Q&A with Guy Eastman
1) Does Eastmans’ ever pay for hunting stories?
The answer to this question is, almost never. I think in my nearly 20 years at the helm of the publications we have paid for maybe two or three stories that I can remember. All of those where very, very unique stories and trophies that were literally world records or extremely unique circumstances in some way. Paying for reader content is not really where we want to go with the publications and I think it would open up a can of worms that none of us really want to wade into.
2) What is the story selection process at Eastmans’?
Well, that is a very good question. Each and every year, we receive far more stories than we could ever have room for in the magazines. The editors and I have a very detailed selection process that grades stories by three primary criteria. First and foremost is photo quality; we can only do so much to fix a poor photo. Photo color, clarity, resolution, trophy setup and photo support are all taken into account.
The second factor in story selection is trophy quality. We can’t add inches, points or spread to the animal. It is our belief that our readers expect to read about the extraordinary adventure and trophy, so trophy quality does make a difference but it certainly is not the only criteria we look for in regard to publication.
The final factor in story selection is of course the story itself. Is it interesting and engaging to the reader? Our editors can work with you to make your story more engaging and interesting if need be. And the final X-factor if you will, is the unwritten rule of attitude. Once in a blue moon we receive a story from someone whose attitude just doesn’t fit the hunting culture Eastmans’ works so hard to promote. Congratulations, you killed a fantastic buck or bull, but don’t be a jerk about it.
3) How does the magazine determine its covers?
Having your photo on the cover of Eastmans’ is a very high honor for most hunters, and we do not take that lightly here. For the most part we are looking for very high quality, vertical photos from hard core hunters who have managed to do the nearly impossible task of killing literally a once-in-a-lifetime trophy. We only have 12 covers each year to fill, and the editors and I work very hard to get the best quality cover stories we can find. Sometimes we are looking for very specific shots for particular issues and we do slate them out as we get them throughout the year, so if you have a cover quality shot, get it to us as quickly as possible, because they do get committed to and slated pretty quickly after the hunting season is over.
4) How important is integrity and transparency to the organization when it comes to submissions?
That’s a very good question. Things have changed over the years. In the old days we just printed the best of what we had in our mailbox each and every issue. Now, the digital age is upon us and we are able to better communicate with our contributors. Our team does the best we can to let people know when and if they will be published in the magazines. Sometimes we know we will definitely use a story and sometimes we might bump it around for a few issues before we use it and sometimes it just isn’t going to fit this year.
I always tell the guys to let people know as soon as we do if the story will be selected. About 75% of the articles in each issue are chosen and slated months in advance. But, if we can’t use your story for some reason, please don’t get discouraged, send us another one the next time you find success. Some of our authors have submitted articles two or three times before they actually had one selected to run in the magazines.
5) Do you have any tips or tricks for hunters headed afield this fall, when it comes to getting their story published?
Of course, take a good quality camera along with you this fall. Most of our cover shots are now shot with Digital DSLR cameras. Hunt hard, it never hurts to come home empty-handed every once in a while. It makes the special hunts and trophies even more special.
Look at your hunt from the reader’s perspective. What would they like to know about your hunt, and how can you draw them into a very interesting story about your adventure? And finally, make sure you submit ALL of your photos when you send your story in. Sometimes, the photos you think are just so-so can be made into something really special when the article hits the hands of our design team.
Best of luck this fall, and we look forward to reading about your next hunting adventure.