Russian Life magazine (RL) is published bimonthly, in January, March, May, July, September, and November. If you expect them to give your submission careful consideration, then it must reflect an understanding of the magazine. Please read their publication thoroughly so you have a good grasp of thier style,content and expectations (not doing this is the surest way to have your submission rejected; it is quite easy to tell who understands our style and mission, and who does not).
Most RL features are written by experienced and talented freelance journalists and writers. RL covers Russian culture, travel, history, cities, towns, politics, art, geography, issues, business and society. RL often focuses on current issues and events facing Russia and Russians. But it is not a newsmagazine. The majority of RL content is feature articles, many of which are tied into a round (5/10/25-year multiple) anniversary or other seasonal "hook."
RL's writing style is terse and readable. The model is third-person American magazine journalism style (and spelling) on the lines of the AP stylebook. We seek to provide coverage of Russia that is free of illusions (but not blemishes) and full of hope (but not ideology or agendas). Our job is to present a realistic, truthful and independent view that balances these realities, providing enjoyable, insightful reading. It is also helpful to remember that RL is a very visual magazine; few stories do not include photographs of professional caliber.
Freelancers should also familiarize themselves with their transcription and dating guidelines.
Issue-focused articles rely on heavy reporting and excellent sourcing. Historical articles must use a well-balanced choice of sources and, where applicable, publications. Travel articles must draw on rich quotes and real events that provide local flavor, and not simply first person narrative. Writers must be willing to prove and demonstrate their sources and reporting at the request of the Editors.
All manuscripts are thoroughly edited for style, consistency, and clarity. The final title of the published article, subheads, captions, photographs and illustrations, are the Editor's prerogative.
What They Don't Want
poetry or fiction (we only publish established Russian authors, and that only rarely)
stories about how Russia (or Russians) changed your life
editorials or personal viewpoints on developments in Russia
unsolicited travel photos
articles with a hidden or open intent to advertise the services of a company, non-profit organization or governmental agency
articles espousing the viewpoint of specific companies, organizations or governments
articles about events (e.g. reviews of foreign performances or exhibitions)
book, movie or music reviews
What They Want
These are the different departments or sections of the magazine and what they accept from freelancers:
Notebook: They will not accept freelance submissions for this department.
Practical Traveller: They will not accept freelance submissions for this department.
Russian Calendar: On occasion, they may accept short (500-800 word) freelance submissions to this section on Russian history. This is the place for biographies, short historical curiosities and date-related stories that do not expand to feature length as it will not be accepted.
Events Calendar: They will not accept freelance submissions for this department, but they are always happy to hear about Russian-related events going on around the world. Please submit them to our on-line database.
Survival Russian: They will not accept freelance submissions for this department.
Russian Cuisine: They only rarely accept freelance submissions for this department.
Under Review: They only rarely accept freelance submissions for this department.
Feature Articles: This is the area where most freelance work in their magazine is published. Each issue of the magazine has 4-5 feature articles, usually between 2000 and 5000 words in length, with 6-10 photos.
Travel Journal: Often, one of the feature stories will be a travel journal type of story, which allows use of first person and freer narrative forms than might be typical for a issue- or history-focused feature article.
Photo Features: Only rarely do we publish photo features without editorial.
Interview: We are interested in exclusive interviews with Russian news makers who have something interesting to say about current events, history or culture in Russia or abroad.
Expat Tales: Short (700-800) word stories about the perils and pleasures of living in Russia as an expat.
Post Script: They will not accept freelance submissions for this department, although they may at times commission editorials for this page.
Persons interested in submitting articles (or photos) to RL or being assigned freelance work should first contact the RL editorial offices (use the form here) to discuss the work with our editors. Submit a short email that succinctly summarizes the proposed article, how you think this will fit into their editorial mission, and why you think you are uniquely qualified to offer this piece. Also include a few sentences about your past publishing experience and what type of work samples you can supply. Very rarely do they accept the work of unpublished freelancers. The means of communicating which will get the quickest response is email.
While they welcome unsolicited manuscripts (by regular mail only), they feel that it is most productive to work with writers ahead of time - to hone story ideas to fit our needs. Queries by phone are strongly discouraged.
They are usually quick to respond to queries sent over email, indicating whether they have general interest or not. Please note, however, that if they are under production or other deadlines, it can take us a few weeks to respond to an email. Please be patient. They will respond to all requests sooner or later.
RL publishes most submissions 3-6 months after acceptance. Seasonal material must be submitted earlier: up to nine months in advance of anticipated publication date.
Manuscripts, photographs, slides and other submissions are returned only if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. RL is not responsible for any materials submitted on speculation, and they will not be returned to you without sufficient pre-paid postage and packaging. Submissions may also be made electronically but only with prior approval.
Fees for freelance work are agreed upon on a individual basis, depending on the scope, difficulty and nature of the story being written. Payment is upon publication and fees vary depending upon the length and difficulty of the article.
Written correspondence should be sent to:
Russian Life magazine
PO Box 567
Montpelier, VT 05601