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Linux.com

Write for us

Notice: As of January 1, 2009, we are no longer accepting new material.

Want to write for Linux.com? Here's some information on what we like in an article, and how to approach us.

We pay $100 - $300 (via check, bank transfer, or PayPal) for articles. Most of the articles we publish are between 800 and 1,500 words, but we're flexible in either direction. Articles must be original and not have appeared elsewhere in English. Look at what we're already publishing to get an idea of the kind of stories we like, but don't be afraid to submit an idea that's unlike anything else we've ever run. We love originality. To improve your chances of having a piece accepted, follow the format and writing tips in the attached template document (right-click and save file).

We publish news, reviews, case studies, HOWTOs, feature articles, and fact-based commentary directly related to Linux, open source, or free software. We're especially interested in reviews and case studies of corporate and enterprise-level products.

For reviews:

  1. We prefer to review released products; we try not to review early beta or pre-beta software, as it tends to be less feature-complete and may give readers an unfair impression. We like to run reviews that coincide with a major point release, such as 1.0 or n.0.
  2. We do not expect all reviews to be positive. We like you to call them as you see them.
  3. We can obtain review "loaner" hardware only for trusted, regular writers, especially if we're dealing with high-dollar and/or enterprise-level items.
  4. Don't spend the bulk of the review telling readers exactly what buttons to click on and which keystrokes to enter in order to accomplish particular tasks. Instead, focus on the important things the product can do, and say how well it does them, both as compared to how an ideal product of its type would do them, and as compared to other, similar products a reader might consider as alternatives.

For case studies, be sure to ask the subject why they wanted to make a move away from their existing software, what alternatives they considered, why they picked the application they chose, what kinds of implementation problems they had and how they solved them, how things are going now, any cost-benefit or ROI numbers they can cite, and any recommendations they would have for others who might be considering something similar. You can find an excellent example of a case study here.

Unless you have something truly unique to say, we're generally not interested in "A new Linux user's look at ___" stories or "Here's a review of [popular Linux distribution that's already been written about a thousand times]" articles. Be creative, not run-of-the-mill!

How to submit

Before you write a complete article, you should always send a query email to editors@linux.com first that gives us a brief (2 - 3 paragraph) idea of what you would like to write, along with a description of anything you might have written in the past and links to any recent material you've had published elsewhere. As the subject of the email, use "Article query: topic."

If we approve the article, we expect to see your finished draft within three weeks. If you've gotten approval to write a story and we don't see it within a reasonable amount of time, we may assign a story on the same topic to another writer instead of you. Submit your article to editors@linux.com, rather than to the editor who assigned it. As the subject of the email, use "Submission: topic."

We request finished submissions in basic HTML. We also accept ASCII text if you don't have any embedded links or code fragments. We frown on StarOffice, OpenOffice.org, and Microsoft Word files. If you generate your HTML from OOo or Word, please go through it and remove all the extraneous tags those programs add, or use one of the utilities or sites available to do the job for you. Please close your <p></p> and <li></li> tags, and make sure that the text in your submitted files flows, with no hard line breaks except at the end of paragraphs. Use <h4> tags rather than <h2> or <h3> for subheds within the body of the text. Use <code> tags for commands and <em> tags around variable information.

We can publish up to three graphics (photos, screenshots, etc.) with your story, but they are not a necessity. They should always be sent as separate files, not embedded in your text, and not enclosed in a compressed archive file. We can work with any Web-friendly graphics format. We prefer graphics to be no wider than 350 pixels. If that doesn't show enough detail to illustrate your point, please include a full-sized graphic and a smaller thumbnail. Don't add HTML to your article to make position graphics just right; just add a note showing where you'd like the graphics to go.

Once we receive your article, we'll try to edit it as quickly as possible. If we return the article to you with questions or comments (as we do in most cases) we expect you to return a revised draft that address our questions (and removes them from the article) within a day or two. Once we have an article we're satisfied with, we'll post it on the site, but it may not go live right away, as we schedule our stories as much as a week in advance. We'll let you know what date it's scheduled for, but for various reasons, that date is tentative, and articles may appear later (or earlier) than originally planned.

We're not as interested in your experience as in your ability. Even if you're a little bit "raw" as a writer (or English is not your primary language), as long as your story ideas are original and you get your thoughts down clearly, we'll work with you to build your writing skills, and your per-article pay will increase as your work improves. (Of course, if you're an established professional, you're probably already qualified to earn our top rates.)

We strongly recommend The Elements of Style to all "writers in training." It is the best and simplest book we've ever seen on how to write clearly and concisely without boring your readers.

Topics of particular interest for Linux.com:

  • Security
  • Enterprise applications
  • Migration to (or from) Linux and open source
  • The business side of Linux and open source
  • Career matters; training and job hunting

If we accept your article, we will ask you to fill out a contract that spells out your rights and ours to the content. If you are a US citizen or live in the US, we'll ask you to file a tax form along with the contract. Instructions on how to send us an invoice, which you must do to initiate the payment process, come along with the contract.

We expect a 30-day exclusive on paid articles; you retain the copyright, and after that period you're free to post them elsewhere, though we appreciate it if a reprint includes a line like "Originally published at www.linux.com (link); reprinted with the author's permission."

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