Guidelines for submitting Teaching Content: sermons/series manuscripts, lessons, small group curriculum, etc.
- All teaching content must be submitted in Word documents. At DYM, we use Word because it’s a universal application and easily gives those who purchase your resource the ability to make their own edits, customizing it to fit their ministry context.
- Format Word documents using Arial size 14 as your font. It’s the (new) official DYM teaching resource font.
- For multi-week series/curriculum/lessons, each week should be an individual Word document. For example, if you are submitting a 4-week series, you should submit four (4) Word documents titled Week1TeachingGuide.docx, Week2TeachingGuide.docx or Week1SmallGroupLesson.docx, Week2SmallGroupLesson.docx, and so on.
- If you use presentations along with your teaching content, submit them in PowerPoint documents. Again, your presentation slides must be editable, for both our editors (to match any edits we make to your resource before release) and for the end-user (to adjust to his/her ministry context).
- If you submit image files for use in promotion or for social media, submit them as jpeg files. (1920px x 1080px, 72dpi)
Message manuscript word count. Word-for-word message manuscripts should contain a minimum of 1,500 words.
- Edit before you submit. Seriously. We mean it. Really. Have one or more trusted friend(s) read-through your resource before you send it to us. If your content is full of typos, incomplete sentences, contains grammatical or other structural errors and expresses less than complete thoughts, we won’t use it. We’re not trying to be tough, but we have limited editorial resources available to clean up your content.
The heart of your content may be amazing, but if it doesn’t reach us well-written, it won’t be published. There’s probably a person in your church who loves to edit and has these gifts—empower them to help.
- Edit again. Submitting clean content improves your chance of being published. Do you want to improve your chances even more? (You know you do!) Here’s how: self-edit so that someone buying your resource doesn’t have to make huge changes in order to use it. So, when you self-edit, do everything you can (add teacher notes, links to all video/illustrations, etc.) to help other youth workers use your content.
Here are some tips:
- Remove all “insider” references that only your group will understand. You might have included a welcome, or some announcements, or other “insider” references in your manuscript (like, “Remember what Jackson did with those Skittles last year at Toast? That was crazy!”), but these won’t help someone else who is using your content. So, delete them.
- Wherever you can, add helpful leader instructions/notes to clarify what you are trying to accomplish at specific points within your content. For example, your manuscript might include specific instructions within your lesson for your students to engage in discussion. But remember that the way you handle discussion times within your lessons may not work for other groups. So, add notes within your specific instructions to make them as generic and helpful as possible for another user.
- Edit so the content makes sense even though you are not the one presenting it. When you taught the lesson to your students, you may have included a killer personal illustration from that near-death experience you had while swimming with a giant tortoise in the Galapagos Islands. But we’ll go out on a limb and guess that the youth worker who uses this lesson in her youth group hasn’t had the same experience. So, edit your illustration as if he/she were telling your story. (Because he/she will be!) Or, think about adding some leader notes to give users ideas of what types of illustrations or media they might use as alternatives to make the same point. For example: [LEADER NOTE: Tell a story about a time when you had a near death experience or felt deep, intense fear.]
- When you use Scripture references, also include the translation you are using. This isn’t because we only accept certain translations; we simply want other users to know which translation a certain verse or passage is coming from. An abbreviation is more than acceptable, for example: (NLT) instead of New Living Translation.
- If your teaching content includes video clips:
- Do not include copyrighted video files along with your submission. For example, if you show a movie clip in your lesson, don’t submit the actual clip. Instead, in your teaching notes, include the movie title and the time code location of the clip. (For example: Mary Poppins Meets Godzilla, clip start: 00:34:23 / clip end: 00:37:10).
- If you use an online video clip (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) in your lesson, don’t include the video file in your submission. Instead, include the URL link where the clip can be accessed.
- If you create an original video clip for use in your lesson, DO include the video file in your submission. Just make sure the content is 100% yours.
- If you decide to add videos clips to your message, please export them in the following format to keep the file size to a minimum and compatibility with presentation software to a maximum.
Video File Guidelines:
Dimension: 1920px by 1080px (1280px by 720px is also acceptable)
Frame Rate: 29.97fps
File Type: MP4
- When submitting a series, be consistent. Example: If you are offering us a four-week teaching series, don’t submit full manuscripts for the first two weeks and abbreviated outlines for the last two weeks. Send us four lesson manuscripts or four lesson outlines (or four manuscripts and outlines). Be consistent.
- If we do send a resource back to you, you can always make some changes and resubmit it! We believe that each of you has something incredible to contribute to the DYM community, so if we send your resource back to you, please don’t take it personally. As we are able, we will attempt to provide some direction for how you could improve and resubmit it. Some of our very best authors have had a resource rejected or were asked for significant changes.
About including multiple file versions of your teaching content:
In addition to submitting Word documents, some of our published authors also include alternative file-type like Pages and PDF files. We appreciate our authors’ efforts to make their content available to a broader variety of users. Still, we will only edit Word files. This means that if edits are made (likely!) to your Word document, the alternative file versions you have submitted will remain unedited. This may not be a big issue, but please recognize that it might be. In some cases where substantial edits have been made to a Word document, we may choose not to include unedited alternative PDF version when we publish the final resource.
About structuring your files for submission:
The teaching files you submit are largely dependent on what files you actually use in your local setting. But see below for a good example of how you might structure your teaching content folders for submission:
The folder that contains all sub-folders should be labeled 'Resource Title -- Your Name'.
Compress your larger files using a .zip file or share them with us using a Dropbox link.
If you’d like to see an example of a couple DYM authors who have done a great job of submitting sermons… look at Andrew Larson and Timothy Miller’s content.
Here’s an example that might be worth your $3 just to use as a template: http://www.downloadyouthministry.com/shop/do-you-really-want-a-miracle
Want some tips to increase the probability of being published? Download this helpful document we put together!