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TBM Submission Guidelines

(Updated January 2020)

Traditional Bowhunter® was founded in 1988 to provide the bowhunting world with a comprehensive magazine dedicated to preserving and advancing the rich tradition of hunting with the longbow, recurve, and selfbow.

All material is accepted on speculation only, even if previously discussed with the editors. We encourage query letters prior to submission. Writers must be knowledgeable about traditional archery and bowhunting. Study back issues of the magazine to appreciate our editorial needs.

Our hunting stories generally emphasize do-it-yourself, unguided hunts except in circumstances in which a guide is legally required. Because of our emphasis on the “Traditional” in our title, it is best to avoid the following subjects in the text: trail cameras, ORVs, cell phones, “scores,”, and long discussions of “trophies.”

We publish six times per year. Material purchased will normally appear in six months to one year, although the interval between acceptance and publication may be slightly longer. Plan to submit seasonal work at least six months prior to the appropriate issue.

High quality photographic support represents an important element of most submissions. Good photo support greatly increases the chance of material being accepted. Digital images shot at high resolution with a professional camera of at least 6 megapixels are required. Low-resolution digital photos are not acceptable. Digital photo submissions may be sent on a CD or thumb drive in either RAW or JPEG format of at least 300 dpi to be considered. Images may also be sent by Dropbox, We Transfer, or as e-mail file attachments to Please e-mail images with no more than two attached to each e-mail, and do not send images electronically unless requested by the editors. We also accept color slides of ISO 100 or greater resolution. Prints are not acceptable. Query prior to sending original non-photographic artwork.

Try to include a broad selection of images providing the reader with a comprehensive view of the topic. Include vertical as well as horizontal format images. While we’re happy to look at wildlife shots as part of any submission, good wildlife photography requires specialized technique and equipment, and amateur quality wildlife work is of little value. Since we can obtain wildlife shots from our files, this is not as important as providing good images of the people and places described in the text.

Pictures of dead animals must be tasteful: no gore, protruding arrows, or dead game in the back of trucks, on ATVs, or hanging from gambrels. Please use common sense in this respect. We do not publish trail cam photos.

Basic descriptive captions must accompany all images. We must be able to identify the image each caption refers to, and the caption should identify the subject clearly. Photo captions should appear at the end of the text, as part of the same document.

Vertical format is mandatory for cover images, with the top 1/2 to 1/3 of the image bare to accommodate the title and additional room along margins for banners. Color transparencies shot with film rated ISO 100 or less are acceptable. We also accept digital images that have been shot with a professional camera of at least 6 megapixels and provided at full size in both RAW and TIFF format. Study past covers to obtain a good feel for these requirements.

Our feature articles run 1500 to 3000 words with few exceptions. Please query prior to submitting features that fall outside this range. All manuscripts should be typed, double spaced, in Word or comparable electronic format. We cannot accept hand written material, text in all-cap format, or text for which no acceptable electronic version is available. Do not use line justification or non-standard font in the text. Do not insert images in text or organize text into columns. While we will review mailed hard copy, we prefer that all material be submitted electronically. It is advisable to send a query by e-mail prior to submitting completed work. This will save everyone time if we already have material on the same subject in our files, or if the topic is something we do not cover.

Normal turnaround time will be four weeks for queries, eight weeks for unsolicited submissions. Please do not contact us sooner to inquire about the status of material. We look for sidebars as part of feature submissions in order to enhance the magazine’s layout and visual appeal; please provide as part of submitted text. At the end of each submission, include a brief Author Bio Note and, if applicable, an Equipment Note. The latter should be limited to a brief description of bow, shafts, and heads that appear in the story. Do not include this information in the body of the text. See any recent issue for examples. These should be included as part of the main text in a single text file at the time of submission, as should sidebars. Failure to do so will only delay response to the submission. Be sure to include full contact information at least once with all submissions. An e-mail address is especially important.

Please query prior to submitting any material intended for one of our regular columns. Column length runs 800-1500 words unless a different length is agreed upon in advance.

While we will make every reasonable effort to return submitted material, we cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited submissions. To insure return, always include a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE); material received without return postage will not be returned except by prior arrangement. Please include an e-mail address with all submissions to facilitate reply. We accept only original, previously unpublished material. We do not accept material that has been simultaneously submitted elsewhere and discourage this unprofessional practice. (Simultaneous query letters are fine.)

Payment for unsolicited short features ranges from $150 to $250 depending on length and quality. Payment for assigned columns is $300. Payment for features is $300 to $400, depending on quality of text and photo support. Cover images pay $400.

Short features up to 1500 words are also accepted for online publication on our website. Consistent with industry standards for online publication, payment is $50 for text and photographs.

Payment for all accepted material is issued prior to publication.

Queries and other correspondence related to editorial content should be directed to Co-Editor Don Thomas by e-mail: Other e-mail correspondence should be sent to TJ Conrads at:

TBM Submission Guidelines Supplement
Jan. 2020

To our contributors, old and new:

We continue to have recurring problems with some aspects of submissions from many of our writers even though these issues are addressed in our regular submission guidelines. Failure to follow these simple rules leads to confusion and errors and greatly increases the time we have to spend on the material. Please pay attention to the following:

  1. We always need photo captions. They don’t need to be elaborate but must allow us to tell readers what is going on in the photos. Who, where, what. The place for captions is at the end of the Word document containing the main text. Sending them in e-mails or separate documents just creates confusion.
  2. We always need end notes—a brief author bio and, if appropriate for the text, an equipment note limited to bow, shafts, and broadhead. See any back issue for examples. The proper place for these is, as above, in the main text document, at the end of the text. No more e-mailed end notes, please!

Thanks for your attention to these matters. We always appreciate your submissions and hard work for the magazine.

Don and T. J.