So You Want to Write for Random Nerds? Here’s How…
One of the best parts of my day is checking our ‘Contact Us’ inbox. Besides the occasional cold-call solicitation for some data revenue tracking whatever, it’s full of readers who just want to let us know they like what we’re doing in our little corner of the internet and writers who want to contribute something random and/or nerdy to the site.
However, because our combination HR specialist/administrative assistant is a pug named Olive#, getting back to all these potential contributors with something other than a boilerplate reply and a few lines explaining our submission system has proven rather difficult. So, with that in mind, we’ve officially created an email address specifically for writers to use when submitting their work to Random Nerds:
However, before you go copy+pasting us on some email you’ve blasted off to every site you can Google, I want to highlight a few things that I think will make everybody a lot happier in the end…
Drafts and Well-Structured Outlines Only
We currently have a Google Doc with over 300 ideas for articles. They range from the brilliant (“A Chronological History of the Failed Attempts to Mobilize the Youth Vote“) to the implausibly inane (“A Beginners Guide to Cerebus the Aardvark”), and they will quite possibly all get written one day in the future when we’re all living on Mars. But they are also haunting daily reminders of how useless great ideas are until they’re acted upon.
As much as we’d love to hear your wonderful idea for a piece, we’d much rather actually read what came out of that good idea. We’re fine with rough drafts and even with well-thought-out outlines, but don’t just email us letting us know you have a great idea for a story about how tech is changing the world of political video games asking if we’d like you to write it. Write the thing, then send it to us. We promise not to steal it or make it a fake account on Ashley Madison or anything like that.
What You Can Expect Out Of Us
Since we have no cost-per-click revenue streams on Random Nerds, all we want is to help you write a piece that moves our audience so much that they actually feel compelled to give you money after they read it (see: ‘This Patronizing Thing We Keep Talking About’). That means you will get an actual human working with you on your piece to make it the best it can be.
I’m not talking about just a half-assed copy edit for spelling and grammar, either; I’m talking about an actual back-and-forth about how to make your baby shine its brightest. Sometimes it will be easy and fun, sometimes it might make us want to strangle one another. Either way, it will all be worth it in the end.
Then, once your beautiful word-thoughts have been unleashed on the world, you can trust that we will be using all the marketing tricks in our arsenal to make sure that your work gets seen by as many of the people who will enjoy it as possible.
What We Expect Out Of You
Obviously we want you to write something beautiful and honest and world-changing, but this is 2015 and there’s no such thing as being ‘just a writer’ anymore. If you’re ever going to get (the right) people looking at that piece you just spent hours of your finite existence on, you’re going to need to be a bit of a hustler too. That means taking on a little of the post-publish marketing onus yourself.
And that means one simple tweet to your 1-5k followers and a post on your Facebook wall isn’t going to cut it.
To peel back the curtain a bit, a strong majority of Random Nerds’ most popular pieces have earned that title because an engaged, niche crowd latched onto them. I’m pretty sure the sole reason my philosophical musings about Injustice: Gods Among Us for mobile made our ‘Top 20 of All Time’ is because every single member of the small but feisty Injustice subreddit read and shared it. But they never would have known about my piece had I not found the moderator of that subreddit and politely asked if he would share it should he deem it so worthy.
As a famous fictional coach once said, the inches we need are everywhere around us, and at Random Nerds we expect you to fight for that inch.
So when you submit something to us, let us know if you have any great ideas on how to promote it. Do you know someone with a sizable Twitter following who would be really interested in sharing this? Are you the member of some group on Facebook that would love knowing more about whatever informative thing you wrote about? Does Lady Gaga owe you a favor?
Help us help you help us, and together we can save the world from clickbait, one deep dive on the canon of David Wain at a time.
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Love what you read? Patronize Bryce Rudow.
That helps us and the writer.
What is Patronizing? Learn more here.