Writing for The AP
All of our articles are written by our members. We welcome articles about any aspect of philately, so long as they are original with us and the author is a member of the Society. As the nation’s premier philatelic magazine and archival publication of choice, we attract many worthy manuscripts.
We pay a $75 honorarium for feature articles, $50 for brief one-page articles. Payment is made upon publication.
Please write your article in a conversational style and in first person.
Keep in mind that you are telling a story to someone who is not necessarily a specialist in your field. Provide some background information so that readers can follow your discussion. Brief sidebars are a potential way to explain relevant information without breaking the narrative flow.
Always spell out an acronym the first time you use it and add the abbreviation in parentheses (even if you think everyone should know that UPU stands for Universal Postal Union).
Be aware that generic websites are not always reliable sources of factual information and should be double-checked. When researching online please use primary sources whenever possible.
Keep a list of sources and references. These DO NOT have to be cited in-text. Some authors use the Endnote function of their word processor to cite every source, while others provide a full list of references at the end of the article. Either method is acceptable. A good rule of thumb is to provide a source for quotes, obscure information, and arguable points. Sources are not usually necessary for factual information that can be easily found through a simple online search. If you have any questions, please contact the editors at AParticle@stamps.org
DO NOT format the text when sending electronic files — use one font in regular, bold and italic. No centering or columns. Please do not use macro keys. You may insert illustrations into your electronic text file as a reference, but we also require you to send all image scans individually. In addition, you may send a pdf or text file with a suggested layout. However, you must provide a simple, unformatted text file. The editorial staff reserves the right to design the layout of the article.
Send manuscripts to the editorial staff by email to AParticle@stamps.org as an attachment, or via a file transfer system (WeTransfer, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.). We also can receive it on a CD/DVD or a thumb drive. DO NOT send printed manuscripts.
The editorial staff reserves the right to edit all material accepted for publication. You will be contacted with an edited draft of your manuscript to review, along with any questions or suggestions the editorial staff may have. Please expect an extended editing process and conversation about your manuscript.
Please note: Submissions discovered to have been copied, either wholly or in part, from online sources such as Wikipedia or other print publications will be declined or returned to the author for reworking. Images that are not the author’s own or are copied from other sources MUST be properly cited. More information on image sourcing and copyright can be found below.
Illustrations and Captions
Identify figure references in the text as “Figure 1, Figure 2,” or something similar with a description of the item.
Include a catalog reference number whenever possible. Don’t forget to double-check your catalog reference numbers, no matter which catalog you are using, and especially if the stamp pictured is a variation. If using the Scott catalog, the format used in the AP is “Canada Scott 390” or “U.S. Scott 15,” unless the country is specified elsewhere.
Provide a separate document or list at the end of the article of figure captions. Captions should be brief and provide useful information about the image (catalog numbers, details about cover elements, etc). If the image is NOT from your own collection, you must provide source information. More information below.
Scans of the original stamps and covers to be illustrated in the magazine are preferred, but high quality color photocopies for COVERS ONLY will be accepted, if the material is placed on a dark background. DO NOT photocopy or scan items while they are in their protective coverings or mounted on album pages.
Digital File Information
Scanning vs digital photographs. Scanning produces much better images of stamps and covers.
Scan each philatelic item individually. Remove your philatelic material from its protective covering — mounts, glassines, mylar sleeves, etc. Scanning your items inside a protective covering produces blurry images, discoloration, or may add a pattern to your image.
Please do not attempt to create collages, overlapping images, inserts, etc. Send the individual image files to us.
Do not worry about straightening, cropping, or color correcting your images. We handle all of those procedures during preparation for layout.
Scanning stamps. The United States Postal Service and other postal agencies require that we illustrate stamps at 130% higher or 70% lower than the original size of the stamp. Scan your stamp illustrations at 600 dpi. Scan your covers at 300 dpi or higher. If you do not own a scanner, Fed-Ex, Staples, or Office Depot will scan your items for you.
DO NOT send your philatelic material to the editorial staff at the American Philatelic Center - we do not have the manpower to scan items for you.
Place stamps and covers on a dark background. Foam core board is excellent for flattening curling items and providing a solid dark background. Foam core board can be purchased at any hobby store in a variety of colors. It is also helpful to have a piece of white foam core board for those dark colored items. Another excellent product also available in hobby stores is Foam Zone.
If you have to scan an item that has already been printed — a photo from a book, a postcard, a photocopy, etc. — rotate your item about 45 degrees on your scanner. This may help to diminish the moire effect — no guarantees.
We do NOT accept images from the Internet or files that were created for a website, because they are usually 72 dpi which results in poor quality reproductions. Some exceptions may apply.
Changing the resolution of the image after the scan may cause your image to lose sharpness especially if you are trying to go from 72 dpi to 300 dpi. The image will become pixelated or look like Legos. A converted 72 dpi scan may look all right on your computer screen, but it will not work for us. Such images, when detected by the printer, are rejected.
If you are creating a pdf file to send images, make sure to select "Press Quality" from the drop down list of options. Please do not select "Standard."
When sending files via email, please check with your provider as to the handling of attachments. Some providers have restrictions on the size of an attachment. The AP can receive files to 9 MB in size. If your files are larger, please let us know. We can work with you to upload your files directly to us. One method is sending images via Dropbox. WeTransfer is also a safe and easy file transfer method.
When sending your manuscript and/or scans as email attachments, please send a second message to let us know what you sent. Sometimes the message with the attachments never arrives.
File Formats We Accept
Text files — .doc, .docx, .txt, rtf, .wpd, or Google Docs.
For illustrations — .jpg, .tif, .eps, .png, press quality PDF. Remember, all illustrations must come as separate files.
Tell Us About Yourself
Don't forget to include a two- or three-sentence “bio-note” (third person) that includes your current collecting interests and any philatelic credentials you may wish to share. This will be published with your article.
Cite Your Sources
Keep a list of sources and references. These DO NOT have to be cited in-text. Some authors use the Endnote function of their word processor to cite every source and provide extra details, while others provide a full list of references at the end of the article. Either method is acceptable. A good rule of thumb is to provide a source for quotes, obscure information, and arguable points. Sources are not usually necessary for factual information that can be easily found through a simple online search. If you have any questions, please contact the editors at AParticle@stamps.org.
We follow The Chicago Manual of Style for citations. Here are examples of the format to follow:
1. John L. Kay and Chester M. Smith Jr., New York Postal History: The Post Offices and First Postmasters from 1775 to 1980 (State College, PA: The American Philatelic Society, 1982), 23.
2. Albro T. Gaul, “Historic Philately Is Not Postal History,” The American Philatelist 104 (September 1990): 818–19.
Kay, John L., and Chester M. Smith Jr. New York Postal History: The Post Offices and First Postmasters from 1775 to 1980. (State College, PA: The American Philatelic Society, 1982)
Gaul, Albro T. “Historic Philately Is Not Postal History,” The American Philatelist 104 (September 1990).
Copyright and Publication Rights
Acceptance of an article for publication in The American Philatelist is under the standard terms of both First North American Serial Rights and First Electronic Rights. The contents of each issue of The American Philatelist are copyrighted in its own name each month. Authors retain the right to use all or part of their articles in future works of their own. Occasionally, we receive a request from a specialized newsletter to reprint articles from The American Philatelist. If the author gives permission, we typically will approve these requests. We ask only that printed acknowledgment be made to the article’s prior publication in The American Philatelist and that, when it appears, a copy is sent for our files.
By submitting to The American Philatelist, the author represents and warrants that their written contribution (the “Work”):
- is their original Work and has not been previously published in its present form;
- does not infringe on any valid copyright or other proprietary rights of any other person;
- that if the Work includes any copyrighted material not in the public domain, the Author has obtained written permission for use of such material and will provide copies of such permission to The American Philatelist before the Work is published and that all costs for obtaining such permissions shall be borne by the Author.
If you are unsure of whether a specific image in your work is acceptable for publication, the AP editorial staff will be happy to assist you. Please provide a credit line to the owner of the image and a link.
Opinions expressed in articles in this magazine are those of the writers and are not necessarily endorsed by the society and/or the magazine. The American Philatelist cannot be responsible for the accuracy of any information printed herein.
What Happens Next?
If receipt of your article submission or proposal to AParticle@stamps.org has not been acknowledged within three business days, please contact a member of the editorial staff (contact information below) to make sure it arrived. Your submission will be logged into our tracking system for review. Because of our current backlog of submissions, please be prepared to wait up to two months before a decision is reached. We encourage you to follow up with us anytime you have a question.
Stay in Touch
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us — Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Susanna Mills, Editor-in-Chief
814-933-3803 ext. 207 / Smills@stamps.org
Jeff Stage, Senior Editor
814-933-3803 / JStage@stamps.org
The American Philatelist
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