Housekeeping: Reader Reviews
Reader reviews have been a part of TTAC in the past, and we’re still interested in running them from time to time. However, it’s come to my attention that a few of you submitted reviews and never heard back.
First, let me say: Mea culpa. Both my inbox and the “editors” account are constantly slammed with emails, and sometimes, submissions get missed. More on that in a minute.
Yes, we’re still willing to listen for pitches for reader reviews, but we can’t run them all. Here, then, are a few tips to increase your chances of getting your review on the site.
Be Patient: Like I said above, our inboxes are slammed. So give us time to comb through our inboxes. Also, please understand that breaking news will take precedent – so we may hold a review until a slow news day.
A lot of what hits our inboxes is spam, so again, please give us time to separate the wheat from the chaff. Speaking of spam, sometimes pitches hit that folder by accident. I check my spam folder daily, so hopefully no pitches will linger in limbo long.
This call for patience also extends to a review we’ve agreed to run – we may have to change the planned date of publishing due to breaking news or other site needs. That’s life in journalism – stories get moved all the time to accommodate other stories. Understand that it may happen to you.
Follow Up: Patience is key, but if we’re taking an unreasonably long time to respond, feel free to give us a shout to follow up. Like I said, sometimes emails get buried in our inboxes and we miss them. Also, I am not known for having the world’s best memory – sometimes I make a mental note to reply and then forget. I am human, after all, and so is the rest of the team. So if you haven’t heard back, or we said “maybe” initially and haven’t followed up, feel free to remind us.
Be Aware of What We’ve Reviewed Recently: I rejected a pitch a few months back because we’d reviewed the two cars the reader wanted to review right before he submitted. This reader is welcome to circle back down the road, of course, but we try to avoid overlap – it’s hard enough with those of us on staff who review cars all being scattered across the country and pulling from different press fleets. If you want to pitch a Golf R, for example, but we just covered it, you may want to give it a couple months.
Keep it Short: 800-1,500 words is the sweet spot. Anything much longer than that, and we’re going to chop, chop, chop. No novels, please.
Know Your Audience: If you read the site regularly, you know what cars are more “TTAC” in character. We’re more inclined to run a reader review of, say, a Taurus SHO than of a Corolla. Regular readers also know exotics don’t get a lot of love here. Your 911 GT3 is nice, I am sure, but the rest of the B & B may not care.
Be Coherent: We’re not expecting Shakespeare, but if you require too much editing, your review won’t run. Steph and I and the others have too much to do to spend hours editing a reader review to make it coherent. Use spellcheck, show a basic understanding of grammar and the written form of the English language (if you’re not a native speaker, we’ll take that into account), and be understanding if we make changes.
Fun Stories Are a Plus: If you have an interesting story that ties in, that helps.
Take Good Photos: We’re not adverse to using press shots, but if you have good or, better yet, great photos (usually four to six, including one interior shot and one front ¾ shot), you stand a better chance of acceptance.
I hope the above guidelines are helpful, and again, mea culpa to any of you who haven’t gotten a reply on a submission. Carry on, ya merry band of TTAC’ers.
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