Submission & Style Guidelines









Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings
--Heinrich Heine

You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
--Ray Bradbury

The novelist is neither historian nor prophet: He is an explorer of evidence.
--Milan Kundera

Hello! If you are here, it means, hopefully, that you have read the page About Swans and its Submission Information. If you have not, please take a minute to review them.

Okay... So you agree with our Web exclusivity and no multi-posting policies, feel comfortable with our non-denominational, non-dogmatic, yet collective approach. Great! Now, here is how to submit your Work and the style guidelines you should follow:

First, write in the subject line of your e-mail: "Submission to Swans."

Second, write at the top of your e-mail that you agree with our policies. (Yes, please, put it in writing, so that we may avoid any misunderstanding.)

Third, insert the proposed title of your piece.

Fourth, send your Work in text format (ASCII) within the body of your E-mail. We cannot accept attachments in Microsoft Word format (or any other word processing programs). See below how you can format italics, bold face and quotations in ASCII, for Web publishing. If you still need to send a binary file, please contact the editor first.

Fifth, append to the end of your submission,
a) A 15-word maximum description of your essay/article.
b) A list of meta words (key words for a reader searching the Web on a topic).
c) A short biography (4 lines).
Are you still here? Good! So here are the Style Guidelines, which will make both your life and ours easier.

For general editing, we rely on the The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th Edition, The University of Chicago Press, 1993, ISBN: 0-226-10389-7. When in doubt, please consult it. And, please, check your spelling (do not just run a "spell check").

This said, we do have a few Swans' idiosyncrasies, which are listed below. Please, follow these guidelines. It will save us all much time.


The United States of America (aka, the USA or the U.S.) is often considered by contributors as the center of the world, hence it is expected that everybody will understand the acronyms... The problem resides in the simple fact that Swans is read by folks from over 130 countries who do not necessarily know that "TOS" means The Oprah Show, "NED" is short for the National Endowment for Democracy, "DoD" has to do with the Department of Defense (which one?), "ICT" is about the International Criminal Tribunal, etc. So, please spell out the acronym in its first use and put the acronym in parentheses....if you want to be read....and understood. Also, define the government, the organization or the individual; e.g., Hillary R. Clinton is the *US* Secretary of State.

The U.S. vs. the US

The U.S. (with periods) refers to the United States of America. The US (without periods) refers to the modifier -- the adjective. For example, the U.S. did invade and occupy Iraq. The US government or the US Congress, or again, the US pundits, did this and said that... As a general rule, spell out United States, or United States of America, or the USA when referring to the country. Use US anywhere else, where it modifies a noun.

Mdashes, ndashes and hyphens

Mdashes should be used sparingly. When needed, however, use two hyphens between spaces, like -- this. Those of you who send Microsoft Word files or any other Word Processing files (Word Perfect, etc.) -- which we keep requesting you do not -- should at least make the effort to abide by this rule. We do use mdashes, like — this, in poems. We do not use ndashes – at all.

References & endnotes/footnotes

Cite your sources as endnotes. Insert the note number between parentheses within the text, like this: (1), (2), (3), etc., and number the notes like this: 1., 2., 3., etc. When your source is on the Web, add the URL and, between parentheses, the date you last visited the URL (remember, many sites do not keep archives, or move the referred article to a pay-per-view location). We usually append the notes at the end of the piece. Exceptionally, when the amount of notes is so big as to become cumbersome on one single Web page, we create an additional page of footnotes. Be aware that the notes are hyperlinked; that is, when you click on one note number within the text it will automatically bring the reader to the corresponding note, and back to the text.


Be particularly careful with your spelling when you cite quoted text, whether short or extended, as we may not have access to the original. Insert short quotations between quotation marks, like this: "Hungry man, reach for the book: It is a weapon." Longer, extended quotations need to be indented, or placed between <blockquote> and </blockquote>. This will indent the extended quotation like this:
Be courteous to all, but intimate with few and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.
Use double quotation marks (like this "), not single ones (like that '). Single quotation marks should only be used to distinguish a quote within a quote.

Italics & Bold

Italicize publications like newspapers, magazines and book titles; e.g., the New Yorker, The Guardian, Catcher in the Rye. Do not italicize TV networks.
Do not italicize quotations.
To italicize or bold one or more words, or a sentence, please insert them between <em> and </em>; it will then appears like this: <em>your italicized words here.</em> If you want to bold words, then insert these words between <strong> and </strong>; it will then appears like this: <strong>your bolded words here.</strong>

Essay/article/poem titles

Capitalize (upper case) the first letter of each word (e.g., The Best Of All Worlds; not, The best of all Worlds).

Additional tips

More to come, including, but not limited to, commas, colons, brackets, ellipses, numbers, spelling, etc., etc., etc.

Meantime, just use your common sense and, again, refer to The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th Edition.

Multi-posting/Reprint: Reminder

Please refrain from multi-posting on the Web. You will put us -- and you -- in a no-win situation. However, once again, we strongly encourage re-publishing of Swans' original works in print publications, so long as Swans is acknowledged (and its URL clearly mentioned), and commercial outfits pay their duly reprint fee to the Author.


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Created: November 9, 2003
Last Updated: April 25, 2005