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Writing for SCIFI.radio

If you’ve made it to this page, you have at least a passing interest in writing for SCIFI.radio, or even becoming part of our regular writing staff. Here’s what you need to know.

The Basics

SCIFI.radio is not only a living archive of geek music from every sub-genre, our web site is an independent news source in the world of geekdom. While others are supported by podcasts or film companies, our site is the only one backed by a full time radio station. We try to hold ourselves to a high journalistic standard. Unlike some of the popular nerd news sites and podcasts out there, we do not traffic in rumor, nor do we publish single-sourced news items unless we have done the investigative reporting to back it up.

We’re looking for articles between 300 and 800 words in length. You can run longer than 800, but we can’t afford to pay you for more than the 800 words because of our funding situation – should we suddenly get a thousand Patreon backers, that could change.

Writing for SCIFI.radio

SCIFI.radio has a voracious appetite for content. If you’re a writer, or want to be one, think about sending us something. If you show promise, but you’re still a little rough around the edges, we’ll work with you to help make you a better writer. We have given many beginning writers their first sales, in both fiction and nonfiction.

Submitting Articles

SCIFI.radio has a voracious appetite for timely news articles about the geek world around us. Submitted articles must be factual and timely in nature or clearly marked  as editorials. We pay for articles, at the rate of 1¢ per word, with an 800 word cap (when our Patreon support gets up to our first funding goal, we will lift this cap). We pay only for first publication rights. Articles may be submitted via email at submissions@scifi.radio. Give us your PayPal address to get paid – we pay immediately on publication (see footnote 2 below).

Submitting Fiction

SCIFI.radio publishes short works of science fiction and fantasy, published first for our private audience of Patreon supporters, and then reprinted on the SCIFI.radio web site in our Fiction section. Some may be featured by being read on the air as well.

We pay for these at the rate of 1¢ per word. Stories should be between 1,000 and 4,000 words. We pay only for first publication rights. Works of fiction may be submitted via email at submissions@scifi.radio. Give us your PayPal address to get paid – we pay immediately on publication (see footnote 2 below).

Producing for SCIFI.radio

A good chunk of our programming comes from third party producers, and we’re always looking for new content.  

  • Show episodes must be delivered in MP3 format.
  • Talk shows should have a stream rate of 64kbps. Shows including music should have a stream rate of at least 96kbps, with a maximum of 128kbps.   Minimum broadcast standards must be observed, i.e., everyone speaking must be clearly audible, nobody should be overmodulated, and broadcasts must contain no profanity.
  • Program lengths as short as three minutes will be considered, and weekly shows are preferred to single, one-off productions unless the show is a substantial work.  
  • Producers must agree to allow SCIFI.radio to use their shows in accompaniment with on-air advertising.  Shows must mention the fact that they are appearing on SCIFI.radio within the first minute of the show’s audio track, and again during the end credits.
  • You can include your own advertising within your show.

Submit your ideas and production proposals to thepitch@scifi.radio.

Topics

We look for articles not only about breaking news events, but so-called “evergreen” articles about topics fan grrlz and fanboys love. Any geeky topic is fair game, though we do have a few topics that are nearer and dearer to us:

  • Books (yes, books!)
  • Movies
  • TV shows
  • Games
  • Comics
  • Conventions
  • Cosplay and costuming (there’s a difference)
  • Science & technology
  • Space exploration
  • Editorials about any of the above

There should be a synopsis or abstract of the article somewhere around 140 characters long. This is the log line or buzz line for the article to entice people to read on.

Article Style Guide

We like to use the inverted pyramid style for purely informational articles. If it’s hard news, the most important information goes at the top, followed by the next most important, and so forth on to the bottom. The reason is that if somebody has the attention span of a spastic gerbyl, they’ll still get the gist of a story even if they only read the first paragraph.

The titles of creative works are expressed in italics, not within quotes. We’re thinking of changing that to conform with the rest of the industry, but for now, that’s how we do it.

If information for your article comes from other web sites, you should attribute that article, preferably by providing a link. If the article you sourced got it from somewhere else in turn, follow the chain up to the original root stock article and link to that. Chances are good it will have lost something in translation anyway, and as a writer you want the best, most complete information you can get.

It should go without saying, but articles should not contain profanity. Likewise, if you are writing about a video that does, there should be a warning that the video contains profanity or adult themes and should not be played at work or when children are around.

If you have pictures for your article and you’re emailing your article to us, include them as attachments. Do not embed them in your word document.  Bigger images are better. We can take a big one and make it small, but going the other way usually looks pretty crappy.

We often write in a very informal, conversational style. This fluctuates considerably, depending on whether we’re reporting on hard news, or some sort of entertainment puff piece. If you are writing hard news, slanting it or inserting some kind of bias is a no-no, and the public will tag you on it.

Don’t use abbreviations of latin phrases. Write them out. We know this sounds pedantic. People abbreviations of latin phrases around without knowing what they stand for, or what they mean. If you’re going to use one, use it properly. For example, not Q.E.D, but quod erad demonstrandom; not etc., but et cetera.

Avoid using dashes if you can. Avoid using semicolons, because almost nobody uses them properly and frequently the two thoughts are best left as separate sentences anyway.

Get your apostrophes and contractions right.

Only proper nouns, the first word of a sentence, acronyms and the titles of creative works should be capitalized. Nothing else.

For the love of all that’s geeky, if you’re unsure of the spelling of something, look it up. Don’t just guess.

At the end of each article we post, we put -30- at the bottom, centered. It’s a journalism thing, and nobody knows for sure how it got started, but we like it.

How to Submit

Articles can be submitted by email to submissions (at) scifi.radio.  We’d prefer you ask us about your article first, and we will let you know if an article on that topic suits our current needs.

If submitting by email, do not embed the pictures directly an attached document. Instead, send them as attachments to the email. Don’t try to do your own article layout. We’ll just have to do it over anyway to suit our WordPress publishing format.

If you are writing from or about an MMO such as Second Life, Worlds Of Warcraft, Elite Dangerous, Star Trek Online, et cetera, please include your in-world avatar name when submitting articles,  or your pen name otherwise.

Authors of longer articles may be asked for a short 50-150 word biography for an “about the author” box at the end of the article when published.

 

Getting Paid

We pay immediately upon publication, and we mean immediately, usually within the hour. We do this via PayPal, so when you submit your article, you should also give us a valid PayPal address so that we can send you money. We pay a penny a word. Yes, we know that’s not much. The donations we get via our Patreon campaign dictate how much we can pay our writers, and right now, a penny a word is where we’re at.

 

Other Benefits of Writing for SCIFI.radio

If this caught your eye first, go back and reread the first section. Yes, unlike the vast vast majority of internet news sites, and geek and nerd sites in particular, we actually pay you to write. It’s not a lot. We pay a penny a word, which is substantially less than some pro zines pay, but you will get paid for what you write. This makes you a professional writer by definition, and that alone can be more valuable than the token payment you receive from us.

However, the definition of a professional zine, according to the rules of the Hugo Awards as of 2013, is as follows:

A Professional Publication is one which meets at least one of the following two criteria:

(1) it provided at least a quarter the income of any one person or,
(2) was owned or published by any entity which provided at least a quarter the income of any of its staff and/or owner.

That describes us accurately.

That means that when you sell us articles, you’re being paid by a professional publication, and that carries some weight when you want to take the experience you’ve gained writing for us and parlay it into something bigger or better.

It also means that – if you write more than four articles per year for us – that you will frequently qualify for press credentials at some of the larger media or comics conventions. If you have written four or more articles for us over a year’s time and you want to use that influence to apply for press credentials at an event, contact us at kryptonradio (at) scifi.radio and we’ll provide whatever corporate corroboration the event requests of us.

And That’s It!

If you like writing for us, we can make you a regular author and give you an Author’s account here on the web site, so you don’t have to send your articles in via email anymore. We have an award winning team of writers (no kidding on this, two of us are Top Writers on Quora.com) and it’s something wonderful to be a part of. We think so, anyway.

Good luck!

— Gene Turnbow, Station Manager and Editor in Chief, SCIFI.radio