We are always looking for news items and articles that will be of interest to MAA members everywhere. Not too long ago, we published an article on writing for MAA FOCUS, which you can still see here. This document repeats most of what was in that one, with a little bit more technical information.
If you'd like to contribute, here are some guidelines:
MAA FOCUS is a news magazine, not a journal. Articles should be short, informal, and whenever possible should include illustrations. A personal tone is acceptable, and sometimes even preferred. Humor is also good, in its place. Avoid footnotes, bulleted lists, or indented enumerations: they really don't fit the three-column format we use for MAA FOCUS.
The typical MAA FOCUS page can fit 800 to 900 words. Of course, if there are images, they will take up some of this space. We print very few articles that are more than two pages long, so please take this into account as you prepare your article.
We are always looking for good cover images, so let us know if you have an interesting suggestion. Cover images that go with articles are, of course, particularly interesting, but we'll go for covers that look good if they have some kind of mathematics to them.
MAA FOCUS has a few ongoing series of articles. They appear, of course, only when we get articles that fit! So we'll always be receptive to "What's the Best Textbook" articles, to "What I Learned" articles, and to articles about new (or old) technology for the "A Different Pencil" series.
We like mathematics! That's why we're members of MAA. But we don't get many articles of that kind, because they are hard to write. Currently, we are understocked with articles about mathematics. If there's a new development in your field, a new way to look at an old idea, a cute bit of mathematics you've discovered or remembered, please consider sending us a short article.
We are always interested in "filler" material. Did you see some screwed-up mathematics in the media? Send it in as a "found mathematics" article. Have a nice photo? Send in the photo and a good caption. Have a good quote, or a new bit of mathematical folklore? We want it.
Every MAA FOCUS article includes a paragraph about the author. It's set in italics at the end of each article. Go look, you'll see them. Please prepare such a paragraph and append it to your article. You may be light-hearted or serious, long or short (we'll edit if we have to, but not unless we have to). Readers want to know whose work they are reading.
The best way to submit your article or news item is as an email attachment. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. We take a little while to respond, but if we're taking too long don't be afraid to email again to find out what happened.
Whenever possible, send articles in Microsoft Word, text, or html format. Avoid introducing too much formatting into your text; all you'll achieve is to make us take out all your formatting in order to conform the article to our house style. Lay out paragraphs without first-line indentation, without justification, and without extra space before or after. Skip a line between paragraphs. Avoid funny fonts, color, underlining, and ALL CAPS. Irritating the editor is never in an author's interest.
Graphics can be sent in any format, but jpeg and tiff are preferred. Don't embed graphics in Word files, we can't use them that way. Images should have high resolution: 300 pixels come out to one inch when printed. Because such graphics files are very large, it is better to consult with the editor first. We almost always have fewer images than we would like.
Keep in mind that MAA FOCUS has a publication lead time of two months. See page 3 of any issue for the precise deadline.
It hardly needs saying, but I'll say it anyway: Please make sure you own copyright to any text or images you submit.
Finally, MAA FOCUS has an activist editor. Your deathless prose will be copyedited, both for clarity and for space.
We look forward to your contribution!