Write a Guest Post and Win Apple MacBook Air


As you may know1, we are looking for motivated, talented and professional writers and authors. And we are paying each author $100-300 per post — depending on the quality of the delivered article. If you think that you are one of them contact us2 — we want you, we need you, we can’t live without you and we would really be happy to have you in our Smashing team.

And to spark your interest for writing we’ve decided to announce a guest author contest — write a small guest article for Smashing Magazine and win one of dozens of attractive prizes waiting for you.


Best guest articles will be published on Smashing Magazine with the link to the author’s site. The best guest post will be determined by the editorial team and will be awarded with Apple MacBook Air, a compact, ultrathin 13.3″ laptop (1.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive) released by Apple few months ago.

MacBook Air3

Apart from that the places 2-5 will be awarded with attractive designer laptop sleeves and bags. And the places 6-10 will be awarded with design and web-development related books. We also have a pretty nice special prize for the most unusual guest post. However, we are not revealing it yet.

What are we looking for?

The main idea behind the contest is not to get as many guest articles as possible, but to find talented guest authors who will want to work with us after the contest and get properly paid for their work. If you would like to write for us beyond the contest — drop us a line4, we’ll figure something out.

So what are we looking for and what are we expecting? As a guest author you have two options to choose from.

Authors who have something to say…

We are looking for a short discussion article which would manage to spark a conversation in the comments and involve many readers of our magazine in a discussion. Your article should meet the following guidelines:

  • it should have between 450 and 1200 characters (yes, characters, not words; space characters and HTML are not included in 450-1200 characters),
  • it may be controversial and subjective, but it should not be boring,
  • it may present some idea, approach or remark about recent developments, but you need to argue well and explain your position properly,
  • it should have a valid HTML-markup.

In this case we are interested in guest authors who have original ideas and a good writing style (please read it again: original ideas are important). We will select best discussion articles and publish them in the magazine.

Here are some examples (please don’t use them for your discussion articles):

  • designers should work with at least 3 displays at the same time,
  • reasons why I hate becoming a designer,
  • arguments why Fireworks is much better than Photoshop.
  • one can actually live without Google (how?).

…and authors who have something to show.

Alternatively, you can submit a top-10-list instead of a discussion article. We are looking for the masters of lists (if your name is Yoda, consider you already got some bonus-points). We expect useful and beautiful top-10-lists. Your top-10-list should meet the following guidelines:

  • an exciting and eye-catching headline,
  • a quick yet attractive introduction (usually 2-4 sentences),
  • 10 list items with a brief description (usually 1-2 sentences) and with links if necessary,
  • at least 2 images or screenshots (if it is impossible to make screenshots or find images for your topic ignore this condition),
  • it should have a valid HTML-markup.

In this case we are interested in authors who are original, possess knowledge and experience and have some good sources to find images, links etc. We will select best discussion articles and publish them in the magazine.

Here are some examples (please don’t use them for your top-10-lists):

  • top 10 most beautiful wallpapers with ladybugs,
  • top 10 best WordPress-themes with yellow background,
  • top 10 reasons to fire your web designer,
  • top 10 best tricks to search on Del.icio.us,
  • top 10 best GIMP-tutorials.

Restrictions and Rules

Please follow the following guidelines when sending your articles:

  • all files should be packed in a .zip and include all images which occur in the article,
  • an archive with an article written by John Doe should be titled john-doe.zip,
  • you can submit at most 3 articles (at all, e.g. 2 top-10-lists and 1 discussion article or vice versa),
  • please use our template5 for your article or/and top-10-list if possible,
  • you should be the writer of the article you submit,
  • the article should not be published already (updated).
  • send the article to Sven Lennartz with the subject “[Guest Author Contest] Aritcle_title”, using the following … contest is closed for submissions now.


5th of August 2008.


Best discussion articles and top-10-lists will be published on Smashing Magazine. We will carefully observe the reaction of our reader in our comments. Depending on the number and quality of the comments we will assign some score to every article. Once the scores are assigned we will announce the articles with the highest score and award their authors with prizes and awards.

Get creative, folks. And good luck!


  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/how-to-become-a-smashing-magazine-author/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/contact/index.php/form
  3. 3 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/images/guest-authors/macbook-large.jpg
  4. 4 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/contact/index.php/form
  5. 5 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/template/post-template.zip

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Co-Founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. Sven is now writing Science Fiction Stories and looking for a publisher ...

  1. 1

    Andrea Pelizzardi

    July 17, 2008 2:34 pm

    Great contest.
    I’m an italian guy.
    This is a double contest for me. I must write english perfectly :)
    I’ve got a great idea for at top 10.

    Let’s contest!

  2. 52

    If you would have gave away a Mac Book Pro with 17″ screen i would have been in the game. To bad mac book air isn’t so apealing. It has nothing on it.

  3. 103

    I really want to participate in this contest but I feel as if I’m not good enough. Are there any consolation prizes? :P

  4. 154

    Please tell me that you mean 450 – 1,200 WORDS. Comment #45 is 502 characters without counting spaces. What in the good Lord’s name can anyone write with any amount of creativity in that small amount of space. Even double that size is barely enough to get a decent intro going. And does the HTML code count toward the character count? This would be kind of important to know ahead of time.

    Heck, even a top 10 list with links and a two sentence intro would be difficult to squeeze down into something so small. I realize you’re trying to just get a brief idea of what people may have to offer, and don’t want them to go through a lot of work and then not win, but this is a contest, and people know the deal going in to it. I would think that a 500-1,500 WORD count would be acceptable enough to get an idea of one’s capability and creativity, without making them go through a lot of extra work.

    In case anyone’s counting, my entire comment here is already 815 characters.

  5. 205

    No need for anyone else to enter this. that macbook air is mine!!

  6. 256

    :) MacBook the Ziling give gonna are you ,this read can you if ,Vitaly & Sven Dear

  7. 307

    may the best man win!
    (i plan to ;)

  8. 358

    yup macbook air i want it

  9. 409

    Truly Madly Deeply

  10. 460

    Sounds good, but 1200 characters? What can you write in 1200 characters?

  11. 511

    Love you Smashing

  12. 562

    What will happen to non-winners articles ? Will they get publish or do we keep all the rights on them ?

  13. 613

    BrainStorming has begun.

  14. 664

    I will do my best, to win the mac book? It is enough? ;-)

  15. 715

    I think they do mean characters, it’s been stated in the response as characters not words as well. Plus a spell check doesn’t count spaces as words.
    1200 characters can be enough to start a discussion article which is what they wanted, not an in depth article. They’re trying to find good writers for future articles where you will have the chance to write longer articles. It’s just a preview of what you have to offer.

  16. 766

    /! __ | Yeap! Smashing Magazine, the very best forever | __/!

  17. 817

    Nice price!!!
    I want it, i need it.

  18. 868

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    July 18, 2008 2:39 am

    @Mark Aplet (#44): the sentence is correct. The article can be controversial and subjective.

    @ZenBug (#48): no, we mean 450 – 1200 characters (empty spaces are not included), not words. That makes 5-15 lines of text (with 90 characters per line). HTML-code doesn’t count as characters. Please notice that we do not have any space restrictions for top-10-lists.

    We repeat what we have written above: we want all participants to get right to the point. Since we won’t be able to award all participants, we don’t want to impose 2000 words or so on them. E.g. you can briefly sketch your ideas in a short discussion post and after the contest send a large version of it which we would pay you for, of course. That would be fair. But we need to agree on topics first, of course.

    @Steve (#59): What can you write in 1200 characters?. That’s what we intend to find out.

    @MyW (#61): the owners of the articles which won’t be published have a copyright on it, hence we won’t use them. If we would like to publish them we would ask for their permission. However, all articles which will be published on Smashing Magazine can be republished only with our and author’s permission.

    @Jo (#64): you are absolutely right, thank you.

  19. 919

    great, i want the macbook

  20. 970

    Here’s a useful tool I found for those writing their entry in text edit on a mac :


    Just go to preferences and set spaces off and you’re good to go.

  21. 1021

    Wow, great competition, I would enter because I really would love a Mac, but my content writing is up to the standards of the greats around. But good luck to everyone entering.

  22. 1072

    Mohiuddin Parekh

    July 18, 2008 6:39 am

    ok Two questions!

    1) Valid HTML mark-up is fine, but what about its styles? Do we need to css according to Smashing magazine’s styles in order to make it easy for you to publish it on your site?

    2) Can we have relevant image(s) at the (top, middle, or bottom) of the article?

  23. 1123

    Tanner Christensen

    July 18, 2008 7:12 am

    Keep an eye out for my article, I guarantee it will be a winner.

  24. 1174

    Tanner Christensen

    July 18, 2008 7:14 am

    Keep an eye out for my article, I guarantee it will be something you’ll love.

  25. 1225

    THis is my airbook, what a challenge……. i’ll be workin on it.First!

  26. 1276

    Is there an age restriction, and/or region restriction?

  27. 1327

    Would be nice if you could whack up a form that does this unconventional character count. It will save each of us from writing our own script :-)

  28. 1378

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    July 18, 2008 8:07 am

    @Mohiuddin Parekh (#71): you don’t need to apply CSS according to Smashing magazine’s styles. You can use the following template which already does this (but you don’t have to): http://www.smashingmagazine.com/template/sm-template.zip

    Can we have relevant image(s) at the (top, middle, or bottom) of the article? Well, you should. :-) Otherwise the article (particularly top-10-list) may become quite boring.

    @Chris (#75): no, no restrictions.

  29. 1429

    nice magazine, nice notebook.


  30. 1480

    i’am the mac and others just pc guys ..

  31. 1531

    Okay, sounds great.

    At the risk of again trying to correct an error that is not actually an error:

    We also have a pretty nice special price for the most unusual guest post.

    Should that read “nice special prize“?

  32. 1582

    Delivered a mail to you, into your mail box.
    Hope you put a smile onto my face by accepting it the way I put a smile on your face by sending you the mail… ;)

  33. 1633

    i am actually going to try for this. talk about how IE 5.5 is w/o a doubt the best web browser ever to be in use.

  34. 1684

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    July 18, 2008 10:01 am

    @ZenBug (#81): you are right, it should be prize, not price. Thanks, fixed!

  35. 1735

    truthfully smash mag rules

  36. 1786

    Without Smash Mag i wouldn’t know, where i get my inspirations.:) thanks.

  37. 1837

    Heyyy! Thanks for great contest!

  38. 1888

    Very nice contest and very very nice prize!!! Thank you

  39. 1939

    1. Is there a size limit on images?
    2. Are we allowed external links?
    3. Can I have a Macbook anyway?

    This is an awesome idea. I really appreciate the low character limit; it means I can write something short and not be worrying about how much I wrote.

  40. 1990

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    July 18, 2008 3:18 pm

    @Gabriel (#89): the maximal width of the images should be 500px. Height doesn’t matter. You can (and probably should) use external links.

  41. 2041


    I know you’ve already commented on the subject, but is the maximum word limit mandatory or simply a guideline? You said you didn’t want to impose a 2000+ word article, but should I choose to do a larger article would it “lose points”?

  42. 2092

    Really interesting. Maybe I`ll try :)

  43. 2143

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    July 18, 2008 4:35 pm

    @Lucas (#91): it is a guideline, but it is not mandatory. That means: if you have 10 characters too much you won’t lose points. But if you have 1000 characters too much we may consider it in our score assignment.

  44. 2194

    Will there be less consideration of your entry if you are a little outside the 1200 character range? Say 1300 characters?

  45. 2245

    It’s a blog! Blog entries are usually short. The point of the contest is to see if you *do* have the skill to write a *short* yet still (informative)(witty)(useful) piece of content.

  46. 2296

    Hello smashing!
    I don’t have much blogging experience, my blog is still fresh, but I know I have whats necessary to be your fav guest author.
    so tell me please, is the lake of experience will be a point against me ? would it stop me from being an author at smashing magazine?!
    love u all, mwah

  47. 2347

    great prize…..
    and good luck for the winner.

    This site is really useful.

  48. 2398

    Mohammed Al-Asmar

    July 19, 2008 12:04 am

    Wow , I am in …

  49. 2449

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    July 19, 2008 12:18 am

    @Andrew (#94): 1200 character range is a guideline, but it is not mandatory. That means: if you have 10 characters too much you won’t lose points. But if you have 1000 characters too much we may consider it in our score assignment.

    @Andrew (#95): exactly, that’s what we are after.

    @Nisreen (#96): the lack of experience is in no way a point against you. Maybe you are a hidden talent? Let us give it a try!

  50. 2500

    HI i really want the air there are new things in the air well thats for me anyway
    please let me win im a massive fan


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