Frequently Asked Questions about Journal Submissions
Frequently Asked Questions about Journal Submissions
How do I submit articles for the Journal?
Send articles to the editorial address given on page 4 of every Journal or email them directly to us.
How long should an article be?
As short or as long as you like. Articles of two to three thousand words are a ‘nice size’ for the magazine format of the Journal, but anything up to six thousand words is fine. Longer articles are acceptable, but consider splitting them into discrete parts for serialisation over several issues. One other consideration is that there should be a nice balance between text and illustrations like photographs, diagrams and plans.
What should I write about?
Anything you like. The Journal is dedicated to N Gauge railway modelling so subjects related to N/2mm are welcome for publication. This can include reviews, news, articles, features, modelling projects, layout descriptions, track plan ideas, modelling tips, ideas, and letters, and covering all eras, countries and regions. Also articles on prototype railways, or modelling boats, planes and cars in N Gauge are of equal interest to members. See the Journal itself and sample articles reproduced on this website for ideas.
How many photographs should I send?
As many as you like, but the more the better. The editor can then select as few or as many as is best to illustrate the article. Try to send at least a few photographs or other illustrations as long text only articles can seem a little dense.
What format should articles be sent in?
Virtually any format is acceptable. If you do not have a computer, hand written is fine, but please write very clearly so that mistakes are not made while transcribing. Microsoft Word and RTF files are best for electronic copy format. If you have written it on a computer, please send the file (some people just send hard copy). PDFs are fine, but are not preferred as the text can be difficult to extract. One good option is to also copy and paste the text in to the body of an email that you send in.
How do I submit photographs?
Photographs help to illustrate an article. Digital images are preferred and should be sent as files (such as JPEG, PNG, etc.,) as separate attachments and not embedded in with the text. Please keep text and pictures as separate files. Be wary and careful of email programs that reduce the image quality to speed up sending. There is a maximum data attachment size per email so if you have a lot of images to send it may be easier to copy them to a CD or DVD and post that to the editor, or you may need to send them spread over several emails.
Send the photo file at it maximum size. Do not ‘compress’ photographs as that reduces quality and may prevent it being used at an appropriate size for printing. 300DPI is the minimum resolution at the required size for printing and the DPI will fall as the photo is enlarged. The photo file ought to be a minimum size of around 1MB (preferably greater). Do not bother with ‘thumbnail’ pictures.
Standard 4 by 6 inch prints are fine if you do not have a computer/internet access, but avoid printing them on a home printer as this can reduce the quality when scanned.
How do I submit diagrams and supplementary data?
Diagrams, tables and track plans are most welcome. Check with the editor if using a drawing package (for compatibility) but the drawing facility in Word is quite adequate. If drawing by hand, avoid hard pencils as these make drawings difficult to scan – pen and ink drawings are best, or a good quality unfolded printout. Do not draw on to graph paper. Take a photocopy of your drawing in case it gets lost but please send the original to help scanning. The editorial team can arrange to redraw diagrams if needed. For tables, Excel is probably the best option.
Do I need to include hard copy with my submission?
While some magazines prefer hard copy to be included, if sending the article electronically, this is not necessary.
Do I need to format the article?
No formatting is required other than to improve readability for the editor. The graphic design will be carried out on Desk Top Publishing software which has its own text and format editor so please do not pre-format submissions, combine the sources (text, images, tables, etc), or embed them in to one document.
What else do I need to send?
Apart from including your NGS membership number and an SAE if you want any hard copy material returned there is nothing in particular. However, consider supporting your article with some separate and supplementary source references, historic context and ancillary information. This will make it more interesting and comprehensive. You will probably need to undertake some research for this but it is relatively easy these days; try the internet search engines, reference books, magazines, videos, museums, libraries and site visits.
Are there any tips for taking photographs?
Yes. Good quality photographs that are correctly focused and exposed are required to ensure the best reproduction when printed in the Journal. Here are some basic tips:
- Read the instructions and learn the appropriate techniques of how to get the best out of your camera.
- Practice to improve your photography. Hold the camera steady when you press the shutter release button to prevent ‘camera shake’ - better is to mount it on a tripod or use a bean bag to keep it stable and use the ‘self-timer’ release to take the picture.
- Set any digital camera to record/take the largest photos and at the maximum (or finest) quality setting.
- Ensure that there is sufficient lighting over the entire model being photographed – a flash is generally no good as it will overexpose (and ‘burn out’) anything close to the flash and underexpose things further away, as well as casting harsh shadows.
- Choose a small aperture (large f-stop number) for the best ‘depth-of-field’ if you are able to.
- Check and set the right focus, exposure and white balance.
- Use a macro lens or the macro setting for close up photographs.