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Write for the Bulletin

Writers’ guidelines for The American Ceramics Society

We are looking for writers that will author feature pieces for our monthly membership magazine, the Bulletin of the American Ceramic Society. We are also looking for writers to provide shorts/posts for our magazine and blog, Ceramic Tech Weekly.

Our membership (and, therefore, readership) consists of engineers and scientists (federal and private labs), students, academicians and industry that work in the field of ceramics.

By “ceramics,” we are referring to a general category of fairly advanced materials used in anything from semiconductors to solar cells to batteries to cookware. This includes glass, minerals and fairly “ordinary” materials, such as cement, concrete, brick and refractory brick.

(Note: We are not looking for ceramics stories related to the artistic side of ceramics. We have another branch that handles that. If that is your stock-in-trade, see our friends at Ceramics Arts Daily/Ceramics Monthly, http://www.ceramicartsdaily.org.)

Currently, ceramics overlaps with many other “advanced” materials sciences. It is not always clear cut when something has more to do with, for example, “metals” than ceramics, for example. We tend to be fairly encompassing when it comes to the term “ceramics.”

The field of ceramics is very exciting right now because these materials are playing an important role in developing alternative energy sources, electronic devices, biomedical implants, fusion and fission power, lightweight military armor and infrastructure creation. For people with a science background, these are usually fun things to write about.

Bulletin feature stories:
The level of writing we target is for a broad audience of our members. We assume that they have a very good understanding of science in general (most have MS or Ph.D.s in a science or engineering field), but perhaps only an in-depth knowledge in a particular area. Thus, the articles tend to be “surveys” of certain technical areas (e.g., “what’s new in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells), profiles of labs, schools or companies (e.g., Corning or A123) or people within those facilities, business trends, and policy discussions.

The articles are not meant to be at a technical level as detailed as if they were being prepared for a peer-reviewed journal, but they also don’t need to teach the basics, either.

We can usually provide some initial leads and hooks for the story. We expect authors can then branch out from there. The research has to be done either electronically or over the phone. We usually need the author’s help in arranging for photos and illustrations, and the bottom line is that we will need one photo or illustration per 500 words.

Samples of the Bulletin can be found here:http://www.ceramics.org/publications/bulletin/index.aspx .

All features should be submitted in a MS Word or compatible format. Please – no double spaces after punctuation marks. Authors can suggest headlines, but this is not a requirement. Photos need to be high-resolution and can submitted in most frequently-found formats (jpg, tiff, eps, psd are all okay – check with us if you are unsure.) All photos and illustrations must be captioned and individuals must be identified.

CTW blog posts/Bulletin shorts:
We are also looking for regular contributors to our main blog, Ceramic Tech Weekly (http://www.ceramictechweekly.org) and for the “department shorts” in the Bulletin.

The content of the CTW blog posts are generally the same as for the Bulletin, although we allow a little more casual writing style, and we try to put more “breaking” information about research, newly unveiled applications and products, public policy issues, etc. In a sense, our blog and shorts in the Bulletin serve function as an “aggregator” of ceramics-related news rather than doing original reporting and writing. We anticipate that blog/shorts writers will quote heavily, with attribution, from original sources, but will explain what the ceramics angle is to the story, especially in the lede.

However, we also don’t want posts that are thinly veiled rewrites of press releases. It requires a nose for sensing what is “new” and what is a rehash or a sales pitch.  The best blog and shorts posts are ones that provide some analysis/opinion and include an original quote or comment from one of the people referenced in the story.

The shorts in the Bulletin are organized along the following lines. These distinctions aren’t rigid, and often a story could be printed in more the one category, but, in print, we have to go with only one of these categories:

•    Ceramics in Energy
•    Ceramics in the Environment
•    Advances in Nanotechnology
•    Research Briefs
•    News & Trends
•    People in the Spotlight (our members, individual and corporate)

A typical post/short is 150-500 words, plus photo or illustration.

All blog posts/shorts initially should be submitted in a MS Word or compatible format. Please – no double spaces after punctuation marks. Photos need to be high-resolution (minimum 300 dpi) and can submitted in most typical formats e.g., jpg, tiff, eps, psd are all okay – check with us if you are unsure. Experienced and trusted blog writers can also submit drafts via our blog editing software, WordPress.

Editing styles
In general, we follow the AP Stylebook, however we make some exceptions based on our audience and also based on standard scientific notation. We are currently re-compiling a list of our exceptions.

For Bulletin features, we pay by length of story but not by the word, and our pay scale is not linear. We pay a little more per word for shorter pieces, ranging from $350 for about 1,000 words to $950 for 5000 words. We reimburse for some telephone and perhaps miscellaneous expenses, but these have to be agreed to before hand. Payment is upon publication, but requires an invoice.

For CTW blog posts/shorts, we pay $25 per post with a target of two acceptable posts a week. Nearly all blog posts are also used as shorts, and vice versa, but we only compensate once.

Freelancers’ relationship to the American Ceramic Society
All freelancers are considered to be contract workers. We have a simple, straightforward standard contract and we will have to have a signed contract in hand before compensation is made. As a vendor, we also require the submission of a formal invoice from the author before payment is made.

Contact the editor of the Bulletin, Eileen De Guire, edeguire@ceramics.org or 614-794-5828.

Eileen De Guire

Editor, The Bulletin
The American Ceramic Society
600 N. Cleveland Ave., Suite 210
Westerville, OH 43082

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