Contributor Guidelines and Query Form
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Pyragraph is the online magazine for career-minded artists, musicians, designers, filmmakers, writers and other creatives worldwide. Our focus is on first-person blog posts from working creatives. Within that format we offer wide creative freedom.
We rarely accept traditional topic-based “objective” articles; what we are looking for are first-person blog posts (including photo and video content) about your experiences with your creative work, projects and/or career. Mentioning and promoting your shows, new releases and other projects is fine, as long as the focus of the post is on sharing experiences and information helpful to other creatives.
Pyragraph’s editorial mission is to provide entertaining, informative and practical content to help readers in their pursuit of creative projects and careers. Pyragraph’s content is written by working artists, musicians, writers and other creatives who share their ups and downs, successes and mistakes, and the many stories that happen along the way. Covering topics from self-promotion to juggling side jobs to managing money, Pyragraph’s blogs, features and resources help readers keep their creative fires burning and chart a course to success on their own terms.
Pyragraph content is organized into six main channels:
Art | Music | Design | Film/Stage | Writing | MicroBiz | Community
These broad channels are intended to include coverage of all kinds of creative work such as photography, craft, product design, architecture, etc. We are also interested in passion-driven small businesses (i.e. soapmaking, microfarming, etc.) as well as arts/culture organizing, which we feature in our MicroBiz and Community channels, respectively.
Familiarity with Pyragraph’s content areas and types is the best way to learn what kinds of writing we are looking for. (For more information on queries, submissions and payment, see “Policies” below.)
Pyragraph blog posts feature first-person, real-world, entertaining stories and insights from creative folks working within their fields, at all stages from student/entry level to experienced professionals. Blogs are written by artists, musicians, and other creative workers chronicling their experiences, offering practical advice, and sharing compelling stories.
Some of our bloggers contribute regularly; others more sporadically. We are flexible.
We are scheduled out approximately 2 months so if a post is timely, please let us know as early as possible so we can schedule it appropriately. Note that if we feel a post is not suitable we might request changes; or may opt not to publish the submission.
Creative writing styles are welcomed and content scope may be broad, as long as it relates to Pyragraph’s editorial mission. Blog posts are be assigned to one or more of our channels but may (and often do) focus on subcategories such as photography, craft, product design, architecture, etc. Individual posts are a minimum of 250 words. Including one or more photos is strongly encouraged but not required.
Pyragraph sometimes presents visual content such as cartoons, photosets, paintings, multimedia, etc. As with all our content, visual features should somehow illuminate or reflect an aspect of your creative process or work life.
Visual features typically include approximately 10 images and 50-200 words of accompanying text for each image. Any topics within the Pyragraph editorial scope may be the basis for a visual feature/photoset.
Pyragraph’s Resources include articles, FAQs, downloads and links related to business and intellectual property topics of interest to creative folks. This section emphasizes how-to content such as how to protect copyright, how to manage money earned outside of regular employment, how to handle contracts with clients, and more.
Editorial Scope and Topics
Below is a very non-exclusive list of suggested topics and themes for contributors that fall well within Pyragraph’s editorial scope. Other ideas are encouraged and welcomed.
While most Pyragraph content is text, some is visual or audiovisual: photo essays/slideshows, editorial cartoons, videos, podcasts, etc. These guidelines apply to all content whether text or visual or audiovisual.
Remember: Practical/informative content is generally best presented in the context of a story about something you’ve been through.
- Self-promotion: Tips, tricks and insight into how to do it effectively without feeling creepy or annoying.
- Events, booking, touring: Stories and insight into how to do well, be professional, and not get screwed. Share your stories, especially ones that are entertaining and offer insight into lessons learned.
- Working with agents/bookers/publishers/promoters/etc.: How have you found people/companies to work with? How did you deal with negotiating and finalizing any agreements/contracts? How has the ongoing relationship been, and what have you learned about working with these types of professionals?
- Managing the business: Proposals, clients, contracts/agreements, money, taxes and more. Do you use bookkeeping software like Quicken or Quickbooks? Do you track your time and/ or your costs well? What are your struggles in this realm?
- Managing your time: Procrastinating, discipline, being productive, etc.
- Websites and promoting yourself online: What kind of website and online presence do you have (WordPress, a Bandcamp site, Facebook, etc.)? What are the ups and downs of maintaining the site and dealing with tech problems? Why do you stick with your crappy old site that your cousin built 10 years ago? Etc.
- Creative inspiration: How to reliably keep your creative output humming along. Tips, strategies, stories, experiences, tricks, etc.
- Getting back into creative work after a hiatus: How did you get re-started after years away from your creative work?
- Side jobs: The best types to have; how to juggle multiple gigs; tips for how to make it work. Specifics about certain types of jobs like restaurant work, bartending, or sex work are welcome.
- Technology: Using technology in creative work: Sound mixing software, video editing, design/illustration, systems/formats/compatibility issues, etc.
- Health: How do you take care of yourself and stay well? How has sickness affected your work? How do you handle health care costs and health insurance?
- Mental health and substance abuse: Do you have any experiences to share here, either first-hand or via someone you know (of course respecting privacy is essential)?
- Home and studio: How do you organize your workspaces? What are your daily routines?
- Balance: Taking time off and balance issues are different when your passion IS your work. How do you deal with that?
- Reputation: An important reality for any creative worker. Since work is so subjective professional reputation is gold. How do you deal with your reputation and protect it? How do you conceive and develop the right public image?
- Fear: Getting over it, strategies to handle it, mindfulness practices.
Pyragraph is not looking for:
- art criticism
- album or show reviews
Style and Voice
Above all else, Pyragraph wants entertaining, compelling content. Yes, we aim to inform and educate our readers about the ins and outs of how to pursue creative work effectively/successfully, but we aim to do so by sharing experiences rather than writing dull “how-to” articles. (But note: There is some room for how-to content, especially in the Resource area.)
An ideal article/blog entry/feature would share an entertaining, humorous, suspenseful, or otherwise compelling/engaging story, and offer some insight into what the author learned from that experience. Summarizing lessons learned in “tips” lists is often useful, but tips lists should be used judiciously (maybe 1 per month, as a rough guideline).
Feel free to use whatever salty language you like to use; just use it well. You may include “Fuck” and its ilk in post titles.
The type of content that tends to get the most readership and resonate with audiences usually has one or more of the following characteristics:
- interesting stories
- unique, strong, confident voice
You don’t need to embarrass yourself to be self-revealing. You don’t need to expose yourself beyond your comfort zone. Just be honest and share things you’ve been through and lessons you’ve learned that would be helpful to younger and/or emerging, up-and-coming artists.
Pyragraph conforms to AP style in most cases, but also uses an in-house style guide which will be provided to all writers.
Query Info and Form
To be considered as a Pyragraph Contributor, please submit a query with at least one sample post (approx. 500 words each) or writing samples you’ve already published. Please use the following form, unless you are already in touch with a Pyragraph editor, in which case you may email your query/samples directly to the editor.
Please, no queries by phone. Pyragraph assumes no responsibility for reading, responding to or returning unsolicited submissions.
Pyragraph buys only original content written for Pyragraph. Pyragraph may accept content that has already been published online or elsewhere, but does not pay for such posts.
Writers who contribute original content to Pyragraph and want to re-publish that material elsewhere, either online or in print, have two options:
- Option 1: Grant nonexclusive first online and archival rights to Pyragraph. If you want to post the original content you write for Pyragraph simultaneously at your own blog or anywhere else online (that’s the “nonexclusive” part), you may do so by foregoing cash payment from Pyragraph. In lieu of payment, Pyragraph will instead include a link back to your blog (if any) and give you a free small ad (placement TBD).
- Option 2: Grant exclusive first online and archival rights to Pyragraph. If you do want cash payment from Pyragraph for your original work, you must not post the content anywhere else online for 30 calendar days (that’s the “exclusive” part). After 30 days you may repost wherever you wish. We would most appreciate you including the following link and credit at the beginning of the article: “Written for Pyragraph.com.”Note: Any photos submitted with articles that aren’t paid for separately and/or handled with a separate permission agreement may be reposted by you anytime, anywhere; the exclusive first rights described above does not apply to these photos.
Your choice and other details will be reflected in a Contributing Blogger Agreement.
Blog engagements: For Contributors who grant Pyragraph exclusive first online and archival rights to Pyragraph, pay is a flat rate of $25/blog post (including any photos), regardless of word count (provided that 250-word minimum is met), not to exceed any budgets/caps established in your individual Contributor Engagement Agreement. Writer is free to post more often but pay will not exceed any such budgets/caps in your Agreement.
Payment will be made within 15 days of the end of the calendar month in which the post was accepted.