California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Outdoor California Magazine

Submission Guidelines

Outdoor California is a state, non-profit, four-color, magazine published bi-monthly. It provides readers with access and insight into California's wildlife and wildlands, and the people who work to protect and maintain those resources. It has a subscription base which provides its funding. Contact Editor for additional information. We are looking for the best in both writing and photography. Please note that the prices we pay for articles and photographs have recently changed.


Story topics: It’s best to call the editor with story ideas to ensure the concept is acceptable and timely. All features should be related to wildlife, natural areas, reserves or sanctuaries in California. Stories should reflect how CDFW is involved in the topic, whether through hands-on efforts or through monitoring, funding or in an advisory capacity. This point of view should be maintained whether the story focuses on a species or situation.

Length: Target length should remain between 1,500 to 2,000 words (4-6 pages, typed double space). Consideration will be given if the story warrants more space, but the editor always reserves the right to cut for length.

Format: Stories may be submitted in a number of different ways. The perferred method is an attachment to an e-mail. The attachment can be MS Word, WordPerfect, or Rich Text Format document. Confirm receipt with a follow-up e-mail. A hard copy mailed with the story on CD is also acceptable. Mail to Outdoor California, Editor, CDFW, 1807 13th St., Sacramento, CA 95811. Include the working title at the top with the author's byline. At the end of the story, provide a brief profile about the author. The profile usually gives the author's name, affiliation, position, and specialty (freelance writer, species specialist, and so on).

Style: Refer to the Associated Press Style manual for information on using figures, quotes, titles, and capitalization. All stories should include interviews and quotes from at least one CDFW expert in the related field. Sources outside CDFW should also be used to add depth and context to the feature. The writer should contact their CDFW source and allow them an opportunity to review the story before submitting it to the editor. If you need a source for data or comments, give us a call and we will try to find someone. Remember to write to a general audience. Avoid jargon and scientific terms, or if they must be used, explain them.

Re-write review: Unless submitters are professional writers, expect to do at least one rewrite with direction from the editor. It’s unrealistic to expect to understand completely the many issues involved in managing California’s wildlife and natural habitat. Conversation with the editor beforehand may save effort in the focus and extent of the story. Outdoor California reserves the right to edit for clarity, length, accuracy and consistency. Stories on fish, wildlife, and plants are reviewed by CDFW experts for verification.


Topics: Native California fish, wildlife, plants and habitat. Underwater photography along the California coast is always helpful as well.

Format: We prefer digital images at 300 dpi. We still accept 35 mm slides and negatives, but suggest you provide duplicates. If a slide is submitted, print your name on the slide jacket in indelible ink.

Return: We will make best effort to return all original slides or negatives provided for an issue through an express carrier to ensure timely and safe delivery. Originals are usually returned one or two weeks after the printer has released the materials.

General Guidelines

Note: The Outdoor California editor has sole authority to decide which stories will be used. Not all articles and photographs submitted will be used, or used immediately. Some items are placed on hold for later issues, others are placed on file.

Standard deadlines for each issue in ( ) : Jan-Feb (Oct 1); Mar-Apr (Dec 1); May-Jun (Feb 1); July-Aug (April 1); Sept-Oct (June 1); Nov-Dec (Aug 1).

Copies: Once printed, several copies of the magazine are usually sent to the submitter. Additional copies are provided by request only.

Payment Guidelines

As a state publication, Outdoor California has a limited budget and can only pay for a few items each year. We appreciate and encourage items submitted for print only. Outdoor California can only purchase the finished product, and it cannot pay for hours spent. In addition, if Outdoor California does purchase a story or photograph, it is for one time publication rights. Any current state employee who submits photos or articles for print cannot be paid. Requests for payment for articles and photographs must be made before the items are printed. Authors and photographers retain the reprint rights. Please note, as an informational publication for the state, copies of the magazine for use in classroom settings are authorized.

Requirements: All authors and photographers must complete a vendor data record before payment can be expected. Contact the editor for further information on the data record. Outdoor California can only pay for articles and photographs after they have appeared in the printed magazine. Once the items have appeared, please submit an invoice on letterhead with the publication date, items listed, agreed price, and total. Be sure to sign the invoice and send it to: Outdoor California, Editor, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090.

Note: The editor of Outdoor California has sole authority in determining the size of the photograph or story to be run. Payment is based accordingly. The word count is the number of words printed, not submitted.  The photograph size is based on the size printed in the magazine.


2,000 words $1000
1,500 words $750
1,000 words $500
500 words $250


Front Cover $400
Inside double page $300
Inside full page $200
Half-page or larger $150
All others $75