How to write for Glass Magazine

Glass Magazine, the monthly four-color flagship of the National Glass Association in McLean, Va., reaches executives in all facets of the commercial and residential glass industry, from manufacturers to glass-shop owners, fabricators and installers of bath enclosures. Twelve times a year, industry professionals rely on Glass Magazine for accurate information about issues that affect their daily operations and their futures.

The reading audience
More than 23,500 of the 31,200 subscribers to Glass Magazine are owners or managers who oversee staffs numbering from one to thousands. People in sales, purchasing, fabrication, installation and architecture and specification are the other subscribers.

One of NGA's three trade magazines, the four-color glossy also serves dealers, retailers, contract glazing companies, distributors, wholesalers, manufacturers, fabricators and suppliers of glass, metals, components or related products, as well as architects, specifiers, commercial and residential builders, general contractors and others allied to the field. The magazine has its own Web site,

The best topics
If you work in the glass industry, personal experience is probably your best source of ideas. As a practitioner, you have encountered problems, developed solutions and corrected mistakes, and your colleagues want to hear about them. Has your company created a product or designed a method or a policy that works? Do you have a cost-effective remedy to an industrywide problem? If you have answered yes to any of the above, you should join dozens of other glass-industry professionals who have found that the time and effort required to write for Glass Magazine pays off tenfold. As an author, you gain industry recognition, public airing of issues and ideas and the satisfaction of knowing you're giving back to your industry.

To write an article for Glass Magazine about your experience, focus on your company; or if you are a supplier, on your customers. Frame the problem and solutions in terms of lessons learned:

  • How can others adapt what you've done?
  • What kind of pitfalls might they run into?
  • What are the costs involved?

Try to anticipate readers' questions and answer them. Glass Magazine features keep a sharp focus. Many profile a single company or project or study a single management issue, technology or profession while citing several points of view. The features usually include interviews with at least three sources. The goal: to view the glass industry's problems and successes through the eyes of the people who run glass companies.

Glass Magazine also contracts with freelance writers for feature stories and department articles. Such contributors are often members of the working press, particularly those with special knowledge of a specific company, technology or development. To be considered as a freelancer, please send the editor a letter explaining why you would like to write for Glass Magazine and include a résumé and three clips.

When you receive an assignment, you will be asked to sign a contract that defines the task and sets a fee for your services as an independent contractor. As reimbursement for their contributions, industry professionals generally receive 10 copies of the magazine and permission to link to the magazine's Web site. For freelancers, fees must cover all expenses. Both kinds of contracts assign all print and electronic rights to the NGA, as Glass Magazine often posts articles on the association's Web site, Glass Magazine pays on acceptance.

To receive free sample copies of the magazine, e-mail

The first step to being published
Send a 150-word outline or proposal addressed to the editor. If you have questions about how to orient a feature idea for the glass industry, call an editor. Types of features include five- or six-page, 3,000-word cover stories; one- to three-page, 1,200-word features; and one-page, 750-word commentary or personal-opinion columns.

Some ideas find their ways into departments. "Industry products" reviews new products, services and technologies. "Newsline" provides timely national and international perspectives. "Snapshots" looks at recent commercial construction and innovations in glass installation. Articles for the "Machinery" department gives details about equipment for specific purposes and often focus on cutting-edge technology. "Hardware" describes new materials used to install glass. "Glazier's bulletin," a how-to-do-it section, often lists step-by-step installation advice. "Management," "Resources" and "Training" departments provide managers with human-resources advice. "People" lists job announcements and changes and offers a personality profile of an industry leader; as does "Looking Glass," with its question-and-answer format.

If your topic is not suitable for Glass Magazine, NGA's family of publications also presents alternatives. Window & Door, published 11 times each year, highlights stories related to the residential window and door industry and has a circulation of 26,900. After receiving your question, an editor might contact you to discuss your idea. If approved, the editor will provide direction for developing the manuscript.

Common reasons why articles are turned down:

  • Topics are elementary, out-of-date or irrelevant to the glass industry
  • They lack insight
  • They offer too few examples from the industry
  • They are self-promotional or market a product or service available only from select vendors.

Glass Magazine does not publish speeches in their entirety, articles that have appeared or will appear in other publications, straight press releases or other such public relations communication. A manuscript must be submitted by the writer. However, if you are unsure about the subject, send a query letter to the editor instead of a manuscript. Submit only original ideas you have not submitted elsewhere. If your idea is not suitable for publication in Glass Magazine, you will be notified.

Tips on preparing a submission:

  1. Review your outline or proposal.
  2. Create a working title.
  3. Write a compelling lead.
  4. In the first five or six paragraphs, try to fashion a "nut graph" that tells readers what they are going to learn by reading the remainder of the piece.
  5. Research. Call three to five experts on the topic you have selected. Interview them and ask for reading material to expand your knowledge of the topic.
  6. Draft.
  7. Once you have a draft, reorganize and insert subheads to shape the story. Be generous with bullets, numbers and other organizational tools. Pull related materials into sidebars, tables, timelines and charts. List other ideas for illustrations.
  8. Rewrite and tighten, paying close attention to meaning, style and tone. Writing coaches often say, "Show, don't tell," so avoid a lecture when explaining your ideas to colleagues. Avoid jargon and acronyms. Use detail to add clarity. Write as you speak, choosing active rather than passive verbs.

In addition:

  1. List full company names and headquarters cities.
  2. Refer to The Associated Press Stylebook and Webster's New World Dictionary.
  3. Give full names and titles of the people you quote and mention.
  4. Use past tense when referring to statements made at a specific time and place or in a public record. Use "says" and other present-tense verbs with quotes from interviews.
  5. Fashion a conclusion that summarizes the main points of your story and brings the reader back to the lead.
  6. Prepare a sources list containing the following information for each person interviewed: name, employer, office street address, city, state, ZIP code, Internet or e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Refer to the format in the magazine. And please note, after publication, a copy of the magazine will be sent to each of your sources with a letter asking for further comments on the topic.
  7. Edit your article by deleting unnecessary words, turning passive phrases into active and linking paragraphs so it is reader-friendly.
  8. Select tables and graphs that complement your work and list possible photos and other suggestions for art. Photos should be scanned at 300dpi resolution. Photos should have captions listing full names and titles; photographer credits should include full names and employers' full formal names.
  9. Please read our art submission guidelines.
  10. Double-check the accuracy of your facts by using the "red-check" method: Consult your original interview notes and other research. Verify every fact, figure and name. Place a red check over each in your manuscript. Accuracy is the author's responsibility.
  11. A relatively current version of Microsoft Word is preferred for filing stories. You can mail stories on CD to Editor in Chief Matt Slovick, National Glass Association, 8200 Greensboro Drive, Suite 302, McLean, Va. 22102. E-mail stories, photographs or other computer files to

Manuscripts are evaluated on originality, readability, content, timeliness and focus on the glass industry. Your article may be accepted as is or contingent on your revision or a staff rewrite. Editors invariably work with authors through at least one or two revisions, carefully editing for style, content, clarity, appropriate language and length. Then, you're through. Sit back and wait for accolades.

Glass Magazine articles:

Provide facts, figures and context for glass industry managers and staff through annual January forecasts, guides to glass codes, company profiles and stories like the following:
"Still in love with tall buildings," July 2004
"Security, energy efficiency and buildings codes mesh," June 2004
"Cross-training for glazing," June 2004
"Fewer templates for mistakes," April 2004
"Binswanger-and the economies of scale," November 2003
"Blast off demand for protective glazing," April 2004

Serve as a forum for education on glass-industry management topics:
"Fabrication market a changin," July 2004
"How to calculate real labor costs," June 2004
"Energy wasters, energy neutral, energy producers," April 2004
"Market your showroom," April 2004 "Polish up the supply chain," March 2004

Teach subscribers about challenges glass-industry professionals face and the resources they need to succeed:
On school retrofits, see "For safety in education buildings," June 2004
On doing business with retailers, see "Shopping amid sheer fantasy," April 2003

Create a greater sense of identity for this professional audience, and help attract the most talented people to the business:
"20 Under 40," February issue
"25 Architects," April issue
"50 Glaziers," June issue

Who writes for Glass Magazine?
Among many contributors: Kent Baumann, strategic alliance manager, Vistawall Architectural Products, Terrell, Texas; Andrew Bohutinsky, vice president, Lincoln Partners, Chicago; John Carmody, director, Center for Sustainable Building Research, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Shawn Donovan, marketing manager, Oldcastle Glass, Santa Monica, Calif.; Michael D. Fischer, director of codes and regulatory compliance, Window & Door Manufacturers Association, Schaumburg, Ill., and technical director, National Sunroom Association, Ventura, Calif.; Steven Glover, art director, Carolina Glass & Mirror, Garner, N.C.; Jerry Kern, vice president, South Florida Division of Trainor Glass Co., Riviera Beach, Fla.; Charlene Kull, corporate communications director, C.R. Laurence Co., Los Angeles; Nick Limb, partner, Ducker Worldwide, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; Mike Nielsen, president, W.S. Nielsen Co., Alpharetta, Ga.; Julie Ruth, code consultant, American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Schaumburg, Ill.; D. Frederick E. Wallin, vice president, marketing, AFG Industries Inc., Kingsport, Tenn.; Bob Lawrence, president, Craftsman Fabricated Glass Inc., Houston; Amy Walgren, publicist, Maine Glass, Park Ridge, Ill.; and Zachary Weiner, vice president, Colonial Mirror & Glass Corp., Brooklyn, N.Y.