Sound RIDER! writers guidelines

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Writer Query Guidlines

So, you want to write for Sound RIDER!? Before you read our writers' guidelines (and commit them to memory, of course), we'd like to offer these tips on how to get a freelance gig with us.

Always pitch an actual story idea. Sending an email that simply lets us know you're a freelance writer available to write doesn't really tell us a lot about you, such as what you're interested in writing and how you'd write it.

Actually read the magazine before you pitch. Get to know the regular columns and departments.

Pitch regional stories. Because people pick up Sound RIDER! to learn more about this area and the surrounding region, it's rare we publish stories on Mexico, Europe, etc. But our readers do love to take trips within the Northwest, so we're looking for interesting regional travel stories that haven't been widely covered elsewhere in the media. We cover the geographic area between B.C. to Northern California and as far east as Montana.

Know how to write newsy stories as well as the lighter stuff. The majority of our pitches are from travel and race writers, which is fine, but what we're really in need of are writers who want to write about juicy, newsy topics going on with motorcycling in the Northwest area. These stories would include changes in motorcycle law, new product lines coming out of the Northwest, new bikes that make sense for this area, and newsy bits on dealers and service providers.

A sense of humor doesn't hurt either. If Hunter S. Thompson were alive today we'd welcome his prose, but unfortunately (for everyone except him) he's dead. And since Ron Judd is on contract to the Seattle Times, then perhaps it's you who needs to pick up the torch and get the next laugh out of our readers.

Who's Writing And Illustrating The Magazine?

Approximately 50% of the stories each month come from local freelance writers. The remainder is written by the staff. We hire local writers only because they have the best understanding of the region and its vernacular. Nearly 50% of story art comes from our internal archive. Often the freelancers provide digital photos along with their stories.

Evergreen is Key

Because Sound RIDER! is an online magazine and we archive most of our features, it’s important that the material we run has an evergreen appeal for up to three years. Quick bits of news that have little relevance a month later usually wind up as paragraphs in our Newsbytes column and rotate out shortly after.

Query Procedures


Queries should be submitted in writing via e-mail or fax only and consist of three parts:

  • What is the story? A brief synopsis written in the style of your proposed piece.
  • How will you tell it? Detail what sources you will use and how you will research the story.
  • Why? Answer the "so what?" Why is this story important now? Why should you be the one to tell it? Why is this story right for Sound RIDER!?

What Should I Avoid In A Query?

Even though our magazine covers a broad range of topics, there are a few we're not interested in. Your recent club ride to Mt. Baker, your motorcycle buying experience whether good or bad, or why you don’t like Gold Wing riders have no place in Sound RIDER! We also don't accept queries on travel stories focusing on areas outside the Pacific Northwest or areas that aren't frequented by locals, i.e. "My recent ride to Detroit." Your story idea must be relevant to our readers' lives, perhaps enrich a riders own experience and must tap into a current vein be it street or off-road riding, events, racing, products, politics, etc.

How Will I Know If You've Accepted My Query?

Sometimes it takes us months to get around to reading queries. Because of our staff size and the volume of queries we receive, it is impossible for us to respond to every query. We will do our best to respond to your query in the timeliest manner possible. We prefer that you follow up with us via email. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.

Sometimes your pitch isn't exactly what we're looking for, but we might 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 you are to get an assignment from us, style and content, as well as deadline and payment, are negotiated when the assignment is made.

Payment Procedures

Freelance writers are paid on or about 30 days after publication. Expenses such as phone calls, mileage, meals and trips are generally not reimbursed. Sound RIDER! reserves exclusive one-time rights for a period of 60 days from publication. All editorial material and photographs are protected under US copyright law.

Please keep in mind that you're not going to be making lots of money writing for our publication. The average department length story (500-1000 words) pays about $75-$100  if you provide photos/images. It’s not a lot of money, but it puts gas in the tank for your next few rides.

We cannot be responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, slides, photographs or other material.

Where To Send Your Query:

See our about us page for our current mailing address

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