Guidelines for submitting articles
to Caribbean Compass
We welcome new writers!
Content is Caribbean marine focused. The Compass publishes articles of interest to the boating community, both local and visiting, in the Caribbean. A variety of subject matter pertaining to the Caribbean Sea, and to people interested in it, is covered.
Suggested length for feature articles is 2,000 words or less. A good article is often shorter; don’t pump up an interesting concise piece into a long boring one. News items for Info & Updates, Eco-News and Regatta News should be 400 words or less.
Sharp, large high-resolution photos are a plus (see photo guidelines below).
Submissions may be edited for accuracy, length, clarity, fairness and grammatical style. If you require pre-publication approval of editorial changes, please specify this when making your submission.
WHAT WE DO WANT
The Compass is a forum, shaped more by writers’ ideas and talents than by a rigid editorial policy. Be yourself, deal with a topic you care about, and write unaffectedly, as if you were writing to an intelligent but as yet uninformed friend.
You have the best chance of seeing your work in print if what you send in is informative, fact-rich and well organized. It’s a good idea for the beginning to include essential information. For example, “In early January 2012 my husband, John, and I sailed our 41-foot sloop to Prickly Bay on the south coast of Grenada” is much more informative to your reader than “We [WHO?] recently [WHEN?] sailed [WHAT?] to Prickly Bay [WHERE?]…”
We at the Compass often crew short-handed to a deadline, so we are more inclined to use articles in “sail away” condition (see SENDING IT IN, following) than “handyman’s specials” that need time to work into publishable shape.
In summary, what we want is a concise and informative article, on a topic you really care about, in a condition we can readily use.
If you would like a short footnote about yourself included, please mention your name, name of your spouse or others on the boat where applicable, boat name and type, and length of time cruising. Include a sharp “head shot” if you like.
WHAT WE DON'T WANT
Except under special circumstances, the Compass does not use articles or photos that have appeared previously, or will appear simultaneously, in any other Caribbean publication or anywhere on-line. If you have submitted your article to any other publications or if it appears in a blog or otherwise on-line, let us know.
We avoid sensationalism, personal or political ax-grinding, and articles that attempt to secure free advertising for a business on the pretext of furnishing news. If an advertiser, or any other business, has a genuine piece of news for our Business Briefs department, that’s great. If an article which stands on its own merit mentions specific businesses in a positive light, that’s okay, too. But we generally do not publish articles that could be seen as promotion for a specific business.
If you want to promote a Caribbean marine-related club, charity, NGO, etcetera, we’re happy to share the news but we do not pay for promotional items.
We do not publish individual consumer complaints or regatta results complaints.
Articles or letters submitted anonymously will not be considered for publication. If you have a legitimate reason for requesting that your name not appear in print, this request will be considered.
We purchase “first Caribbean serial rights” in English for our print and on-line versions, unless the writer makes arrangements beforehand stipulating other conditions of sale. As the Freelance Writer’s Handbook by Gary Provost says: “You don’t sell words to a magazine… What you sell is a license, a right to reprint your words.” Compass buys the exclusive right to publish your story for the first time in the Wider Caribbean Region.
After your article’s publication in the Compass, you can sell the rights to it to anybody else in the Caribbean. You can sell the rights outside the Wider Caribbean Region at any time. We reserve the right to re-publish photographs.
SENDING IT IN
E-mail is the most efficient and accurate way for us to receive text. Please send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send text as text files or Microsoft Word documents. DO NOT FORMAT your articles (e.g. centering and enlarging the headline, indenting paragraphs with extra spaces or tabs, etc.)
Do not put two spaces between sentences.
Please name all text attachments using a clue word from your article’s subject, and your surname, e.g. “lobster-jones.doc”. When we get several submissions a day named “compass article”, it’s easy to get them confused!
To e-mail digital photos, be sure that they are 300dpi (or more) at 100% size. (If you’re not sure what this means, set your camera to “large” before taking photos for Compass.) The JPEG (jpg) format is a good choice because it automatically compresses to reduce transmission time. If sending a number of photos, send attachments over several e-mails, or use Dropbox or similar. Illustrations, sketch charts, etc. to accompany your articles are also welcome.
Captions/cutlines for the photos are a great help. If you did not take the photos yourself, let us know the photographer’s name for photo credits.
IMPORTANT: Send photos full size as individual attachments: we cannot use photos embedded in text/Word documents or pdf files. Original photos are always preferred. Please do not send photos found on the internet unless they are verifiably “public domain” and include the photo credit.
THE DEADLINE FOR RECEIVING SUBMISSIONS IS USUALLY THE 1ST OF EACH MONTH FOR THE FOLLOWING MONTH’S ISSUE (e.g. submissions must be received by January 1st to be included in the February issue). Please contact email@example.com to arrange for exceptions.
We’ll do our best to include time-sensitive articles in the earliest possible issue. “Timeless” stories may be held for use on a space-available basis.
Payment is made by check after publication. Please send an invoice along with every submission, including the name you want the check made payable to and the address where it should be sent.
Our usual pay rate is EC$135 for a feature article. We can pay the equivalent in TT$($338) or US$ ($50). Short, non-promotional items for “Info & Updates” or “Regatta News” are paid at a reduced rate. In lieu of payment we’ll be happy to make a donation to a charity in your name.
Our standard pay rate for photographs illustrating an article is EC$20 (TT$50, US$7.50) per photo published.
Regarding the fact that writers NEVER get paid enough, be aware that small publications such as Caribbean Compass operate on a slim profit margin. The Compass supports itself, certainly, and contributes to the support of a number of people, but it will never make us or anyone else rich. To paraphrase the editors of the Harvard Post: “The richness of the small newspaper life is of a different sort. We believe in small newspapers because we believe in small communities. Each independent newspaper adds to our collective independence by resisting the appalling homogenization of culture and information brought on by centralized news establishments.”
We appreciate your being with us in this endeavor — thank you!
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