Hidden Compass Contributor Guidelines
Hidden Compass is an online, quarterly travel magazine that encourages the deep exploration of a destination through powerful storytelling. We believe that some of the most fascinating stories are the ones that bridge the gap between travel and other disciplines (e.g., science, history, and art).
If you have an original, compelling and true story — told in words, photos or both — that pushes the travel genre and delves into the spirit, culture, history, ecology, perils or residents of a place, Hidden Compass might be the perfect home for it.
Stories We Publish
We publish travel stories told through words and images, in the following departments:
Quest: Tales of a character in search of something, even when he or she is unaware of that search. The destination must play a large role in the character’s search or discovery. The character can but need not be the narrator. (800-1,500 words)
Portrait: Profiles of compelling characters and the places they inhabit. (800-1,500 words)
Human and Nature: Stories that investigate how the relationship between humankind and the planet manifests itself in a particular place. In these stories, Nature becomes another character rather than a mere setting. (800-1,500 words)
Chasing Demons: Stories that delve into the dark and difficult aspects of a place, even when the darkness exists only in the narrator. They can be investigative pieces, historical exposés, or tales of narrators immersed in danger. (800-1,500 words)
Time Travel: Stories that play with time to explore the past, present, and future of a place. These stories can be forward or backward looking; ideally, they will be both. (800-1,500 words)
Feature Story: Longer-form storytelling, including in any of the above departments, that needs 2,000 – 3,000 words to flourish.
Feature Photo-Essay: Stories told through the arc of photographs and accompanying text. (500-1000 words)
Not all great stories will fit neatly into one of these departments. At the end of the day, we are looking for powerful, immersive, compelling narratives, so send it to us anyway. If we like it, we will find a place for it.
What We Pay And What We’re Buying/Licensing
Feature stories and feature photo-essays: $300. Stories and photo essays in other departments: $200. We are buying first rights to all stories and photos that we publish. If you have previously published your stories or photographs elsewhere, please do not submit them. Exceptions can be made for historical photographs when appropriate.
If we source photos to accompany a story we already have, we pay $50-75 per photo.
How To Submit
Simply email your completed submission(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Pitches will be considered from authors with published clips.
Please include your submission in the body of your email. For photo essays, please also include low-resolution jpegs (via Dropbox or similar file sharing service) for initial submissions.
We consider every submission thoroughly and we wish we could respond to everyone, but due to an overwhelming number of submissions, we simply cannot. If you have not heard from us within four weeks, you can safely assume that we have passed on your story this time around.