Welcome to Kansai Scene! If you’re a writer with a thirst to tell stories about the wonderful region of Kansai, then we’d love to welcome you to the family.
Our freelancers write most stories in Kansai Scene, and are also the ones who come up with many of our best ideas. However, we receive lots of queries every week, and can only respond to those who give us the right information. So if you want to write for us, please follow our writers’ guidelines below. That’ll help us get your brilliant idea into print, and is the best way for you to start freelancing with us.
Six Essential Tips for Writers
Tip 1: Always send us a pitch for an actual story idea. Don’t just send an email that simply tells us you’re a freelance writer who is interested in contributing to the magazine. We need to know your experience and what topics you can write about. If you are a new writer, you must include this information in your first story pitch.
Tip 2: Read the magazine before you pitch. Get to know our regular sections (see below for a list). In your pitch, explain in which section of the magazine you think your story would best fit.
Tip 3: Highlight in your pitch why your story is worth publishing now. Is it based on a hot new trend? Did something related to it recently happen in the news? Or maybe it’s the season to tell readers about Osaka’s 10 Best Hanami Locations? Always keep in mind what stories would interest Kansai Scene readers. Which leads us to…
Tip 4: Time your pitch to fit in with our lead-time. If you want your article on Osaka’s 10 Best Hanami Locations to appear in the spring issue (March/April/May), don’t pitch the idea in the middle of February. For a story to appear in the magazine in spring, you will need to be pitching it by mid-December. Each publication has a different lead-time. For Kansai Scene, it is approximately eight weeks before printing (see below for a more detailed schedule).
Tip 5: For travel stories, only pitch domestic destinations.
Because people pick up Kansai Scene to learn more about Kansai’s main cities and surrounding regions, we rarely publish travel stories on far-flung places.
Tip 6: Image quality is JUST AS IMPORTANT as the story idea and quality of the writing. One of Kansai Scene’s biggest challenges is sourcing nice images that are suitable for print. Too often a contributor will turn in a great story, but their accompanying photographs let it down (The image size will be too small—less than 2MB, the light uneven, the subject will be slightly blurry, the composition uninteresting, etc.) If the images accompanying the story are not compelling, readers are very unlikely to go ahead and read the text. We do not expect writers to also be professional photographers, but we do expect them to put thought and planning into the photos they take of their subjects. Images must be at least 2MB in size to be fit for print (please do not send images that have been taken off Facebook, etc. as sites like these dramatically shrink image sizes before uploading them). We ask that photos be taken on a digital camera (not a smartphone), but some smartphones can be acceptable to use—please ask the editor during the commissioning phase if you would like to take your images on a smartphone.
Kansai Scene’s Schedule
- Distribution Date: The first day of the first month of each season (eg: March 1st for the spring issue)
- Printing Date: A week and a half before the end of the last month of a season (eg: February 18th)
- Copy Deadline: Outlined on commission forms (if you don’t receive a commission form from the editor, please ask for one)
- Commissioning Period: The first month of a season is the best time to pitch for the next season’s issue (eg: For the spring issue, December of the year before is the best time to pitch).
What are the regular sections?
- Travel Features: A one-page (450 words) or two-page (950 words) feature (plus photos) about travel ideas/recommendations/itineraries in an area of Japan in or out of Kansai
- Area Features: 950-word features (plus photos) on a particular area of Kansai – what to do there, why you should go, what it’s known for, etc.
- Made in Kansai: A look into the history and making of an iconic product that originated in Kansai or the story of an interesting person from or living in Kansai
- Business Talk: Interview (write-up in Q&A format) with somebody who has started a business in Kansai
Who should I pitch to?
Pitches should be submitted via e-mail to: [email protected]
What should my pitch contain?
- What is the story? A brief (max 200 words) synopsis where you sell your story to us.
- How will you tell it? Detail what sources you will use, who you will interview and how you will research the story.
- Why? Answer the “so what?” Why is this story important now? Why is this story right for Kansai Scene? How is this relevant to Kansai?
- Why are you the right person to tell this story? What are your credentials and experience? What’s your expertise and access to the subject matter? For new writers, PLEASE ALSO SEND THREE OF YOUR BEST MAGAZINE-STYLE WRITING CLIPS. Links to online stories are preferable, but PDFs are OK too.
What NOT To Do When Pitching
Don’t send us pitches that have nothing to do with living or traveling in Kansai. Your story idea must be relevant to our readers’ Kansai experience. On the subject of travel, we don’t accept stories on international destinations. We also don’t favor travel stories that are simply a recount of your holiday to a place that you liked i.e. “My recent trip to Hokkaido.” The primary aim of a travel story is to help readers learn about a place and then get the most out of their experience there. Finally, we are mostly interested in experienced writers who have written specifically for consumer magazines like ours.
How will I know if KS has accepted my pitch?
It may take us days or even weeks to get around to responding to your pitch. Although we’ll do our best to respond to your query in the timeliest manner possible, we encourage you to follow up your pitch after two weeks with an email if you haven’t heard back from us.
Sometimes your pitch isn’t exactly what we’re looking for, but we like your tone, your approach, and the way you think. If that happens, we’ll usually keep your pitch and clips on file and contact you if a story comes up that we think you might be interested in. You never know; you could hear from us a year after you pitched us for a totally different reason.
If you want the opportunity to sell your story to another publication after we’ve had a chance to review it, please indicate a time frame (ie. “If I don’t hear from you within 30 days, I’ll assume you’re not interested and will begin to pitch the story to other publications.”) We won’t take it personally.
If your pitch is accepted and we commission you for a story, we will send you an email containing a story brief and a deadline for you to submit by. Do not start writing until you have received this and agreed to the deadline. Stories that do not meet the brief will be sent back for rewriting.
Payment is made into the contributor’s bank account on the last working day of the season of publication. In most cases, we will cover travel expenses to a story, but please check with the editor about what can be covered to avoid any misunderstanding. Payment for KS stories is ¥20 per word, with features being somewhere between 450 and 950 words. We will pay based on the commissioned word count. We also ask that writers submit photos or illustrations with their articles where possible, for which there is no extra remuneration unless under special circumstances.
Feel free to contact us with questions: [email protected]