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What is Signs of the Times®?
Manuscript preparation Manuscripts must be typed, double spaced, on white paper, and if you have a daisy wheel or dot matrix printer you should use a new ribbon. Authors submitting on speculation please send hardcopy only. Whenever possible, assigned articles should be submitted both on hardcopy and on disk. Disk submissions should be in any version of either MS Word or WordPerfect. We pay $25 less for articles that do not come in either of these formats.
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Payment Signs of the Times® pays on acceptance. For first North American serial rights we pay 10 to 20 cents a word, half that for reprints. Since some articles are posted on our Web page, we request electronic rights as well. When accepting an article for publication, we send the author a contract specifying the rights we are purchasing and the amount of the payment.
Types of articles
Signs of the Times® publishes articles in the following categories: Doctrine, gospel, prophecy, Christian lifestyle, and first-person stories. Also needed are one-page fillers of 600 to 650 words. The attached sheet describes what we are looking for in each of these articles.
Doctrinal Doctrinal articles deal with the teachings of the Bible as understood by Seventh-day Adventists. These articles are entirely assigned. We are not open to queries or unsolicited manuscripts in this category. Also, almost without exception, our doctrinal articles are written by persons who are Seventh-day Adventists.
Gospel Gospel articles deal with salvation and how to experience it. This includes articles on salvation by faith, how to cultivate a devotional life (Bible study, meditation, prayer), how to experience victory over temptation and sin, how to trust God in trial, etc. Stories that share what others have learned in these areas are also welcome. While most of our gospel articles are assigned or picked up from reprints, we do occasionally accept unsolicited manuscripts in this area. Gospel articles should be 1,000 to 1,200 words. We like sidebars that give additional information on the topic wherever possible. Sidebars should be included in the word count.
Prophecy Prophecy articles are either staff written or assigned. We are not open to queries or unsolicited manuscripts in this category.
Christian lifestyle Lifestyle articles deal with the practical problems of everyday life from a biblical and Christian perspective. Recently published titles in this category include "Taming the Strong-willed Child," "Emotional Abuse: What It Is and Why it Hurts," "When Kids Are Home Alone," and "How to Comfort a Grieving Friend." Lifestyle articles are typically 1,000 to 1,200 words. We request that authors include sidebars that give additional information on the topic wherever possible. Sidebars should be included in the word count.
God's Amazing Grace The emphasis in this department is on spiritual growth. We want to hear readers stories about their walk with God--conversion stories, answers to prayer, victory over temptation, and other ways in which God's leading in their lives has helped them to be more spiritual persons.
First-person stories These articles must be written in the first person. Authors who are writing about someone else's experience should use "as told to" in the by-line. First-person stories must illuminate a spiritual or moral truth that the individual in the story learned. We especially like stories that hold the reader in suspense or that have an unusual twist at the end. First-person stories should be about 1,000 words.
Short fillers Often a one-page article is needed to fill an empty spot in a particular month's layout. These fillers can be inspirational/devotional, Christian lifestyle, stories, comments that illuminate a biblical text--in short, anything that might fit in a general Christian magazine. Fillers should be 500 to 700 words.
Suggestions for Writers
Audience The audience for Signs of the Times® includes both Christians and nonChristians of all ages. However, we recommend that our authors write with the nonChristian in mind, since most Christians can easily relate to articles that are written for the nonChristian reader, whereas many nonChristians will have no interest in an article that is written from a Christian perspective. Also, writing for readers who are in the 25- to 45-year age span will probably attract adults of nearly all ages.
Religion versus spirituality In today's world, "spiritual" is in and "religion" is out, as are also "church" and "denomination." Thus, unless religion, church, or denomination are an essential part of the article or story, we prefer that these be left out. While Signs® is published by Seventh-day Adventists, we mention even our own denominational name in the magazine rather infrequently. The purpose is not to hide who we are but to make the magazine as attractive to nonChristian readers as possible. Also, please avoid denominational jargon and stained-glass piety. These are almost guaranteed to cause nonChristians to stop reading the magazine.
Solutions to problems We are especially interested in articles that respond to the questions of everyday life that people are asking and the problems they are facing. Since these questions and problems nearly always have a spiritual component, articles that provide a biblical and spiritual response are especially welcome. A good rule of thumb is to write two words of solution for each word you write stating the question or problem. Write about benefits! What benefit will the reader get from reading your article?
Reprints If you have written an article that you feel meets our criteria but that has already been published elsewhere, feel free to submit it to us with a notation that you are offering us second rights. Photocopies of previously published articles are acceptable. And, according to current U.S. copyright law, unless you sold all rights to the previous publisher, neither you nor we need to request the first publisher for permission to reprint. The copyright reverted to you once the article appeared in the previous publication.
Sidebars Any time you can provide us with one or more sidebars that add information to the topic of your article, you enhance your chance of getting our attention. Sidebars can vary in length from a short paragraph to a column. Two kinds of sidebars seem to be especially popular with readers: Those that give information in lists, with each item in the list consisting of only a few words or at the most a sentence or two; and technical information or long explanations that in the main article might get the reader too bogged down in detail. Whatever their length, sidebars need to be part of the total word count of the article.
Introductions We like the articles in Signs of the Times® to have interest-grabbing introductions. One of the best ways to do this is with anecdotes, particularly those that have a bit of suspense or conflict. We find that it also helps to include one or two more anecdotes later in the article. Readers also like to know that someone who is an authority on the topic supports the author's point. Thus we encourage authors to do a bit of research to find some authorities they can quote in their article. Quotations of a paragraph or two are considered to be "fair use," and you need not obtain permission from the original author. However, even a couple of lines from a song or poem can constitute such a large percentage of the total work as to violate copyright law. It is the author's responsibility to obtain any permissions that are required and to pay for those permissions where that is necessary.
Religious affiliation It is not necessary to be a Seventh-day Adventist in order to be published in Signs of the Times®. However, you may find it helpful to know something about our beliefs, which we will be glad to share with you in a booklet called Let's Get Acquainted, available free on request. Please include a 62" x 92" SASE with postage for two ounces.
Signs of the Times®
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