Writer’s Guidelines

AIR & SPACE/Smithsonian is a general interest magazine about flight. Its goal is to show readers, both the knowledgeable and the novice, facets of the enterprise of flight that they are unlikely to encounter elsewhere. The emphasis is on the human rather than the technological, on the ideas behind events, rather than a simple recounting of details.

Writing should be clear, accurate, and engaging. It should be free of technical and insider jargon, and generous with explanation and background.

The first step every aspiring contributor should take is to study recent articles posted at airspacemag.com.

The next step is to submit a proposal using our online submission form, email (editors@si.edu), or our mailing address below. The proposal should explain what your article will bring to the topic that other authors have not reported, and should include sources and interview subjects you will consult as well as any guidance on the availability of photographs or illustrations. You should also include your credentials. Editors read proposals especially to evaluate writing skill and imaginativeness of approach. Feature pitches must include clips to your published work.

For first time contributors, writing a department—a short piece that sometimes has a personal point of view—offers the best chance for acceptance. Departments include:

Above & Beyond: a first person narrative of an adventure in air or space. Many have been written by pilots and astronauts. An “I was there” flavor is essential. (1,500 words)

Flights & Fancy: a whimsical, brief reflection that should leave the reader chuckling quietly. This department offers the opportunity for a range of tones, from nostalgic to mischievous to satiric. (800-1,000 words)

Soundings: short news items reporting oddball or amusing events, efforts, or situations; also, the stories behind the news. Soundings must be current. (300 to 1,000 words)

Reviews & Previews: a description and critique of a recent or soon-to-be-released book, video, movie, aerospace-related recreational product, or software. Reviewers should have specific experience or knowledge that enables them to give informed evaluations. Quotations from the text must be accompanied by page numbers. (200-450 words)

Feature articles require substantial research and reporting, and average 2,500 words. Fees vary widely, depending on the type of treatment proposed. In the event that an article is not accepted for publication, a kill fee is negotiated. Payment for first North American Serial Rights is made upon acceptance.

Our address:

AIR & SPACE Magazine
PO Box 37012
MRC 513
Washington, DC 20013-7012

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