Automata Magazine needs writers. Come and be part of the adventure!

No magazine can exist without the support of its readers. For a magazine like Automata Magazine, this means articles. Writing for a magazine is the secret ambition of everyone (or so I am told). It’s not as difficult as you might think. We’ve prepared some submission guidelines for a variety of different types of stories. They are listed below (with links to downloadable PDFs), along with a partial list of the kinds of stories we’d like to see. Please consider writing about your projects, visits to places of automata interest, your collection, or what-have-you. Ours is a field that encompasses all skill levels, ages, geographical locations, and interests. Everyone has something of interest to say. Send us a note telling us what you have in mind. You do not have to be an expert or fine craftsperson to write about your work. With automata, charm and concept are often as important as craftmanship (sometimes more so!). We need photos and descriptions of your projects for the photo gallery, too.  

Some notes about intellectual property

  Intellectual property is defined by Oxford Languages (Google’s online dictionary) as “a work or invention that is the result of creativity, such as a manuscript or a design, to which one has rights and for which one may apply for a patent, copyright, trademark, etc.” Here is a short list of guidelines that you might follow when assembling a manuscript for publication. This is by no means exhaustive, but I hope that it will raise awareness in avoiding the all-too-many pitfalls.

What you can’t do
• Photos and images on the internet are not free to grab and are considered to be copyrighted unless they specifically say they are not. If an image is said to be in the public domain, that must come from a provably credible source.
• Don’t copy photos or illustrations out of books that are less than 100 years old. The 100-year figure is somewhat arbitrary, but, in general, books that old are considered to be in the public domain. However, you must have access to the original—someone else’s scan or photo of the original may well be copyrighted.
• Don’t assume that if you credit a photograph, drawing, or design to its creator, that you’re free and clear. To use a copyrighted image in a published article, whether you profit by it or not, you must have written permission by the copyright owner for its use. “Not making a profit from this is not a defence. Even if you’re not selling something, by using it you have put a value on it and therefore the copyright holder is entitled to something.

What you can do
• If you find an image to illustrate your article that is not yours, find out whose it is and ask them if it’s OK to use it. Often, that’s all it takes.
• If you see an automaton that you’d like to replicate, then write about it, you’ll need to first ask the original artist if it’s OK.
• If you have been inspired by someone’s work to make your own (different—not a copy of) work, acknowledging the original artist is always a nice thing to do.
• Books have been published with automata designs in them that are specifically meant to be reproduced by other craftspeople. No problem with that—just cite the source.
• If you have someone else’s automaton in your collection that you photograph yourself to illustrate a point, that’s fine.
• You can use anything that’s demonstrably in the public domain (not copyrighted, out of copyright, or created for anyone’s use), as long as you don’t claim it as your own.

If you have a question about any of the above, please just drop me a note.

How to write for Automata Magazine (downloadable PDFs)

General guidelines
How-to articles
Photo gallery
Your automata

A partial list of topics that you could write about
* Your latest project
* Construction methods
* Construction tips and tricks
* Collecting automata
* Tools and how to use them
* Materials discussion — wood, metal, plastic, ??
* How you solved a specific problem
* How-to
* How I did it
* Basic mechanisms
* Interesting, complex, specialized, or unusual mechanisms
* Using wind-up motors to power automata
* Using electric motors to power automata
* Using wind to power automata
* Planning complex mechanisms
* Project planning
* Making complex mechanisms
* History of autotmata and historical models
* Retrospective of a specific artist’s work
* Automatist biographies and/or interviews
* Using computers for planning automata
* Laser cutting and automata
* 3D printing and automata
* Mistakes you made and how you fixed them
* Concepts
* The art of the automaton
* Visits to places of automata interest
* Plans (i.e., blueprints) for automata
* Inspiration for projects
* Working with different kinds of wood
* Box-making techniques
* Pinwheel gears — how they work and how to make them
* Different kinds of gearing
* Philosophical points concerning materials and methods
* Carving figures
* Making figures from materials other than wood (polymer clay?)
* Bearings in mechanisms — wood vs. metal vs. plastic
* Lubrication of automata
* Automata maintenance