SelfhelpMagazine's Submission Guidelines - 03/19/2015

Style   |   Contributor Agreement (Required)


SelfhelpMagazine (SHM) is a service-oriented, self-help and educational magazine published to promote the understanding of research-based information about the human condition, relationships, and happiness. As you know, SHM explores a range of topics related to human behavior, particularly what-to-do lists of solutions for people grappling with a particular circumstance. Although many psychologists and other mental health professionals read SHM, most of our readers are simply intelligent and curious people interested in how to improve their lives, or those of their loved ones.

What We Seek

We are looking for clearly articulated how-to articles: short on problem descriptions, and long on problem solutions. Any subject related to psychology is fair game. We value originality, insight, and good reporting. We appreciate alternative views from different schools of thought. Research-based articles are also our preference.

We don't publish poems or short stories. Short first-person accounts of psychological illness or recovery by non-credentialed writers will be added to our 'Readers Articles' section.

Write to Us with Your Ideas

Please send us your ideas for articles prior to writing the article. Search SelfhelpMagazine to get a sense of form, content and style. You may want to start by looking at our Article Department and seeing if we already carry articles similar to the one you have in mind. If we do, but you have a different approach to solving the reader's dilemma when they seek answers to their questions, then please submit the URL of the article you found on our site, and explain how your article would be different or better.

Better yet, if you can write something that we haven't already discussed, send your idea to our Editor-in-Chief and we will happily help you carve out a topic that will be maximal interest to our readership.


It can take up to eight weeks before you see your work online. If you need something rushed, we will try to accommodate, but can't promise. With a volunteer staff, we just ask and wait. Oftentimes, though, our awesome staff is happy to accommodate special requests. If you are asking for such service, please be sure you've printed up this page and checked off each and every requirement.

Please Send Your Submission by Email

All photographs, tables, figures, or charts must also be submitted in electronic form. Handwritten or typed materials will not be accepted, except as additions to help with formatting suggestions. Always include them with your submission for the editor's files. Send submissions directly to our Editor-in-Chief. Due to the amount of queries we receive our staff is not able to respond to all mail.

Licensing of Your Work

As one of our authors, you will retain copyright to your work, and grant Pioneer Development Resources, Inc., (herein referred to as "PDR") the publisher of SelfhelpMagazine, non-exclusive license to reproduce your work. Our attitude is to live and let live, prosper and let prosper. Please read, sign and mail the Author Agreement by regular surface mail to our Editor-in Chief. (The street address is to be found in the agreement itself).

Financial and Legal Responsibilities

Please be careful. Our goal is to help and not hurt people. The Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct published by the American Psychological Association must be followed in all respects related to your submission. Responsibility for copyright violation and/or breach of client confidentiality rests entirely with you. We are happy to carry a link to your website, and ask that return the favor by linking from your website in some fashion, to our website. The more links we each get to our respective sites, the better for each of us. The link out from our site to yours will carry a disclaimer, informing the reader that they are leaving our website. We carry this disclaimer because we cannot be responsible for controlling your interactions with our readers, and in our agreement with you (see link below), we ask that you assume responsibility for any direct contact you have with readers coming from our website. For this same reason, we do not carry your email address. Because we carry popular and relevant articles for long periods of time, we also cannot assume the responsibility for updating your biographical information as the years go on. Please be sure to provide us only information that is stable and will not require us to make costly changes in the future. We also ask that you keep us informed of email and other contact information that might change. We ask that you keep us informed of your changes because often receive requests from other publishers who might want to re-print your work. If we cannot reach you privately, we cannot forward their request onto you, and you will miss out on potentially lucrative reprinting opportunities. Once again, please read our Author's Agreement carefully for full details, sign and return to Dr. Maheu.


Minor editing license may be taken by the editors without prior approval. Submissions requiring extensive editing will be returned to the sender for rewriting, or not accepted.

Product Advertisements

We all know the difference between advertisements and educational articles. If you'd like to advertise a product, please consider joining a large product affiliate group, such as ClickBank, where your product will be made available to over 100,000 affiliate members. If you join their network, please contact us to let us know your product number, and we will review it for inclusion in our magazine.

Regular SHM Staff members are compensated with a free advertising page where they are allowed links out to their professional websites, and other valuable opportunities, including video introductions. Join our family and we can all help one another. Further...if you'd like to promote a product or service, please consider participating on an SHM Teleseminar, where one of our staff members will interview you by telephone for our SHM audience, develop the interview into a podcast and ebook(s), and promote the package as one of our Affiliates. Contact our Affiliate Department for more information.

Please read our Style section below, then complete, sign and mail the agreement linked below.

Thank you!


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If you want to maximize your writing for the web, you will need to write differently than when you write for print publications. Consider printing out this page and crossing out completed guidelines as you proceed. We will only respond to work specifically tailored to our guidelines upon first submission. Here are a few quick tips to point you in the right direction:

Write in a Short, Relaxed, Non-academic Style

Articles should be approximately 300-800 words in length. A warm, friendly conversational tone is most important.

Article Titles and Key Words

Reading on the internet is not like reading a newspaper or book. People cannot scan twelve columns of content with one sweep of their eyes. Short, snappy and even funny titles are your reader's easiest way to get pulled into your article. Read 30 ideas for improving your titles by clicking on this Title Samples page.

Remember, they will need to click on that title to see every other word you've written. Make sure your title captures their attention and leaves them wanting more. Also, make your title "pop" with short, easy-to-understand keywords. Those keywords will be picked up by search engines and draw readers to you from the Internet throughout the world. Make each word count.

Before you add keywords you like best, verify the traffic of any keyword your are considering. This is not magic, but it does require that you verify your hunches - and look for data related to your particular choice of keyword or keyword phrases.

Luckily, Google and many other groups have free software available for us all to use to verify our hunches about good keywords. Just go to this Google Adsense page, and checking them.

Just type them in and look for the "Average Volume per Month" for the keyword you've chosen., If your chosen keyword isn't the highest on the page, consider changing your keyword, then include your new choice in the title of your article.

Better yet, include that keyword in ALL these specific places within your article, and assure yourself of top search engine placement:

  • Title
  • Subtitles
  • The first 90 words of your article
  • Again in the middle of your article
  • Again at the bottom of your article and
  • in a short description that you write to help us properly tag your article for the search engines

That's right, include the keyword or keyword phrase right in all these places above. That's an insider secret for high search engine placement!

Organize Your Thoughts Ahead of Time

Outlined your thoughts before you begin writing, and stick to the outline like glue. It flows a lot better for your reader if your writing is organized around a handful of main points, like this:

Theme reflected in title and Opening Vignette

Point 1

Point 2

Point 3

Summary of theme and points and closing remark


Author Bio

Date of Publication

Start Your Article with a 3-6 Sentence Vignette

A short vignette depicting the problem you want to address will help the reader know that you understand their pain. The is no need to give paragraph after paragraph of problem description, as most mental health writers are trained to do. Consumers know the problem. They live the problem every day. They want solutions - the faster they find them, the more your article will be read. If you've titled your article properly, and offered them a list of options to try, they will come back and refer others to your article. We prefer articles that give a short vignette of a situation at the beginning, so the reader can quickly grasp the problem without reading a long list of boring symptom patterns. Please see this article for a sense of such a vignette:

Discuss "Options and Possible Solutions"

Internet readers want as many fact-based solutions as they can find. Give them a variety of solutions, without promising a cure. Avoid just offering your "opinions" if you don't have scientific fact to support them. Typical media writing suggests solutions in this way: "Many people experiencing this sort of problem find one or more of these solutions helpful." In essence, try to avoid implying the reader ought to trust you merely because you are published. Avoid the "trust me" approach: "Try this solution and you will feel better - I promise. Trust me, I know."

For further information about writing for the public-at-large, consider joining groups such as the American Psychological Association's Division 46: Media Psychology.

Write Your Content for a 6-8 Grade Reading Style

Be succinct and precise. Web readers tend to spend 7 seconds on a page. We are happy to report that our reader spend 15-20 seconds per page, but that's still not much time. Please use a grammar checker and spell checker before submitting. Reading your article out loud to another listener can help you experience where a reader's eye might stumble with your sentence structure. Please read your articles out loud over and over again...until you do not stumble over your concept of sentence structure. This is the single most common problem with articles submitted. If your concepts or sentence structure are too difficult for the average reader to skim and comprehend, your article will probably send the reader surfing onto another article. If you are going to take the time to write for a web audience, read, edit and polish your work several times so it can be read easily and quickly.

Write in the Same Person

Some people begin speaking to you and in the same sentence start referring to third person. For example: If you speak harshly to your children, one's friends and relatives are likely to do the same". The preferred method is to write all in the same person, for example: "If you speak harshly to your children, your friends and family are likely to do the same."

Have someone re-read your submission to make sure you have kept it all in the same person. This is a very common problem and difficult to root out with just one re-reading.

Put all Your Information in the Body of the Article

If you must have footnotes, put them at the end of the piece as a regular part of the article (do not use footnoting features of the word processor). Add your references to the end of the articles, followed by your Author information. (Article, References, Author).

No Right Justification or Hyphenation

Start new paragraphs at the left margin; do not indent. Please indicate new paragraphs by double spacing between such paragraphs. You may not use bullets, italics, bold face and underline. Use a single font and font size.

References are Required

Please supply at least one reference from the scientific literature substantiating your claims.Multiple references are preferred. We tend to select articles that are research-based, rather than simple opinion pieces. For example, if you are going to claim that diaphragmatic breathing is going to alleviate anxiety, please be ready to support your claims with references to at least one if not two or three (2-3) well-designed, controlled studies to support your suggestion. The more off-the-beaten track your suggestion, the more references we'll require. American Psychological Association publication style is preferred for the citation.


Use two dashes -- and leave no space between periods or commas and text.

Keep paragraphs and Sentences Short

Blocks of text should be no more than 75 words each. Use at least three (3) sentences for each paragraph. It is much better to use several, short paragraphs than one, long paragraph. Break long paragraphs into bulleted lists. Short, action-oriented sentences are also preferable. For a list of options-to-try, make liberal use of bulleted lists, like this:

  • option-to-try #1
  • option-to-try #2
  • option-to-try #3
  • option-to-try #4

Cut Word Count

Read with the goal of eliminating all unnecessary words. Use examples to maximize meaning while minimizing boring text.

Get to the Point

Put the most important info (your conclusion) at the top. Many people never scroll down web pages.

Call Your Reader to Action

Use active and not passive voice. Suggest defined actions but also use appropriate disclaimers, because not all suggestions work for all readers. Start your list of suggestions with comments such as "People in similar situations often find these options to be helpful..."

Edit, Edit, Edit

Please do not send your work to us without re-reading it at least five (5) times. In fact, if you really want us to publish it, take the time to read it OUT LOUD, clear out any sentences that slow you down or hang you up, then re-read OUT LOUD to a friend. Let your friends help you smooth it out so nothing catches you eye when you (or they) skim it. Realize that most people spend 7 seconds on a web page. If your un-edited article hangs them up, they are gone. Poof! And if your article hangs us up, well, poof again. We won't write back to hold your hand through this process. We offer you a free service by publishing your work. Be a professional and take the time to edit your own work.

Short Author Biography

A 40-60 word biography is required for each author. It may contact street address and telephone number and web (URL) address, but no email address. We would greatly appreciate your linking back to our site from yours. This cross-linking will help us both get more traffic to our respective websites. Photos of authors in electronic form are welcomed, saved in .jpg or .gif format only, and used at the sole discretion of the Editor.

If you have an ebook, podcast, blog or other electronic file you'd like us to link to, we'd be happy to oblidge. If you'd like to Chair one of our Magazine Departments, we'd be happy to develop a blog for you, promote your product(s) and link to professional video profile elsewhere on the web, such as on YouTube. If you would like us to publish an ebook with you and link to our other affiliates, please just let us know here.

Your Cover Page

When you submit your article by email, please include your title, author's name(s), affiliation if any, program used for word-processing, total word count of the submission, and 5-8 keywords. ("Coping with Compulsivity in Hackers," John Johnson, Ph.D.; University of Cyberspace; ASCII; 653 words; Keywords: child, parent, anger, management, behavior).

Other Web Writing Tips

If you are serious about getting published online, you may want to read a few short articles about writing for web pages. Just use a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo and type "web articles, writing". Or try these specific sites:

  1. Webwriting
  2. 10 Tips for Good Web Writing
  3. Writing Well for the Web
  4. Seven Qualities of Highly Successful Web Writing

LAST STEP: Please print and sign: Contributor Agreement