2020 Writers’ Guidelines for DeSoto Magazine

DeSoto Magazine, produced by DeSoto Media, is an upscale lifestyles publication focused on stories about life in Mississippi, Memphis and the Mid-South (primarily Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas). Published 12 times a year with a readership of more than 40,000, DeSoto Magazine celebrates the best of life in our region and is packed with original stories, essays, and photography. We create a diverse editorial content with regular features about people, cuisine, history, Southern culture, human interest, travel, gardening, health, and the arts.

DeSoto Media is always looking for fresh ideas and stories for publication. We work regularly with freelance contributors from the South, but we do consider new writers who have been carefully vetted. Our editorial calendar is developed in-house by our editorial team with assignments made to our local writers. We welcome pitches, but we do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Submission Process: Please email a complete story pitch outlining your idea, including a prospective source list, to paula@desotomag.com. Please indicate if you are simultaneously submitting an idea to other publications. We accept only unpublished, original stories.

Please review past copies of our magazine at https://issuu.com/desotomagazine to understand our style and content and to see what stories have already been covered.

Please send two-to-three clips of your published work and tell us about yourself. Let us know if you like to write about food, music, books, health, and other topics of interest. We may have an assignment for you related to one of those topics!

Our editorial content consists of both features and department pieces with the general length as follows: Features — 1,000 to 1,200 words; Departments – 750 to 850 words; and Essays (Reflections) —500 words. Please view the current issue to see our departments: www.desotomagazine.com.

DeSoto Magazine follows an editorial calendar and most of our stories will fit into these themes:
January – Culinary Arts
February – Health & Wellness/Heart Health
March – Green & Gardening
April – Destinations/Travel
May – Art & Architecture
June – Wedding Issue
July – Celebrating Summer
August – Southern Music
Sept. – All about Fall
Oct. – Outdoor Adventures
Nov. – Making a Difference/Charitable Giving
Dec. – Holiday Wishes & More

FEATURES AND DEPARTMENTS

In addition to three feature stories (1,000 – 1,200 words) per issue, DeSoto Magazine includes the following regular departments (750-850 words unless noted) each month.

LIVING WELL – The subject or topic of Living Well is health-related and usually includes tips for healthy living. It may or may not follow the editorial theme for the month, and it often is related to a health awareness month, such as Healthy Vision in May.

NOTABLES – Personality profiles on Southerners. Recent past stories have included community leaders, medical professionals doing breakthrough procedures, fashion designers, and occasionally a notable event.

EXPLORING ART – Spotlight on an artist (various genres) or an artistic tradition.

EXPLORING BOOKS – This department is not a book review, but a description of a new release (usually within past two years) that pertains to the South or is written by a Southern author. This department always includes an interview with the author, so if you pitch a book please make sure you can contact the author through his/her website or through the publishing company.

SOUTHERN ROOTS – This department is usually a gardening story that focuses on Southern gardening zones and native plants. It can also cover decorating ideas that evolve from Southern traditions.

TABLE TALK – Spotlight on a Southern restaurant and its chefs, owners and/or staff. It is not a food review but rather a look at what makes the restaurant unique.

EXPLORING DESTINATIONS – Always Southern destinations, preferably within driving distance of the Memphis Metropolitan Area. April’s travel issue often covers destinations beyond the Mid-South.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN – We take a destination and offer a sample itinerary with a sidebar on upcoming events or special places to visit. (600 Words maximum, $50)

HOMEGROWN – Products made in the Mid-South are featured in this department that should include an interview with the creator of the product.

SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN – These stories appeal to our male readers, including hunting, fishing, and hobbies. Also, this can be a profile of a Southern gent who is doing something interesting.

SOUTHERN HARMONY – Stories about musicians, songwriters, and music. We especially like to focus on up-and-coming performers in the South.

IN GOOD SPIRITS – We spotlight a cocktail, explain its origins and/or special attributes and include a photo and recipe. (500 words)

REFLECTIONS – A personal essay that pertains to the editorial theme or a holiday in that particular month. Word limit is always 500 words.

DeSoto Magazine Style Guide
We appreciate your work and strive to produce interesting and readable stories. Please follow these stated guidelines to ensure we create the highest quality articles and maintain the most efficient production process possible.

Format
Please submit a final article as a WORD document in an email attachment, and include this template at the top of your article:

Department:
Issue Date:
Suggested Title:
Your Final Word Count:
Writer/Byline:
Photography Credits:
MOST IMPORTANT! PLEASE LET US KNOW HERE ON THE TEMPLATE WHO SHOULD GET THE PHOTO CREDIT.

 

We follow the Associated Press Stylebook (www.apstylebook.com) with custom in-house formatting. Writers should have a good working knowledge of AP style and fact check each piece. We reserve the right to edit content and length, and we do request rewrites, if necessary.

 

In addition to AP style guidelines, we also have specific in-house styles rules. Please consider these style rules when writing:
1) Single space after period.

2) Articles should be single spaced and paragraphs indented, instead of block style formatting. No line space between paragraphs.

3) Please use the Oxford comma in a series.

4) Mid-South — Correct style for DeSoto Magazine. When referring to the South as a region, always capitalize. If giving directions, such as “Go south on Main Street,” then lower case.

5) Please use present tense for source quotes. “I like ice cream,” he says. (Current AP Style)

6) States should be abbreviated, but NOT postal abbreviations (MS, TN, AL). When the city is mentioned: Jackson, Miss., Memphis, Tenn. However, if no city is mentioned, then spell out as “The Alabama summers are hot.” See the AP Style Guide for a list of state abbreviations.

7) Periods and commas are always inside the quotation marks.

8) When referencing URLs, place at the end of the article, not in the body. Please be as simple as possible using “www.xxxx”. We simply reference the site, omitting “For more information…”

9) For recipes, please write out entire word for measurements. i.e. Tablespoon, tablespoons, teaspoons, pounds, ounces.

10) Articles should reference two sources and include direct quotes.

11) Sidebars are welcome. This is a great place to capture detailed info for readers, like addresses, URLs, websites, phones or lists.

We work two-to-three months in advance; for example, assignments for our October issue are made in mid-July and are due on Aug. 15. We like to get holiday pitches even further in advance for planning. Dates are subject to change.

 

EDITORIAL DEADLINES FOR 2020 ARE AS FOLLOWS:

January 2020 — Editorial due Nov. 15, 2019
February 2020 — Editorial due Dec. 15, 2019
March 2020 — Editorial due Jan. 15, 2020
April 2020 — Editorial due Feb. 14
May 2020 — Editorial due March 15
June 2020— Editorial due April 15
July 2020 — Editorial due May 15
August 2020 — Editorial due June 15
September 2020 – Editorial due July 15
October 2020 – Editorial due Aug. 15
November 2020 – Editorial due Sept. 15
December 2020 – Editorial due Oct. 15
January 2021 — Editorial due Nov. 15, 2020

 

 

PAYMENT
Current rates are $240, Features; $175, Departments; $100, Essays and In Good Spirits; $50, On the Road. Currently, we are unable to pay for photography. Payment is made during the month of publication. All invoices are to be sent to Paula Mitchell at paula@desotomag.com. We do reserve the right to hold a story until a later issue at which time payment is made.