10 secrets to write a good article to be published

Here are some FAQ to discuss “How to write a good article, send it to the magazine and achieve publication”. In this post, I use my experience in “Popular Mechanics”, as well as the experience of writing articles in the magazines “The World of Fiction”, “What’s new in science and technology,” “SportFacilities” , “Technique – Youth”, “Bulletin of Aeronautics” and so on. I hasten to note that I once got to work in “Popmekh”, simply by writing several articles there, observing all the requirements that were laid out in this material.

First I want to stipulate that if it does not take a literate, well-written and well-written article if it does not take it at once, then at least any magazine – and “Story”, “Science and Life”, “Cosmopolitan”, and “Gambling” will be considered. The only journals that should not be written at all are fully translated editions. In order to find out if the journal does not belong to such people, you need to open it and see if among the authors of the articles (not news, not columns, not notes – they are usually written by editorial staff, namely full-length articles) by Russian names. If not – a magazine translated, do not and work hard.

1. Where to begin? 

When you decide to write an article, you should first determine the topic. Or first, come up with a topic, and then find a suitable magazine. Or – so it’s easier and more convenient – first decide on the magazine, where you would like to see your work, and then work. After choosing a magazine, you need to buy this magazine and read it. Do not find the network version, do not dig on the site – namely, look through the paper journal. The fact is that the layout for all the magazines is different. Some have tie-ins, others do not, some have calls and epigraphs, others do not. Even the pdf version of the layout and volume may differ, and all publishers – without exception – are primarily paper-oriented.

Important: an article for a particular journal must necessarily be written in a form that corresponds to both this journal and a particular rubric.

2. How to determine the volume? 

The volume of articles in different journals is different. For example, in “Popular Mechanics” the volumes range from 9,000 characters to 15,000 – with all frames, inserts, plus signatures to illustrations. In the “World of Fiction” you can find materials for 22 000. And in “Story” – and 45 000 characters. If the article is very good, but greatly exceeds the volume, it can be shortened by the editor (although with the probability of 95% it will be sent for processing to the author); if the article is good, but much less than the volume, it will be sent for revision – the author will not be added for the author. The likelihood that an article that is heavily out of bounds accepted in the volume will not be considered at all, is very large.
The volumes are counted in characters with spaces. I know only one edition (I will not call it), where it is considered without gaps, is wrong. Count the signs in a paper printed on paper simply: the letters in the column multiplied by the number of lines, then by the number of columns. Takes about five minutes.
A case from practice: once I was potential, but as a result, the failed author asked: what is the volume of the article you are typing. I answered without hesitation: 8-15 thousand. He in horror sent me a reply letter: 15 thousand words ?! What a huge! Usually 3-4 thousand … It seems that I never managed to disbelieve it, that in words in Russian practice the volumes are not measured due to the peculiarities of the language structure, this is purely an English-speaking feature.

FAQ-3. How to decide on the form? 

Different forms of writing have been adopted in different journals. For example, “PopMech” loves 1-2 inserts per 1000-2000 characters each plus must be entered (entry, highlighted in bold). Epigraphs and callouts “PM” does not use. On the other hand, in the “World of Fiction” it is customary to precede articles with an epigraph of a certain volume and to make 3-4 callouts inside the text, small sentences taken out of context; the same chip is, for example, the “Caravan of stories” or “Story”. Be sure to look at these form elements. When the author sends an article written with a continuous homogeneous canvas, the probability that it will be read at all is about 1%. Do not forget that the article is divided into chapters – their number and size are also individual for each magazine.

4. How to determine the name? 

The title of the article is desirable to sustain in the spirit of the magazine for which the material is being written. In the “PM” often sent articles called “Research methods for building stream ciphers based on a shift register with linear feedback.” Such articles are not even scrolled in 99% of cases, because if a person can not get acquainted with the style of the journal titles and give the corresponding title to the article, it is unlikely that he will write a suitable article. I repeat: the article is written for a specific journal with the requirements of a particular journal. If I see that the article was written for “Nizh”, I ask it to rework for “PM” (if it’s worth it).

5. What should be the format? And the font? 

To send it is necessary in a format .doc . There are no other options. Articles in the body of the letter, in html, in txt, are never read. In the body of the letter should be information about the article – its, so to speak, presentation. In principle, .docx is not forbidden, but not all editions have a new Word – editors are sometimes very archaic.
The font must be one. Best of all – Times New Roman, size 11-12, the interval is normal. You do not need to send articles with one and a half intervals and horse fonts – the editor is not blind, and the time of the typewriters, when GOSTs were created on the intervals, is a thing of the past. Let me remind you: a double interval was required, so that the letters in the old typewriters did not crawl over each other. In electronic documents, this is not required. Subtitles and calls should be allocated bold – it’s just convenient. Insertions should be placed at the end of the article, and not in the place where it should be (because the designers will still do so, as accepted in the magazine).

6. What to write in the body of the letter? 

In the body of the letter, you need to say a few words. In particular, explain what is contained in the attached document. Because if the document is attached, and the body of the letter is empty, the message is regarded as spam and deleted.
About yourself, nothing special to write is not worth it: name, surname, and that’s enough. The magazine does not care where you published before, how old you are and what your experience is. The magazine needs only a good article.
A case from practice. Somehow I got a call from one potential author and for a long time (about 20 minutes, really) told me about his 20-year experience in journalism and about which magazines he was editor-in-chief (I was especially impressed by Vodka magazine). And then he sent an illiterate article, completely copied from the TSB almost unchanged (and illiteracy was precisely in these tiny changes).

7. At what address should I send? 

Usually, the editorial e-mail is indicated in the output of the paper version of the journal. On sites it happens not always. You do not need to send letters with articles to advertising departments, to distribution departments, to the main designer’s personal mail and so on. Or to a general editorial address, or to the address of the editor-in-chief. If neither is indicated, it means that the article journal simply does not accept, at least, the gravity.
Do not ever make a newsletter. If there are several magazines in the address of the recipient, then the author wrote the article not personally for someone and there may be unhealthy competition. Thank you, we will not fight for others with you.

8. Do you need illustrations? And links to sources? 

If you have links to primary sources – network or paper – you can bring them. But you can not bring. It does not play a serious role. If you like the article, you may be asked about it additionally.
Most magazines are pleased when you send not only text, but also illustrations. In principle, this work is not yours, but a photo editor. But you, being the author, are better versed in your own material, and, perhaps, you will find the best pictures. You can
send two types: – for publication (hayrez, roughly speaking, more than 1000 by 1000 pixels, I will not load you with depth and resolution). The bigger, the better.
– for the sample (suitable for the meaning of low resolution images). It is necessary to mark and explain with comments.
Anyway, if you decide to send photos, adequately name them (that is not dwe5evIMG_435, but, for example, automobil_1) and sign what is depicted on each.

9. What under no circumstances should there be in the article? 

The first and the hardest – no copy-paste ! I have a habit of taking arbitrary phrases from articles and hammering them into Google. If they are in the same wording – the article is no longer readable. Believe me: an experienced editor will easily determine copy-paste by eye.
Second – no mistakes in simple factologyA case from practice. One day a certain author sent an article mentioning “musician Jean-Michel Gerard”. Only my angelic patience forced me to send the article for rework (for the author is extremely inexperienced), and not send to the basket.If a person can not see in Wikipedia (no more) how the name “Jarre” is written, then the editor can not trust a single fact of his material, and verification of facts is the work of the author. The same, besides names, concerns dates, names of planes and ships, geographical names, known historical facts.
A good editor is extremely difficult to deceive (although it happens, of course). I recently on the eye determined in an article by one author (by the way, permanent and not bad) that he was mistaken when he wrote that the Spanish Balboa armored cars were built on the Ford chassis. I sensed that Dodge or Chevrolet, and was right.

10. What else to add? 

1) Do not be lazy to look at the magazine’s website, if there is one, about what this magazine used to write – in previous issues. You can send an excellent article on a topic that has already been disclosed, and the article will be rejected.
2) Stylistic moments. For example, in “PM” it is allowed to include in the article personal feelings, that is, to use the pronoun “I”. In many magazines, articles should be impersonal, that is, “I” and personal opinion are unacceptable. Sometimes in articles we allow humor, sometimes not. Again: look at the magazine.
3) Another stylistic moment – formulas, numbers and tables. Sometimes we get material that is slightly more than half composed of formulas. Such articles are relevant only in special narrowly directed publications, but not in the popular science gloss. And it happens that such articles are even sent to “Cosmopolitan”.


Summing up, I repeat again: the article must necessarily correspond to the magazine in which it is written. If the article should be written in a manner that is written without any factual errors and on the topic of interest, then at least they will consider it. Whether they accept or not is a subjective matter. But believe me: 95% of the articles sent are not published precisely because of the initially illiterate approach.

This post is for those who want to write, but do not know how to stand up. Those who have long, with pleasure, write well and beautifully in their own blogs, we often find ourselves and ask for us to write. And so do not only we. A couple of times, by the way, the move worked: “Look, what a cool article I wrote on my blog; come on, I’ll rework it for you. ” We agreed, and it was not in vain.

10 secrets to write a good article to be published

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