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Write For Us

Metro Parent Writers' Guidelines

Metro Parent Publishing Group is always looking for talented, experienced freelance writers to enhance our magazine, ancillary publications and website. Our general goal is to have a good mix of fun and substantive local stories of interest to local parents. If you think you can help us do that, then read on.

The following is a list of the many writing opportunities we have for freelancers. To fully understand the list, you'll need to be aware of Metro Parent publications and the sections and departments that make them up. Please pick up a copy of our magazine at one of our distribution points throughout southeast Michigan, or swing by our Ferndale office and ask for the latest issue.

Below you will also find information on story pitches, requirements, formatting and payment. Please read the information thoroughly. It should answer most, if not all, of your questions. Additional questions, queries and submissions should be sent to Metro Parent's executive editor, Julia Elliott, at jelliott@metroparent.com.

About our pubs

Metro Parent magazine (publishes monthly)

Verified circulation 70,000
Readership 225,000

Parent Pipeline pieces: 100-600 words. Short pieces on trends, local people, products, etc. of interest to parents/kids.

Department columns: 500-700 words. Currently include:

  • Along the Way (personal essays)
  • Little Ones (column on child development/behavior issue of babies/toddlers)
  • Big Kids (column on child development/behavior issue of school-age kids)
  • Teens & Tweens (column on tween/teen issues)
  • Little Lessons (how-to column for parents to teach their kids simple lessons, like tying their shoes, planting flowers, using chopsticks and more.)
  • Shop Around the Corner (profile of local business)
  • Let’s Go! (travel article on family fun destination)

Feature articles: 1,000-2,500 words.

Ancillary Publications/Special Sections

  • Pink + Blue (prenatal/infant/toddler magazine; publishes in August)
  • Special Needs (special section in Metro Parent Magazine for parents raising kids with special needs; publishes in April and October)
  • Going Places (guide to local family activities and attractions that publishes in April and October)
  • Party Pages (special section in Metro Parent Magazine with party themes and tips; publishes in January and June)
  • Big Book of Schools (publishes in May)
  • MetroParent.com (our online presence is an extension of our print publications, including articles from previous issues in addition to web extras and online-only articles)

Payment

  • Features 1,000-2,500 words: $150-$350, depending on complexity of topic and number of sources required to do the story justice
  • Department columns: $50-75
  • Parent Pipeline pieces: $35-50
  • Reprints: $35

Payment is upon publication. Checks are usually sent out within the first week of the month of publication.

If your submission is accepted or you have been assigned a story, you should submit an invoice (within an email is fine) that includes name, address, phone number, Social Security Number, name of story and payment amount. Please email invoice within a week of submitting story.

With the exception of reprints, we purchase First North American Serial Rights (FNASR). All of the work we purchase is published once in print and could be used on our website, MetroParent.com.

Story pitches

We welcome queries and submissions, especially from local freelancers. These pitches should be emailed to managing editor Julia Elliott at jelliott@metroparent.com. Here are a few factors to consider before sending your pitch.

  • Make it local. We're looking for stories and sources that reflect the communities we cover: Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Therefore, southeast Michigan ideas and sources are preferred.
  • Pitch early. Please be mindful that content for Metro Parent is determined months in advance. Therefore, story ideas should be pitched a good two to three months before the month it would run. This is particularly important for seasonally-anchored stories.
  • Simultaneous submissions are OK. Make sure they are marked as such, and please notify us if the submission has been accepted by another publication.
  • We may not respond. Because of the high volume of submissions and queries we receive, it is not always feasible to respond to each pitch. If you do not hear from us within a month of your submission, it is safe to assume that we have decided to pass.

Story requirements

In general, we expect freelancers to use good journalism and solid writing in their Metro Parent articles. Here are some specific requirements we ask of our freelancers:

  • Multiple sources. A minimum of two sources. A 1,000-word story should have no fewer than three sources; a 2,000-word story should have no fewer than four sources. Occasionally, some short Parent Pipeline pieces have just one source, but that is rare. Bottom line: Do thorough reporting.
  • Diverse sources. Metro Parent magazine has a broad circulation throughout southeast Michigan. We have distribution locations in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne and Livingston counties, so it's important to us that our sources reflect our readership. Freelancers don't have to hit every county we cover, but they should have sources from more than one. And the more counties covered, the better.
  • Sidebars. Any story 1,000 words or more should have at least one sidebar. Sometimes it's an info box referring readers to more information from a local organization. Sometimes it's a list of tips related to the story's subject. Readers like having information broken up for them and they enjoy multiple points of entry into a story, so we value freelancers who are mindful of that.
  • Style. We largely subscribe to Associated Press style. Freelancers should follow AP style when writing their stories for us. We will make any slight adjustments in the few areas we deviate from AP style, if it is necessary.

Story formatting

  • Your finished story should be single-spaced with a hard return at each new paragraph. Do not indent for new paragraphs. And include only one space after punctuation marks.
  • Include your byline plus preferred tagline (i.e., Fran Walker is a mother of two from St. Clair Shores.)
  • Font should be Times New Roman, 14-point.
  • Include a suggested headline and/or dek.
  • Subheads (i.e., within the body copy) are strongly encouraged for stories 1,000 words or more.
  • We prefer stories to be sent as a Microsoft Word attachment. For those who don't have Word, please send the story within the body of an email.
  • Include the name and phone number of sources at the end of story, in case we have follow-up questions.
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