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Writer's Guidelines

General information

  1. Family Chronicle's publisher and editor is Edward Zapletal edward@moorshead.com (888) 326-2476 (extension 105).

    The mailing address is: US inquiries: PO Box 194 Niagara Falls NY 14304;
    or CDN or International inquiries: 505 Consumers Road, Suite 312, Toronto, ON, M2J 4V8

  2. Family Chronicle is published six times a year (January/February; March/April; May/June; July/August; September/October; November/December) by Moorshead Magazines.
  3. Family Chronicle is available by subscription, on some newsstands and a few genealogy bookstores.
  4. Family Chronicle is based in Toronto, Canada. However over 90 percent of the circulation is in the US with the balance in Canada. We sell very few copies outside of North America and make no pretence that we cover other regions.
  5. US-based authors are paid in American funds; Canadian-based authors are paid in Canadian funds. Authors from other countries are usually paid in US dollars but this is negotiable. Payment is made 60 days after the issue is published (ie: payment for the Nov/Dec issue will be mailed from our office on December 15).
  6. Unless otherwise agreed, author payments will be for first world serial and electronic rights. We also reserve the right to include a work in future collections or "best of" reprint editions. Authors (unless they are employees of the magazine) always retain copyright on their work.
  7. Family Chronicle pays for articles. The current rate is $0.08 (8 cents) per word, plus we will pay $7 for each photo, image, visual etc. submitted, and used by us in the final layout. US based authors are paid in American funds; Canadian-based authors are paid in Canadian funds. Authors from other countries are normally paid in US dollars but this is negotiable.
Submissions: If you are thinking of proposing an article, e-mail the Editor with an initial query of the idea - you stand a good chance of getting a response regarding our interest. Keep initial queries short and to the point. We will ask from a more detailed proposal of up to one page in length (about 500 to 600 words). Do not be concerned if the response is slow - the Editor may be away or particularly busy.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is your deadline? We NEVER schedule articles from first-time authors until we have the manuscript. The reality is that only a fraction of people who promise us articles actually come through. We also work well ahead. For example, by the time one issue goes to the printer, we have pretty well firmed up the content of the following issue. If you are a first time submitter, send us the article when it is ready - do not worry about deadlines.

How would you like it submitted? After acceptance, we much prefer e-mail submissions - send a covering e-mail with the manuscript as an attachment and any illustrations, prefereably as high-resolution images in saved in JPEG format. If you have lots of images, include the extras in another e-mail with a subject line detailing the article name and magazine name. If you have some reason to use regular mail, send to our Canadian address with a printed manuscript and a disk. There is no need to send an SASE or International Reply Coupon. We prefer Microsoft Word or RTF (rich text format) formats.

Please include the following information with every manuscript. If you are submitting as a word processor file, such as Microsoft Word, the best approach is to add points 1 & 2 to the top of the manuscript and the bio information to the end of the article. Please supply a separate file for the image captions or add them to the end of the article after your bio:

1) Your complete name, mailing address and telephone number

2) Your e-mail address

3) Supply captions for all images, illustrations or photographs you supply

4) Supply a short biography of yourself in about 30 to 50 words that we can append to the end of your article.

How long do you want it? This is tough to answer as it depends on many variables. Our average article is 2,000 words but rarely they are up to 7,000 words. We wish we had more submissions of 7-800 words (with a picture this is a page) - if the information is useful and well presented, an article of this length is likely to be accepted. Many writers seem to believe that their great idea is "worth" a lot of words; an article's popularity bears little relationship to its length.

What types of article are you looking for? A problem with this question is that we haven't thought of the topics of some of the best articles - that is why they have not been done yet! Family Chronicle is generally a "how-to" magazine. Most articles should give clear information about how the reader can conduct their research. Just because we have already covered a topic does not mean that we will not do this again - but only if it was some time ago and/or a new slant is put on it.

What articles do you NOT want?

  1. An article telling us how popular genealogy has become.
  2. Personal family histories that involve no unusual or useful techniques.
  3. "Academic" theses with loads of footnotes.
  4. 7,000 word articles that could be covered in 1,200 words.
  5. Highly specialized areas of research that belong in specialist publications.
  6. Articles written on subjects of which the author has only a passing knowledge.
Do you want to see a copy before submitting your proposal? Visit our website to purchase a print or PDF edition of our current issue.

Illustrations: PLEASE do not send us valuable originals unless we ask for these. We hate the responsibility (if we ask for originals we copy them immediately and return them the same day). Photographs and documents should ideally be scanned and attached to an e-mail. The resolution we need depends on the size of the original. If the original is 4in wide or less, use 300 dpi. If it is over, use the formula: Resolution in dpi = 300 x 4/width. Thus if it is 8in wide, 150dpi is fine. If this seems confusing, do it at 300dpi. Scan black and white documents or photos in black and white - scanning them in color only makes the file size bigger. Send us the file as a JPEG - this is a compressed format. If you are offered different levels of compression, choose the least (best picture). If you do not have a scanner, get the documents copied on a color photocopier - regular photocopies are rarely good enough. Color copiers produce a "line structure" but we can get rid of that electronically. Copyright. Please do not send us material that is copyrighted without advising us. We can usually tell if this is a problem - but not always.

If in doubt, ask. We LOVE receiving good submissions while bad ones are boring - so we have a vested interest in helping you get it right.

Why Articles are Declined

We have to decline quite a lot of articles that are submitted. Often an article is submitted on a subject that has recently been published or one that is coming up. In this case, we always tell the person the real reason for rejection.

It is not easy to know what to say to when you reject manuscripts that may have taken the author many, many hours. We usually say that we are unable to use the article and leave it at that - yes, it is a bit cowardly; we just want to avoid unpleasantness.

However, here are the most common reasons that articles are declined. If we have turned yours down, maybe the answer lies here:

  1. Ignoring our Author Guidelines and/or not bothering to read a copy of the magazine. Boring. We try to read fully all the material that is submitted to us but this is harder than it seems. If we find ourselves longing to get to the end, falling asleep or not enjoying it, we have pretty well decided that this is not something we wish to publish.

  2. Complexity. One of the most common reasons for rejection is when the author is describing people and their relationships. These can be VERY difficult for people, other than the author, to follow and should be kept to a minimum.Obvious errors. If a manuscript contains obvious errors, a red flag goes up quickly. Names being spelled differently in various parts of text, general spelling errors and factual inaccuracies are quite common. When we see these, we know the author is careless, at least in this area. Sure, we can catch the obvious errors but has the author also been careless in sections of the article that we might not catch? A single error is not, by itself, a reason for being rejected. Authors can usually avoid this by reading their submission, and getting someone else to read it, before submitting it to us.

  3. Including personal opinions unrelated to the article. If you believe that artificial sweetener Aspartame is a deadly poison or that President Bush has a low I.Q., keep your opinions to yourself when writing about genealogy - we are not interested in your crusade, even if we agree with you.

  4. Articles which are written to demonstrate what a great writer the person is. We suspect that these people have taken a writing course and are showing off their style. Good, even great, writing is irrelevant if there is no substance to the article. Don't misunderstand - we are not against good writing, in fact, we love it, but we shouldn't have to ask "Where's the beef?"

  5. Don't write about things you know nothing about.

Please understand that we are not trying to catch you out. Our overwhelming concern when we are reading an article is "Will the reader find this interesting - will it help them in their own research?"

We are looking for reasons to accept your work, not to reject it.


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