For Writers

Welcome, writers.

PeaceVoice invites you to take a few minutes and send us your informed opinion on a matter of peace, justice, or nonviolent conflict transformation. We are very interested in pieces that promote peace and justice by peaceable means, and that are written in an accessbile fashion for a national audience (if it’s a local piece, please seek placements yourself locally). If your piece meets our guidelines, we will offer your piece to editors and seek placement on op-ed pages (print or online) in the US.

Those editors prefer specific responses to current situations and a length of 400 to 600 words, though longer pieces are occasionally used, more often now in our expanded online formats. When you send your piece (to the email address below), be sure to include a tagline with something about yourself in one or two sentences. Also send a photo (headshot) of yourself, since there are a few editors who require it. For tips on writing op-eds, check out these various sources.

Rightwing war-promoting institutes pay their Ph.D.s a great deal to do what we are asking you to do for free. They have money; we have people power if we choose to use it. We receive no fee nor royalties from publications–when we are occasionally funded for website upkeep, etc., it is from a small family foundation. Please note that if you have been–or expect to be–paid by another publication for your piece, we cannot legally use it and we ask that you not send it to us.

How many times have you read about war or injustice and thought, “Wait, this is only part of the story, or this is misinformation. Peace, nonviolence and justice belong in this account.” You quickly construct a mental argument, briefly contemplate writing something, and then move on to other tasks in your busy professional life, knowing how much work it is to get these pieces published in mainstream press.

No more. PeaceVoice’s sole raison d’être is to interject your voice, your thoughts as a credentialed member of our peace profession, into the public arena. You may publish in academic journals for an elite who read and think at that level. Now your voice is needed to educate the American public. Your reasoned voice must be turned to as often as are the voices of military officials, security studies academicians, and politicians.

This is why PeaceVoice was created and it’s what we do. You can simply write, fire (your piece to us) and forget to boldly steal a military description of shooting smart munitions. We turn to the intellectual peace community and ask for your smart anti-bombs. We offer to be the engine and guidance system that will deliver your commentary right on target, to mainstream America. Help us share your expertise with the American public.

By submitting your op-ed to PeaceVoice, you waive your copyrights, you affirm that no one else (including PeaceVoice) has copyrights to the piece you offer, and you authorize our editorial staff to edit your piece for length, for any errors of fact, and for clarity toward positive peace.

I get requests from fine writers to “read my blog and take anything you want for PeaceVoice distribution.” I respond something like this:
When you think of whether a piece is something PeaceVoice would distribute, think about what a small town, middle America editor would do. If it’s something you believe she would run, send it in. I honestly love all the reading that is out there, but I cannot possibly keep up with the great blogs, weighing each one to see if it might be a good one for PeaceVoice. Believe me, you are not the first to just refer me to a blog. As a benchmark, I write a blog that is not entirely unlike yours, primarily for people interested in nonviolence. Out of every 50 blog entries, I will send out one of mine through PeaceVoice, one that I know regular Americans can read and appreciate. It will be controversial, of course, but it won’t feature any assumptions with which a sizable number of mainstream Americans from Des Moines, Iowa, wouldn’t agree. This is not easy to articulate, but the best way to understand it, unfortunately, is to read a few decades of such editorials, something I did when I lived in the northwoods of Minnesota and then Wisconsin.

And it’s vital that I don’t send out pieces that can be easily interpreted as outside that box of norms. I stay inside it, tucked in at the very edge, pushing that box toward nonviolence. It is a tricky proposition. If I send out even one piece that is perceived as antithetical to normal American values (not policies, but values), I can almost see editors who bother to read it decide not to read any more PeaceVoice pieces. If they start filtering us away automatically, we have lost.

Although we keep a historical record of where pieces are published, we only begin to check on those outlets a few weeks after we send it out. Authors are encouraged to Google their own pieces to see more quickly where they are published. Virtually every piece is published in multiple non-competing markets.

Suggested length: 400-600 words
Conflict management methods: nonviolent only
Elements (see a few published PeaceVoice op-eds as examples):
1. Title
2. Byline (by your name)
3. Word count
4. 400-600 word commentary
5. Tagline (one sentence about you, stressing the credential that will give you legitimacy to the editor)
6. Hedshot (photo of you, no more than 150 kb, primarily your face)

Please email your pieces to:

–Tom Hastings, Founding Director, PeaceVoice

A few words of wisdom from one of our honored PeaceVoice writers, lifetime journalist and editor Jim Haught, now in his late 80s and writing strong. He has seen a great deal in our writing world and we can all benefit from his long perspective:
By James A. Haught
Moliere said: “Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for the love of it. Then you do it for a few friends. And finally you do it for money.”
Unfortunately, many of today’s writers can’t attain the level of a self-supporting hooker, because markets and communications have evolved into strange new territory.
A colossal Niagara of writing occurs in this astounding new Cyber Age. The Internet now has two billion websites, and 500 million of them are blogs written on every conceivable topic. Each day, millions of words flow.
But few of the authors earn a livable sum for their work. Most do it just for the joy of offering their ideas to the world, while relying on other income.
As a retired newspaper editor, I’m a weekly blogger on two sites. The Good Men Project pays me nothing for reprinting my previously published essays. Daylight Atheism at Patheos pays me two dollars per thousand readers of new or recycled skeptic tirades.
At D.A., I average near two thousand readers per posting. So far this year, I’ve gotten two checks, one for $158, the other for $98. I’m delighted with my hooker pay.
Right now, around 250 of my essays are in cyberspace at CounterPunch, Free Inquiry, Church & State, Secular Web, PeaceVoice, etc. After I’m gone (I’m 87 now), I hope they remain online, giving me a bit of immortality.
Bottom line: I’m quite happy to write seven days a week for almost no pay, just for kicks. Of course, I can afford to do it, because I live on a fat newspaper pension and fat Social Security.
However, for younger writers trying to earn a living, the story is much bleaker. An Authors Guild survey of 5,000 full-time and part-time writers found that their average 2017 earnings fell to a pathetic $6,080, far below the poverty line – down more than half from $12,850 a decade earlier.
Apparently there are so many write-for-nothing authors like me that the market doesn’t need to shell out big money to get quality prose.
Looking back through history, there were plenty of writers who went hungry. Edgar Allan Poe reportedly earned only a few hundred dollars from his immortal work. But others cashed in.
When I was young, plenty of paying markets existed. In its heyday, Penthouse paid me $4,000 and $3,000 for a couple of pieces. But paper publications barely survive today, wrecked mostly because readers switched to cyberland, where nobody needs to pay for subscriptions – and advertising followed the readers.
Many voices lament the collapse of writer pay. Authors Guild President James Gleick said:
“When you impoverish a nation’s authors, you impoverish its readers.”
Vice President Richard Russo added:
“There was a time in America, not so very long ago, that dedicated, talented fiction and nonfiction writers who put in the time and learned the craft could make a living doing what they did best, while contributing enormously to American knowledge, culture and the arts. That is no longer the case for most authors.”
Guild member T.J. Stiles said:
“Poverty is a form of censorship…. Limiting writing to the financially independent and the sinecured punishes authors based on their lack of wealth and income.”
Well, I don’t know any cure for the pay decline. Society and technology evolve constantly. Changes often inflict harm on people who previously were secure.
All I know is that the Internet teems with unpaid and low-paid authors, and compulsive writers like me are neck-deep in the new reality.
–James Haught, editor emeritus