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Writers’ Guidelines

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 April issue, don’t pitch the idea in the middle of March. For a story to appear in the magazine in April, you will need to be pitching it by mid February. Each publication has a different lead-time. For Kansai Scene, it is approximately six weeks before printing (see below for a more detailed schedule).

Tip 5: For travel stories, only pitch domestic or close international destinations. Because people pick up Kansai Scene to learn more about Kansai’s main cities and surrounding region, we rarely publish travel stories on far-flung places like Europe etc. In addition to Kansai, our readers are also interested in expert advice on places around Japan, and close international destinations such as Asia, Micronesia, etc.

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 totally let it down. The image size will be too small (less than 1MB, 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 1MB 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 of every month (eg: April 1st)
  • Printing Date: One week before the end of the month (eg: March 25th)
  • Copy Deadline: In the second week of each month (eg: March 10th)
  • Commissioning Period: The 26th of one month until the 9th of the next is the best time to pitch (eg: For the April issue, the 26th of January until the 9th of February).

What Are The Regular Sections?

  • General News and Openings: Up-to-date events and Kansai-related news items
  • Business Matters: Interview (write-up in Q & A format) with somebody who has started a business in Kansai
  • Features: Stories between 450–950 words (plus photos)
  • Area Features: 900-word features (plus photos) on a particular area of Kansai – what to do there, why you should go, what it’s known for, etc.
  • Foodspotting: One page consisting of three 150-word reviews (plus three matching photos) on restaurants, bars, cafes, etc. in an area of Kansai
  • Made in Kansai: A look into the history and making of an iconic product that originated in Kansai
  • Travel: A one-page (450 words) or two-page (950 words) feature (plus photos), preferably on a domestic location

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 life in Kansai. Although our magazine covers a broad range of topics, your story idea must be relevant to our readers’ lives and must tap into a current vein be it food, politics, social issues, travel, etc. On the subject of travel, we don’t accept stories on international destinations that aren’t likely to be frequented by locals. We also don’t favour travel stories that are simply a recount of your holiday to a place that you liked i.e. “My recent trip to Europe.” 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 You’ve 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 ONE WEEK 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.

Commissioning Stage

If your pitch is accepted and we commission you for a story, we will send you an email containing a story brief and 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 Procedures

Payment is made into the contributor’s bank account on the last working day of the month of publication. Expenses such as phone calls, mileage, meals and trips are not reimbursed. KS does not/cannot pay normal professional rates; payment for stories is ¥10 per word, with features being 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.

Questions?

Feel free to contact us with questions: [email protected]

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