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AUTHOR GUIDELINES for SYS-CON.com & Ulitzer.com

All submissions or queries can be directed 24x7 to SYS-CON Editorial team <editorial (at) sys-con.com>

Writing Your Article

This document will take you through the article process to increase the chances of your proposal being accepted.

Beware of ‘throat' clearing
The most important part of your article is the opening paragraph. This is your opportunity to sell the article and hopefully grip the reader into reading further. If it does not, then it has failed on the first criteria, which is to educate. Too many articles spend too many words telling a story that has no real relevance.

You need to lay out the roadmap of your article, and inform the reader there and then what they are going to receive.

Do not use ‘weak' language
Your article may be the first exposure to a particular technology the reader may read, so you can't come over as someone who doesn't know what he/she is talking about. Do not use language like ‘maybe' or ‘hope'. Be clear and be decisive.

Offer facts, not opinions
Your article is there to educate the reader in a particular technology. Stick to the facts and do not offer any personal opinions. This is particularly important if you are referring to a possible alternative technology. Be careful not to disparage or dismiss it just because you don't like it.

If you do present any statements that may be controversial, please be sure to back up any claims with external references or repeatable results. A classic error is to claim a particular method is faster than another without offering any concrete proof.

It is important you perform the necessary due diligence on your article.

Remember to keep your reader interested
Keep in mind your reader. They are investing their own time in you. They are looking to be entertained as well as informed. Don't get bogged down in long boring paragraphs. Keep it short. You are writing an article, not a book. Space is a luxury you do not have. Don't try and be funny; let your natural rhythm and style entertain in its own right.

This is not a marketing piece
Specific products cannot be the focus of the article. The article can be about a business or technical problem and what the issues are in resolving the problem. Case studies are welcome as long as the focus is on the customer and the problem/resolution and not the product.

Be open; tell them your resources
Nothing worse than walking down a particular road only to find it closed at the end. An article is no different. When the reader gets to the end of your article you want to make sure they have further reading to go to if they want more information. Try to provide a list of at least three URLs to resources that readers can visit.

Think of the article layout
When writing your article, try not to think of it as one long piece of prose. Instead think of other tools available to you for explaining your technology. A sidebar is a tool often overlooked by authors. These are small panels that sit independently of the main body that often give a little insight into a particular area.

Make a bio that counts
With your article you will of course have a couple of sentences to describe yourself and give some contact information. This is your only chance to sell yourself, so give it some thought.

Images say a 1,000 words
Figures and screenshots can aid in conveying your information to the reader. As the old saying goes, an image is worth a 1,000 words, but don't necessarily rely on it. Try not to use anything that is too complicated or detailed. Do not go overboard on the number of images/figures you want to include; general rule of thumb, one per every 1,000 words. Graphics should be high-resolution jpeg or gif files.

Code snippets and listings
Code snippets that are 10 lines or less can be left in the body of the article. Anything longer is a listing and should be referenced in the text and placed at the end of the article. Code snippets should be formatted to fit on a 42-character length line, and listings have a 70-character line length.

You aren't writing a book
One of the most common questions we receive is how long should my article be? The standard answer is: however long it needs to be. Articles are generally pitched in around 1,600 words, with the maximum somewhere near 3,200 words. Don't pad out your article for the sake of word filling. Make them count.

All submissions or queries can be directed 24x7 to SYS-CON Editorial team <editorial (at) sys-con.com>