The Green Writer on Sierra Magazine

Susan W. ClarkBy Susan W. Clark

This month’s green market beckons with huge readership and very good pay rates. Sierra is published bi-monthly by Sierra Club and reaches 1.4 million readers. To quote from their guidelines, “We are looking for fine writing that will provoke, entertain, and enlighten this readership…Sierra is looking for strong, well-researched, literate writing on significant environmental and conservation issues.”

I’m pleased to note that women fill over half of their top editorial positions and that their guidelines show a moderate openness to new freelancers. Sierra’s content is 70 percent freelance written, but they do have a preference for working with writers they’ve used before. The good news is that once you send them a piece they like, you’ll have the inside track for more.

The magazine’s subtitle, “Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet,” gives clues to topics, style and tone that might attract the editor’s attention. The connection with Sierra Club means that you can seek out people and topics through your local Sierra Club chapter.

See if this freelance example from Sierra makes your creative juices surge. In a recent issue, the Green Cuisine department splashed the writing and photos of two freelancers across six pages. Their topic was food security and local gardens.

Departments include “The Green Life,” which showcases an upbeat take on green living, and “One Small Step,” which features first-person accounts of ordinary folks doing extraordinary things. These are both recommended spots for first-time freelancers.

The pay starts around $1 per word and Sierra pays on acceptance, which earns high marks. Please note they do not want e-mail queries or phone calls, and be prepared to wait a couple of months for a response to your paper and envelope query. Remember to enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) for that “yes, we want it” response.

Here’s the contact information:

Managing Editor, Sierra Magazine
85 Second Street, Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105-3441
Voice (415) 977-5656
Fax (415) 977-5794

Photographer, editor, and award-winning writer, Susan W. Clark is an ardent advocate for sustainability. The Utne Reader applauded her article “Sustainable Revolution” from In Good Tilth magazine as “world-changing.” She is a regular contributor to In Good Tilth and Touch the Soil. Her work has appeared in the Capitol Press, Portland Tribune, Small Farmer’s Journal, and Permaculture Activist. She edits Salt of the Earth, the quarterly journal of Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Land Trust. Her observations about living within our ecological means are posted at

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