*North American definition of "spunk" intended. No physical specimens, please.
How much does this gig pay?
Asking about money first thing? So tacky. We hope that your interest in writing for this site stems from a love of writing and a yearning for intelligent discourse. Also, money. We pay $100 per published full-length article (1,000 words or more) and $50 for the rare shorty. We also have small but pleasant ongoing residual rewards. Our site also earns income from opportunities such as book publications, and as these arise, each author is compensated based on his or her level of participation. Additionally, DamnInteresting.com is well enough known that it makes a handsome bullet point on any résumé.
How much brain-fruit do you hope to harvest from my fertile mind?
As much as you care to spare. We renounce deadlines lest they turn writing from a diversion into a burden. We are, however, interested only in ongoing contributors; we don't want people who just send in the occasional article. We expect authors to join our message board conversations, express opinions, etc. Also, our editing process is collaborative, so all contributors should be willing to help hammer other authors' drafts into tip-top shipshape.
What is the tax situation for authors?
If a contributor happens to be a US citizen AND he/she receives $600 or more in any given calendar year, we are legally obligated to file an IRS 1099 form to report the payment. Otherwise it's the responsibility of the recipient to report the income to the relevant revenue service(s).
Can I write for Damn Interesting while also writing for another "interesting non-fiction" organization?
Maybe, it depends. Due to the nature of our open, collaborative writing environment, all of our Damn Interesting authors are able to see a lot of one another's works-in-progress. We enjoy this openness, but it means that it's very easy for authors to accidentally or deliberately pilfer topics from our hopper.
If you actively write for a site/publication trying to tell the same sorts of evergreen, interesting, non-fiction stories that we do, there may be some concern. If you write for a content farm that slurps up other writers' hard work, upholsters it in hyperbole, and regurgitates it into a bucket of mediocrity (e.g., cracked.com), you are a contagious, festering leper. Figuratively speaking.
How many readers will see my stuff?
Damn Interesting receives an extraordinary amount of organic traffic, and we try to stick to "evergreen" content that remains relevant over time. Consequently each article is likely to receive hundreds of thousands of views in its lifetime. Articles are also distributed in high-quality podcast form, so you will also have listeners.
What kind of personality are you looking for?
It is crucial that our authors be self-motivated. In a perfect world authors will be enthusiastic in general, including participating in our internal discussions, evaluating potential article topics, participating in social networking, suggesting ideas for future projects, et cetera.
We also prefer people who tend toward science, skepticism, and critical thinking. To test yourself, please read the following statements:
- Humans have common evolutionary ancestry with modern primates.
- It is almost certain that other planets in the universe harbor life in some form.
- Astrological signs are inconsequential.
- The health effects of vaccines are overwhelmingly positive.
- Data suggest that industrial/transportation emissions are influencing the climate.
- The World Trade Center buildings fell due to structural failure caused by burning jet fuel.
- "Supernatural" is not a valid concept.
If any of those statements offended you, here's the Back button.
Are topics assigned, or do authors come up with their own?
Typically our authors come up with their own article ideas and pitch them to the group. When discussion determines that a particular topic is sufficiently interesting, the pitcher proceeds with the authoring. We do occasionally get good topic suggestions from readers, and when those do arrive they are up for grabs, but we mostly receive repeated poor suggestions. Seriously people, the world does not need yet another article on the Oak Island Money Pit.
Do you have a style guide?
We do indeed have a well-developed style guide which we will share with you when/if our relationship reaches that level. It contains some non-public information, so we mustn't share it willy-nilly.
Any last advice?
We advise you to peruse our Greatest Hits page to see which of our writings have resonated with our audience. Also, please be aware that we intend for our team to remain small and tight knit, therefore we can only add authors when someone exhibits truly outstanding skill, ambition, etc.