Write For StrategyPage
We are always looking for new contributors. If you think you can do it, contact the editor.
Send along a sample item. You know what we're looking for if you are a
regular visitor to StrategyPage. If you are not familiar with what we do
here, then familiarize yourself before querying the editor.
Keep in mind that the items must range from
200-1,000 words. As a contributor, you get to suggest which
subjects you want to cover, especially if you are writing for the How to
Make War Section. If you want to regularly cover wars for us, we will put
you touch with the other contributors in that area to avoid two people
covering the same events at the same time.
Less than one percent of
submissions are rejected because someone else got their first, so don't
worry about bumping into another contributor when working on an item.
However, it's important that you run item ideas by me before writing them. A
brief email will do. Sometimes contributors were not aware that a piece they
wrote was already covered by us weeks, or months, earlier. Those
contributions cannot be used, although I will sometimes try and figure out a
way to modify the item to serve as an update or some such.
If you want to use a byline (your name at the end of your article), just include it with your submission.
Make sure you follow our editorial guidelines (below) when preparing
something. If you don't pay close attention to the guidelines, your
submissions will either be sent back for revision, or not accepted at all.
We pay $20 per item (200-1,000 words each) used. That's about 2-10
cents a word. Not a lot, but we're not making a lot of money and a much of the material comes free from volunteers (me, Al, Dan and Austin Bay). To get paid, send us your full name, address and social security number within 30 days of your piece running (or at the end of the month if you do a number of items.)
Include the title of each piece you are billing us for. We'll send you
a check within 30 days. We can also pay you via PayPal. Just let us know
where to send the money.
We are only buying rights to include your material in StrategyPage.com for as long as StrategyPage.com exists. You retain all other rights (meaning you can put your StrategyPage.com stuff in a book, magazine article, or even another web site.)
There is no contract involved. If you are an American citizen, we will
send you a 1099 for tax purposes at the end of the year. If your work meets
our standards, you can send as much as you like that we have room for. We
currently run about fifty new items a week.
You can just send items in an email message. If you have a lot of them,
you can send them in an attached WORD, ASCII or Word Perfect file.
We can also handle spreadsheet files, as you have seen on StrategyPage.
These rules are to insure that all the content is compatible and that our readers get the maximum amount of information for the time they spend on our site.
Writing for the web is different than writing for print or broadcast media. Web users spend less time on a page and if you don't grab them
right away and keep their interest, they just click on something else. Moreover, with several people contributing material here, differences in style are jarring and confusing for the reader. I don't want to crimp anyone's writing style,
but we do want to make it easier on the reader. And easier on me, as I have to make a lot of these changes myself, and I don't really have the time for it.
The nature of the web is such is that people "scan" more than "read." Any piece
longer than two or three screens (about a thousand words) does not get read much.
We know this because websites not only count how many people click on each
item, but also how long they stay with each item before going elsewhere. So
we know from practical experience what kind of items and writing style will
"attract eyeballs" (at least on StrategyPage.) Also, you have to keep the prose simple and easy to read. This has been learned by experience, and is common throughout the web.
Things to keep in mind;
- We are not competing with the mainstream media. This means we don't rush
after breaking stories. Our readers want analysis of what has happened, not
speculation. Our most popular items are those that better explain what's in
the mass media. Avoid speculation, but don't hesitate to predict if you have
sufficient facts and historical parallels.
- The most popular types of articles are hardware (weapons and equipment) and
analysis (of operations, tactics, doctrine.) Our readers want things
explained, not just described. This is very important. But don't include a lot of useless facts (like
names of manufacturers of weapons and equipment, unless relevant). Also, no quotes, or
names of the person saying it, unless absolutely. Facts, as best you know
them, and analysis, as best you can do it, are what our readers want.
- When in doubt about doing an item, just query me via email.
- Don't cover anything we have already covered in the past few months, unless
you are using new material or a unique new angle.
- All news articles require a catchy lead sentence, which explains the article and draws people in
immediately. It's the most important sentence in the piece, for if you can't grab and keep the readers attention with the lead, they will not read any further.
- Stay away from military jargon, as only about a third of our users are
active duty or former military. And even for vets, a tank guy will not be
familiar with navy jargon (or even artillery or Signal Corps buzzwords.) The
first time you use a bit of jargon or an acronym in an article, put a
translation in parenthesis. People like StrategyPage because we tend to assume no prior knowledge. We get many compliments on that, and no (so far) complaints that we don't make more use of jargon.
- Our readers like lots of facts. So if you do a piece on weapons or
equipment, try and include basic numbers (weight, operating characteristics,
cost, operating life and so on.) Look at existing items on equipment to get a
good idea of this.
- Express all distances in kilometers (most people don't know how to convert nautical miles to statute miles and so on) and weights in pounds (the kilometer has caught on more than the kilogram.) You can use
inches and feet for smaller measurements. Don't use "km," spell out
- Don't refer to a country via it's capital. While most people will figure out what "Washington", "London" or "Moscow" mean, we cover a lot of smaller nations with unrecognizable (to most readers) capitals. This is really confusing when you are talking about two obscure nations. Also, try to use (as the wire services do) location information in terms of kilometers from the capital (called the capital, most people know only a few names of capitals on sight.) For example, "rebels attacked 300 kilometers northeast of the capital." If users want more data, each country page has a link to a map that clearly shows the capital.
- Don't say "reported in [insert wire service or newspaper] unless it is central to the item reported. This saves space, and eliminates something that means little to the reader.
- Keep new material consistent with past reporting on that nation. It avoids confusion.
- Each country has a section with material on what the overall situation is. If you note the stuff is out of date for a particular nation, let me know and I'll fix. Or update it yourself. We run new updates of this stuff in the regular reporting one time as well.
- Spell out percent as percent unless percent is used in a chart (years of hammering by copy editors makes me do that.)
- Don't forget your byline. I sometimes, but not always, catch a missing byline and put it in, but not always.
Insert byline at the end of your piece like this. --Jim Dunnigan
- Keep the items tight and with a minimum of white space. No one sentence paragraphs unless there's no other way to do it (as in a separate item that only needs one sentence). Web readers don't have patience for long articles.
- Use the spelling already used in
StrategyPage pieces. When in doubt, just check what is already there. This is a particular problem because we use a lot of foreign terms and place names for which there is no "official" English translation. So we want to be consistent.
- Be consistent. Use the same spellings from article to article. And keep it simple (spell the Jordanian city Maan as Maan, not Ma'an. While the latter may be closer to the Arab population, our audience contains few Arab linguists and spellings like Ma'an detract from the reporting.)
- Leave out the names of individuals unless they are critical to understanding the situation. No one really has to know the name of the Sudanese foreign minister or some battalion commander in the bush in order to understand what is going on near the Ugandan border.
- Remember that the best guidelines are found in the many megabytes of
material we have already published. You'll find a pattern in presentation,
content and style. Follow it.