By on August 18, 2016

Vannevar Bush

TTAC’s Best and Brightest continually displays its talent time and time again in our comments section. It’s one of the main reasons why TTAC is such a fantastic and eye-opening place to work. Your diverse knowledge and opinions, combined with some truly impressive writing chops, makes it one of the best comment communities in the business.

However, some of you are wasting that talent below the fold. This is your chance to, quite literally, rise above it.

Over the past few months, we haven’t published many reader submissions, and there’s a reason for that: it’s a helluva lot of work.

Considering the number of people who work for TTAC as their primary job (that’s two, if you’re counting), and the diminutive size of our budget, we struggle to bring you 10 articles each day. As a result of this effort, many of our reader submissions are gathering digital dust in our virtual inboxes, waiting for attention.

Next week, Steph and I will be going through all the unpublished submissions to date, plopping the good ones into WordPress, and queuing them up as needed. If you’ve submitted something in the past that’s gone unpublished and you wish to give your submission a fresh polish, drop us an email. For the rest of you who’ve been sitting on the fence, this is your chance to grab your literary or journalistic future by the horns.

Interested? Here’s what to do:

1) Write: This seems obvious, but it isn’t. We aren’t looking for pitches. We want to see you write about something that interests you.

2) Photos: Try to source some supporting images, whether they’re your own or taken from a source that allows redistribution. (Wikipedia is great for this.)

3) Package It: Put your submission in a Word document and attach it, along with photos, in an email.

4) Send It In: Send your emails to [email protected]. You may not hear from us right away, but — I promise you — we will review each and every submission. Not all will be published. Regardless, you will hear from us.

We can’t wait to see what you write!

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22 Comments on “Next Week is Reader Submission Week at TTAC...”

  • avatar

    He’s more than welcome to stay there.

  • avatar

    Well you’ve already educated me today. I had to go see who the heck Vannevar Bush was after seeing the lead in photo. At first I thought it was Alfred P. Sloan and I couldn’t figure out what the heck the “Sloan Ladder” had to do with “Reader Submission Week.”

    • 0 avatar
      bill h.

      During my grad student daze at MIT my office/lab was in a building named after Vannevar Bush. I seem to recall this very photo was one of those set up in the building. He was a towering presence in setting up the scientific enterprise in post-WWII America.

  • avatar

    I eagerly await the articles .

  • avatar

    Can we use a pseudonym?
    Mine is “thgiewdaedeerf”.
    Don’t anybody steal it.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I forget his handle, bu I sincerely encourage the individual with a SS to submit. I would really like to hear/read an owners perspective.

  • avatar

    If we’ve submitted something in the last few months, do you want us to resubmit?

  • avatar

    Submitted a reader (long term) ride review. Hope its worth publishing, little dated at this point.

  • avatar

    Is there compensation for this? I’ve been waiting a couple few years to be compensated for the last article I wrote back when writing guidelines actually listed a dollar amount.

    Or are you asking people to write for you gratis?

    • 0 avatar

      Re: previous articles. I will send you an email in a moment and discuss.

      When it comes to reader submissions and payment, this is how _I_ work, which may not be reflective of TTAC in the past.

      If a reader provides an unpitched piece of content without clause (read: writes whatever they want without OK to a pitch), that person is (usually) giving us permission to publish that story without payment. (I say “usually” because there are always edge cases.) In those instances, the content is usually okay to publish from a communtiy engagement standpoint, but not necessarily something we would pay for because: 1) the writing may be too rough, 2) the topic might not be something we typically cover, or 3) we don’t see the commercial viability of the content.

      However, we have paid readers to contribute in the past (and I mean the recent past, since I’ve been here, as I can speak for my predecessors). In those cases, the submission typically doesn’t require a lot of editing, falls in line with that we typically cover, and/or has commercial viability.

      So, to answer your question … we are not asking people to write for us for free. We are opening the forum to those people who would have written something anyway and not expected payment because they simply want to share a story about a car they own or another personal anecdote. If someone has deep knowledge of an area and wants to leverage that knowledge to provide us with a unique piece of content, that’s something I’d _tell_ someone I’d pay to publish.

      • 0 avatar

        No need to send an email about my old old old article, although the effort is appreciated. In fact, I believe you’ll find that email doesn’t work at all anymore, I haven’t been able to access it for ages (and I’m not particularly keen on changing my profile email to a working email). No worries there.

        I cannot say I’m a fan of your current line of thinking regarding paying for content, but as long as you spell it out for folks somewhere and they still send you content, then at least everyone knows the score and all is as right with the world as people want to make it. Although I do find, “we are not asking people to write for us for free. We are opening the forum to those people who would have written something anyway and not expected payment” a tad disingenuous, but again, as long as folks know what they are getting into I can’t complain.

        • 0 avatar

          I’ll boil it down a bit more: Some people want the chance to contribute to TTAC. We receive submissions weekly, completely unsolicited, from regular readers. We receive questions for Ask Bark and Piston Slap daily. How is offering a written question on an inquirers topic of choice any different than offering a short article on a reader’s topic of choice?

          Now, I totally get why you take exception to it. However, I would never engage someone directly — professional or otherwise — to provide a piece pro bono. That said, TTAC is a community-driven automotive website, and letting the community have a say above the fold now and then has its positives for everyone involved. Also, some of those who’ve submitted content in the past have turned into full-time writers for TTAC. Hell, I’m one of them.

          • 0 avatar

            Well this has turned into a nifty conversation.

            I only disagree with one thing you stated, everything else we seem to agree on (even if we seem to be coming at things from different directions). People want to write for free to see their name in virtual lights or get their name out there or contribute to something they care about or 1 of 1000 other reasons then I am okay with it. Like I said, as long as they know they aren’t getting paid then more power to them and I hope they have a good time doing it.

            Now, for something completely different (with apologies to Monty Python) – for the editor of a virtual rag (or a print rag, or any rag at all) to state there’s really no difference between asking a question that leads to an article written by someone else and writing an entire article, no matter the length, on your own…there’s where we’ll have to disagree slightly. Which is all fine and good and may be one of the numerous reasons you’re the editor of this automobile joint and I’m just a guy who comments once every blue moon.


          • 0 avatar

            @Marcus Topia

            ” … to state there’s really no difference between asking a question that leads to an article written by someone else and writing an entire article, no matter the length, on your own … there’s where we’ll have to disagree slightly.”

            So, I will bring this into perspective, and after that you can disagree all you want. I’ll respectfully agree to disagree with you.

            If you saw the length of the questions we typically receive on Ask Bark and Piston Slap _before_ they are edited, I think you would appreciate the amount of effort that goes into those submissions. For readability, we try to boil them down to the essence of what they are: advice questions.

            Inversely, reader submissions tend to be short. We aren’t looking for journalistic efforts here. Instead, we want people to share what they would normally want to share anyway, or maybe give them some encouragement to share something they’ve been sitting on the fence about for a while.

  • avatar

    Respectful disagreement it is ;)

  • avatar

    Well, you just inspired me to send you something about something I enjoy, and perhaps some other people will too. I don’t expect payment of any sort, but it does come with the caveat that the content has mostly been published, if not read, on a blog I submitted it to a couple years ago.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Does it have to be about cars?

  • avatar

    Damn it all when will writer submission week come around in 2017? I’d l’d love to share my long term experience with the GT350 I traded into (hopefully my time with the new Shelby wont be as brief as my time in the 2015 GT that sacrificed itself to stop a kamikaze Civic driver).

    Right now a few weeks and less than 1k on the clock just isn’t enough to banter on about.

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