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Friends of Authors - Mentor Guidance


“Friends of Authors” Mentor Guidance

Mentors will help authors get an article written, from initial ideas through final draft to be submitted to the peer-review board.

Writing is a process that varies with the individual; it takes patience and perseverance on your part and the author’s. Remind him* that your mentoring activity is intended to help him in his article development—not write it for him—and that articles will be subject to the same criteria and go through the same review process as with any other submitted article.

Here are some hints to help in your author support:

  • Determine where the author is in the writing process.  Listen for clues as to areas of concern or difficulty.
  • Some potential authors want to know what they should write about. For an article to be useful, the writer has to determine what he is interested in, what he knows, and how a topic would support him in his work or in something he is interested in learning about. He should also determine how the article would help other ISSA Journal readers in their work.
  • The author should first formulate an outline that captures the main ideas he is trying to convey to the reader. Encourage the author to share the initial outline with you and seek feedback to assure that it is concise and understandable. Only after completing the outline should the author begin to populate it to generate the first draft.
  • Warn the author not to get caught in “analysis paralysis.” This occurs when the author tries repeatedly to write the perfect paragraph and wastes hours or days. Instead, encourage the author to slowly populate each of the main points in the outline and save the fine smoothing until the end.
  • Suggest the author collect several references that can be cited in the article. Remind him that this is to both support his main points and also to help readers who want to learn more about the topic. Remind the author that articles should include 8 to 10 references or more.
  • Make sure the author includes sections such as an abstract, a brief introduction at the beginning and a summary at the end. The abstract should include "this article discusses..." or some such: the thesis to be developed.
  •  Ask the author to read their article draft aloud to themselves or to have their colleague to read it aloud in order to catch awkward sentences or phrases.
  • Explain the review process and that the editor will help with responding to reviewer’s comments.


Thank you for stepping into the role as mentor.

Please contact Thom Barrie – – if you are interested in being a mentor.


* Note: Pronoun agreement is enforced in the ISSA Journal: no singular "they." Either cast subject as plural or choose "he/his," "she/her," or "he or she / his or hers.”

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