We welcome guest bloggers at The Partially Examined Life. We do however want to maintain a certain consistency and character in our blog without spending a lot of time editing guest posts. Hence the guidelines below. If you would like to contribute a post on our site and feel you can follow these guidelines, contact us and explain what you have in mind clearly in a couple of paragraphs.
How to Get Paid to Blog for Us
We have started to pay small amounts (e.g. $10 – $20) for posts that further the mission of our site. (…As opposed to vanity posts which we may also occasionally welcome.) To tailor a post for remuneration:
* Relate it to a PEL episode, preferably the most recent, though revisiting old episodes is great too.
* Lead off by presenting a resource, e.g. a reference to a book, article, video or other podcast about the figure or topic you are addressing. If you make a point by reference to the primary text covered in a PEL podcast you can actually copy out a paragraph or two to serve as a starting point. If you’re reacting to a point made in the podcast describe it clearly and succinctly.
* Give around four paragraphs of exploration of the resource you reference: give a couple of highlighted points about the content if a video, summarize if an article, analyze if a quote or explain what exactly you found in need of emendation about what we said in a podcast.
We’d like more guest bloggers to contribute to our conversation and to channel their creativity into supplementing what we are doing with the podcast. We would love to have recurrent guest bloggers who comment every few weeks on our episodes. If you’re a good, clear writer who enjoys PEL, we welcome you joining us in this effort. While the input of “experts” in some particular area is welcome (we don’t mind people correcting and grounding us) this is by no means necessary; you need merely listen to a new episode when it comes out, search YouTube, iTunes U, podcasts, Amazon, or the wider web for interesting related material and write a post briefly informing the rest of us about what you’ve found. Keep your goals for a post modest; a post should typically not take much more than one hour to write. However, do take the time needed to make yourself very clear.
We also welcome other types of posts like philosophical reviews of current movies, reviews of other philosophy books, annotated links to NY Times Stone articles, philosophy stories in other mainstream or specifically philosophical publications, posts on other philosophy blogs, specific episodes from other philosophy podcasts, philosophy web sites and research resources. What we don’t generally need is original philosophy: “this is what I think about X” with no reference to some other reading as a base. As a general point of style: blog posts are not philosophy papers; you should sound more or less like you’re talking to someone. (So sentences like “In this essay I propose to do X and Y” are right out. Just make your point.)
Here are some examples of the format we’re looking for:
-In this post Mark clued readers into an Internet personage (tangentially related to the then-current Federalist Papers episode) via her book, appearance on another podcast, and a video. There’s a little exposition, some pointed criticism, and we’re done.
-For this post, Daniel Horne found an article related to a recent episode, gave a quick recap, and made a succinct point.
-In this post, Seth presents a video he found on YouTube related to the current episode, makes a few summary comments, gives a highlighted quote, and makes a quick argument.
-We’d really like to promote other people’s quality podcasts, and this post from Mark provides a quick introduction while focusing on one episode in particular, also related (though very tangentially) to the then-current episode.
–Here’s a good example of a post in the “PEL’s Notes” category, where Mark just took a neglected paragraph from the work covered on the current podcast episode and briefly explained it.
If you can write a few short, on-point posts and establish yourself with us and our readers then we’ll be open for longer-form posts more dependent on original material. Since there is some learning curve in writing for us and your first post will likely require a lot of editing on our part no matter what we will start paying you with your second published post.
We’re proud to have such a creative and thoughtful listenership and would love to get as many of you in on the conversation as possible!
After you contact us and we agree that you should try to blog for us we’ll set you up with an account on our WordPress site in which you can draft your post (even if you send us the whole post via email, you will have to redraft it there. So don’t send it in email.) Here are our current set of style, content and formatting guidelines.
Use a “Featured Image” On the right side, scrolling down a bit, is a place to upload and select an image that will show on the home page. This image should be square, or at least needs to look OK when autocropped to be square, i.e. a rectangle with inessential things on the edges.
Include a visual for every post. This can be either:
1. An Amazon book image link: We’ll get the appropriate link text that uses our special PEL code so we get a cut of the purchase; just paste in the URL of the product as you find it on the site and we’ll put in the picture link.
2. A YouTube video: copy the URL from YouTube by going to the video, click “Share” under it, then “Embed,” and copy that text into your post, which will bring in the video preview itself. Type in “Watch on YouTube” and make that a hyperlink to the URL that comes up when you click “Share this video” under the video.
3. An image from the web. A Google image search will give you many options; if you already uploaded one as a Featured Image, you can click Featured image again to grab its PEL URL. Otherwise, open the image in its own tab or right click it to copy its URL. Then in your post just hit the “img” button above the typing area and copy in the image’s URL. You can align or resize the image, add a caption, and/or make it into a hyperlink to the page where you found it. If you link to a web cartoon or other original art, it’s a good idea at the end of the post to put a credit and a hyperlink to the source.
Use the “Preview Post” button in the “Publish” box to see what your final post will look like. (Note that images don’t always show up immediately when you do that; hit “refresh” on the preview window and they should pop in.) This is how readers will see your post and you may see formatting or readability issues you’ll want to correct.
Put a summary in the “Excerpt” field This is what will show on the PEL home page. A couple sentences will do. You can put hyperlinks in the summary, but not Amazon links, which won’t show up right.
Enter four key words for your post: One with the name of the figure you’re talking about (e.g. David Hume), one about the subject of the essay (e.g. empathy) and one about the general topic (e.g. Moral Sentiment). For the fourth use “Philosophy Blog”.
Choose a post category (or two, but try to keep it to 1). Read about the category descriptions here.
Use hyperlinks in your post to route people to general info in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Wikipedia, a PEL episode or other resource whenever possible. For all hyperlinks, choose the “Open in separate window” checkbox.
Sign your post at the bottom. Even though in the blog view it shows right at the top who wrote the post, your post will also get sent out via an email blast that does not include this information.
When you’re done with your post click “Save as Pending” in the “Publish” box or if you are still working use “Save as Draft.” Your post will not go straight up on the web; pending means that we’ll look at it, fix things (or have you fix them) and schedule it to be posted if it will work for us. To save our time and yours: for your first post, do something pretty short so you won’t waste a lot of your time if your style ends up being way off base for us.