About & Writers’ FAQ

You’ve found the place where we post all, or most, of the answers concerning the editorial mission and policies of SMITH Magazine. For technical questions (log in problems, forgotten passwords, finding and editing your stories, etc.) please head over to the Help page. For updates, join our newsletter (top corner of the homepage, follow us on Twitter, or join our Facebook group.

Our Story
SMITH was founded by Larry Smith and Tim Barkow on January 6, 2006, National Smith Day. From day one, our mission has been to be a place for storytelling, with a focus on personal narrative. For more on how it all began, read Larry’s launch-day birth story post. To meet some of the people who make SMITH happen, check out our team page.

Our Mission
SMITH magazine celebrates the joy of passionate, personal storytelling.

SMITH Mag, and its younger cousin, SMITH Teens, are homes for storytelling of all forms, with a focus on personal narrative. SMITH is best known as the creators of the Six-Word Memoir® project, which has led to a bestselling book series, including Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure, Six-Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak, Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure., and It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure..

Larry and Rachel wrote a fun piece that tells the story of the Six-Word Memoir® project, for the blog of Powells book. Read it here.

Our Values
• We believe everyone has a story, and everyone should have a place to tell it.
• We believe storytelling gets more interesting, surprising—and fun—when you experiment and play with its many forms, from putting the experiences of pregnant women on pickle jars to making nonfiction webcomics about Hurricane Katrina.
• We think it is an amazing time for media makers, one in which content is often bottom up rather than top down, aspirational, populist, forward thinking, and most of all, participatory.
• We have created SMITH as both a place for professional and never-before-published writers, artists, and photographers, bound together by a passion for storytelling.
• We believe the storytelling playing field should be a level one.
• We believe in making and encouraging better media, not simply more media.

Your Stories
Stories find their way to SMITH in two ways:

1. Directly from anyone who is a registered user (you can sign up while submitting your story in one short, simple step). Registered users can submit to any of our Story Projects, including Six-Word Memoirs®, Brushes with Fame, My Life So Far.

2. By submitting to editors. These stories can be found in our Obsessions section (which covers topics such as weird jobs, war, the ever-popular beautiful pregnant women series, and photo essays) and Memoirville (excerpts and interviews from published memoirists).

For more on how to contribute to SMITH, as well as our copyright policies, please see our writer’s FAQ, as well as more Q&A below.

Do you pay for stories? And who owns the copyright to the stories I submit on SMITH?
We don’t pay for stories (unless we assign them, as we do occasionally in the Memoirville section), and we share copyright with the author. However, if you republish your work elsewhere, we do require you to include this credit line: “First appeared in SMITH Magazine, smithmag.net.” By registering on SMITH, you agree to our Terms of service, which states:

Users retain their copyrights to all submitted works.

All user submissions to SMITH are governed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. This means visitors are free to copy, distribute, display, and perform the submitted work with attribution, for non-commercial purposes only, and cannot make derivative works from the submitted work.

In addition, users grant SMITH a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States license to use the submitted work for promotional, commercial and non-commercial purposes, such as advertisements, books, and other products.

If my Six-Word Memoir or other story is selected for a book, will I be notified?
Yes. We’ll send a note to the email you signed up to let you know you’re either a finalist or have been chosen to be in a book. All book contributors will receive a free copy of the book as soon as it’s published. Note: You must include your real name in your profile to be considered for a book. Your real name won’t be visible on SMITH, only to editors. We credit each memoirist by first and last name, and can only consider submissions for which we have this information.

I see you have all these different story projects. Can I suggest a story project?
Yes. The current slate of story projects are all topics we’ve found people respond to with wonderful personal stories. The plan is to grow the range of story projects over time. If you think you’ve got a topic with legs, and would potentially like to be that project’s editor, email us at news AT smithmag DOT com.

Do you change or edit content I’ve submitted?
Rarely. SMITH does, however, reserve the right to edit or remove content. When we do edit reader content, we do so with a light touch, mainly for purposes of copyediting and formatting, and very rarely for language. Readers have the right to remove a story if they do not agree with the changes, or can contact us at news@smithmag.net us to discuss.

rosally-smithtee.jpgSay, where can I get me one of those attractive SMITH tees?
At our store on Spreadshirt. A SMITH tee not only looks equally as smart under a blazer as it does rolling in sweat during a marathon, but it’s also a great conversation starter.

I was never notified about your last party, and heard you have really good events. What gives, man?
Sign up for our newsletter and you’ll hear about all the parties, contests, special projects, and new stories from the site. You can join the newsletter when you first register for SMITH, or by submitting your email in the top righthand corner of the homepage at smithmag.net. Into social media? Become a fan of SMITH on Facebook for updates about new projects, contests, and events. And follow us on Twitter to receive a Six-Word Memoir each day.

Our Form
As you can see, SMITH is an online magazine. In the future, you may be able to take a version of SMITH to the beach and the bathroom. However, we’re currently focusing on SMITH online, as well as putting out books. Click here if you’re the type of person who would get a kick out of reading about SMITH’s journey from print prototype (one designed by magazine legend Robert Priest) to happily humming community that grows in stories and readers each and every day.

Our Name
We thought you might ask. SMITH is the most popular surname in America. It represents us all, each of us living our extraordinary lives—day by day, story by story. For more on how, who, and why SMITH co-founder Larry Smith called this place SMITH, read this short piece on The Personality Project blog.

SMITH Magazine

SMITH Magazine is a home for storytelling.
We believe everyone has a story, and everyone
should have a place to tell it.
We're the creators and home of the
Six-Word Memoir® project.