CM Magazine Editorial Guidelines

The Magazine and its Audience
Contract Management (CM) magazine is the NCMA flagship publication for people and businesses working in the buying and selling communities of both the public and private sectors.

CM is a full-color, monthly magazine written and edited specifically for contract management professionals. Each issue provides comprehensive reporting on issues and trends relevant to contract management of all shapes and sizes, covering the public and private sectors.

Common article topics include, but are not limited to: alternative disputes resolution, commercial contracting, construction contract management, environmental contracting, information technology, e-commerce, e-business, education, grants management, health care contracting, international acquisition, program management, small business, state and local government contracting, and professional development.

Before You Write
CM seeks original and useful articles dealing with contract management problems, insights, applications, and opinions. As a contract management professional, your personal experiences in the field can become valuable to readers. Apply your practical insights, solutions, and encountered problems to their situations. Focus on the lessons learned, rather than chronology of events. Before you begin to write an article for CM, you should ask yourself these questions:

• Is this topic practical to the reader?
• Do I have specific examples of lessons learned?
• How can other professionals adapt what I have done?
• What kinds of pitfalls might they run into?
• What are the costs involved?

Avoiding the Pitfalls
Articles are not accepted in Contract Management magazine if the article

• Topic is not related to contract management,
• Is poorly organized,
• Lacks valuable insight,
• Offers too few examples, or
• Is overly promotional and self-serving.

In order to avoid these pitfalls, we recommend that you send an inquiry including a brief summary (150 words) of the proposed article to the managing editor before you write the article. Please send your inquiry to:

Kerry McKinnon Hansen, Editor in Chief
National Contract Management Association

Writing Your Article
Here are our suggestions for an easy-to-read, successful CM article:

• The length of your article should be between 1,800–4,000 words.
• Create a clever working title using active verbs. Try to keep it brief, between three and six words.
• Provide a byline. Include the author(s’) full name(s), suffixes, degrees, etc.
• Provide a two- to three-line biography. Include the author’s name, title, affiliation/employer, employer’s city and state, and NCMA chapter membership information.
• Use subheadings in the article to help the reader focus on the direction of the story at least every two pages.
• Pay attention to tone. Avoid lecturing. Convey your ideas by showing the reader what to do, rather than telling them what to do. Explain your ideas clearly by avoiding excessive jargon, and define jargon you must use.
• Be comprehensive. Use details¾such as dates, statistics, references, and quantities¾to clarify and support your points. Sometimes pertinent information that is self-contained can be used as a sidebar. Steps of a process or a list of resources can be boxed off as a nice design element and easy-to-read sidebar.
• Explain the relevance to others. Make your points using examples from your experience, and then tell readers how they can apply your experience to their situations.
• Avoid the passive voice. Active language is straightforward and simple.
• Edit your article at least twice. Delete unnecessary words and phrases. Turn passive sentences into active ones. Move paragraphs to achieve continuity and use transition sentences to help paragraph-to-paragraph flow. Make sure paragraphs flow logically.
• Check the accuracy of your article. Using your original source material, verify every date, name, fact, and figure. Accuracy is your responsibility, not that of CM magazine editors.
• Test-market your article. Ask a few colleagues to review your article. They may help point out ways to clarify your message.

Submitting Your Article
Members write most of the articles published in Contract Management (CM), although one does not have to be an NCMA member to be published in the magazine. Articles should concern some aspect of the contract management profession, whether at the level of a beginner or that of an advanced practitioner.

Note: The magazine has a three-month lead-time for any given issue.

Article Submission Guidelines
• The manuscript should be submitted in Microsoft Word or a compatible program.
• E-mail the manuscript to the editor in chief, Kerry McKinnon Hansen, at
• Include your contact information in the e-mail (full name, mailing address, phone number, fax number, preferred e-mail address).
• Include a 2–3 sentence “abstract” describing what the article is about and how it will benefit the reader.
• Use illustrative charts, graphs, figures, and tables when appropriate.
• Use endnotes rather than footnotes.
• Include a brief biography of the author(s) at the end. This should include job title, employer name and location, and NCMA affiliation—chapter name, CPCM/CPCM, Fellow, etc.

Evaluation and Acceptance
You will receive an acknowledgment e-mail reply, but we cannot guarantee when or if an article will be published. Articles are evaluated based on readability, soundness of content, timeliness, and interest to our readers. We also consider whether you support your ideas with concrete examples.

Articles that essentially only promote a particular company, product, or service are not considered publishable.

We may accept your article outright or accept it contingent on your revision. If an article is accepted, an editor will contact the author to advise him or her of the issue of publication. All accepted articles are subject to editing for style, clarity, language, and length.

Copyright Transfer
Once the article has been accepted and edited, you will be asked to sign a publication copyright agreement form that grants NCMA copyright to the article. The copyright only gives NCMA right to the copyedited version of your article in print and electronic format. You retain the rights to your original. If you have questions or concerns about copyright transfer, please contact Kerry McKinnon Hansen, editor in chief, at or 571-382-1107.

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