American Woodturner: Getting Published
The American Woodturner journal welcomes articles covering all aspects of woodturning: its history, tools and materials, techniques, projects, local chapter news, profiles, galleries and exhibits, and design and criticism.
The journal requires that your material be original and that you have the right to publish it. We occasionally reprint pieces that have appeared elsewhere, but that’s rare. If you submit something to us for publication, do not send it for consideration elsewhere, unless it has already been rejected by American Woodturner. We require authors to sign a copyright agreement for articles published in American Woodturner.
You don’t have to be a polished writer, but enthusiasm and knowledge about your topic are essential. The editor can take what you write and turn it into the type of article appropriate for our readers. One of the jobs of an editor is to make authors look really good in print. You, on the other hand, must ensure that the photographs are of good quality and high enough resolution.
For initial review, send the editor a brief abstract describing your article. A few sentences or a short outline, along with a few images, will suffice.
After initial go-ahead by the editor, proceed with the writing. Submit the article, in electronic form, along with photos and photo captions. Articles must be submitted in the following manner:
- A text-only file containing the main article body, with parenthetical photo callouts in the text (Photo 1, 2, etc.). Include a brief author bio (2-3 sentences), which can include contact information or your website.
- A captions document with clear and direct references to the main article’s photo callouts.
- High-res images as separate files (not embedded in a document). The filenames should contain image numbers corresponding to the photo callouts in the text.
Do not send documents with images, drawings, or graphs embedded in them. The text must be in a separate file with no added embellishments. Do not be concerned with final layout. Proximity of images to text references is indicated by the photo callouts. Articles not submitted this way might be returned with a request to resubmit according to these guidelines.
Brand names vs. generic references
Being the journal of a nonprofit association, American Woodturner does not publish tool reviews/comparisons. The AAW has a mission of education and therefore seeks to avoid any impression of brand favoritism. Thus, articles should be as brand-neutral as possible, opting for generic terms rather than brand-specific references when possible. For example, opt for “a small spindle gouge” rather than “my [brand-specific] spindle gouge.”
Sometimes it is OK to mention brands, especially if a commercial product is hard to find and is critical to a project. Generally, any brand references should be in service of helping/guiding our readership, rather than favoring one brand over another. Keep the focus of your article on educating others, not promoting products.
Good photos make for excellent articles. Requirements for print photography are different than photography used on a website. Quality, high-resolution images are required for reproduction clarity. Here are two articles that can help with taking good photographs, both of finished work and of processes:
American Woodturner seeks to show safe practices in all action shots at the lathe and associated machinery. This means the operator must be shown wearing a full faceshield when operating a lathe. Long hair must be shown tied back, and no dangling jewelry should be visible. For bandsaw shots, safe workholding should be shown.
Electronic photos must be high-resolution images in jpg (preferred) or tif format. About 1MB to 3MB is a good size. If your images are below 1MB, the resolution may not be high enough and the images will not reprint well. If you are unsure of the photo resolution, send a sample image to the editor, who can confirm photo size for you.
Please do not manipulate your photos before you send them. We do the manipulating, color balancing, and cropping.
Use a neutral background for images. Gray seamless background paper is best for images of your turned items. For photos of techniques or processes, avoid including background clutter, so the focus will be on the action being illustrated. A neutral background for photos taken at the lathe helps. Take several images of each step that you want to show. It’s easy to delete images that don’t work but not so easy to set up steps and procedures again if you have to redo pictures.
Use good lighting; turn off the flash. If you don’t know what this means, do a bit of research or experiment with various lights. Look at images in other publications and determine “good” from “bad” photos. Please read the articles listed above.
For small quantities of high-resolution images, send them by email. If the files are too large to send via email, upload them to an online file-sharing site, such as Dropbox.com or WeTransfer.com (free accounts are available).
The journal is published six times per year. There is a backlog of articles, so your article could be in our queue for up to a year or more before being published. The editor will attempt to keep authors informed as to the status of an article. If you do not hear from the editor after several months, please send an inquiry.
The journal pays authors for feature articles upon publication and after a copyright agreement is signed. Experienced authors are paid more than authors who are just beginning. Authors receive one complimentary copy of American Woodturner. Additional copies of the journal in which your article appears can be purchased at a contributor discount via the AAW office.
Articles published in the Members’ Gallery pages, which include the inside front cover spread, back cover, and some internal pages, are not paid. These materials are considered free exposure for the artist.
If you have not received your American Woodturner journal or if you received a damaged issue, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-484-9094, or 877-595-9094 (toll free).