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Write Now! How to Turn Your Expertise into Marketable, Professional Text


Julie Murphree
Julie Murphree, Editor, Purchasing Today(r) magazine
Roberta J. Duffy
Roberta J. Duffy, Writer, Purchasing Today(r) magazine

85th Annual International Conference Proceedings - 2000 

Abstract: You're confident you possess extensive supply management knowledge. But, could you put it in a written package that speaks creatively and efficiently to your peers? Whether you write for your organization or want to write for NAPM's Purchasing Today(r), at this workshop you'll learn the mechanics of solid professional writing; the editorial process at Purchasing Today(r) (Yes, you can be published!); and tips for making the writing easier, whether for work or fun.

What's In It For You? A lot! Contributing to Purchasing Today magazine can do wonders for your career and writing skills. In addition to the national recognition with your published byline, you'll be sharing your expertise, ideas, and helpful "how to" advice with your peers. Also, are you working toward your certification? Once published, you'll earn one C.P.M. point. Finally, upon publication, you'll have a tangible resource in-hand that can be reprinted for business partners, co-workers and executives.

How Do I Get Published? A first step is to contact the editor, and discuss your idea. The editor can tell you whether your idea fits with the objectives of the magazine. In a concise paragraph or conversation, explain your idea. Often, the editor can help you refine your idea based on current needs of the magazine.

Purchasing Today(r) focuses on purchasing operations/practices, business practices, forecasts, new technology, research, the environment, legal, and other topics that influence the purchasing and supply profession.

Articles received will be reviewed. However, NAPM cannot guarantee when or if articles will be published. Articles will be reviewed by members of the Editorial Review Board for a variety of factors, including timeliness, depth of knowledge, relevancy to profession, accuracy, and clarity. The ultimate suitability of articles for publication is determined by NAPM in its own best judgment, and NAPM will have no obligation to publish the articles if NAPM determines, in its sole discretion, that the article is unsuitable for publication. In the event that the article is published, however, the author will receive full and prominent credit for the work.

Articles will be accepted at all times. A suggested minimum leadtime is five months from publication date. NAPM will request articles from the membership or general public in return for a byline. The quid pro quo is an author's credit including title, company name, location of company, and two free copies of the published issue of the magazine.

In regards to format, we prefer to have articles submitted on 3 1/2" disks in Microsoft Word 7.0. We can translate most other word processing formats. If you are using Microsoft Word 7.0, you can e-mail to and send your article as an attachment.

Author's name, title, address, daytime telephone, and NAPM affiliation must be included with the article document. Copy must be clean and accurate. Article length can vary - approximately 700-800 words for a one-page article; 1,200-1,400 words for a two-page article; and 2,200-2,500 for a three-page article. Using double spacing and 1 inch margins, one page approximately equals 320 words. Therefore, a 1,200-word article is approximately 3.75 pages.

For voluntary submissions, the author warrants that the articles will be an original creation by him/herself and that, in its current format, at least 60 percent has not been previously published.

NAPM editorial staff reserves the right to make last-minute copy changes to articles even after final review and sign-off. We require this editorial authority to maintain flexibility and meet space or style requirements.

NAPM uses The Chicago Manual of Style for punctuation, grammar, and usage. An NAPM Style Manual, based on the Chicago guide, is available upon request for preparation of articles.

Frequently Asked Questions: Here's some questions we commonly receive when working with authors.

Q: What do you like to see most in articles?

A: There are many subtle factors that can go into a great article. Some things we're always conscious of at Purchasing Today(r) include: a good balance of information for purchasers in the manufacturing and non-manufacturing environments; current statistics with the appropriate documentation; specific "how-to" advice that our readers can apply to their own situations. Think about the type of articles you enjoy reading - probably those that are broad enough to apply to your circumstance, but provide specific answers to help you out.

Q. What will my relationship be with the editorial staff?

A: The biggest note here is that you'll be working closely with your assigned editorial staff person. The editorial staff will provide you will a writer's packet (for first time writer's) that includes information such as a "Write Well" page and NAPM's Style Manual. In addition, you'll hear from them periodically to aid you as you progress with your article. Finally, they will be working with you closely for final rewrite, edits, additions, deletions and whatever else might be required to get the article to the publishing stage. You will always have the opportunity to review a final version of the article after edits.

Q. How long do you want the article to be?

A: This depends on the type of article we're having you write. For Purchasing Today's column articles, the word length is typically 900 words. If we're having you write a "Strategies and Solutions" article (positioned in the beginning of the magazine), you'll be writing a 700-word article. For the feature articles, which are always longer, you can write at least a 1200- to 1500-word article.

Q: What if what I write is too long?

A: When you are assigned an article, we will provide you with an approximate word count or page length. This is based on how much space we anticipate giving the article in the magazine. However, sometimes an article will come in that is longer than we anticipated and, if we feel the information is worthwhile, we will adjust the number of printed pages. If we can not give it more room in the magazine, we might ask you for suggestions on where to cut or edit it ourselves and send it to you for review. Sometimes we'll be able to use this information, with your permission, in another piece.

Q: What will you be critiquing when you receive my article?

A: The most important criteria for an article is that it match and follow the subject description assigned to the writer. Because our article ideas are approved by an editorial review board, we are committed to producing an article on that particular subject. After checking the content, we will review it for style guidelines (which we provide to you), grammar, and whether or not the article left any questions unanswered.

Q: What if an article I've written is unsatisfactory?

A: Don't worry, it's not the end of the world. Sometimes we receive articles that do not meet our expectations because they did not follow the assigned subject description, the information was not leading-edge enough, or the writing wasn't up to our standards. There are several options. We usually try to work with you, the author, to make any necessary content adjustments. Sometimes we will have other professionals read and provide input, and many times, the editorial staff can enhance the writing to meet our standards. In extreme circumstances, we will decide to "kill" an article if we feel the content we wanted to include is just not available.

Q: What if my corporate communication department wants to see/approve my article before publication?

A: Not a problem. Purchasing Today(r) works very closely with those organizations that require such an arrangement. Realize we may need more of a leadtime for this activity.

Q: What if my legal department has concerns regarding Purchasing Today's contract?

A: We will work with your legal team to address differences. We do copyright your article, however, we include a statement that says, "This in no way copyrights your ideas and or individual expertise."

Q: Is the article I write guaranteed to be published as originally written?

A: No, it is not. While we make every effort to plan accordingly for the editorial needs of the magazine, occasionally we run into space limitations that require us to make adjustments to an article from the original content. So, there are times when an article that would ideally be 2.5 pages must fit into a space of 2.25 pages. Also, up until the time we send our articles to the printer, they are being reviewed by the editorial staff and NAPM executives for accuracy, style, and clarity.

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