If you’ve agreed to contribute here, I and the rest of the crew are thrilled to have you aboard. Here are few things you should know about how we run this mighty vessel. If you’re thinking about contributing, this is how we work.
- We like to give contributors author access so they can load art, etc.
- This access is always granted with the understanding that you stay away from the publish button and any settings you find yourself with access to in the dashboard.
- And with the understanding that you will likely dig around on the stats page. Don’t feel guilty about that. Most of us can’t resist the urge.
- Scheduling your post is o.k., as long as you schedule it for the day and hour we’ve agreed to. If you’d rather save the draft and have me schedule it, that’s just fine.
If you miss a post
Don’t sweat it. But do let me know as soon as you see you’re going to be late or have to skip it. We all miss posts. We are an understanding lot, as are our friends and readers. I am good at filling in on the fly so long as I have a teeny bit of notice.
We have only two ironclad policies around this place, aside from the normal stuff about kindness and mutual respect which we all just take as a given.
- Family, professional obligations, and personal well-being are more important than this or any blog.
- When it ain’t fun anymore, it’s time to call it a day.
Neither I, nor the other members of the crew, nor our readers will be put out by a missed post. We’ll understand. And we will eagerly await your return.
If you Accidentally Publish instead of Saving a Draft.
Don’t freak out. Everyone does it if they blog long enough. Not the sort of thing I’d get mad about. I’ll probably laugh.
- Unpublish the post immediately.
- Make an effort to let me know, also immediately. Either email me or, if we have a Facebook connection, send me a private message. Never trust me to see a Tweet or a DM on Twitter in good time.
- Be aware that even though an accidental post only takes 5 minutes to clean up and it’s not a big deal, the publish button on this blog sends out links that can only be deleted by me. And those links will be dead the minute you complete step one.
Things I do as an Editor
- Scan for typos and fix them.
- Modify categories if they need adjustment to be sure your post is archived on the correct menus.
- Modify the tags if I think I can do better for you in the WordPress topic indexes.
- Hashtag your Tweets to get retweets and sometimes tag you and a friend or two so all our followers can see you are posting here.
- Check your scheduling, correct it if it’s wrong, or change it if we have some contingency which requires it to run at a different time (that last is very rare).
- Consult on art if you ask me to. We try to have at least one piece of art for every post. Posts with art get more views, and that means more reads.
- If I see a problem so big it would require an editorial chat if I were paying you, I leave the draft as-is and we have a friendly discussion about the problem.
That’s it. I don’t do editorial revision. I don’t criticize unless you ask for criticism or unless I see something about your blog-writing I can really, truly help you with. If I trust you with our dashboard, I trust you to know when your work is done.
That said, I am happy to discuss any aspect of a project with you at any stage of the process, and to discuss your own blogging projects as well.
Categories and Tags
- No more than 14 tags + categories, ever. Your post has zero chance of getting into the WordPress topic indexes at 16, and I like to have a cushion.
- I’m happy to handle tagging and I usually review tags.
- Put your posts in your “Byline” Category and in the appropriate topic category. This is how we update your contributor and topic menus at the top of the page.
- Don’t use both the general category and the sub-category. For example, don’t use “Marvel Comics” AND “Comics.” The general index is updated from the subcategories automatically. Use the subcategory only.
- If your blog is listed on the “Blogs” menu, don’t put your posts in that category unless you are talking about and linking to your own blog as an important element of your post (and I am happy for you to do that here 🙂 ).
- The “Blog” categories are to help me track who we’ve linked to and to help our readers find those blogs. It won’t do to fill your blog category up with posts that barely mention your blog. It’ll end up being a clone of your “Byline.”
How the Featured Image Works In This Theme
- It doesn’t add the image to the post or display it on the front page when you publish. You’ll need to embed post images separately.
- It does control the image that displays on other networks and in the reader. That is its only function.
- Images are vital for Facebook and Twitter. If you have one image, set it as featured in addition to embedding it. If you have more than one, pick the best.
- There are many flower close-ups in the media library which I own. They will do for stock, whether you’re writing about flowers or not. On Facebook, especially, one of these is better than nothing.
- This is one of those things I’m willing to take care of when I check the scheduling and tags, so no worries if you forget it.
- We are non-commercial and do ostensibly critical work. We get Fair Use.
- Do credit people when you use their stuff.
- Especially other bloggers, artists, and indie creative types.
- If you have questions about using an image, ask me.
That it’s it. For the most part, we don’t have rules here. Just guidelines. 😉
Twitter bird image via Molly Greene