Magazine article publishing

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KB7QPS, Dec 5, 2018.

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  1. K1OIK

    K1OIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    A Sentence wouldn't kill them? If I submitted an article on 59's in contesting I would get the same response as someone who spent hours on an article?
  2. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    If i was an editor and you sent me an article on 59s in contests, i would write you back, you are 59, 73.
    WZ7U and N2SR like this.
  3. K4PIH

    K4PIH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Or not technical enough. I've noticed that for quite a while the QST articles that are "build it yourself" or "look how smart I am I can build this" require the use of high end diagnostic equipment, CNC machines, advanced metal working skills.

    I did an article back in the 80's on how to build a 10m vertically polarized dipole and submitted it. Got all my stuff back in envelope about 6 months later, not accepted. I think the issue was that my build was for the ham on a serious budget and not very technical at all.
  4. KB7QPS

    KB7QPS Ham Member QRZ Page

    How many more articles did you write and submit after that?
  5. K4PIH

    K4PIH Ham Member QRZ Page

    5 to different publications, none of which were accepted. I realize that I am not a writer, at least for commercial publications. Did quite a bit of technical writing for the military in my job specialty. There is no guarantee that anything one writes and submits will be published or that will get payment for if published.

    IMHO point being that the remaining amateur radio publication(s) projects are focused toward hams with advanced technical skill and access to high end test equipment. I understand its a sign of the technical times and old boat anchor ops like me are not that interested in Arduino's, I also think that the high end projects are deterring new hams from getting deeper into the hobby (yes it's a hobby not a religion).
  6. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

    If I remember correctly, author James Michener was paid $0.05/word (before royalties); he made $$$ because his novels were vertiable doorstops, they were so thick.
  7. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Amateur radio isn't necessarily the best use of limited free time if you're shooting for productive...

    and you meant "spent," didn't you? (No fair blaming auto-spell or auto-correct)
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  8. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bingo. Writers write. The 10,000 hour rule from Gladwell's Outliers also comes to mind.

    And for some, marriage is an excellent vehicle for developing layer upon layer of thick, emotional skin necessary to deal with curt rejection...
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  9. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Writing articles, especially for an amateur radio magazine, or any other pseudo technical publication, with a circulation consisting of people with a very wide range of technical abilities, is not an easy thing to do. The audience is going to consist of those persons with a post PhD in Electrical Engineering all the way down to those who don't even know which end of a soldering iron is hot! The article cannot be comprised of things like Thevenin equivalents or Norton equivalents nor down to the comic book equivalent and yet appeal to both ends of the scale. Basically, a VERY "middle of the road" approach with a VERY occasional excursion to both ends of the scale.

    One of the things, that way too many potential authors get caught up in, is assuming that the potential audience is as technically savvy as the author. The author glosses over details that are essential to understanding the principles because the reader is "supposed to already know" those things. Often acronyms are included assuming that the reader knows what they mean and yet many, if not most, people do not have a clue as to what is really indicated by the acronym. This is even more problematic where, depending on the subject, a particular acronym has different meanings.

    Shortly after I went to work, right out of college, employed by the Collins Radio Company at the "new" corporate headquarters here in Richardson, Texas, every salaried employee had to take a week long "effective writing" course. The purpose of this course was to improve the written communications among the staff as well as when communicating with persons outside of the Collins Radio Company.

    An outside consultant had devised a formula, that was being disseminated around the electronics industry, telling how much education that was required to really understand what was written. For example, most newspapers were written for someone with a 6th grade education, popular magazines were written for someone with an 8th grade education, technical publications were aimed at someone with a 10th to 12th grade education. It had been discovered that many of the Collins manuals, especially for equipment designed for use by the military, when the formula was applied, required several years post PhD to understand. Those manuals were supposed to be used by the "average", at that time, military enlisted man who didn't even have a high school diploma.

    As a result of this, Collins recruited several technical writers who had been employed by the Heath Company and by Motorola both of which produced manuals that were much easier to understand.

    Writing magazine articles requires the ability to be able to transcend to a lower level without appearing to be condescending. Such is also a trait that is needed by teachers, etc. Not everyone is capable of doing this. In fact, the majority of people are not really capable of being effective educators and this, unfortunately, includes a fair number of graduates from teachers' colleges!

    As for rejection letters: Be very glad that, if you do get such, a form letter was even sent. Many publications do not even send a form letter. Most commercial magazines receive literally hundreds of unsolicited manuscripts every month and to even take the time to send out a rejection letter requires additional personnel which, in turn, costs money. Experienced authors realize that not every one of their articles is going to be accepted and they also know that if they get a rejection letter to be happy that such a letter was sent.

    Frankly, there is usually a system in place for the acceptance process of submitted articles. The first selection step is to look at the title and, maybe, read the first paragraph or two. If the article might "fit" somewhere into the needs of the magazine, the article goes on to the next stage. That stage is where the article is actually read. Then, the article usually goes into one of three piles: Immediate rejection, retention for possible future needs, and, the best of the lot, fills an immediate need. It is at this stage where, if rejection letters are sent, that the letter goes into the mail and this is especially true if the magazine just might consider future submissions from that author.

    The process for accepted articles is going to be different depending on the individual publication.

    Glen, K9STH
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  10. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The above ^^^ is so spot-on it deserves reposting and repeating. It's the plain truth!

    I'll just add this:

    QEX magazine was started by ARRL ~40 years ago because they got so many complaints that "QST is too technical!" and "we're not all engineers!" and such. And if you look at a couple of decades preceding that change, you see complaints in the "Correspondence" about "ARRL is shoving this SSB stuff down our throats!" and "too much math" and similar.

    The irony is that this was back when the written tests were supposedly so "hard" and "you had to draw diagrams and such", and when supposedly everyone knew math and science really well because the schools were SO good.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
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