November 14, 2003

Writers wanted

Author: Robin 'Roblimo' Miller

We're looking for a few new freelance writers -- and not just for NewsForge but also for IT Manager's Journal, DevChannel, and We pay for most material, but not all, and to get our top rates you must be a proven professional with previous publication credits.What we don't pay for

We don't pay for opinion pieces or corporate-produced material, but we happily provide a platform where members of the Linux, Open Source and Free Software communities -- from individual users and developers to corporate CEOs -- can share their views with others. Unpaid contributors get a 25- to 50-word tag line at the end of each bylined article where they can put links to their company, software project, CV, or almost anything else they like. We willingly do substantial editing to make unpaid contributions publishable, and contributors retain all rights to their work, including our editing (which is strictly for clarity and style; we do not change your article's meaning).

Notes: 1) Please submit an original opinion. Don't pick a topic that's already been hashed over by 2/3 of the world's population. 2) Your piece should stand on its own; don't respond to something someone else wrote. That's what comments attached to stories are for. 3) You must furnish your real name and contact information (although we may allow you to use a pseudonym on the article under some circumstances).

Material we pay for

Basically, we pay the following rates for the following kinds of material:

$50 - $100 honoraria for previously unpublished HOWTOs and other helpful material for We do not expect exclusive rights to these articles. We expect (even encourage) you to submit them immediately to The Linux Documentation Project and other appropriate sites. The idea here is to give a little incentive to people who want to write Linux and Open Source documentation anyway, but need a little "push" to actually do it.

$50 - $300 for news, reviews, case studies, and feature articles directly related to Linux, Open Source, or Free Software. We expect a "30-day exclusive" on paid articles. Look at what we're already publishing to get an idea of the kind of stories we like, but don't be afraid to submit an idea that's unlike anything else we've ever published. We love originality.

We're especially interested in reviews and case studies of corporate and/or enterprise-level products.

Review notes: 1) We do not expect all reviews to be positive. We like you to call them as you see them. 2) We can obtain review "loaner" hardware only for trusted, regular writers, especially if we're dealing with high-dollar and/or "enterprise-level" items. 3) Unless you have something truly unique to say, we're generally not interested in "A new Linux user's look at ___" stories or "Here's a review of [popular Linux distribution that's already been written about a thousand times]" articles. Be creative, not run-of-the-mill!

$200 - $600: Our DevChannel site publishes in-depth, technical reference material for professional software developers. Technical qualifications are at least as important as writing skills here. Please look at the site carefully before submitting. Our primary need in this area is development tools-related technical papers.

How to submit

Before you write a complete article, you should always send a query email to that gives us a brief (2 - 3 paragraph) idea of what you would like to write, along with links to any recent material you've had published elsewhere.

We prefer finished submissions in basic HTML. We also happily accept ASCII, slightly less happily accept StarOffice or format, and grudgingly deal with MS Word files.

We can publish up to three graphics (photos, screenshots, etc.) with your story, but they are not a necessity. They should always be sent as separate files, not embedded in your text. We can work with almost any common Web-friendly graphics format.

Become a regular!

We would like to develop a stable group of regular writers who not only submit their own story proposals to us, but can also handle direct assignments, especially local convention or conference coverage. (We can get press passes for virtually any conference.)

We're not as interested in your experience as in your ability. Even if you're a little bit "raw" as a writer (or English is not your primary language), as long as your story ideas are original and you get your thoughts down on paper clearly, we'll work with you to build your writing skills, and your per-article pay will increase as your work improves.(Of course, if you're an established professional, you're probably already qualified to earn our top rates.)

We strongly recommend The Elements of Style to all "writers in training." It is the best and simplest book we've ever seen on how to write clearly and concisely without boring your readers.

Topics of particular interest at this time:

For NewsForge and IT Manager's Journal:
Tips, reviews, news, and case studies about:
Enterprise and desktop applications and hardware
The business side of Linux and open source

For DevChannel:
Lotus Domino
DB2 and other enterprise databases
WebSphere and other application servers

"Knowledge resources for enterprise Linux users" - which can be almost anything from networking advice to migration tips to TCO/decision-making studies to guides that might help train office workers in the use of Linux and common Linux software packages. Use your imagination!


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