writers' guidelines

Would you like to write for Kansas City magazine? Here’s what you need to know.

Kansas City is a city magazine that was founded in 2005 and reaches 135,000 readers in print and millions online. Our largest concentration of readers is in Johnson County and Kansas City, Missouri. The magazine’s coverage ranges from features on serious topics like homicide rates to concert picks and lifestyle pieces about the season’s hottest trends.

Kansas City is the only local magazine that is a member of the City and Regional Magazine Association, which means we uphold standards for editorial independence and transparency. We’re also the only local magazine that has been nationally recognized for excellence.

The mean household income of our reader is $158,470. Most Kansas City magazine readers have college degrees and advanced degrees. More than half of our readers are women and most of them work. On average, our readers spend fifty-two minutes reading each issue. 

What kind of articles are we looking for?

In general, we want stories that serve our mission statement:

We love Kansas City like family. We know what makes it great, we know how it struggles, and we know its secrets. Through great storytelling, photography and design, we help readers celebrate our city’s triumphs, tend to its faults and revel in the things that make it unique.

We are looking for stories that fit into our standing departments. Those stories tend to be mostly between 500 and 600 words:

The Loop: Our topical news department features stories of interest to civic-minded readers. Stories in The Loop are timely to their publication, which will occur about two months after they are pitched.

The Beat: Our events section. We are looking for short profiles of up-and-coming KC artists, authors, musicians and the like.

Sway: Our lifestyle section covers topics such as shopping, design, home, health, fitness and fashion. We are interested in pitches about local makers and artisans, great local products, trends taking the city by storm and tips for better, healthier living.

Food & Drink: We are always looking for unique local food stories, under-the-radar spots and people. Rest assured that if it’s high-profile, we probably already know about it.


If you’d like to pitch a story idea, keep the following tips in mind:

• Read several recent issues to get a sense of our tone and content.

• Search our site to make sure we have not already covered the subject you’re pitching.

• Introduce yourself briefly and include links to samples of your work.

• Be specific about the stories you’re pitching. What’s the subject, what’s your proposed angle and what’s the news peg for this piece. Please, no:

• Personal essays

• Poetry

• Routine pieces on familiar KC institutions

• Previously published works

Our Style

We have a house stylebook which we’ll share once we’ve commissioned a piece.

Query Us

If you would like to pitch a submission to Kansas City magazine, please send an email to editor@kansascitymag.com introducing yourself, linking to previously published work and describing briefly the topic you’d like to cover and how you plan to go about covering it.

Rights and Payment

Our standard rate is 25 cents per word (published or assigned, whichever is greater), though we will negotiate if a piece requires a lot of extra research. Completed commissioned articles found unsuitable for publication will receive a kill fee of twenty-five percent of the agreed-on payment price. Kansas City magazine buys all rights. We issue payment for invoices filed on the 25th day of the month of the issue’s publication. Writers will need to submit a W-9 tax form and an invoice every month. Submissions should be shared as a Google Doc and not an attachment. First rounds of editing will be done in the document so that the writer and editor can collaborate prior to layout.