Writer Guidelines

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About Paste
PasteMagazine.com focuses on signs of life in music, movies, TV, videogames, comedy, books, design, tech, drink and all things geek. We focus on a variety of musical genres—whatever else we think will grab music-lovers seeking something a little deeper. Paste strives to cover the best music in this eclectic mix, devoting space to independent musicians alongside more established artists. The tagline, “Signs of Life in Music, Film and Culture,” refers to the depth and meaning we feel the best art is capable of conveying.

Whatever the subject matter, Paste features a wide range of genres. Our film coverage has included features on filmmakers Wes Anderson, Gus Van Sant, Jim Jarmusch and Cameron Crowe. One of the best opportunities for writers is to come up with article ideas we wouldn’t have thought of—like the article we published on a radio station in Louisiana run by prison inmates or the trash-dump art series in San Francisco.

Solicitations & Assignments:
Paste welcomes unsolicited articles from anyone who believes the piece is appropriate for Paste and its readers. (Hint: Best way to figure out what is appropriate is to read what we’ve published.)

Queries soliciting approval of an idea may be submitted. Queries should include proposed subject, length, applicability and writer samples.

Paste will assist in obtaining interviews, attending events, etc. as needed. Paste will provide complimentary CDs for assignment when possible.

NOTE: Solicitation of record labels, promoters, artists, and publicists on behalf of Paste must be done in coordination with Paste editors. If you want to pursue a story and need to use the name of our publication for access, please authorize it with Paste staff directly.

Submissions may be edited and may be published at any time. Writers will be paid upon publication—payment usually takes about three weeks. Paste retains the right to also publish everything that appears on PasteMagazine.com on other sites that use our content.

Issues & Deadlines:
PasteMagazine.com: Published on a rolling basis.

Writing Guidelines:
Personal Style
Develop your voice, express your opinion, but be concrete in how you formed that opinion and distinguish the subjective from the objective. Your writing should display maturity and emphasize substance over attitude. But do personalize your writing; inject your life into your writing as appropriate. Search for a sense of place or a narrative. After all, cultural criticism is not an objective, quantifiable science.

Be thorough. Never do an interview without a tape recorder, and save the tapes in case there’s an alleged discrepancy. If you are unsure of any facts in the article, please call this to our attention at the beginning of the article. We can help you verify the facts or remove them from the article.

Use italics for titles of recordings, videos, books, films, and television programs.

Song titles, chapters titles, and article titles should be placed in quotations; punctuation goes inside the quotation marks.

Write out numbers nine and under and numbers that begin a sentence (if necessary); otherwise use numerals.

Use numerals for decades, except at the beginning of a sentence. Use four digits for the first reference, with no apostrophe, and then two digits with an initial apostrophe (e.g., 1990s then ’90s).

Write-out the complete title of a song or album on first use; it may be abbreviated subsequently. Generally, credit songwriters rather than performers (e.g., unless you’re commenting on something specific to Hendrix’ or U2’s version, it’s Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”).

Shy away from statements like, “In a just world, Artist X would be getting more attention, mainstream attention, etc.” We believe that this could be said about most of the artists we cover. That’s why we exist.

There is a definite socially-conscious bent to what we do, but don’t feel like you need to force this angle. We don’t have an agenda, but we do place a higher value on art that has depth and meaning rather than platitudes and propaganda.

What we’re looking for…
Feature Profiles
Each feature needs to involve contact with the artist (we will help set these up for you). These need to be well-researched, well-written pieces from an original angle. We’ll work with you to get these just right. We’d like these to be more than just articles about artists, their careers and their label problems and hopes for a bigger audience. We want these to be explorations into the art of an individual. Incorporate song lyrics. Use narrative structures. Appeal to a variety of the reader’s senses—place them in the room with the artist. Make it relevant to the reader’s life—why should they care about this person’s art?

These can be humorous, personal, opinionated or all three.

Trend Stories
Topics have included rock festivals, the new Americana music, the Brill Building Sound, independent films and music videos. Trend stories don’t necessarily have to be related to music and film.

We’re a little more wide-open on reviews. We’ve got some ideas of what we want but also want you to write on the artists whose music is having an impact on you. Don’t be afraid to personalize these or come at them from a different approach. Music reviews are notoriously boring to read, and while they serve a utilitarian purpose, they should also be creative. I’d rather read a well-written review of an artist I know I won’t like than a shoddy review of someone interesting. We publish reviews in all our categories except Design.

How To Submit:
See our Contributor’s Information to see where articles should be pitched.