FPM Author's Guide

How to Contact Us

Here's the information you need to contact the editors of Family Practice Management about potential articles:

Telephone: 800-274-2237 or 913-906-6000, ext. 5119
Fax: 913-906-6010
Mail: 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy. Leawood, KS 66211-2672
E-mail: fpmedit@aafp.org

FPM is an editorially independent, peer-reviewed journal published six times per year by the American Academy of Family Physicians. FPM aims to give family physicians the tools they need to build rewarding practices and improve patient care. To accomplish that mission, we need articles written by progressive, insightful family physicians and others with pertinent expertise. Most FPM articles are written by family physicians, although we also welcome submissions from practice administrators, practice management consultants, health care attorneys, and other subject matter experts, as well as physicians in other specialties. Freelance writers are rarely used and work only on assignment.

We are eager to publish articles that can help physicians in every area of practice except the strictly clinical, which is the purview of our sister journal, American Family Physician. For guidance on the kinds of topics we are looking for, see "What FPM Is About." The test of a manuscript we are considering will always be whether it is immediately useful to the family physicians who read FPM.

To get the best possible sense of what an FPM article is like, browse back issues of the journal. See FPM's Editorial Mission and Policies for more information. If you have an idea for an article, we would encourage you to contact us to make sure it suits FPM's needs and that we haven't recently accepted an article on the same topic (see "How to Contact Us"). If your organization is interested in sponsoring an editorial supplement, see FPM's Editorial Supplement Guidelines.


What FPM Is About

The following partial list of subjects we cover should give you an idea of how your article would fit within FPM:

Balancing practice and family; career options for family physicians; clinical guidelines; communication skills; computerization; cost-effective care; documentation and coding; employment issues; ethical practice; facilities and equipment; governmental reform; the health care marketplace; integration models; interspecialty issues; malpractice; managed care; negotiation and contracting; office management; optimizing patient relations; patient counseling; practice development; practice finance; practice sales and mergers; professional relations; quality improvement; regulations; reimbursement and collections; risk management; staffing; strategic planning; stress and change; third-party payers; time management.


Submitting a Manuscript

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically by email to fpmedit@aafp.org. We can read and translate files created with most popular word-processing programs, but Microsoft Word is preferred. We encourage authors to use a reasonably informal, conversational writing style rather than "journalese." But don’t worry too much about style. Our editors are experts at making articles as readable and accessible as possible.

We try to keep FPM articles short -- 2,000 to 3,000 words at most. That's about eight to 12 pages, double-spaced. If your manuscript includes a number of illustrations, graphs or tables, try to keep the manuscript text even shorter to compensate for the space these elements take up. We also welcome contributions to our Opinion and Last Word departments 750 to 1,500 words for Opinion and 750 words for Last Word. Opinion contributions should advance a clear point of view on a compelling issue that is well supported by reference citations as needed. Last Word essays may be thoughtful reflections on medicine or light humor.

Eight Points to Keep in Mind

  1. The goal of FPM is to give family physicians the tools and information they need to build rewarding practices and improve patient care.
  2. We're looking for articles that give advice based on the experience and expertise of family physicians, practice management consultants and others.
  3. If possible, talk with the editors before beginning work on a manuscript for FPM.
  4. Our articles are informal and conversational. We keep references to a minimum.
  5. FPM articles should be no longer than 3,000 words ­-- shorter if they also include several graphs, tables or illustrations.
  6. We will ask you to give the American Academy of Family Physicians copyright to your article if we publish it.
  7. FPM articles go through internal review, peer review and, if accepted, three editing stages. We ask authors to approve all substantive edits.
  8. We try to make the process easy, while helping you produce the best article you can.



Manuscript Accessories

If you have written for publication before, you know that the elements that need to accompany a manuscript can be almost as much of a challenge to assemble as the manuscript itself. Here's our list of things to keep in mind:

Contact information. Make sure the title page includes each author's name with highest academic degree and institutional affiliation, as well as contact information for the author responsible for correspondence about the manuscript.

Credentials. With each article we publish, we include brief statements of the authors' current professional responsibilities. Please include no more than a sentence or two for each author.

References. Please keep references to a minimum. FPM is a practical journal rather than a research journal. Supply references only when you quote from or refer directly to a publication or when you wish to support a statement that you believe readers are likely to question.

Graphs, tables and illustrations. We encourage authors to think about illustrations and graphic displays of data. We are available to help authors create or refine graphs and artwork to illustrate articles we publish.

As a rule, we want tables, graphs and illustrations that build on information provided in the body of the article rather than duplicate it. They should be understandable on their own, not dependent on the article for explanation. If you supply illustrations, please include descriptive material that can be used in a caption. We're happy to have video or photos for publication, although we may decline to use those that are not sharp, well-lit, interesting or useful. Please include signed photo releases from the individuals depicted. (We can supply photo-release forms to use.)

Copyright Assignment and Conflict of Interest Disclosure

If you incorporate previously published material into your article -- a table from another source, for instance -- please label it clearly with its source and add a prominent note saying "COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL; PERMISSION REQUIRED." We prefer to ask permission to reprint such material ourselves.

Before we make a decision about whether to accept your manuscript for publication, we will need you and your coauthors to complete a conflict of interest disclosure and a release form transferring copyright of the article to the AAFP. Both forms are included in a single PDF(7 page PDF). Please print and complete these forms and fax them to FPM at the same time you submit your manuscript.

FPM seldom accepts articles that public relations or marketing communications professionals have been involved in developing (e.g., writing, recruiting an author to write, editing, proofing, and assisting with research). Such involvement often signals that the article has been influenced by individuals who have conflicts of interest and/or that the author has a conflict of interest. Before the editors determine whether an article is suitable for peer review, the authors must disclose the involvement of such entities, and these disclosures generally point to conflicts of interest that can’t be mitigated sufficiently to allow for acceptance of the article.

Review and Editing

Each manuscript goes through an in-house review, during which the editors evaluate its suitability for FPM. Manuscripts that pass this review are then sent out for peer review. We may reject a manuscript or ask the authors to revise it after either review stage, but we can formally accept manuscripts for publication only after they have made it through both stages. If no revisions are required, the process from submission to acceptance or rejection typically takes eight weeks.

If your manuscript is accepted, it will go through three editing stages: a substantive edit, a light "polishing" edit, and a review for correctness. Some manuscripts are edited heavily in the first stage, and we sometimes ask authors to fill gaps in their presentation at that point. We will ask you to review and approve all substantive changes. Once the content is essentially final, we won't ask you to review subsequent versions of the article. Time from acceptance to publication varies, but you should expect it to take several months.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any quetsions. We will make the manuscript preparation and submission process as painless as possible, and you will have a chance to be published in the practice improvement journal of the AAFP and to help more than 132,000 family physicians.

See also FPM's Editorial Supplement Guidelines.