True West’s Submission Guidelines

TRUE WEST captures the history of the American frontier through authentic and provocative literary nonfiction and heritage travel narratives that keep the spirit of the West alive.

Published 12 times a year, True West magazine (est. 1953) desires enticing narrative and intelligent analysis on the history of the Old West—focusing mainly between 1800 to 1912.

We actively seek out creative writers who can infuse their articles with dramatic realism, remarkable scholarship and memorable examinations. Writers should seamlessly integrate story and context by providing precise and concrete descriptions of particular practices and events. Humanize your facts. Tell a story that focuses on a singular person, place or event that reveals a broader aspect of frontier culture. Articles that offer not only exceptional accuracy and analysis, but also literary flair will grab our attention.

True West seeks to establish long-term relationships with writers who conduct excellent research, provide a fresh look at an old subject, write well, hit deadlines and provide manuscripts at word length.

We accept Old West history article proposals via Dropbox. Send materials to:

Dropbox is free at a basic account level (2 GB), which should be sufficient space for your proposal. Please set up and share a Dropbox folder with us using the above link. Once your account is set up, please create a new share folder (use your name as the Share folder) and invite the following e-mail address as a collaborator: Make sure “can edit” is selected (not “view only”). You can create a share folder by hovering your mouse cursor over the name of the folder and a “share” button will appear on the right. If you are not familiar with Dropbox sharing, visit this help page, which offers assistance based on your operating platform: Should you decide you would like to submit another proposal, please “reshare” the folder with us.  We delete dropbox folders shared with us after our review of each pitch.

If you are pitching an Old West heritage travel feature, please send materials to Stuart Rosebrook:

Please note: Any unsolicited manuscripts, proposals, query letters, research, images or other documents that we receive will not be returned, and True West Publishing is not responsible for any materials submitted. Submissions sent to Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell, whether via e-mail or mail, will not receive a response. Materials submitted for True West Magazine’s consideration must be sent to the appropriate editor via the methods outlined above.

What to Submit

Hey, we want you to become part of the family too! To receive the best reception from True West’s editors, please follow these guidelines. As we need to circulate the material among numerous editors for comment, please include:

  • Query, including an author bio sharing your credentials for covering topic
  • Author’s Contact: Mailing address, phone # and e-mail. E-mail is important, because response to proposal will be sent via e-mail.
  • Manuscript (.doc preferred, but .txt also accepted)
  • Images and a caption sheet (please match image name to corresponding description)
  • When available, scans of original, primary accounts, as well as any other fact checking materials


WORD LENGTH We actively look for articles that range from: 1,500 words for features; 450 words for short features; 200 words or less for snapshot coverage. Time-Sensitive Proposals:  We encourage you to submit your proposal at least six months in advance and, whenever possible, a year in advance.

Query Recommendations

We highly recommend that the query you submit along with your proposed manuscript share the following information:

1. How your article will enhance our readers’ understanding of Old West history.

2. How your interpretation of the facts compares to other works on topic.

3. The larger significance of when, where and why a certain event or experience occurred.

4. Concrete descriptions you will provide to seamlessly integrate story and context.

5. Any connection your historical focus has to the present day (perhaps through an anniversary or modern-day discovery).


As we are a magazine, visuals are important to us! Articles submitted with publishable historical photographs and artwork receive greater consideration than those without art. Should you not have such art, please still submit your story idea, as we may be able to illustrate the article with images from our archives.

Please include hi-res scans with your submission. If you do not own the originals and will have to obtain the scans after acceptance, please send images as lo-res scans; only include images that you can send later as hi-resolution files. If we have images in our archives that will go along with your article, please cite issue date, article name and page # so we can check on availability for publication.

Images submitted to True West must meet the following publishing standards:

• Scans must be a minimum 300 PPI, but preferably 600 PPI or higher.

• Size should be 8×11, but the starting point is 4×5.

For historical photographs, please do not send in photos of a photo. The image must be the closest to the original as possible, scanned from the negative or the print. We recognize that, in some cases, what you have may be all that is available. If so, please indicate the reason for the quality of the photograph.



Payment is upon publication only. Pay rate is $0.25 a word, with $20 payment for each permission-granted photo the author provides for free that is published with the article (this does not apply to images already in our archives, for instance, the only known photo of Billy the Kid). For stories assigned to an author to write for a particular issue (not on spec) that are later withdrawn, we pay a kill fee of half of the agreed-upon original fee should the story have run in the publication. For work published in the print magazine, True West acquires first North American serial rights and archival rights.


Spec articles can take up to three months to receive a response. Please keep that lead time in mind, particularly when pitching a timely article. If you have not heard back from us, please send a follow-up e-mail one month after the work has been submitted; please include a copy of the work in question, the date you submitted it and your share link to dropbox. If you still have not heard a response, please call 888-687-1881 and leave a brief message at the front desk that you are trying to get in touch with the editor: state your name, phone #, the name of the article and the date you submitted it. The Internet does wonders, but our Internet provider does accidentally mark some e-mail as “junk.”

Please do follow up with us! We do not want to miss out on your wonderful story ideas!



Old West Historical Fiction and Nonfiction for Review Consideration

Please send in books for review consideration at least four months in advance of the publication month. Books submitted should not be dated earlier than the current editorial publication year for the magazine; for any that are dated earlier, please submit a reason why the “updated” editions should be considered for review. Advance proofs are accepted, of course, but final copies of the book must be provided once they are printed. Publishers may also send in requests for an advance look at a review title for blurb consideration.

When you submit the book, please include the following information:

• Publisher’s Statement

• Date of Publication

• Price

• Toll-Free Phone # and Website for Ordering Books

• Contact

Please DO NOT send in announcements about the publication of your book. The book editor must have the book on hand in order to decide whether or not to review it.

We have a limited capacity to review books, so not every book submitted to us will make it into the pages of True West. We do promise you that the book editor gives each review copy due consideration, and we appreciate your submissions.

If you have any questions about our process, please contact Book Editor Stuart Rosebrook at or call him at 480-820-5545.