So, you want to write for Asparagus. Great! We want that too.
Before we go any further, you should read the Asparagus Manifesto, if you haven’t already. I’ll wait here.
Now that you’ve read the Manifesto, you should have a sense of what Asparagus is about. But you may still be wondering: “what kinds of stories do you publish?” It might be easier to start with what we’re not looking for:
- Breaking news
- Hot takes
There are plenty of publications out there publishing all of those things, and Asparagus is not trying to compete with any of them. Let a hundred hot takes sizzle, on someone else’s site. Our goal at this time is to publish content that tends toward the evergreen. (Evergreen, get it? Sorry not sorry, I will never not love a pun.)
What We’re Looking For
So what are we interested in? Lots of things!
- Traditionally reported feature journalism, creative non-fiction, and personal essays/opinion pieces on environmental and social justice topics (including, but not limited to: food, farming, and feminism; anti-racist and anti-pipeline activism; trans issues and transit; wildlife refuges and refugees; social change and climate change… you get the idea.)
- Science. We love it. Hit us with your science, baby.
- Lifestyle tips rooted in science. Do you have a green-living strategy or product you’re dying to write about? Asparagus could be the right place to do that, as long as your lifehack is backed by solid research.
- Stories about individuals, businesses, and organizations working to make our world better (Caveat: if the biz/folk you want to write about are doing something unique or innovative, we’re interested, no matter where in the world they are. If it’s more a case of a local company following an established model of sustainable business — say, a farm-to-table restaurant — for now it needs to be on the West Coast of North America to be published in Asparagus.)
- Stories about individuals, local businesses, and groups on the West Coast taking initiative on sustainability
- Writing about the natural world and the threats it faces
- Humo(u)r — that’s right, Canadian and American spelling are both welcome here.
- Your awesome ideas that aren’t listed above
For online articles, we’re most interested in pieces in the 500–2,000-word range. There will be exceptions, but they will be few. Each print issue will include a handful of features that run into 3,000–5,000-word territory.
If you’re a writer from a group that’s underrepresented in the media, your voice is not only welcome at Asparagus, it is top priority.
We’re committed to featuring not only a wide diversity of stories, but as wide a range of writing voices as possible. The movement to build a just society on a healthy planet is not made up only of wealthy, white cis-het people like me (by any stretch!), and we’re not interested in creating a publication that makes it seem like it is. If you’re a writer (aspiring or established) from a group that’s underrepresented in the media, your voice is not only welcome at Asparagus, it is top priority. Please get in touch.
What We Pay
Important! Asparagus pays ALL writers. Equally important: it’s a startup. So the pay is not as high as we hope it will be some day. I negotiate rates with individual writers based on the amount and nature of reporting going into a specific piece. In our first year, we’ve averaged about 20 Canadian cents/word, but rates do vary. Please reach out even if you’re used to earning more, and we’ll figure out what’s possible. (If you’re concerned about the low end, we’ve never paid less than 15 cents/word.)
Our goal is to increase fees as soon as is financially possible. And in the meantime, we guarantee a supportive and collaborative editing process to ensure your published piece, and your writing experience, are the best they can be. We also pay promptly.
In addition to story pitches, at this stage we’re also interested in hearing from writers who are interested in writing for Asparagus, but don’t have a specific pitch in mind. If it feels like a good fit, we can develop story ideas together.
How to Pitch
- Email your pitch to asparagusmagazine [at] gmail [dot] com, and include the word “pitch” in the subject line.
- If you’re pitching a story, make your pitch 2–4 paragraphs long and as specific as you can. Please include:
•A thesis or topic sentence/lede
• Intended sources (both research sources and potential interview subjects)
• The news hook, if any
• Estimated word length
• The reason you think your piece is a good fit for Asparagus
• Whether or not you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (Our audience is not limited to Canada, and we’re absolutely interested in stories from other places. However, we also get funding from the Canadian government that requires us to prioritize Canadian creators. So, do send us your pitches, but understand that we can only publish so much from non-Canadians at this time.)
- If you’ve never written for Asparagus, whether you’re pitching a story or just looking to join the writing stable, please include three links to previously published work. If you’ve never been published, that’s ok, but please do send along at least one writing sample. If your writing isn’t available online, you can send it as an attachment, but please don’t send zip files or Dropbox links, we won’t open them.
- You can also submit full-length, previously unpublished articles, but please still include information in the body of the email like what is requested above for pitches, so we can get a sense of the piece before reading the whole thing.
More Info About Pitching
- We aim to respond to pitches within two weeks.
- At this time, the Asparagus audience is primarily on the West Coast, and located in both Canada and the US. This will inform our decision-making, so is worth keeping in mind when you pitch.
- For now, we’re not looking to re-publish previously published works (this includes pieces that are self-published on a blog or Medium). If that changes, we’ll let you know.
Thank you so much for your interest. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Jessie Johnston (publisher and editrix-in-chief) and the Asparagus team