Writers’ Guide for Freelance Writers

*Please note that we prefer to review complete manuscripts rather than queries. These guidelines are offered to help you understand who we are and what material is desired. We are a conservative Christian publisher. We desire to partner with like-minded writers who help us fulfill our goal of honoring God in the process of educating and entertaining children and families.


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Goals for Nature Friend Magazine

To increase our awareness of God—

  • God created the natural world and every living thing.
  • God still observes His world, watches over each creature, calls stars by name, and cares for us.
  • Nature is irrefutable evidence of God.

To increase our appreciation for God’s works and gifts—

  • We are to enjoy His works in a proper way.
  • We should give God due credit and praise for His works.
  • We should learn to appreciate order and design, function and beauty, life, the earth, the God Who made it all.

To teach accountability toward God’s works—

  • Kindness to animals.
  • Respect for fragile beauty.

 To teach natural truths and facts—

  • Interesting variety within species (i.e., different birds, different trees, etc.).
  • Interesting facts about the things around us (multitudes of God’s miraculous inventions).
  • We see but a small portion of the earth’s beauty (tropics, deserts, jungles, oceans, mountains, etc.).

To portray the traditional family unit


We want Nature Friend to be exciting to children and interesting to the whole family. Nature is fascinating when seen up close through the pen of a good writer, the brush of a skilled artist, or the lens of a photographer. Children deserve to know the truth about our amazing world. As television, drugs, videos, and electronic games compete for children’s time and approval, it becomes even more important to give them material that is true, exciting, and upbuilding to their character.

We do not intend that every story, poem, puzzle, or project in Nature Friend should bring a spiritual message to the reader. We believe there is also a valid place for children to simply enjoy what God has made without being always directed toward a spiritual application. Neither is Nature Friend intended to be a creation apologetics magazine. We intend to quietly and joyfully present the positive side of nature, to let our readers see and enjoy it to the glory of God.

We welcome articles for Nature Friend and do not require that you get our permission before you submit them. Nature Friend is not always seasonal. However, when we can, we prefer to publish seasonally appropriate stories. Examples are hibernation and snow in the winter months, while birds nesting or flowers blooming appear in spring or summer issues. Writings for a particular season should be submitted no later than three months prior, with six months prior better yet.

Probably the most obvious requirement for sending manuscripts to Nature Friend is to be thoroughly acquainted with our magazine. It is a waste of time to send even the most excellent article to a publisher who never prints articles of that type, or who may have just published an article on the same subject.


Specific Needs

Nature Friend is intended to appeal to the whole family, and we select content accordingly. We are looking for stories and articles that can interest and educate high-schoolers, parents, and grandparents, while still appealing to and educating elementary students. Some features are geared specifically toward an elementary level, while others are primarily written for adults.

Monthly Features

  • Learning By Doing
    An article that features a nature-related project, activity, or experiment.
  • Nature-friendly Gardening
    An article focusing on an aspect of gardening. Topics could include gardening for wildlife, houseplants, vegetable/fruit gardening, container gardening, and techniques.
  • The Photo Focus
    An article teaching photography and post-processing techniques. While we do publish articles on the basics, no topic is too in-depth here.

In addition to our regular monthly features, we also need a regular supply of good-quality stories and articles. Familiarity with Nature Friend is the best way to understand our goals.

Stories should be well-written and, where appropriate, encourage sharing nature with others. We prefer true stories, although we do not require them. Most stories are personal experiences and written in first person. If that is not the case, please make that clear on the title page. While not a requirement, writing in past tense is preferred over present tense.

View a sample story

Articles should be well-researched and free from plagiarism. We are looking for easy-to-read articles that are both educational and enjoyable, avoiding an encyclopedia-style list of facts. While we recognize the value of apologetic and devotional literature, articles in Nature Friend will generally avoid these topics; our mission is to encourage a healthy enjoyment of God’s creation.

View a sample article

Nature stories combine characteristics of quality stories and articles. They tell the story of a bird, animal, etc., while incorporating interesting facts about the creature/s. They should be well-researched to include plenty of factual details. 

View a sample nature story


Manuscript Guidelines

Manuscripts should have a title page that includes:

  • The suggested title of the story or article.
  • A fairly accurate word count.
  • Your name, full mailing address, phone number/email address, and hours you can be reached, if applicable.
  • Any other comments, such as the type of writing (article, story, personal experience, etc.). If it is a story, tell when and where it happened.


  • Should be typed.
  • Should be double-spaced, on 8½” x 11” paper, with margins that allow space for editors’ notes.
  • Should be printed on only one side of the paper.
  • Should not be stapled together.
  • Should include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) with sufficient postage to return the manuscript if you wish to have it returned.
  • Should include a bibliography. This is especially necessary for unusual observations or technical teaching.

Ideal article length is 500 to 1000 words.

Please keep a copy of your manuscripts. Sometimes they are lost in the mail.

Manuscripts should represent the best work you are reasonably capable of. We reserve the right to change, delete, rearrange, and re-title your manuscript.

When we wish to hold a manuscript for possible future use, we send a letter acknowledging our intentions. We specify a period of time from the date of that letter for which we plan to hold the manuscript. If the time expires without the manuscript being published, you are free to send the manuscript elsewhere. If we choose to include the selection after the expiration date, we will first contact you for permission. You may withdraw it by written request at any time unless we have already obtained art or photos for inclusion in an upcoming issue.

If your manuscript is published, you will receive, along with your payment, a complimentary copy of the magazine. Additional copies may be ordered at the current back issue rate while supplies last.


Objectionable Words and Ideas

Following is a list of objectionable characteristics. Please study it before you invest your time and effort in a story for Nature Friend.

Unwholesome language—

  • Oaths, including the more accepted versions such as Gee, Golly, Gosh, etc. (short for Jesus or God)
  • Sacred words like God, Jesus, etc., and otherwise good expressions of praise used carelessly or irreverently.
  • Slang or modern faddish words.
  • Words which tend to break down respect for others such as old man instead of father, dad, or daddy; old woman instead of mother, mom, or mommy; kids instead of children; cops instead of police officers, etc.
  • Suggestive words or words that could have an unwanted double meaning.

References to evolution—

  • Gradual formation of creatures.
  • “Higher” creatures evolving from “lower.”
  • Adaptation of creatures to changing situations and environments more than within the flexibility of their original creation.

We have chosen not to refute evolution here by its discussion, but to lift up God as Creator and thereby disprove evolution’s premise. Just because someone says the grass is purple does not mean we will argue it is green. Rather, we have chosen to enjoy the lilies.

Inferior literature—

  • Poor writing style will be rejected or edited.
  • Unreal or unlikely plot or ending; too much serendipity.

Too much emphasis on—

  • Violence (fangs and claws, taste of blood, etc.).
  • Scorn for lesser creatures.
  • Haughty pride toward self.
  • Implication of indestructibility

Emphasis on sports—

While we believe hunting and fishing for food is legitimate, Nature Friend is not a sports magazine. For example, while children can learn much about animals by trapping, and can sometimes earn money in that way, we wish to portray the animals as free and in the wild. It is okay to tell a story that includes references to hunting/fishing, assuming the harvest is not the goal for the article. We have had some fun reader-supplied stories that occurred while they were hunting, and we enjoyed them and selected them. But we are not a how-to manual for hunting and fishing.

Illegal and unethical activities—

Please be aware of any applicable laws. Stories and articles should include no positive reference to any type of illegal behavior. This includes but is not limited to trespassing, confining wild animals illegally, and poaching. Also, writings should never endorse any unethical behavior.

Disobedient children—

Children should not act or speak in disobedience to parents or other authorities, even if it works out “better” in the end.

Holiday emphasis—

  • Decorations, Santa Claus, and related ideas at Christmas
  • Bunnies or eggs at Easter
  • References to Halloween

Pagan cultures—

Avoid references to paganism and mythology, even if they tie in with studies of creatures.

Distinct denominational references—

Nature Friend is edited to be acceptable to any fundamental creationists who believe the Genesis account of creation to be literal and absolute. Universally accepted Christian virtues (diligence, kindness, purity, thrift, good stewardship, etc.) are promoted.

References to Boy Scouts, 4-H work, etc.—

While much good has come from these organizations, this magazine will emphasize nature study in a family, school group, or church group context.

Reference to substandard dress—

  • Swimsuits, slacks, shorts, no shirt, etc.
  • Cut or stylish hair on girls, long hair on boys.
  • Use of jewelry.

Reference to mating in animals—

Avoid words like sex, mating, pregnant, etc. We don’t reject God’s methods of reproduction but we avoid the world’s casualness and exploitation of the subject.

Talking animal stories—

While these can be interesting and teach worthwhile lessons, we have chosen to not use them in Nature Friend.

Bible quotes—

While these are not discouraged, most articles do not include scriptural quotes. However, if you include one, please use the King James Version or the New King James Version.


Legal Policies

When you submit a manuscript to Nature Friend, it is understood that it is an original piece and not something written (or partly written) by another. It is also understood that it has not been previously printed or copyrighted by another publisher. If you are submitting something that was not your original composition, or has been used before, please make it plain on the title page.

Materials used by Nature Friend will automatically be copyrighted as a part of the magazine. 

We wish to emphasize that the author alone is responsible for plagiarism, and that Nature Friend is not liable for unknowingly using writings that were not original. Please be sure that all information gleaned from reference books and other works is totally rewritten in your own words. If any direct quotations are used, give all pertinent information about the source (book, author, publisher, copyrights, etc.) and enclose their permission for its use.



Payment for Manuscripts

Rights we purchase are:

  • Full rights, .10 per edited word.
  • 1st rights, with right to reprint in our publications, .08 per edited word.
  • 2nd rights, with right to reprint in our publications, .05 per edited word.

Payment for Photos

We need technically good, sharp, well-lit photographs. We prefer high resolution, digital photographs submitted on CD or flash drive, with an accompanying set of contact prints for easy viewing. Photos may also be submitted by emailing high resolution jpeg files as attachments to photos at naturefriendmagazine dot com.

We do not accept liability for photographs submitted.

Some photos are reader-supplied and not necessarily photos for which we pay to use. To freelance photographers submitting photos, we pay $35 for inside editorial use, $50 for back cover, and $75 for front cover. Photographers retain copyright ownership of photos.

Photographs are secondary to writings and cannot be anticipated and selected in advance. They are selected month-by-month, based on articles selected that need illustrations, along with a front and back cover photo. Submissions that require us to return material in a specified number of weeks will likely not be useful to us.

Payment for Artwork

Most illustrations are photographs; however, good quality art will also be considered. Usually, the editor obtains art using contracted artists. However, if you can offer good quality art with your manuscript, you are welcome to do so. Payment will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Assigned artwork will be Work-for-Hire, and the artworks will be property of Dogwood Ridge Outdoors.



Contact Information

Nature Friend Magazine is published monthly by Dogwood Ridge Outdoors, Inc.

Editors:          Kevin and Bethany Shank

Address:        Nature Friend, Attn. Editor, 4253 Woodcock Lane, Dayton, VA 22821

Email:             editor at naturefriendmagazine dot com

Website:        www.naturefriendmagazine.com

Office:            (540) 867-0764

                        (540) 947-1636

Fax:                 (540) 867-9516