It’s easy to submit an item for publishing in Brigada. But you can save us tons of time by using the following guidelines — and increase the likelihood that we’ll use your item, too.
1) Write the item in 3rd person (don’t use “I”, “me”, “we”, or “us”). We write the articles as if Doug is speaking… so it won’t make sense if you say “us”.
2) Keep it short . . . 8-10 lines max please.
3) Keep it simple . . . please don’t send your submission as an attached file. We don’t open them – ever. Sorry.
4) If it seems helpful, feel free to provide an email address in addition to a web URL. (Some subscribers have to pay by the minute for web access.) As of 2008, when we include email addresses, we convert them to a jpg graphic. This hopefully discourages web-scanning robots from picking up on your email address. Due to this conversion to graphical format, we no longer have to “disguise” email addresses with parentheses and words like “(at)” and “(dot)”. In fact, when you include them these days, it’s just extra work to take them back out.
5) Remember you’re writing to an international audience (40% of our readers live outside North America).
6) If you provide a toll-free number (for USA subscribers), please provide a “normal” number too. Write with an int’l reader in mind! For example, you might say, “USA callers can dial toll-free (others can call via Skype-out) 1-800-xxx-xxxx.” When you write in such a way, you avoid alienating those from countries other than the USA . . . and over the years, that’s been a constant goal of Brigada.
7) Make it interesting, but don’t go overboard with too many UPPER CASE words or !!! exclamations!!! And please, don’t use sentence fragments or “classified ad language”. For example, instead of saying, “Transfers accepted. Seating limited.”, talk in plain English please: “The school accepts transfers, but you’d better apply soon because seating is limited.” Also, please steer away from using passive voice. Use active voice. (So instead of saying “transfers accepted”, please write “The school accepts transfers.”)
8) We stopped using “pointy braces” around email addresses long ago.
9) We love web addresses (URLs); please supply the “http://” on the front and put the address on its own line. Example: “Check out https://brigada.org/ Even if the URL is at the end of a sentence, we still don’t show a period after the URL, since some browsers reported trouble opening these URLs. Please don’t send us the URL already encoded as a hidden “link” to an anchor word in your item. We still send Brigada as an email (text-only) for low-bandwidth dial-up subscribers, using pure ASCII text. So it’s extra work to have to de-link the fancy HTML. Just write in plain letters please. Besides, our style calls for showing people the actual URL to which they’re being linked. We think it’s a bit more honest that way — to let users see exactly where they’ll be browsing.
10) Suggest a title for the item. Put it at the beginning of the item, all upper case, followed by 2 hyphens, like this ” — “. Please keep the title short. We have to put an item number at the beginning when we compile the text, and we like the title to fit on one line. For samples, just check out a current issue!
11) Start the text of your item immediately after those hyphens; See any Brigada Today for an example. No need to skip a line.
12) Please hit the space bar only *once* after a period (not 2 or 3 times).
13) By default, we mention only first names. You’ll thank us later when you decide you want to cleanse the web of your full name. Also by default, we usually don’t publish email addresses of contributors. (They get archived on the Brigada site… and if we publish them, you’ll probably see an increase in spam anyway.) When we include email addresses — see #4 above.
14) We emphasize items with broad appeal (as opposed to a narrow focus or single people group). We do publish mission opportunities once and awhile, but usually only those aimed at a *group* rather than a job opportunity for just one highly focused individual. Our audience is close to 10,000… and we only publish up to 20 items per week… so we’re looking for items that interest the most people.
15) Sorry — we don’t publish appeals for support (at least 1/3 of our readers are missionaries, so we’d be preaching to the choir!).
In the subject line, please put: “Proposed Brigada Submission”.
17) Make sure you note any deadlines you’re working under… Most of the time we’re backed up two or three weeks on nondated items. Oops — we could be backed up quite a bit longer. :-( But part of that is due to not having a secretary or assistant. If we’re ever able to raise our full Brigada budget, we’ll be able to afford one… and then Brigadas will come out on time… So see? … chipping in a donation to Brigada will make a difference! :-)
18) Please don’t indent or center any lines in your item.
19) Please remove all formatting from the text; Keep it simple.
20) If you write in Microsoft Word, please turn off all “publisher” characters (like fancy quotes).
21) Keep security and sensitivity as a high priority — don’t compromise the identity of those you love.
22) If your name or email address doesn’t reveal your gender, please tell us if there’s any doubt, in case we refer to you later as a “he” or “she.”
23) We try to major in items relating to unreached peoples and/or the challenges of reaching them, along with helpful tools and resources to make it all work together.
24) We simply can’t include everything that is submitted; we reserve the right not to print it all. Much of our international audience is paying by the byte! Thanks!!!
25) Note that you can now collect instant feedback on your item. Just ask readers to click on the word, “Comment” below the item text. In this manner, there’s no need to wait for some kind of “compilation in two weeks,” as we used to have to do in the past.
Thank you for being a part of the Brigada family!
Note: We don’t charge any advertising fees for publishing your item in Brigada. However, if you’d like to pitch in toward the costs of even a part-time assistant, we’d do a much better job managing this publication. Thanks for understanding!