it's not turned in by the time the issue goes into layout, you will have lost your chance. So please give us a bio!

What should your bio say? That's largely up to you. It can be serious or light-hearted, specific or general. Some good options include: where you live, your magical skills or interests, your spiritual path and how long you've practiced it, your profession, and your other publication credits in Pagan or related fields.

Thank you for taking the time to read our submission guidelines. If you've gotten this far, you have greatly enhanced your chances of publication in Witches&Pagans and you've made our editing job easier.

Our contact information:
BBI Media, P O Box 687, Forest Grove, OR 97116. 503-430-8817.

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