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.
If you can't find the answer here, you can always post in the DP Bloggers forum.
What should I write about?
The short answer is "ANYTHING 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, and you'll see a wide variety of topics. Here are some ideas:
- Book review - Loved a book 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 even have to be a post-processer or a smoothreader. If you've read it, you can write about 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 in the course of 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.
- Smoothreading announcement - If you're a PPer, the blog can be a great way to entice people to smooth-read the books you're working on.
- 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 "roundup" blog post about 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).
For a book review, including the title and/or author of the book you're reviewing is a good start. Or you could use a brief descriptive phrase. For example, a review of the Letters of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy from Italy and Switzerland that focused on the composition of his Italian Symphony bears the more pithy title "Mendelssohn in Italy."
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.
Of course, if you're stumped, the DP Blog Editors are always ready to help you choose an appropriate title.
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 3 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, mp3, ogg) from the project or another public-domain source.
All images must be in the public domain (anything downloaded from PG is fine, and this should be the main source); or the creator of the image needs to be fine with publishing it on the blog under the blog's copyright terms, which can be found here. The creator permission option should mostly be used for things like banners for special days and similar items.
While your post will be given a final edit by one of the Blog Editors, it's always good for you to edit your post 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're satisfied that your post is ready for submission, a Blog Editor will go over it and double-check for:
- 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)
While your editor will avoid making changes to your particular writing style, she may need to make some changes to improve clarity or to clean up awkward phrasing. Before posting, the editor will advise you of any changes so that you have an opportunity to make alternate suggestions.
The Blog Editors are 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 editors will be glad to lend a hand and make suggestions.
The DP Blog is part of DP's public face. Each DP volunteer has the right to control the ways in which he or she wants to be mentioned in public — or not. If you want to give a shout-out to a specific person in your post, please ask that person first if she's fine with this and how she'd like to be mentioned (e.g., user name or real name). Yes, it's less fun because it won't be a nice surprise for that person, but privacy must come first.
Code of Conduct
The DP Blog is not the place for flame wars, criticism of other volunteers, vulgarity, obscenity, spam, etc. The DP Code of Conduct applies as fully to the Blog as it does to the forums.
Categories enable you to group your post into one or more of a few very broad topics. Every post must belong to at least one category. The available categories are:
- Book Review
- Project Gutenberg
- Smooth Reading
- Special Day
- Volunteers' Stories
As a blog contributor, you can't create new categories, but if you think there's a need for more, feel free to post your suggestion in the DP Bloggers forum.
In addition to categories, you should use at least one, and up to five, "tags" on your posts. Tags can be any words or phrases that will help blog readers search for posts on the topics they're interested in. Below are some ideas for tags, depending on the kind of post you've written:
Examples for a book review:
- Book author's name
- Special Day, if applicable
Examples for other kinds of posts:
- Name of the relevant Special Day
- Name of the relevant DP team
- Name of the relevant DP task
When choosing a tag, ask yourself: What terms would a potential reader search for in order to find my post?
Feel free to post in the DP Bloggers forum if you have any questions, comments, ideas, kudos, etc.