ALA is always looking for new authors. The editorial team believes you can only be accepted if you have an idea that will challenge the site’s readers and move its industry forward.
While the focus is on web design focused contents, you can still aim to bring readers a fresh perspective on a topic that’s keeping you up at night.
Prepare your mind before starting to believe you can make a good first impression, because writing for ALA takes work. The editorial team want your article to be at its best, and they’ll push you to get there. Once accepted, they’ll get extensive feedback from their team, and you’ll work closely with an editor on revisions.
It’s also rewarding. Thousands of your peers (and potential employers, clients, or publishers) will read your work, and you’ll also learn a lot in the process—about communicating your ideas, about writing, and even about the topic you thought you already knew so well when you started.
What They’re looking for
You may submit a rough draft, a partial draft, or a short pitch (a paragraph or two summarizing your argument and why it matters to their readers) paired with an outline. The more complete your submission is, the better feedback they can give you. Keep in mind that they only accept original content—they do not publish anything that’s been published elsewhere (including on your blog).
Please don’t send them press releases or sales pitches. They make them feel sad inside.
- Has a thesis and offers a clear argument—not just a list of tips and tricks.
- Has a voice. Be bold, interesting, and human.
- Is written for an audience of designers, developers, content strategists, information architects, or similar.
- Is supported with convincing arguments, not just opinions. Fact-check, and cite sources where appropriate.
- Follows their style guide.
For some wise words on the writing process, see “Writing is Thinking”.
What they publish
They publish three types of content:
- Features (1,500–2,500 words). Meets most rigorous content and editorial criteria; runs with a custom illustration.
- Articles (600–1,500 words). More casual in tone and content. Great for less-intensive tutorials and posts.
- Mini-articles (500–600 words). Short and sweet.
All should be well-considered explorations of current and cutting-edge topics in the web industry. They pay $50 per mini-article, $100 per article, and $200 per feature.
How to submit (and what happens next)
Email them your submission. They prefer submissions as Google documents so that editors can easily provide feedback and guidance directly within your draft. You may also send them a plain text file, a Markdown file, or a link to an HTML document. (Please do not send a ZIP file of assets unless requested by an editor.)
Here’s what happens after you hit Send:
- An editor will review your submission and determine whether it’s a potential fit. If so, the whole team will review and discuss it. This happens once a week.
- The editor will collect the team’s feedback and get back to you with notes. (They rarely accept an article the first time around, but they’ll tell you if they’re interested.)
- Once you’ve addressed their comments, send your revised draft back. The team will discuss it again and let you know if they want to accept it.
- If they accept your article, an editor will work closely with you on things like organization, argumentation, and style.
- They’ll schedule you for publication as soon as revisions are complete. They can’t give you a specific publication date until the article is almost ready to go live.
This article is adapted with minor alterations from the original home page content on A List’s Write For Us Content
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