Southwest: The Magazine, published by Pace Communications for Southwest Airlines, attracts more than 6.3 million readers each month. We typically publish two works of narrative nonfiction each issue, somewhere around 3,000 to 3,500 words (though we’ve gone shorter and longer). We’re looking for a compelling tale with memorable characters, none of whom have to be famous. Separate from our feature well, we also assign special advertising sections.

What kinds of nonfiction stories do you accept?

Personal narrative essays. Profiles. Trend stories (so long as each has strong characters). Story is the key word here. We salivate over a well-spun yarn. We’re less interested in stories about particular places unless they contain a personal angle or remarkable character.

What about tone?

We love stories that lift the spirit—we’re suckers for happy endings. At the same time, tension is a must. Also, humor of the un-snarky kind tends to get a positive response.

What do you want in a pitch?

Start with a sentence or two that tells us what your story is really about. Boil it down to the guts. Why will our readers care? Then, give us an idea of the story’s arc, and the kinds of scenes you could capture. Lastly, it’s a good idea to let us know why you’re qualified to tell the tale. For examples of past feature stories, click here or view full issues in our archives.

What do you not want in a pitch?

Our front-of-book pages and the celebrity One Question page are written in-house (we do, however, welcome PR pitches for both the Play and Work sections). Remember to keep your pitches focused on Southwest Airlines destinations or cities that are within a short driving distance (under three hours) of one of these destinations. You can check out the online route map here.

What’s a special advertising section?

Essentially, it’s an advertorial. We have two different types of special advertising sections: ones that focus on a topic like franchises or health, and destination guides themed around a specific city or state. Because content is determined by advertisers, we do not expect writers to pitch ideas for these sections. If you’re interested in writing a special advertising section, reach out to us at the email below and provide examples of past advertorial work.

What’s your lead time?

We typically plan five to six months out and begin working on an issue two to three months out.

How much do you pay?

For features, our rate is typically a $1/word. For advertising special sections, the rate is dependent on the number of advertisers. Writers should receive payment within 30 days of the issue ship date.

Whom do I contact?

Send an email to letters@southwestmag.com and we’ll make sure your pitch finds its way to the appropriate editor. Feel free to include a few clips or a link to your portfolio, too.