Before mailing a completed manuscript to Black Belt, we advise you to send a query letter. It will save your time and ours. Describe your proposed article, including a sample lead or story outline. If the subject attracts our interest and has not been covered too recently, we may request to see the article on a speculation basis. Please enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope if you want your materials returned. You can also e-mail query letters and submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mail digital photos only if your article is approved.
Articles must address an area of specific interest or concern for the serious martial artist. The vast majority of our stories are educational; they either teach technical and strategic skills, or enlighten the reader about historical and philosophical matters. The writing should capture the reader’s interest with a strong lead, then hold it with information that is exact, concrete and focused around a strong central theme. All quotes and anecdotes should pertain to that theme.
Black Belt seldom uses first-person accounts because most are of interest only to the author and his or her friends. In addition, while many instructors are dedicated and high-ranked, we rarely request personality profiles. (If you do choose to write about an individual, your article should prove that your subject is unique or particularly significant in the martial arts community.) Remember: If you have a chance to meet or train with a great martial artist and want to write an article afterward, discuss what that person knows rather than how his or her life has unfolded.
All statements and quotes must be accurate and verifiable. Use authoritative sources and cross-check your information. Be certain of all spellings—especially names and foreign words—and define foreign terms in parentheses after first usage only.
Manuscripts should be 1,000 to 3,000 words long, typed and double-spaced. If you use a computer, feel free to send a CD or floppy disk with a Microsoft Word or plain text (ASCII) file. Please include a full-color lead and step-by-step photos. Digital photos taken at the highest resolution your camera allows are preferred, but prints and slides are acceptable. Be careful to pose the subjects in front of a contrasting background, and don’t chop off the subjects’ feet or hands when you frame the image. Verify that your camera is focused on the subjects and not on the background.
Feature articles with good photos receive $150 to $300, which is paid upon publication. Articles without photos receive less. Simultaneous or previously published submissions must be identified as such.
Executive Editor, Black Belt
Please send your submissions to the following address:
Robert W. Young
24900 Anza Dr. Unit E
Valencia, CA 91355