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Writers' Guidelines for CRITTERS USA Magazine

Thank you for your interest in CRITTERS USA magazine. The following editorial requirements and suggestions will help you in preparing your submissions.

NOTE: Critters USA has ceased publication.
Should you wish to submit a query on a small animal pet-related topic for consideration on, please contact us at

CRITTERS USA is directed to the general population of small animal owners and written for the adult audience and first-time owners of one of these pets. Please read past issues of the magazine to acquaint yourself with the types of material we use.

We publish informative articles on the care, personality and pet potential of small animal pets like guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, ferrets and others. Usually, two sidebars are required for each article. These should contain a resource list, anecdotal story or other factual information that can be separated from the article. We do not publish fiction, or stories in which animals speak as if they are human. Most medical articles are assigned to veterinarians.

The ideal manuscript is a 2,000- to 2,200-word article accompanied by high-quality color slides or professional illustrations.

CRITTERS USA magazine does not accept unsolicited manuscripts; we work from a query basis only. Please send a query letter detailing the story or article idea. Please do not call with queries; we can't judge writing ability over the phone. Due to the volume of queries we receive, a response may take eight to 10 weeks. Multiple queries will not be considered. We cannot respond to queries that are not accompanied by self-addressed, stamped envelopes (faxed queries cannot be answered; E-mailed queries will be considered). If we request to view your manuscript on speculation, please e-mail it as a Microsoft Word document. For authors without personal computer word processing capabilities, high quality typewritten pages (suitable for scanning) are acceptable. We cannot be responsible for unsolicited materials. Send queries to CRITTERS USA, Queries, 3 Burroughs, Irvine, CA 92618 or e-mail  

CRITTERS USA magazine follows Associated Press (AP) editorial style, with minor exceptions. Following are 10 basic points to keep in mind when writing for CRITTERS USA magazine.

1) Do not get your information from the Internet. You can use websites to locate people in order to get information, however, information on the Internet cannot be verified as to the origin and content.

2) When writing an article, try to interview more than one source. Quotes help keep a story from being boring and lend credibility.

3) Tone: CRITTERS USA wants one of two approaches to an article:
          a) Authoritative and informal
          b) Journalistic and informal

Informal does not mean casual. Informal means a friendly tone with words our readers commonly use, no slang or profanity.

Do not use a judgmental tone. A judgmental tone is when the writer is telling the reader that the writer’s way is the only correct way and implies that the reader is a child and not an adult participant. Don’t use words like you should, you must. For example:
          WRONG: You should feed your ferret every day.
          RIGHT: Feed your ferret every day.

Authoritative means that you are the authority and are telling the reader the best way to do something from your expertise. Do not use a judgmental tone when using this approach. Our readers should never be treated as children.

A journalistic approach means that the writer is a detached, impartial giver of information. The story is balanced, shows all sides of the issue and does not make any judgments. Readers respond well to this type of approach. It allows them to make up their own minds based upon all the facts.

4) All writers must provide a reference list for any book, magazine or website that was used in the course of putting together an article or column. A website would only be used as a reference if the writer got a phone number or address for someone off of it. It then should still be included.

5) No words in an article or column should be in any way similar to what was found in a reference material; even paraphrasing is unacceptable. All information not known to the writer through personal experience or knowledge must have the source of information cited.

6) Writers should edit all articles prior to submission. Extraneous words should be removed. Examples:
          You should
          It is important to
          In order
          In summary
          As I previously mentioned.

7) Don’t misuse since and because. Since refers to time.

8) Don’t repeat information. Don’t sum up at the end of the story.

9) The writer should end the story or column with the one point he or she wants the reader to remember about the article. Ending on a nice quote is good if there were interviews in the article.

10) The lead sentence should be captivating and draw the reader into the article. Any news articles must have the most current and important information in the first two sentences. Never begin a news item with something that has already happened, but the current consequence of what has happened.

CRITTERS USA magazine pays on publication (the magazine is usually on sale in August and payment will arrive in the latter part of that month). Payment varies according to quality and length of article, and number and quality of author-supplied photographs. We buy First North American Serial Rights on exclusive basis; the non-exclusive right to use the article in electronic media; and the nonexclusive right to use the article, as well as your name, image and biographical data, in advertising and promotion. We are entitled to make use of the article for the duration of the copyright and throughout the world.

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