RPi MagPi InfoForAuthors

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Instructions for authors

The Raspbian (Debian Wheezy) version of Scribus is used for the TheMagPiLayout. Articles can be submitted using the Raspbian/Debian version of Scribus or any other format. Articles can be submitted to the editor (editor@themagpi.com).

General Tips

Here are a few points to remember:

  • Keep it brief.

A typical 2 Page article with images contains around 700 words, the text is purposely kept large (14pt FreeSans Font) to aid reading on various devices and print sizes. We aim to keep most articles within 2 page or less, if longer it can always be split into a series of articles.

  • Remember beginners will read it.

Where possible explain specific terminology and assume the reader is unfamiliar with your chosen topic. Also remember that people will have different setups, so consider testing your instructions on a clean image (if applicable) and consider differences such as Rev1 and Rev2 boards.

  • Make use of the Template

If you are able to, consider using the Scribus Template, this forms the basis of all the articles we produce in the magazine. Variations on the format are fine, but it is a good starting point to obtain what we expect. See section below for details.

  • Provide Graphics and Images.

Where possible obtain suitable graphics and images. Note all images, photos and graphics MUST be free for commercial use (please flag to us beforehand any items you are unsure about).

  • Work with us.

Keep in contact and let us know if you are writing something specific, the content of the next issue is usually allocated quickly so it is helpful to know in advance the topic area and estimates of how long it will take you to produce the article.

Make sure you keep us updated if it is targeted for a specific issue. Often an early draft can help give us a headstart with graphics, layout, proofreading and feedback, so that the article is ready in time.

  • Don't panic!

It is common not to know where to start when writing an article, my advice is to start with writing out what you aim to achieve in the article and why are you writing it (this may not end up in the final article, but it helps focus what you are doing).

  • Ask for Help.

Out of Ideas? Working on the magazine, we all have 1000s of ideas for articles, but very little time to produce them, so if you want to write but not sure what about, then we can probably give you some ideas (simply let us know what topics you are interested in!).

Stuck on something? Chances are we may be able to help, or do some testing if required.

Need graphics? The team can help source and produce graphics if you are unable to obtain suitable ones.

Unsure about layouts? The article will go through the layout team before publishing, so have a go and if you aren't happy ensure we have enough time to let the layout team work on it.

  • Enjoy it!

Try to pick something you are passionate about sharing with the world. It is an amazing feeling when you see your article published at the end of the month.

Setting Up Scribus

Using the latest Debian image, Scribus can be installed from terminal:

sudo apt-get install scribus

Authors should use the MagPi Scribus template (found on the TheMagPiLayout page).

Timescales & Deadlines

While we currently do not have a fixed deadline for articles it is worth remembering the stages we go through:

Day 1-2 - The magazine content is agreed upon by the Team.

Articles submitted or suggested after this point are likely to be put in following issues. Usually we have the outline of the content (and then order) worked out in the first few days of the month. We also review how the team got on in the previous month and what we can improve next month.

Completion Action: Bare-bones version of the magazine is put on Issuu with article place-holders.

Week 1 - Prepare Articles

Authors contacted to ensure articles will be ready. Work with authors to ensure content is in suitable format for use, including graphics and layout (please submit early if help is needed - do not under-estimate how long it takes to prepare graphics and layout).

Completion Action: Everyone has a good idea of what they need to do and when.

Week 2 - Article Drafts Received, Layout & Testing Started

We aim to start uploading completed/draft articles on to Issuu by this week. Additional work may be required with layout and graphics but full content is required. The status of the planned articles will be reviewed and replacements considered if content is not likely to be ready in time/testing shows issues.

Completion Action: Draft articles should appear on the Issuu Live Draft

Week 3 - All Articles Posted For Proofreading

By this stage we should have all the articles in the draft of the magazine live on Issuu.

Completion Action: Completed articles should appear on the Issuu Live Draft

Week 4 - Final Proof and Checking

All input from the authors should now be finished, any changes which impact layout etc probably won't be accepted. All eyes are on the articles and everyone is encouraged to highlight any errors, typos, problems with the articles as quickly as possible so that we can fix them.

Completion Action: The Issuu Live Draft updated frequently with proof-reading feedback

Last Day of Month - Magazine is Completed

The magazine is released either that night or the following day. Then we start all over!

Completion Action: Release and look through what has been managed in a month!