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Writer’s Guidelines

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Writer’s Guidelines

for Envoy Magazine

Introduction                                                                                                                (Download a PDF copy of these guidelines)

Thank you for inquiring about submitting an article to Envoy. This guide provides the information you’ll need to submit articles to us. Writers who adhere to these guidelines have a much higher chance of seeing their work published in Envoy.

What is Envoy’s mission?

Envoy Magazine is a quarterly publication, dedicated to contemporary Catholic thought, especially in the areas of apologetics, evangelization, and catechetics.

Our mission is to present the truths of the Catholic Faith in a fresh, contemporary style, featuring today’s top Catholic writers, full-color graphics, and an upbeat and innovative format. Catholics are eager for a magazine like Envoy; one that will help them to, as 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you . . . .”

Blessed Pope John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization” requires that the Catholic laity be not only knowledgeable about the Faith, but also prepared to explain it intelligently, defend it charitably and share it effectively. Envoy is an instrument, at the service of the local and universal Church, to accomplish this task.

We promise readers our unswerving commitment to journalistic excellence, aesthetic quality, fidelity to the magisterium, and a charitable and winsome presentation of the Catholic Faith.

There are over 70 million Catholics in America! Survey after survey has indicated that the majority of them don’t practice the Faith. This should not be, this must not be. Imagine what the Catholic Church in America would look like if the laity were confident, well-catechized and exuberant about its love for Christ and His Church. We would see dynamic parishes, a laity and clergy fervent to be holy, a dramatic increase in vocations, and converts by the hundreds of thousands.

The Envoy apostolate is to help the Church achieve this vision by equipping Catholics to respond to Christ’s call, “As the Father has sent Me, so I send you” (John 20:21).

What types of stories should writers submit?

Unsolicited submissions that interest us are those explaining a particular tenet of the Catholic Faith, or some issue pertaining to the Church or religion in general. You have a better chance of getting published in Envoy if you cover an issue or perspective that hasn’t yet been dealt with in other articles we’ve published.

Other types of stories of interest to Envoy include:

  • Conversion stories
  • Personal experience accounts of evangelization or apologetics
  • Profiles on religious and historical events or personalities
  • “How to” articles dealing with evangelization, apologetics, study methods, theology, Church history and moral issues
  • Analyses and critiques of issues, trends and theological perspectives which have an impact on Catholics and the Catholic Church (e.g., astrology, new birth technologies, atheism, Eastern religions, Protestantism, Mormonism)

The writing style we look for tends toward the lighter side, though that may be inappropriate for certain topics. Submissions that are sarcastic or angry in tone will be rejected.

NOTE: Envoy prints only original material. This is a strict policy. We do not accept submissions that have appeared elsewhere, or that are scheduled to appear elsewhere (including the Internet). All submissions must be original and exclusive to Envoy.

 What types of stories should writers not submit?

Envoy is not interested in:

  • News-related articles
  • Articles of a polemical or uncharitable nature
  • Articles on obscure or technical subjects that aren’t pertinent to the average Catholic reader
  • Book reviews (ditto for software, music and art)
  • Unsolicited fiction
  • Poetry
  • Theological treatises or highly technical theological critiques
  • Articles promoting particular Marian apparitions or devotions
  • Articles promoting particular religious movements
  • Articles on technical subjects (e.g., evolution, bioethics) written by an unqualified writer

NOTE: We strongly encourage prospective writers to study back issues of Envoy to get a feel for our tone, content selection and approach to subjects. The quickest, easiest, and least-expensive way to do this is to purchase one or more digital editions of Envoy Magazine from our online store. Each digital edition is an exact copy of the paper-&-ink version.   

 What are your editorial style requirements?

Word counts:

2,000 to 4,500 words for features. Typically (though we do make exceptions), submissions below or exceeding these word counts will not be considered for publication.

Bible quotes:

When quoting Scripture, please use either the RSVCE (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition) or the New American Bible (NAB). Where, occasionally, a citation from a different version is required, please include the abbreviation for the version (e.g.,  KJV = King James Version).

When quoting Scripture, cite the verse inside parentheses after the quotation mark at the end of the verse. Don’t put a period at the end of the verse being quoted, put it after the closed parentheses, like this: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

Do not abbreviate biblical books with short names (John, Acts, Luke, etc.). When abbreviating biblical books with longer names, use the longer abbreviation whenever possible: “Matt.” (not “Mt.”), “Deut.” (not “Dt.”), “Gen.” (not “Gn.”). A guide to biblical abbreviations can be found in entry 14:34 of The Chicago Manual of Style.

Always put a period after any abbreviation of a biblical book: “Matt.” (not “Matt”). This rule also applies to other common abbreviations, such as “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” “Fr.” and “Dr.”

If you insert your own comment into a quote, use brackets, not parentheses. “This will help the reader [See what we mean about using brackets?] to understand it’s you talking,” said the editor.

Various usage and punctuation notes

  • Always capitalize divine pronouns (Who, He, His, etc.).
  • Capitalize the nouns “Apostle,” “Bible” and “Scripture,” but don’t capitalize the adjectives “apostolic,” “biblical” or “scriptural.”
  • Use “St.” before names of Apostles and saints (e.g., “St. Peter”).
  • Remember this distinction: “e.g.” means “exempli gratia” (“example given,” “for example”); and “i.e.” means “id est” (“that is,” “in other words”).
  • Put only one space between sentences, no matter what they told you in typing class; our typesetting style calls for one space.
  • Put one space before and after an em dash — like that.
  • Do not use spaces before or after hyphens (e.g., non-spaced hyphenation).
  • If you use an ellipsis, set it off with a space before and after each dot, for a total of four spaces and three dots . . . like that. Also, “When a period appears at the end of a quote, use four dots. . . .”
  • Put a comma after penultimate thing being listed in a series, just before the “and”: Ted, Patrick, and Jim will thank you for that.
  • Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks: “You’ll see what we mean,” said the editor. The writer said, “Yes, I will.”
  • Question marks and exclamation points go outside the quotation marks when they are not part of the material being quoted. You’ll see what we mean. Do you understand what we meant by, “You’ll see what we mean”?
  • Colons and semicolons that aren’t part of a quotation always go outside the quotation marks.
  • Avoid exclamation points!
  • “Okay” is okay. “OK” is not okay.
  • “TV” is okay; “BBQ” is not okay (“barbecue” is).
  • Avoid unnecessary, superfluous, needless, redundant, space-wasting adjectives.
  • Avoid, where possible, the words “very” and “that.”
  • Employ strong verbs.
  • Avoid clichés like the plague (e.g., “avoid like the plague,” “the long and the short of it,” “fit to be tied” and “to make a long story short”).
  • Avoid jargon and unnecessary technical terms.
  • Avoid writing in the passive voice. For example, “Jones was pushed out of the way by Smith” is not as good as, “Smith shoved Jones out of the way.”
  • Use contractions liberally. For example, we’d prefer you didn’t say, “We would prefer you did not say.”
  • Avoid writing citation-laden pieces. Envoy treats scholarly subjects, but not in the traditional style of academic journals. When quoting material, work the author’s name and the title of the work into the body of your piece whenever possible. Provide publisher and page information parenthetically. Here’s an example:
    Patrick Madrid makes some interesting points about the communion of saints in Any Friend of God’s Is a Friend of Mine  (San Diego: Basilica Press, 1996, pp. 27-35).
  • In situations where a body reference isn’t feasible, use this form after the quoted material: (Patrick Madrid, Any Friend of God’s Is a Friend of Mine; San Diego: Basilica Press, 1996, pp. 27-35).
  • Book and periodical titles, such as Surprised by Truth or Envoy, are italicized, never underlined. Titles of articles, magazine departments and book chapters are set off with quotation marks, such as, “Going the Distance” or “Gray Matters.”

NOTE: Please proofread your article carefully before submitting it to us. Incorrect spellings, especially of names and key terms, can call into question your understanding of the subject you’re covering.

Are there rules regarding the use of numerals?

Write out numbers in these instances:

  • When writing any number from zero through nine
  • When writing numbers like five hundred, one thousand or twelve million (unless it’s necessary to use numerals for clarity’s sake; e.g., “The sign said, ‘For Sale: $500.’”
  • Whenever a number appears at the beginning of a sentence; if the sentence begins with a number that is not normally written out, try to rework the sentence so that the number appears later

Use numerals in these instances:

  • When writing numbers like 10, 20, 101, 243, 745, 894, etc.
  • When numbers appear in clusters (e.g., listings of ages, quantities or percentages) and writing them out would be awkward
  • Always use numerals in complete biblical citations (e.g., John 3:16). Passing references to Scripture passages should be written as “chapter three” or “verse sixteen.” E.g., “In chapter two of the Gospel of St. Matthew …”
  • Combine numerals and words in instances like 165 thousand, 1.5 million, or 812 million.

 What is the proper way to submit an article?

We prefer that submissions be made via e-mail. A submission must include your full name, e-mail address, mailing address, phone number and a brief synopsis of your article. If  you are submitting an article via regular mail, please include a self-addressed return envelope with sufficient postage.

NOTE: We only accept submissions from writers who have read our guidelines. When submitting an article, it’s important that you indicate if you have already reviewed these guidelines; otherwise, we will request that you read them before we can consider your proposal.

Please submit your article to us via e-mail. Do not attach it as a file, but “cut & paste” it into the body of the e-mail document and send it to patrick [at] Envoymagazine [dot] com.

Envoy Magazine assumes no responsibility or liability for acknowledgment or return of unsolicited manuscripts, including computer disks, photographs, or other items included in a submission. All unsolicited articles submitted t o us via regular mail must be accompanied by a sufficiently stamped, self-addressed return envelope or they will not be returned or acknowledged.

Will my article be edited?

All articles submitted to Envoy Magazine are subject to whatever editing or rewriting our editors deem necessary, though we do our best to edit with a light touch!

What about rights to my article?

Our policy is to accept articles on an “all rights” basis. Envoy reserves the unrestricted right, in perpetuity, to make use of material appearing in the pages of Envoy, whether in part or in entirety, in other forms, including but not limited to: posting it on our Internet site, digital and paper-&-ink reprints, special compilations, promotional materials, etc.

NOTE: We do not accept article inquiries or information requests by phone. Queries are accepted only by e-mail and regular mail.

What about payment?

Due to our minimal operating budget, Envoy Magazine is not able to pay for articles. We wish we could, but the current difficult economy being what it is, and production costs being what they are, make that impossible for us. However . . . if we accept your work for publication, you will receive a great deal of excellent exposure with our readers. Envoy  typically prints and distributes between 12,000 and 18,000 copies of each issue, and some issue runs have been as high as 25,000 copies.

An attractive benefit to you is that we will gladly feature your website or blog address in your author blurb in both the paper-&-ink and digital editions of the issue in which your article appears. This provides you with an excellent opportunity to reach new readers for your blog, customers for your books, etc. Indeed, over the years , several people who have written for Envoy have told us that this positive exposure and the ability to widely showcase their writing skills and website was far more valuable to them than a nominal fee could ever have been.  

Where can I get back issues of Envoy?

Paper-&-ink as well as digital back issues of Envoy can be purchased at www.Envoymagazine.com.

And, well, that’s all there is to it. Many thanks for your interest in writing for Envoy. We look forward to seeing your work.

All the best in Christ,
Patrick Madrid

 (Download a PDF copy of these guidelines)

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