If your fancy is tickled by the notion of joining our gaggle of authors, and you feel that you possess the moxie, knack, jib, and/or spunk* necessary to do so, simply read the following FAQs, and if still interested, apply using the form at the bottom of the page.
*Non-biological 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 $150 per published article, with a minimum length of 1,000 words. We also pay pleasant ongoing residual rewards. Our site additionally earns income from opportunities such as book publications, and as these arise, each author is compensated based on his or her level of participation. In terms of non-material rewards, 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?
Currently, Damn Interesting is an evenings-and-weekends project for all involved, so there are some bottlenecks to contend with. Also, we make no compromise on quality or accuracy, so our writing-and-researching-and-editing cycles tend to be lengthy. Further, we renounce deadlines lest they turn writing from a diversion into a burden. All of these combine into a slow-moving system, wherein any particular author can expect to have something published once every couple of months at most. If we manage to cultivate a large base of recurring donors, we may one day be able to afford an accelerated publication rate.
What is expected of me besides writing?
We are only interested only in people who are willing to engage with our group rather than just plopping down the occasional submission. We expect authors to join our Slack conversations, to express opinions, to participate in our little side projects, etc. Also, our editing process is collaborative, so all contributors should be willing to help hammer other authors’ drafts into tip-top shipshape. Lastly, you’ll be asked to help with other tasks related to the publication of your articles, such as identifying worthwhile images, citing sources, helping with ideas for podcast audio, etc.
Can I write for Damn Interesting while also writing for another “interesting non-fiction” organization?
Perhaps, it depends on the details. 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, we’ll need you to be sure you don’t discuss the topics we have in progress. 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 much exposure will my writings receive?
As of December 2015, our site is visited by about 300,000 readers per month, and our podcast attracts about 70,000 listeners per month. 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.
What kind of personality are you looking for?
Given that our contributors are spread all over the world, it is crucial that our authors be self-motivated. Patience is also important. Since we’re all working in our spare time, things can move in fits and starts depending on what else is going on in our worlds. And we have a high standard for quality, so a draft may go through multiple editing iterations before it is deemed ready.
We also need our participants to embrace science, skepticism, and critical thinking. If you tend to adopt and propagate ideas without objective evidence, you probably won’t fit in well here. That doesn’t mean we never speculate, but we must clearly indicate when we are doing so.
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.
What is the tax situation for authors?
If a contributor happens to be a U.S. 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 payments. Otherwise it’s the responsibility of the recipient to report the income to the relevant revenue service(s).
Any last advice?
We don’t have room for a lot of authors with our particular setup, so we must be very discerning. Share as much about yourself as you are willing, especially anything that makes you stand out. We will scrutinize your enthusiasm, skills, and experience. If you don’t hear back from us, don’t take it personally. We get a lot of writer applications, and we are able to accept very few. That may change as we grow, but we grow slowly.
We also strongly advise you to peruse our Greatest Hits page to see which of our writings have resonated with our audience.