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Bonnie Jo Davis
Editorial guidelines, also known
as writer's guidelines, are the rules set forth by publishers for contributing
authors. In order to have your article taken seriously you must review the
guidelines prior to submission. It is also recommended that you review
previous editions of the publication to get a better feel for the types of
articles favored by the editor(s).
Outlined below are the typical issues covered in editorial guidelines along
with their definitions and any additional information you should know.
Length of article: The minimum and maximum word count of articles considered
for publication. Online articles are usually expected to be 750 to 1,000 words while off-line
publications will often accept a longer article.
Topics: The subjects of articles accepted by the publication. Never submit an
off topic article as this is very annoying and may result in further
submissions from you being banned.
Illustrations/Photographs: Some publications require/accept illustrations or
photographs and will usually specify the size and format required for
Editorial style: Consistency and accuracy governs the use of a style selected
by the editorial department of a publication. Many publications require the
use of the
Associated Press Stylebook which covers spelling, capitalization,
grammar, punctuation and usage.
Author Photograph: Some publications require or accept a photograph of the
author usually included with the submission of the article. Guidelines will
often cover the size and format of photographs.
Byline length: Also known as an author biography or resource box. Some
publications have certain requirements for length, characters per line and
what or how much contact information can be included.
Payment: Your byline is often the only payment you will receive for your
article. However, some publications (particularly those in print) pay for
articles by the word or per article.
Rights: Governs whether or not the publication will accept original or
reprinted articles, how long they plan to use the material and whether the
article can be used elsewhere at the same time.
Query requirement: A query is a letter written to the editor that proposes an
article topic and asks permission to submit. Some publications require that
you query the editor (by e-mail, fax or mail) prior to forwarding your article.
Submission methods: Methods of submissions may include via fax, e-mail or hard
copy sent by courier or standard mail.
Editorial calendar: It is not unusual for a publication to establish an
editorial calendar for each year far in advance. The calendar will cover
topics, themes, article types and required submission dates broken down by
Format accepted: Each publication will accept articles in certain formats such
as Word, WordPerfect, text or Adobe Acrobat.
Audience: Demographics such as number of subscribers, gender, educational
level, age and income level.
Notification: When you will be contacted about your submission. Many
publishers choose to contact only if an article is chosen for publication.
Acknowledgements: In some cases you will be required to sign (either
electronically or on paper) an acknowledgement that you have read the
It is very important to understand and follow the editorial guidelines of your
target publications in order to maximize your chances of publication. Not all
publications will include all of the above items in their editorial
guidelines. Contact the editor if any of this information is not disclosed and
you need it to refine your submission.
(c) 2004, Davis Virtual Assistance. All rights in all media reserved.
Bonnie Jo Davis is an
experienced shoestring marketer and her favorite technique is providing
content for publishers. Her latest venture is the moderator of the Article
Submission E-Gazette Yahoo! group which provides a spam free exchange for
writers and publishers. To join the group visit