New Writer Tutorial and Self-Publishing Guidelines…
NOTE FROM WALLACE: This is an old article from way back; written by the webmaster, Brian K. White. I have edited it to make it more up to date! Yer welcome! Please contribute your satire to firstname.lastname@example.org. I repeat: I have added some ideas of my own to enhance the article. Do you have any writing tips? Leave your thoughts below!
Once you’re added to the site, make sure you’ve added an author bio. You are welcome to post a link to your blog or any other site(s) you may have in there.
Want to get upgraded to a self-publication schedule, so you can run stories (or schedule them) as you see fit? Well this is your tutorial. Even if you don’t want that, this is still a best-practices guide. Once you submit a handful that are in 100% compliance, I’ll activate you to self-publish, which is good for everyone.
The first thing I’ll say (without a number, because it should go without saying!) is keep it funny. Ideally a minimum of one joke per paragraph, though more is always better. If it’s the best joke in the world but it takes four or five paragraphs to get to it, nobody will ever read it. Internet attention spans are infamously short, so keep ’em laughing. Also, if you think it might be too offensive, don’t run it live, ask Wallace to look at it first. However, Glossy News does cover a range of styles and tastes: from good clean fun to full blown Swiftian anarchy!
1 – Make the headline fun, funny and accurate.
It has to be clever enough to stand on its own. Even if the story reveals the joke, that’s not enough. The headline has to drive the clicks, or it will fall flat. You may have a clever concept, but you have to remember the point of a good headline is to drive traffic to the article, so they can read it; not so show off your funny concept. In fact, if you show your hand too soon, people might briefly chuckle and then ignore it. In order for people to appreciate your humour, you really need to reel them in first, so they actually read your story in the first place. This ultimately means provoking curiosity: what you don’t say is every bit as important as what you don’t say, if not more so!
2 – Select one or two categories only for your story… and it’s not “Top Stories.”
I mean, if it’s really good, then yes; but Top Stories is not a default strategy. We have recently cleared out any defunct categories too, and merged others.
3 – Add 6-8 tags for your story.
Don’t use things like “satire” (all our stories are satire!) or your author name (we already have a dedicated link from your name to show all your stories.)
4 – Add the “more” thingy at the end of the 2nd or 3rd paragraph.
You just put your cursor where we want to cut off the story from the front page and click the MORE button at the top of the upload window. This allows the story to break and put a “click to read more” button, and it is pretty important.
It’s second from the right, in this graphic:
I.e, just to the right of the chain!
5 – Make sure you add a photo.
Don’t just add something you find on a search engine image search, or a website; that’s theft, and it can get us all into very serious legal problems. Even an out of court settlement can be extraordinarily expensive. You can find public domain images on Pixabay. Wikimedia Commons is another option, but please be aware that while the latter uses relatively free Creative Commons licences, their use is still not necessarily completely free of preconditions. For example, you may need to link to the licence and to the original source.
So, if you are even not sure whether you can use a certain photo or not, please email me (email@example.com), and I will be sure to help you ASAP. If you have any doubts at all about copyright, please either leave a note in the article itself (I promise not to publish the note!), or just email me. Seriously, it’s just not worth cutting corners on this! (Re: notes to the editor, see point 8 below).
All that said, there are plenty of great photos ou there you can use legitimately; just make sure you follow the rules, and ask if in doubt. In fact, you don’t even need to send us any photos if you don’t want to. We are more than happy to source them for you yourself, if that’s simpler. One last thing: memes are usually OK, because adding text (like substantial photoshopping) normally counts as ‘transformative’ under ‘fair use / fair dealing.’ Go to Memedad or Make a Meme. By the way, meme articles are great, but they don’t tend to get many views if they are just graphics. This is detrimental to the site. Either you can add your own funny captions (preferably a little caption plus one or more sentences per meme), or else the managing editor (Wallace) can add them for you! Let us know what you prefer.
6 – Keep your paragraphs bite-sized!
The biggest thing I do in editing is breaking up big paragraphs. Keep them small for ease of viewing on computer screens and mobile devices. Especially the first two should be no longer than a single sentence. Don’t format paragraphs like a book, but rather like a web article. Be sure to hit “preview” to make sure it looks like other stories on Glossy News.
7 – Proofread, profread, proofred (!)
If you’re going live without editorial review or just uploading for an editor to review, it needs to be as free of typos and grammatical errors as possible.
8 – If you DO NOT publish live, then save as “pending.”
If there are notes for the editors, e.g. you’re not sure if you can legally use a photo, or you want to know how to make a meme, or you want us to add more jokes, list that at the top of the article in ALL CAPS and we will definitely see it! You can also say “please improve/complete this story,” and we’ll give it a second draft on your behalf.
Brian and I truly thank you from the bottom of our hearts, for being willing to go through all this, just to publish your stories. In the end, it will mean your stories go live more quickly. And even if you just use these guidelines to upload your stories, it will save time on the editorial front, which will also mean your stories will run live more quickly.
So there you go… just do these impossibly complicated 8 things and you’ll be on the path to self-publishing!
And if you fall short during the trial period, I will coach you to correct it. The biggest thing is the headlines. They have to be fun, funny and accurate, otherwise nobody will read them to know how clever you are.
Finally, please make sure you post a link to your site or to your social media presence in the author bio; this will definitely appear on every last article you post. And the more of these you post, the more your bio appears, and thus, the more traction you’re likely to get for your social media and websites! Don’t be afraid to self-promote as well: we’d love to hear about your books, videos, podcasts, stand-up and other exciting projects!
With all our love,
Brian and Wallace.