Contribute to Big Sky Journal

All of Big Sky Journal‘s features, columns, poetry, fiction and photography focus on the Northern Rockies landscape, culture, people, places and wildlife. BSJ strives to capture real life in the Northern Rockies, focusing on backcountry and backstreet haunts that provide an insider’s perspective to our readership. We strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with BSJ before sending a query.

We do not run stories featuring commercial guides or outfitters, instead we seek personal experiences from knowledgeable contributors in the field. BSJ is interested in introspective articles by knowledgeable writers and photographers who approach a story from an unique angle, whether it is from a first-person perspective of competing in a sled dog race or as an observer at an art show. Subjects have a human-interest angle and range from conservation to cowboy art, history to humanity and everything in between.

Writers' Guidelines

Queries and submissions are now accepted via email only. Big Sky Journal is no longer considering mailed submissions or queries. Please include the word “QUERY” and the magazine’s edition in the subject line. Please keep proposals to one page, succinctly detailing the angle and purpose of the story idea. With your query, please include information about images that would help illustrate the story. For example, is a photographer traveling with you? Do you have access to professional images? And/or is there an upcoming photo opportunity that could help illustrate the piece?

BSJ adheres to AP style. Payment is negotiable and due 30 days after publication. BSJ editors reserve the right to edit or rewrite any article to suit the magazine’s needs. Major alterations will be discussed with the author whenever possible.

Please note that we have a small staff and often receive an overload of submissions for editorial; allow three months response time to your queries.

Jessianne Castle, Editor

Photography Guidelines

Cover Images: An open interpretation of strong seasonal looks, wildlife or scenic panoramas of our region (Montana, Wyoming, Idaho). The July Arts cover is always an image of one of the featured artists. Photographic essays should be dynamic, evocative, original portrayals of life in the Northern Rockies. Photo calls are emailed two weeks prior to the next issue. Aside from the cover, these will be specific requests for images to illustrate the stories of that particular issue.

Photo/Image Submission: Digital, color transparencies, 35mm slides or reflective art is accepted. Please make sure all images are well identified.

Digital Art: Low resolution JPEG images may be sent for consideration. All CD’s/DVD’s must include contact sheets of the images. Final high-resolution image submissions must be fully edited Photoshop EPS, TIFF or JPEG’s. A minimum resolution of 300 d.p.i. is required. All images will be converted to CMYK. CMYK images are preferred as final files and should be large enough to scale up and retain resolution. Please do not email a file over 25 megabytes — send a CD or DVD via snail mail or contact us for FTP upload instructions.

Photographic Useage Rate: Big Sky Journal pays for the quantity and size of images used. Payments will be processed after the issue goes to press. Please contact Art Director, Geoff Hill, for current usage rates.


Geoff Hill, Art Director
Big Sky Journal
406.586.2712 office
406.579.3338 cell

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1069
Bozeman, MT 59771-1069

Street Address for FedEx and UPS:
1050 E. Main Street, Suite 3
Bozeman, MT 59715

Or, email:

Open Departments

Features: Feature-length stories (1,000-1,800 words) that pertain to the local characters, culture, people, environment, communities, and other general-interest categories throughout the Northern Rockies region, including Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. See examples of feature stories here.

Outside: First-person stories detailing adventures in the great outdoors, taking place in the Northern Rockies region, including Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, including tales of hiking, biking, fly fishing, hunting, etc. See examples of Outside columns here.

Excursion: A how-to column that covers a topic/location in the Northern Rockies region, including Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. Examples include Backpacking Yellowstone, Fishing High Country Lakes, Visiting the Best State Parks, etc. Each one includes an overall introduction followed by two sidebars. See examples of Excursion stories here.

History: Tales of local legends or historical events that have taken place in the Northern Rockies region, including Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. See examples of History columns here.

Local Knowledge: Local Knowledge is a column profiling people in the region with a timeless craft, skill, or tradition that they are preserving in a modern world, for example, boot making, saddle making, fly tying, heirloom gardening, building sheep wagons, blacksmithing, etc. It’s a West that most of us often miss in this high-tech age of modern conveniences. Length is 1,000-1,200 words, payment negotiable. See examples of Local Knowledge stories here.

Images of the West: This is a photo essay that’s accompanied by text and captions. These commonly have a general theme that ties the images together, and they are photo-heavy with about 400 words of copy to explain the topic. See examples of Images of the West stories here.

Essay: The hallmark of BSJ editorial is personal experiences of place. It’s a way for writers and readers to connect, relate and relive Big Sky Country. We accept short, creative nonfiction essays on living in the Northern Rockies with subject matter related to recreation, family, nature, Western culture, history, etc. Full manuscripts only. In the annual fly fishing issue, we sometimes publish “Fish Tales” a short essay section of six to eight nonfiction stories of 800 words or less related to fly-angling; tall tales are welcome.

Back 40/Poetry: On the back page, we feature poetry or short prose, subject matter should be appropriate to the Northern Rockies. The maximum length is 400 words. Payment is negotiable. See examples of Back 40 poems here.

Deadlines for Consideration
Issue Query
Fly Fishing October 1 February
Home December 1 April
Summer February 1 June
Arts April 1 August
Fall June 1 October
Winter August 1 November
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