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Help with Highlights Requirements

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Little Red Hen

Hi everyone,
I submitted a story to Highlights, who responded with, "Fun Story. Needs substantiation for all facts and a transcript of the interview to verify facts & quotes."
There was a check next to "it lacks a bibliography [and she added] and expert review."
I "interviewed" a world-champion treeclimber by email. I sent him the questions and he responded. He was in a remote location in Madagascar (or someplace) and was lucky to even have internet service. My questions are:

Am I supposed to send her copies of my emails to and from the interviewee?
Will they look down on this since I didn't interview him over the phone? [He lives in New Zealand, by the way.]
What does she mean by "substantiation" and "expert review"? As far at the latter is concerned, he is the world champion treecliimber. Who could be more of an expert?  :blink
What style does the bibliography follow? MLA?

Sorry for my ignorance. I would really, really like to be published in Highlights (who wouldn't?!). I don't want to screw this up.

#1 - April 25, 2012, 09:59 AM

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I don't have answers for you, but what an amazing story idea! My son (who fancies himself a world champion tree climber) would LOVE to read that. I hope they publish it.

#2 - April 25, 2012, 10:06 AM
DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS - Putnam (July, 2020)
DON'T HUG DOUG (Spring, 2021)

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When I've sold profiles to Highlights, I've definitely done some of my interviewing by email. So as part of my submission packet, I've included printouts of those emails (at times, I've copied and pasted them into a word file to "clean them up" a bit) and listed those emails (by title) in my bibliography.

I always use to make my bibliography.

An expert review means that you need to ask the subject of the article to read it and briefly comment on its accuracy. Then you include his comments (again, a print out of the email, if that's how he communicated with you) as part of your submission.

Also, I usually highlight quotes and the expert's comments on the enclosed pages, to make it easier for the magazine to see where I got them from.

And lastly, if you include facts in your article (such as the average height of a certain type of tree, or something like that) you need to show where you got those facts, and your source needs to be a respected source, rather than, say, Wikipedia.

Hope that helps. Sounds like a really fun article! :)

#3 - April 25, 2012, 10:13 AM
"No furniture is so charming as books."
--Sydney Smith

Little Red Hen

Carrie: Even if they don't publish the article, I would be happy to send your son a copy of the story I wrote. Hint: If he's interested in tree climbing or arboriculture, he should check the local chapter of the ISA at

Sara: First, congratulations on selling profile stories to Highlights! I gather that it's not all that easy to do.
Second, thank you, thank you, thank you for your detailed information. I had no idea who to ask. (I was too embarrassed to ask the editor!). I'll contact the tree climber and let him know what's going on.
#4 - April 25, 2012, 05:26 PM

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Yes, exactly what Sara said. Email correspondence is fine, and you should have the person you profiled read it over and comment for the "expert review".

As a note, if they ask for relevant pages of your references, be sure to send those, too (I usually highlight the information I used, to make it easier for them to check). I know they require them for my NF science articles, along with the expert review.  Good luck!
#5 - May 13, 2012, 03:26 PM
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