Writer Guidelines

Written By: Greg Forest

Welcome to the Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country. If you are thinking about submitting to the magazine, please make note of the guidelines. If you are already writing for us, we are proud to have you aboard and this page is to help you get a handle on how to submit your work for the best display in the magazine and the best exposure for you. This page will be a constant work-in-progress as we go forward so please check back frequently.


GENERAL WRITER GUIDELINES (Updated July 27, 2017)

We are targeting Texas tourists – not local residents. Your articles should be on subjects that are of interest to tourists and about all things Texan – more specifically Central Texan. Folks might want to return to their homes with Texas recipes,  gardening, hunting or fishing tips, a bit of Texas history or general information about the area they may not have known before their visit to the Lone Star State.

This is not a work-for-hire situation and your articles, photos and all copyrights, publication and ownership rights remain yours. We are printing our writers on a non-exclusive basis. We only ask that the article you submit will not appear in any other Central Texas periodical for the shelf life of the issue you are in or have not been printed within a year previously in the region if you are submitting archival pieces. Also, please include the writer head shot that you would like us to use on your article page banner. If you are a regular columnist and would like us to create a writer blog on the Heart Beat web site for you, we will be glad to do so. Only rule is that you actually have to work your blog.  All submissions should be emailed to greg@texasheartbeat.com.


2017 DEADLINES

We go to press quarterly and the deadline for article and review submissions in 2015 will be:

SPRING ISSUE – FEBRUARY 10th
SUMMER ISSUE – MAY 12th
FALL ISSUE – AUGUST 10th
WINTER ISSUE – NOVEMBER 10th

The earlier you submit your piece, the better. Early arrivals will get an Adobe Acrobat proof of their article & layout prior to going to press. Please keep in mind that there are processes that come into play after you deliver your piece. First the editor will give it a quick read over to see that it is of appropriate subject matter and size. Then your piece is shuffled to the proof reader to check for any typos, grammatical or other errors. The graphics designer will then create a heading banner for your page. Then back for page layout and insertion in the magazine. All these procedures take time and the closer we get to our print transfer deadline, the less time we will have to groom your page. The likelihood of your article appearing in the magazine if delivered after the submission deadline is small.


APPROPRIATE SUBJECT MATTER

We are in the “entertaining tourists” business and are not looking to offend anyone. There are a few subjects we are steering away from for obvious reasons and we will not go to press with articles containing subject matter in the following areas:

  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Contemporary Controversial or Contentious Subjects
  • Material inappropriate for a family audience (PG-13 guidelines)
  • No Whining – we are trying to show a happy face

What we are looking for:

  • Entertaining stories
  • Texas music & entertainment
  • Outdoor activities
  • Texas humor (PG)
  • Getaways and adventures
  • Texas food, cooking tips & recipes
  • Texas history – particularly the Hill Country

ARTICLE GUIDELINES

Please keep in mind our quarterly status so try and focus on things to come rather than events that have already occurred. Reviews are the exception to this rule.

In most cases, your article should fall into these parameters:

500 words will pack a page leaving only room at the top for the author’s banner and no illustrations. If you would like to include photos or other illustrations, 400-425 words would be a better fit. These rules-of-thumb don’t apply to special assignments or cover features. If your article goes past one page, we have to continue it on another page which will be taking potential advertising space we can no longer sell. Keep it short and concise. As the Nashville music publishers say, “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.”

If you are writing a review, the same guidelines apply except that we try to get two reviews on each page so the word count should be about half the word count (225-250 words) as a feature.

IMAGES

All that can be said about photos and other images is that bigger is better. If you can, do not send images from the internet. Web graphics are generally of very poor quality and what looks great in a web browser will probably look pretty bad in print.

Web graphics (.gif / .jpg / .png) are in a RGB color space (6,000,000 colors at best – only 256 colors for a GIFf)  and we print in a CMYK color space (60,000,000 colors). A good yardstick is to look at the file size before you send it. Usable images file sizes start at about 1/2 MG and run up to around 6MG. Any digital camera that takes over 6 megapixel photos will do the job nicely. If you have an image too large to email, please call Greg at 830-792-5737 or 830-746-8041 and we will create an FTP account for you on the web site.

If you would like to submit your material by snail mail: Greg Forest | 103 Fairview Dr. Kerrville, TX 78028.

Web graphics can display fine at 72dpi but we go to print at 300dpi so, when at all possible, send large original images. We will not accept any articles or images in PowerPoint, Microsoft Publisher or Adobe Acrobat formats.

Image file types in order of preference:

  • .PSD (Photoshop)
  • .TIF/TIFF
  • .JPG (JPEG files that come directly from a digital camera are fine  – they retain their color depth)
  • .BMP
  • .PNG
  • .JPG from web

Another consideration is that the magazine is printed in a 9-point font. Any fancy fonts, text manipulation or layouts you put in your submission is a waste of your time and will be stripped out. Best bet – just use Arial or a Times Roman font. If you are using Word or OpenOffice to write your piece – use the word count feature. Optimum submissions would be in .TXT format (notepad) with word wrap disabled, attached to an email. Please don’t put the article in the body of the email itself – use attachments.

CD REVIEWS

All CD reviews should have the following information:

  • Approximately 200-225 words.
  • A good clear image of the CD cover.
  • The recording artist’s name.
  • The record label or producer of the album and the release date if possible.

Please keep your word count down to below 200-225 words as the CD cover art will take up a good amount of space.