Writer’s Guidelines for TOS

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We’re always looking for creative minds and thoughtful writers to publish in TOS Weekly and in our quarterly, The Objective Standard (collectively “TOS”). If you’re interested in writing for TOS, here’s what you need to know.

We publish articles on a wide range of subjects including politics, law, foreign policy, economics, environmentalism, history, education, parenting, productivity tools and techniques, good living, travel, and the arts. We also publish book reviews, movie reviews, and interviews. Some submissions are published in TOS Weekly, some in the quarterly, and some in both.

Philosophy and Audience

TOS articles should be written from an Objectivist perspective—or, more broadly, from a rational philosophic perspective. However, our target audience is not primarily Objectivists. Rather, our audience is active-minded non-Objectivists (and Objectivists). Accordingly, articles and reviews should not assume understanding of or agreement with Objectivism—at least not beyond the self-evident or relatively obvious aspects of the philosophy (e.g., a thing can act only in accordance with its nature; wishing won’t make it so; people should be treated as they deserve to be treated).

Although you need not be an Objectivist to write for TOS, we are not interested in publishing anything that contradicts the basic principles of Objectivism. We’re interested in advocating and supporting reason (not faith or emotionalism), egoism (not altruism or utilitarianism), individualism (not collectivism), and capitalism (not anarchy or statism).

Articles

Articles for TOS should be fact-based, logically structured, and written in plain English (not academese). They also should be crafted to convey a clear and specific theme and should not include any material that does not work toward conveying that theme. Please include a clear, single-sentence theme at the top of the document. And if the article is longer than 1,000 words, please include a brief, thematic outline (i.e., the overarching theme of the article followed by three to six section themes, each in a single sentence).

Book and Movie Reviews

Book reviews and movie reviews for TOS should do three things: (1) tell the reader what in essence the book or movie is about; (2) tell him why you think the book or movie is essentially good or essentially bad; and (3), if you think it’s essentially good but has significant flaws, indicate the nature of those flaws. (As with articles, please include a clear, single-sentence theme at the top of the document. If the article is longer than 1,000 words, also include a brief, thematic outline—i.e., the overarching theme of the article followed by three to six section themes, each in a single sentence.)

Interviews

If you are interested in conducting an interview for TOS, please email us at jon@theobjectivestandard.com to see whether we are interested in an interview with the person you have in mind. If we’re interested, we’ll schedule a time to discuss interview questions and procedural details.

Exclusivity

All submissions to TOS must be exclusive to TOS. If an article (or its likeness) has been published elsewhere in any form, we’re not interested in republishing it.

Our Style Guide

Manuscripts should adhere strictly to our style guide, which can be accessed here. (We neither read submissions nor reply to their senders if the submissions are not prepared in accordance with our style guide.)

Article Length

Articles for TOS can be as short as a few hundred words or as long as 15,000 depending on the subject and the purpose of the piece. The sweet spot for articles is between 500 and 6,000 words, as works in this range can be read comfortably in a single sitting and thus are more likely to be read by a substantial number of people. We prefer to keep book reviews, movie reviews, and interviews in the range of 500 to 3,000 words. If you are a first-time contributor to TOS, we ask that you start with a relatively short article or review, no longer than 800 words.

Submitting Queries or Manuscripts

Short pieces—1,500 words or fewer—may be submitted in full, without prior queries. For longer articles, however, queries should be submitted in advance of manuscripts. A query should state in a single sentence the overarching theme of the proposed article and provide a brief indication of how that theme will be conveyed in the piece. Queries should be no longer than 300 words. (Alternatively, you may submit a brief, thematic outline consisting of the overarching theme of the article followed by three to six section themes, each in a single sentence.)

When a query or outline leads to a request for a manuscript, this does not mean TOS has accepted the article for publication. TOS reserves the right to reject any article at any time during the submission or editing process if the article does not meet our standards.

Queries and manuscripts should be shared as Google Docs, in 14-point Times New Roman font, with jon@theobjectivestandard.com. (Note, you may draft the document in another application and upload it to Google Docs. Copying and pasting is not recommended, as this generally causes formatting issues.) We aim to reply within a day or two, but sometimes we take longer. (Please note that if a query or manuscript patently contradicts our philosophy or grossly disregards our writer’s guidelines or style guide, we will not reply at all. Time is too precious.)

Editing

Once a manuscript is accepted for publication, it enters TOS’s editing process, which varies from writer to writer and piece to piece. We work with each writer as necessary.

Payment

TOS pays 15¢ per published word for articles and reviews, and 10¢ per published word for interviews (we pay the interviewer, not the interviewee). Payment is made by ACH direct deposit on the 25th of the month following publication of the article online (regardless of whether it’s included in the quarterly). To ensure timely payment, please forward the routing number and account number to sarah@theobjectivestandard.com at your earliest convenience. (We can make payment via PayPal if you prefer.) Although we may publish an article in more than one venue (TOS Weekly, the quarterly, an ebook, etc.), we pay for the article only once. We do not pay for endnotes, charts, or images included with an article.

Copyrights

TOS retains worldwide exclusive ownership of all copyrights to works we publish. We grant writers blanket permission to reprint articles in any book of which they are authors or editors, without charge, so long as they (a) publish it later than six months after its publication in TOS, (b) note that the articles were originally published in TOS, and (c) give credit to TOS as the holder of the copyrights in accordance with standard publishing conventions.

Get Started Today!

Share your query, article, or review with jon@theobjectivestandard.com via Google Docs and let the world know what you think!