Have you been sitting there, mumbling to yourself, “You know, I really do have too much free time on my hands.”
Doe the phrases “metaphor smashing” and “hyperbole burping” sound oddly sensual to you?
Has anyone ever said to you, “You are so much funnier — online.”
Have you ever considered utterly extinguishing your love for a hobby by over-thinking it nigh unto death, and then hanging all of those self-doubts in the sky so others may mock you through eternity?
Have you ever used ‘nigh’ in a sentence?
Okay, all that said, do you actually like to write?
Well, guess what? We are going to grow the site. We, as in, you and me. Said another way, that means (insert drum roll here) — I’m looking for more voices. And that means more of you getting published here. Yes, here. On Part-Time Audiophile.
Did I mention I pay reviewers?
Yes! It’s true. Okay, it’s not a lot, but it’s way more than some. The reason? I think it’s silly not to. “Content” is worth something — and quite frankly, you get what you pay for. So, I’m going to resurrect the time-honored tradition of actually rewarding good, hard work with material goods (i.e., cash), instead of polite applause, vague assurances about self-worth, or some off-hand comment about how lucky you are that I bothered to read, much less let others read, what you’ve spent time and effort on.
Anyway, you down so far?
Sweet — here’s what I’m looking for.
1. A sense of humor. Chuckle smugly all you like, but apparently there are a great many fun and entertaining folks out there. Not that you’d know it to read their writing — it’s like these charming people suddenly start channeling Plan 9 From Outer Space and forgot the MST3K talk-track. Now, you don’t have to be David Sedaris (though that’d be awesome), but you must be least be somewhat entertaining in the way that you write. Note that this is hard and also (somewhat bizarrely) rare … that’s why it’s first on the list. I mean, it’s not like it never happens, but too much we read has had all the life choked from it. Face it — a straight up, rapid-fire delivery of just-the-facts-ma’am is as common as dirt and about as exciting. Here’s the bottom line: I have to want to read, and better still, want to read more. I think humor is a valuable tool to that end. Not the only tool, but one I happen to prefer to see more of, rather than less. And since it’s my party, I’ll get all fussy-pants if I want to. So there.
2. A voice. To me, a good writer can be many different things. One-dimensional isn’t one of them. To me, a good writer not only has character, she is a character. Like him or loathe him (or both), no one will ever accuse Hunter Thompson of being boring. Boring is death. Be something. Have opinions. Be human — revel in your biases! And if you’re as mean and nasty as a bag of poisonous snakes, so much the better. That’s what an editor is for, people.
3. Respect. This is another hard one, perhaps especially so, given the prior two, but here goes. Folks, snark is cheap and easy, and yes, it can be entertaining, too … but it wears fast. In the end, it’s simply not enough to be smart, wicked, and funny. You absolutely must have some awareness of the world around you and your own perhaps oddly small place in it. The folks in this industry (or in any just about any industry dominated by art and ego) are just as fucked up, fragile — and interesting — as you are. Acknowledge their humanity, and yours. On a related point: you must be able to leave your axes and all their related sharpening bits somewhere other than your pages. You’re welcome to your grudges and your paranoia. I just don’t want to see any evidence of them — unless it serves the piece. Note the tension here with what I said about “voice”! Anyway, the Golden Rule always applies, but I have a lot more to say about all this in the About Me section — read it, and if you don’t think you can get behind the bit about Anton Ego, then this isn’t a fit.
4. Skill. A command of the language is great. Familiarity with grammar is a plus. A deep, sensuous relationship with spell-check is a must. But there is this place that many (new and old) writers go, one that is filled with sunshine and glorious light and everything there is bright and new and filled with exclamation marks. These people need to be bottled — and then set adrift. Look, enthusiasm is great. Love it, want to see it, feel it, and generally bathe in it. But hyperbole … well, let’s call it “one tool among many” — but for me, it’s one best left in the box. Phrases like “night and day” are not only misleading, they’re almost always blatantly untrue. And not to put too fine a point on it, but really, aren’t there enough folks actively using a random-cliche-generator in their writing?
And that’s really it. You don’t have to be an expert on any given topic. Helps, but certainly isn’t required. A lot of that technical stuff gets learned along the way — and that learning makes good reading. You do have to love talking to people, playing with things, and listening. After that, it’s all about sitting down in front of your computer and bleeding so all the vampires can have their sip.
So — is this the kind of piñata that makes you reach for that Louisville Slugger you keep by the front door?
Excellent! You’re weird!
Next steps will be to reach out. Appropriate channels are on the About Me page and/or Facebook.
What I’m going to want to see is a writing sample (preferably more than one) and a personal statement of some kind (who the hell are you?) that includes your audio interests and stuff you’d like to write about.
Which reminds me — about the stuff I want to add to the site….
I’m pretty open to topics, but I’m looking for folks to write about music, analog and/or digital as well as the industry and the folks in it, including the makers, the sellers, and the consumers. What I’d like to read about is the stuff I’d, personally, want to see and hear and do naughty things with. What’s that? Well … The new. The different. The would-be Davids. The works of art or passion or both. The stuff that doesn’t always or regularly see the light of day, but should. You know. Cool shit.
Got something you’d like to pitch? That statement would be a good time to do it.
General expectations are pretty minimal — if you want to write something monthly, that’s great. We can work out a schedule. Want to do whatever, whenever? That works too.
The only restriction I can see fall under the normal “conflict of interest” stuff. Lemme know if you have questions about the specifics there.
And that’s it. Good luck.