Why might anthropologists write for SAPIENS?
There are lots of great reasons: to make your voice heard, to help shape the world, to develop the craft of writing. We make our arguments, fittingly, in this SAPIENS article: “Why Write for SAPIENS.”
What is the usual process for pieces, from pitch to publication?
We use a “pitch” process, where potential writers submit a summary of their idea for a piece within a particular story type. The editorial team reviews your pitch, usually within a week.
If your pitch is accepted, we typically ask for the first draft within four weeks (faster, if your piece has a news hook). Your development editor will then work with you to finalize your piece. When you receive your first edits, we ask for the next draft within two weeks. After the draft is finalized, additional editors review it, and it will be copy edited and fact-checked (based on an annotated draft you provide). You will approve final edits and provide input on the title, images, and captions chosen by the editors.
You’ll receive an email upon publication, and we ask that you help promote the piece in your networks. You may complete the paperwork for the honorarium at that time.
Who is SAPIENS trying to reach?
While we know anthropologists read SAPIENS, people in general publics are our audience—picture your neighbor, your dentist, your family friend. But also, imagine a stranger on the other side of the world Googling a phrase that goes to the heart of your research. Assume your audience is intelligent but knows nothing about the subject at hand. So, you must explain/define all terms and provide context.
More than 30 percent of our readers come to the magazine from Google. And most of our readers are looking for stories that capture their imagination during their moments of leisure. The average reader spends about three minutes on an article. Most visitors come for a single article and then leave. About half of our readers are based in the United States, with India, Philippines, Canada, and the U.K. being the next most common sources of readers by country. Our readers are equally spread out between 18-year-olds and 65 plus. More than two-thirds of visitors come to the magazine on their cellphones or tablets.
How do I pitch SAPIENS?
Most public-oriented magazines and newspapers require potential writers to “pitch” their idea. We offer a summary of the process in this article, “How to Pitch SAPIENS.”
What makes for a great essay?
No magic formula is known (to us, at least). But read our overview: “How to Write an Essay: A Guide for Anthropologists.”
What makes for a great op-ed?
Most op-eds have a fairly standard structure: a catchy opening that includes a statement about your credentials and viewpoint, a central section that offers evidence or arguments for your viewpoint and acknowledges at least one counterargument, and then a closing that offers your takeaway. For more advice, watch our webinar, and check out these tips and tricks.
How long will it take for my piece to be published?
On very rare occasions, we run pieces that are tied to news or current events within three weeks after a pitch is submitted. Our production process more typically lasts two to three months. We work to move through pieces as quickly as possible, but we have a small staff and publish two or three pieces per week. We also take great care with everything we publish.
The timing of your piece will vary depending on the amount of editing required, the number of pieces we’re working on at any given moment, the relevance of your piece to what’s going on in the news, and other factors.
If you ever wonder about the status of your piece, or have a specific publication date in mind, please let us know!
Who has editorial authority over my article?
We take our collaborative approach seriously and always strive for consensus. We otherwise operate on the magazine model, in which the editorial staff can make final decisions regarding wording in the piece, title, captions, and tagline; adherence to our house style; and promotion strategies. But know that we are fundamentally dedicated to accuracy and want you to be as proud of the piece as we are.
How does SAPIENS choose which images accompany its articles?
The editorial team selects the images with input and approval from authors. We give the selections a lot of thought, as you can read in this article, “The Power of Images.”
Does good storytelling matter more than the facts?
Use the tools of storytelling. But for nonfiction pieces, style should never come at the expense of accuracy, facts, and the truth. And plagiarism is never acceptable. Every article is fact-checked as part of the overall copy-editing process. Poetry and fiction, of course, are given far more latitude, but on SAPIENS they should still be grounded in anthropological insights. Authors of nonfiction pieces help by submitting an annotated version of their articles according to these guidelines: Guide for Annotated Drafts.
Does SAPIENS publish articles in non-English languages?
Yes! See our Guide for Translations.
Where do I find SAPIENS’ style guide?