Midwest Living Writer's Guidelines | Midwest Living

Midwest Living Writer's Guidelines

Interested in writing for Midwest Living? Please review these guidelines before sending us your submission.
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Who we are

Midwest Living is the definitive voice of the Midwest, a bi-monthly lifestyle magazine with a circulation of 925,000. Our articles focus on four main categories: travel, food, home and garden. The majority of our articles take a service approach, providing detailed information our readers, most of whom are female, can use on their next trip or project. Our article lengths are generally between 100 and 1,000 words. We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. We sometimes do stories in bordering states such as Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee. Our writing tone is conversational yet sophisticated. We include writer bylines on features, but most of our freelance opportunity lies in scouting and research.

Successful pitches

Most of our freelance work happens on assignment, so sending links to relevant, recent stories and a cover letter/e-mail explaining your qualifications as a potential writer for Midwest Living is usually the best approach. If you'd like to pitch a story idea, however, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Focus on our 12-state region.

  • Look for little-known story subjects or truly innovative angles on familiar topics. Our articles must go beyond what readers could learn from a destination's web site or brochure.

  • The concept should be of high interest to readers across our 12 states, not just to residents of the areas featured in the story.

  • Summarize your background research to show you have specific sources and locations in mind.

  • Sum up your idea in 2-3 well-crafted sentences. If you can't sell it that quickly, your idea isn't fully developed yet. We don't just want a general story subject idea; we want your plan for covering the subject.

  • Read several recent issues for a sense of Midwest Living's tone and content. Make sure your story could fit into that mix.

  • Explain the unique qualifications that make you the best person for this assignment.

  • We tend to develop new writers on by sending them on small scouting assignments in their immediate geographic vicinity. You are welcome to submit feature ideas, but please realize that your best opportunity comes from pitching a stand-alone item such as a cool shop or an off-the-beaten path restaurant.

What we're not interested in

  • personal essays

  • stories about your vacation

  • humor pieces

  • nostalgia/reminiscent pieces

  • celebrity profiles (with rare exceptions)

  • routine pieces on familiar destinations such as the Dells, the Black Hills or Navy Pier

  • completed manuscripts

  • previously published works

Lead time

Our annual issue planning occurs in the late summer and fall, but we are glad to accept story pitches throughout the year. Most of our articles are researched one year before publication date, especially if they are dependent upon seasonal factors such as snow, festivals or foliage.

How to submit an idea

You may email midwestliving@meredith.com  and ask that your idea be forwarded to the appropriate department (travel, home, food or garden). Be sure to include a link to other published material. Or, mail your idea with several clips to: Query Editor, Midwest Living, 1716 Locust St,. Des Moines, IA 50309. We are unable to return unsolicited materials; please do not send originals. Also please note that due to a high volume of emails, we are not able to respond to every unsolicited query. 


If we decide to use your query, we will contact you, negotiate the story details and rate and then send a written contract. We buy all rights and pay after accepting the completed article. (NOTE: Editors may request text revisions and request follow-up information after the article is accepted.) Our rates vary depending on the article, the writer and the amount of research involved.

Comments (4)

thebookhouse wrote:
I think you need to visit Cedar Rapids Iowa and see the amazing transformation after the flood of 2008
cordjul3869383 wrote:
You should consider a visit to Tattered Tiques in Lake Barrington Il. It is a charming little family run antiques and vintage shop located in the warehouse district. These ladies travel the Midwest on closed weekends in search of new treasures to offer. Located off the beaten path, they are hidden gem! Filled with tons of inspiration, and offering 2 different paint lines, and classes on how to use them, there is certainly something for everyone! Located close to the town of Barrington, there is plenty of shopping and restaurants nearby. Visit Facebook/Tatteredtiques, or tatteredtiques.com for more info.
jameysgirl wrote:
Our family moved from NE Ohio to Cedar Falls IA five years ago. They have a wonderful holiday celebration. Only gets bigger and better every year. Here's a link. http://www.cfholidayhoopla.com
wmac3319yahoo wrote:
Nauvoo, IL was originally the Mormon colony and has been rebuilt by the Mormons in Utah. Every fall, this year Sept. 2, they celebrate the grape festival highlighted by the "Wedding of the Wine and Cheese". They have their own vineyards producing a unique bouquet of wines. They also produce their own blue cheese which is outstanding. Nauvoo is located on the Mississippi River across from the half way point between Ft. Madison and Keokuk, IA.

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