How to Submit

Here we explain the process of publishing an article in Third Factor, from your original pitch to our editor through the article’s publication and beyond.

We welcome both novices and more experienced writers, though we only pay for articles that show a certain level of writing experience.  There’s more about this two-tier system here.  This system is temporary: we hope eventually to be able to pay all contributors for high-quality pieces, but we’re not quite there yet, so this is a stop-gap measure.

Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions if something isn’t clear.

Pitching an Article

To start the process, please send us a pitch (also known as a query letter) in the form of a short paragraph and/or outline describing your idea. This should be no more than 250 words.

Your pitch should explain why you think this article is a match for our creative, gifted, or intense readers.  (You may be surprised how many pitches we get from people who obviously have no idea what Third Factor is about.  You’re obviously not one of those people because you’re reading this page, so make sure you signal this to us.)  For more on what we’re looking for, take a look at our mission.

You should include a rough estimate of the word count you’re envisioning.  Good writing should, of course, be precisely as short or as long as it needs to be, and it’s okay if the word count changes as you write.  If you’re envisioning a piece over 3,500 words from the get-go, we might opt to publish it in a two-part series or suggest that you break it into separate articles, though we can be flexible about this.

Please also specify either that you’re offering your piece as a donation, or propose a fair price for your work.

  • The donation track is intended for contributors who either (a.) are paid a salary that covers the time spent writing, thereby allowing writers to donate their work (e.g., academics), or (b.) those with minimal writing experience who have a story to share but need assistance crafting a magazine quality piece.  We will budget more time to work with these writers and will publish the piece when it’s ready.  We encourage less experienced writers to have a friend or two read your piece before you submit it to us and address any suggestions they might have.
  • If you’re seeking to participate through our professional tier, it’s helpful but not required to have a sample of previous work to demonstrate your skills.  If we like what we see, we will send you a contract and ask that you adhere to a deadline to deliver a high quality piece.
  • We generally offer $25 for a first-time professional-quality piece and will consider higher rates for pieces that require in-depth research. Don’t hesitate to mention your plans for  research in your pitch.

Occasionally, we’ve received full drafts written on spec, i.e., submitted to us as completed documents.  We’re grateful for such enthusiasm and may accept these at the professional level if they’re of sufficient quality.  If you have less experience, we’ve found that it’s generally easier for us to agree on a framework for the content before you go to the trouble of writing it, particularly if you’re writing it with our publication specifically in mind.  This ultimately is less work for you and for us that way.

Also: Consider Our Fiction Contest!

Through January 2020, we’re conducting a contest for fiction that highlights themes of positive disintegration, with a $100 cash prize for the winner and $25 for honorable mentions.  Here are the details.

After We Accept Your Pitch

If we have arranged for payment, we’ll give you a contract to sign and send back to us as well as a deadline for a first draft and for the final piece.  If your piece is a donation, we’ll still give you a deadline, but the piece may be bumped back to a later issue if it needs more work (at either your or our discretion).  Either way, please be prepared to work on revisions during the 2-3 weeks ahead of the final deadline.

Once we get your draft, we’ll respond after 1-2 weeks with edits as tracked changes in a LibreOffice document (compatible with Microsoft Word) or a Google Doc, per your preference.  Ideally, these edits will be focused on tightening your message.  There may be a second round of edits as needed.  We’re happy to arrange Skype conversations to discuss the piece.  You are not required to accept all of our editorial team’s proposed changes—it is your piece and will have your name on it—but if you don’t accept them, you should be prepared to explain why you don’t want to change something and propose an alternate way to address the editor’s comments.  If you simply disregard them without communicating with us, this will slow down the process and may result in your piece being delayed or cancelled.  Payment for professional-grade pieces will be issued upon successful publication of the piece.

Please also bear in mind that we currently have a very small team (an editor and—yay!—maybe two new assistant editors, who are still learning the ropes).  This small team will be juggling a lot ahead of each issue’s publication.  If you don’t hear back from us right away, please be patient.  We are likely engaging deeply with another contributor, and will engage deeply with you in turn.  (Have any editorial skills yourself?  We’re still looking for others interested in developing those skills who might like to join our editorial team.)

Once your piece is published, we will promote it via social media.  We encourage (but do not require) authors to engage with readers via Facebook or Twitter when we publicize your work.

Have questions?  Don’t hesitate to reach out.