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TD at Work
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TD at Work Submission Guidelines

In preparing to write for TD at Work, it is important to be familiar with the product. Each issue has a similar structure that includes a table of contents with the author’s biography, an introduction, the main text (with sidebars, case studies, charts and graphs, and worksheets), references and resources, and at least one job aid. Most authors find this structured approach helpful in the writing process.

TD at Work is a concise how-to publication and your writing should reflect this fact. You should be able to explain what your TD at Work is about by completing the following sentence: "This TD at Work will show you how to..." If you find that you need more than this one sentence to define your manuscript, you may need to re-evaluate or narrow your focus.

Please feel free to contact us for a sample copy to help you during the writing process.

Frequently Asked Questions
Who writes for TD at Work?

TD at Work authors have a variety of backgrounds. Some authors have written extensively for other publications, while others are first-time authors who wish to share their expertise or practice with other workplace learning and performance professionals.

What are the benefits of writing for TD at Work?

ATD does send authors 20 complimentary copies of their published work. Most authors use their status as TD at Work author to enhance their credibility and/or market awareness of a training and development practice, approach, or model. Others view TD at Work authorship as a way to give back to the profession. No matter what your reasons for wishing to be a TD at Work author, the experience can be rewarding and interesting.

In addition to the 20 complimentary copies, authors may purchase up to 100 copies (total; thereafter, a bulk discount is available) of their issue at the cost of $5 per issue. Authors are allowed to sell their issues at whatever cost they wish.

ATD neither pays a fee, nor provides authors with a royalty check for their TD at Work.

What is the structure of an issue of TD at Work?

Table of contents: You do not need to worry about this; our staff will create it. We do ask that you provide a brief autobiography, approximately 50 words.
Introduction: This part should run approximately 450 words.
Main text: Your running text should run 5,500 words. This word count does not include sidebars, case studies, tables, graphics, and so on (see below). It is helpful to break up your text with headings and subheadings.
Sidebars or case studies: A typical issue contains six to seven sidebars and/or case studies. A single-column sidebar runs approximately 325 words, and a two-column sidebar runs about 600 words. Sidebars longer than that should be avoided as they begin to “eat up” a 16-page publication.
Tables, charts, graphics, or worksheets: You also have the option of including any of these in place of sidebars or case studies. The total of both case studies and graphics should be six or seven. If you’re struggling to narrow down your selection, include them, and we’ll select which ones to include on the basis of editorial layout. Please provide an introduction to the figure that explains its relevance to the main text. Even a single sentence will do.
References and resources: If you have references that you used to prepare your manuscript, please include these citations. If you used no sources in the preparation of your manuscript, please provide a selection of 10-15 additional resources for readers to refer to (books, blogs, websites, and so on.).
Job aid: This is a reproducible element (and not under copyright) to help readers accomplish specific tasks associated with the topic covered in the issue. The job aid is a how-to and should be approached as such when you are putting it together. Please see job aids in previously published issues for examples. Each issue includes at least one job aid and may include as many as three.

How do I submit a proposal?

Some authors prepare a short proposal (one to two pages) for an issue of TD at Work after discussing the suitability of a topic area with the CoP manager or acquisitions editor. Other authors prefer to get their thoughts down on paper before communicating with the editor. Either approach is acceptable. Answering the following questions will help you develop a formal TD at Work proposal or prepare you for a conversation with a TD at Work editor:

  • What is the working title of the proposed TD at Work?
  • Will you be the only author, or is the proposed TD at Work a multi-author issue?
  • Describe your issue of TD at Work in a two or three sentence summary and include the primary and secondary objectives of your proposed issue. Make sure to clearly indicate if your proposed issue is a how-to or trend issue. If your proposed issue seems similar to another TD at Work, please explain how your issue is different.
  • Describe your qualifications (briefly) for writing the proposed TD at Work.
  • Provide an estimated completion date.
  • Create a brief outline describing the contents of each section of the issue.

Send completed materials to Patty Gaul, Editor, TD at Work, pgaul@td.org

Where do I send my manuscript?

The easiest way for us to receive your manuscript is via email. Send us your files electronically as email attachments to pgaul@td.org. We will notify you if we have any trouble opening the attachments.

What if I want to use material from other publications?

We require TD at Work author(s) to obtain permission to use previously published material, such as figures and charts, taken directly from other sources.
If you are citing experts or other sources, be sure to include complete bibliographic information.

What tips do you have for TD at Work writers?

TD at Work’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 check-box 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). Remember, the introductory section is 450 words max. TD at Work is what we call a “slice of the training pie.” You should just to JUMP IN and get to the point.
  5. 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 (?).
  6. 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 ATD, and if most of your work is based on someone else's work, we need to edit around that or require you to get permission to use the material.
  7. Readers LOVE worksheets, job aids, charts, case studies, and so forth. These are elements that really help them apply what you’re writing about.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.