Infoline’s written tone is non-academic. Short sections, bulleted information, and sidebars allow readers to digest information quickly and easily. The following tips may help you during the writing process:
1. Use bulleted lists for short entries. The list should be at least 3-5 entries long.
2. Use sidebar boxes to bring attention to items that fall naturally into the flow of the text.
3. You can mark text for open checkbox lists. These are for list entries that readers need to check off when completing tasks or projects.
4. Don’t spend too much time introducing a subject to readers (background, history, and so forth). The reason we’ve marked the introductory section as 450 words max is that’s all we really need. An Infoline is what we call a “slice of the training pie,” and you just need to JUMP IN and get to the point.
5. If you need additional references to prepare your manuscript, let us know early on; we can get our Information Center to put a bibliography of recent sources together for you.
6. If you use other individuals’ ideas and materials, you must provide an on-page citation to the material. It may end up that we edit out the citation from the text, but this is our way of knowing that there must be a reference to the original source somewhere in the issue. If you’re not sure whether to include a citation, do it anyway and mark the citation with a question mark (?)
7. If several sources have been used fairly exclusively, please let us know their titles when you submit your manuscript. Manuscripts are considered “original works” submitted to ASTD, and if most of your work is based on someone else’s work, we need to edit around that or get permission to use the material.
8. Readers LOVE worksheets, job aids, charts, case studies, and so forth. These are elements that really help them apply what you’re writing about.
9. To track your word count after you finish writing, most word processing packages have the ability to count your words. In Microsoft Word, for example, go to the Tool bar and select word count.
10. Always write more rather than less, but please don’t take this to an extreme. If you submit a 10,000 word manuscript when we’ve asked for 6,000, we’ll offer you suggestions on how to cut it, but we’ll also send it back to you. A good min-max standard is to have a final manuscript that is anywhere from 10 percent less than to about 15 percent more than the suggested word count. It’s always easier to cut than add words.
11. If you think a process or model could use a visual rendering, but have no idea how to create it, let us know about it when you’re writing. If you give us enough lead time, we can have our Creative Services department come up with something.