Article Submission Guidelines

January 1st, 2012

Submitting to Reach Out, Columbia

ROC accepts inspirational/educational material that aligns with our mission statement.

“Reach Out, Columbia is committed to presenting the heart and works of Jesus in clarity and purity. We strive to encourage a deeper, more steadfast love toward others, and provide a vehicle for the Body of Christ to come together as one voice in corporate agreement and expression of faith.”

We accept feature-length articles, essays and other musings, short stories, and poetry. Because our readership is non-denominational and composed of both Christians and non-Christians, we publish only works that are non-divisive in tone. With the exception of a few assigned features, ROC is a non-paying publication. Many of our writers consider their submissions a “tithe” of their talent to the Lord through Reach Out, Columbia. Writing for ROC allows writers to be published, to share their writing with over 40,000 readers a month, and to build a writing platform for their resumes. While we ask for a three to four month lead time, writers retain full rights to their articles.

Please format your submission according to the guidelines below.

Thank you for your interest in ROC. While we have regular writers, we also welcome story ideas and submissions from others. We believe the collective effort of many is what makes ROC so appealing to our diverse readership.

Writer’s Guidelines

Submission. We prefer your submission to be emailed as an attached document, not in the body of the email. Email your submission to submit@reachoutcolumbia.com. Our mailing address is Editor, Reach Out, Columbia, 224 O’Neil Ct., Suite 1, Columbia, SC 29223.

Format. All submissions must be formatted in a Word Document (97-2003 or later version), Times New Roman font, 12 pt., single spaced. Use a block format (no paragraph indents) with a hard return (hit the space bar twice) between paragraphs. Only one space after end punctuation. Each submission must be titled. At the top left corner, please include your name, address, phone number and e-mail address.

Article Length. Devotional type pieces generally run between 500 and 750 words. Full length expositions and feature articles run between 750 and 1,250 words. Please edit your own work to fit the word count.

Scripture. We prefer Bible references from the NIV version. If you prefer another, please identify which one. Copy the verse exactly as it is printed in the Bible. It should be formatted as follows: “For by grace you are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). A different version might be marked (Ephesians 2:8,9 KJV).

Within the text, don’t italicize, unless it is a lengthy passage, which we try not to use. Don’t begin your article with a verse unless it is a study of that verse. Even then, we’ll probably pull it out of the main text and display it.

Person. Please use third person unless it is your personal experience.

Attribution. Please attribute all quotes to someone, and never more than one person. (Two people wouldn’t likely say the same thing in unison.) Never quote two different people in the same paragraph. Separate graphs for each speaker.

Editorializing. Please refrain from injecting your opinion or acclamation. Let the readers reach their conclusions based on your account of the story, quotes, and other supportive (hopefully compelling) material.

Declarations. If you declare something of importance (such as: The people of Haiti made a pact with the devil) be sure to reference your source. Who said so? In what publication, etc.?

Numerals. Use AP style: spell out whole numbers below 10, use figures for 10 and above. Spell out first through ninth when they indicate sequence in time or location. Starting with 10th use figures. Never begin a sentence with a numeral.

Exclamation points. Don’t use them unless you’re quoting someone shrieking, which won’t be often. They are not to be used for emphasis.

Ellipsis. We’ll depart from AP style here, favoring three dots separated by spaces, a space in front and behind ( . . . ). For separation of thought within a sentence, use the em dash (two hyphens in Word should automatically unite to form em dash). There should be a space before and after ( — ).

Less is more. If five words will say the same thing as 15, go for five. But don’t wash out the color.

According to. Don’t begin a sentence with this.

In the beginning. Use the first sentence or two to capture the reader’s attention and get him into the article. Don’t bog them down with too much information, especially stats.

Resume-writing. If you’re telling a story about a man’s ministry, some pivotal experience he’s had, or whatever the crux of the story is, get quickly to the core of it. The man’s background information can come later.

Wrap-up. Tie your story together at the end. As they say, tell ‘em what you told ‘em. But don’t rehash or state the obvious.

Bio. At the bottom of the page, please include a brief three- or four-line bio on yourself. You might reference earlier issues for style. Attach a photo (jpg format) if you’d like.

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