Submitted to WritersWeekly.com via email on 1/5/06.
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So You Want Your Work in Mature Years
Mature Years magazine is published by Abingdon Press, an imprint of the United Methodist Publishing House. The audience comprises persons of retirement age and beyond (55 years plus), and the magazine's purpose is to help persons understand and use the resources of the Christian faith in dealing with specific opportunities and problems related to aging.
We publish quarterly with 112 pages, trim size 8.5 x 11 inches, full color, 12 point New Century Schoolbook typeface. Pages are two-column. The publication is perfect bound. Circulation is approximately 70,000, and is entirely paid subscription. The magazine is mailed throughout the United States, and through the Protestant Church-owned Publishers Association, it is available in some military base chapels around the world.
Writers are not restricted to being older adults. Unsolicited manuscripts are welcomed.
Our readers like to see themselves in what they read. Writers should acknowledge the readers' maturity and use illustrations that reflect older adult lifestyles, which are varied. Some older adults are employed; some are retired. Some of our readers are active; some are not. Some are married while others are widowed or never married. Housing arrangements may be in their own homes, living with adult children, or in congregate housing of varied types. Most older adults are in good health, but many are ill. They have a variety of educational backgrounds, but writers should assume they are intelligent and not treat them as forgetful, mindless individuals. Financial status is also greatly varied among our readers.
Mature Years magazine readers do not want to see only older adults in their stories, poems, and articles. They are fearful of being shut up in an "old age ghetto." Inter-generational pieces score great successes with our audience.
Guidelines for General Editorial Content
Quoted Material--You must include photocopies of any material quoted from other sources and give a complete citation.
Subheads--You may include subheads in your text. The editor may or may not use them. If there are multiple levels of subhead, make them plainly distinguishable.
When we review manuscripts we look for the following:
Appropriate Subjects--Popular articles address current issues in aging, including health and fitness, housing, financial conditions, social and emotional needs, security, family life, self-help, and so on. Articles should provide practical aids for older adults: how to, when to, where to. Especially important are opportunities for older adults to read about service, adventure, fulfillment, and fun. Items of entertainment, like hobbies, pets, and crafts are also popular.
Positive Approach--Articles should be upbeat, picturing older adults who are enjoying living and finding fulfillment in this period of their lives. If articles are about the problems of living as an older adult, they should demonstrate the power of faith for difficult times and offer possible solutions and/or sympathy and comfort.
Active Subjects--Persons featured in articles should be active, creative, involved with their families, church, communities, nation, and world. While many of our readers are inactive, they do not want to read about people sitting and doing nothing with their lives.
Varieties of Approaches--Articles may be serious or humorous. They may be based on memories or current experiences. Fiction may be for the purpose of pure entertainment or stories may explore a social justice issue or concern of aging.
Christian Orientation--When appropriate, articles should demonstrate faith in God as a resource for life in all circumstances, both good and bad. Persons featured should be older adults with a vital lifestyle. For instance, when they travel it will be for educational purposes or to engage in ministry or service to others. Articles and stories should reflect the joy of living out one's Christian faith.
Absence of Stereotypes--Older adults should be freed from the stereotypes of age, gender, nationality, and race. Examples of aging stereotypes are frailty, memory loss, illness, sedentary lifestyle, being socially inflexible, and being unstylish. Be supportive of persons and groups rather than poking fun at them.
Guideline for Cartoons and Photographs
Cartoons--Cartoons may either have a religious theme or relate to aging as outlined in "Guidelines for General Editorial Content" above. While bringing some humor to older adult situations, cartoons should never trivialize circumstances and should never demean anyone or their circumstance.
Photographs--If photographs accompany articles, color prints or transparencies are required. If photos are historical, black and white prints or negatives are accepted. Photographs of recognizable people must be accompanied with model releases.
Unsolicited professional studio photos are reviewed and returned. If the quality of the work is acceptable, the studio will be added to the approved list for future assignments.
Be certain that captions are clearly matched with photographs to guarantee proper placement with the photographs.
Guidelines for Poetry
Poetry--Poems are limited to sixteen lines of up to fifty characters. Content should conform to the "Guidelines for General Editorial Content" as detailed above. Free verse is allowed. When using rhymes and meter, make sure they are accurate. Seasonal poems are accepted according to the "Seasonal Acceptance Schedule" below. Accompanying photography and graphic designs are never accepted.
Guidelines for Departments
Daily Meditations and Bible Study--This department is a part of the Uniform Series of the National Council of Churches of the USA and is written by invitation only to professional Bible study writers.
Fragments of Life--This department uses short glimpses out of everyday life (cuddling with grandchildren, a humorous moment at church, a sweet memory) to inspire and to illustrate the joys, sorrows, and poignant moments of living. It may or may not overtly mention God, but it never preaches. (250 to 600 words)
Going Places--Travel articles must:
a) feature some location or travel aspect particularly appropriate to older adults, such as special activities or facilities planned for the age group. Seniors hiking or snorkeling are examples. Tours for grandparents and grandchildren is another.
b) reflect the predominantly Christian character of the magazine by taking our reader to Bible lands or on a pilgrimage, discussing the historic sites of Christian believers, or showing the countryside or towns of historic Christian groups. Typical articles might feature cathedrals of Europe, monasteries or retreats in the United States, Amish communities, or Roman Christian catacombs. (1000 to 1500 words)
Health Hints--Health problems and fitness opportunities for older adults are found in this department. Description of a health problem and solutions for alleviating or eliminating conditions should be discussed. Other articles might tell about exercises and activities designed to help older adults keep fit. We never promote pharmaceutical companies or their products. Medicare and Medicaid are not acceptable subjects. (900 to 1500 words)
Media Shelf--This department reviews books, audio recordings, and computer software of special interest to older adults. Review copies of these items are welcome, but articles are by invitation only.
Merry-Go-Round--This page features cartoons, jokes, 4-6 line humorous verses. The subject of all these items must conform to the "Guidelines for General Editorial Content" and "Cartoons" printed above. We publish two cartoons in every issue.
Modern Revelations--Overtly religious and inspirational, this department deals with contemporary understanding of the Christian faith. While it is often an essay relating the Bible to modern life and quotes Scripture, it is not a Bible study. It may give advice for spiritual living as an older adult. (900 to 1500 words)
Money Matters--All economic issues of importance to older adults are acceptable, including banking, investing, wise purchasing, savings instruments, consumer fraud and scams, cost of health care, and insurance. All articles must be written with a personal finance point of view. (1200 to 1800 words)
Puzzle Time--Many different forms of puzzles and quizzes are published, including cross words, word-finds, anagrams, and unique formats. Subjects must either have biblical or religious themes or have older adult interest such as great dance bands, grandparenting, or reminiscence. Puzzles and quizzes must be challenging.
Social Security Questions and Answers--This department is furnished by a regional office of the Social Security Administration.
Seasonal Acceptance Schedule
Mature Years magazine closes manuscript purchases for individual issues approximately one year before publication. We are looking for seasonal articles and poetry during the following time frames:
Spring--December, January, February
Summer--March, April, May
Fall--June, July, August
Winter--September, October, November
Because Mature Years has such a long lead-time, we are not able to publish hard news or anything with specific upcoming dates. The exception to this rule is annual events.
Several departments (Going Places, Health Hints, Media Shelf, and Money Matters) have a news briefs sidebar with a four-month deadline. Information about upcoming events and products and services introduction is included.
Guidelines for Manuscript Preparation
Maximum Word Limit--Specific departmental lengths are printed above. For all others articles no more than 2,000 words are published.
Electronic Submission—Electronic submissions are preferred. They may be sent as a Word© attachment to an e-mail or the text may simply be printed in the e-mail. All submissions must be accompanied by your name, address, telephone number, and Social Security number. We automatically decline submissions without this essential information.
Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Hard Copy Format--All manuscripts must be typed double-spaced on 8.5 by 11 inch white paper. Do not send computer disks. Hand written manuscripts will be automatically returned.
Hard Copy Submission--Send manuscripts printed with your name, address, telephone number, and Social Security number, along with a required SASE to:
Marvin W. Cropsey
Mature Years editor
201 Eighth Avenue, South
P.O. Box 801
Nashville, TN 37202
Mature Years requests a variety of rights depending upon the material offered. Our most common request is for One-time North American Serial Rights. We do accept a limited number of Reprint Rights. For work-for-hire we require All Rights.
Payment is made upon acceptance of any text or cartoon. We pay 5 cents per word for articles and $1.00 per line of poetry. Verses and fillers used in the Merry-Go-Round department are paid a flat $5.00 each. Cartoons earn $30.00
Payment for photos accompanying articles is $20.00 for each inside publication. Payment for cover publication is negotiable. Payment for photos follows final selection during the design stage. Payment for professional photography to accompany articles is negotiable.
Response Time--Replies to unsolicited manuscript submissions come within eight weeks of receipt. We do not acknowledge receipt of manuscripts at the time they are received. Because of the tremendous volume of submissions, it is not possible to make comments in the replies.
Letters of Inquiry--Inquiries are permissible with a required SASE; responses come within two weeks of receipt of the proposal. Permission to submit an article does not guarantee publication.
Samples--Sample copies are available for $5.00 each including shipping and handling.
Columns--Mature Years magazine is not interested in adding new regular columns.