Blog Writing Guidelines
This page contains general guidelines for contributors to the DP Blog, Hot off the Press. Here you'll find answers to common questions that you might have while writing a blog post. If you're new to blogging for DP, Getting Started has basic instructions.
What should I write about?
The short answer is ANYTHING, as long as it's related to DP. The blog belongs to all of us, and we all have something interesting to say about who we are, what we do, and what we love at DP.
Take a look at the existing blog posts -- you'll see a wide variety of topics. Here are some ideas:
- Book review - Loved a book or group of books you worked on at DP? Tell us why! You don't have to be a professional literary critic to share your views. You don't have to be a Post-Processor or a Smooth Reader. If you've worked on it, you can write about it. The only proviso is that we will hold the blog until the book is actually posted to Project Gutenberg, so that the public will have access to it.
- Volunteer's story - How did you discover DP? How did you come to choose the particular DP work you do? What does DP mean to you? Has it had an impact, practical or emotional or otherwise, on your real life? Has something interesting or funny or poignant happened relating to your DP work? Share it!
- Team story - DP teams contribute greatly not just to our production of e-books, but also to our sense of community. And the community deserves to know about the teams' contributions in both areas. Share your team stories on the DP Blog.
- Special day - If DP has produced or is working on books related to your favorite holiday or special day, whether posted or not, why not write a blog post about one or a group of them?
How do I choose a title?
The title of your post should be brief, and should clearly say what it's about. Peruse past blog posts to see how different bloggers entitled different kinds of posts, and don't be afraid to be creative (as long as it's short and sweet, so to speak). The Blog Coordinator can help you with this.
You can be even more creative with other kinds of posts, such as volunteer stories. Brief but descriptive titles draw readers into your DP experience. Check out the blog for some nice examples: "Garage Musings," about how one volunteer's garage inspired memories of her start as a Content Provider at DP; or "Turn around when possible," about another volunteer who traveled hundreds of kilometers to harvest children's books from an elderly friend's attic.
How long should my post be?
If you're familiar with other kinds of blogs, then you know that blog posts are generally short, providing information (or entertainment) in a concise form. The actual length will, of course, depend on your subject. Although we have no hard and fast rule as to length, you should generally shoot for somewhere between 5 and 10 paragraphs. Looking through past blog posts will give you a general idea of the appropriate length for different topics.
What writing style should I use?
Just be yourself! Blog posts are generally informal pieces designed to provide information in an easily digestible form. You don't need to be fancy or "intellectual." Think of a blog post as a conversation with a good friend.
Can I use multimedia?
Absolutely! Images and sound are a good way to draw the reader in.
Images could be the cover of the book you're writing about, or any image from the book. You can also use a public-domain image of the author or other relevant public-domain images from Wikipedia.
If you're writing about a music project, you can insert links to sound files (e.g., midi or mp3) from the project or another public-domain source.
All multimedia must be in the public domain in the United States (anything downloaded from Project Gutenberg is fine, and this should be the main source). The Blog Coordinator can help you check this.
While your post will be given a final edit by the Blog Coordinator, it's always good for you to edit your draft yourself first. At a minimum, please make sure you've checked for:
- Spelling or other errors in the title of your post
- Spelling, grammar, or factual errors in your text
- Non-working links (if you've included any links)
- Non-working multimedia files (if you've included any multimedia files)
When you've submitted your draft, the Blog Coordinator will review it to double-check for, and correct:
- Spelling errors
- Grammar/syntax errors
- Factual errors
- Non-working links
- Non-working multimedia files
- Multimedia files not in the public domain (see the section on multimedia above)
- Violations of privacy or the DP Code of Conduct
While the Blog Coordinator will respect your particular writing style, she may need to make changes to improve clarity or clean up awkward phrasing. Before posting, she'll advise you of any changes so that you have an opportunity to make alternate suggestions.
The Blog Coordinator is also here to help you if you have any questions or problems, technical or otherwise, in writing your post. You might, for example, want some ideas regarding the title, or how to phrase something, or what image(s) to include. The Coordinator will be glad to make suggestions.
Code of Conduct
The DP Blog is not the place for flame wars, criticism of other volunteers, vulgarity, obscenity, spam, etc. The Code of Conduct applies as fully to the blog as it does to the forums.