Ask a DZone Editor: How Do I Get Published on DZone?
Here's the first entry in our shiny new Writers' Zone series called ''Ask a DZone Editor.'' Learn what we're looking for in a great DZone contributor.
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Welcome to our new monthly Writers' Zone series, "Ask a DZone Editor." Need writing advice or input on how DZone works? Let us know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with "Ask a DZone Editor" in the subject line, and we might feature your question in a future column. We're here to help!
"How do I get published on DZone?" It's such a common question, and for good reason. We do have a tutorial that walks through the submission process, and our article guidelines provide an overview of what is and isn't acceptable. But there are no hard and fast rules as to what passes our moderation process and what doesn't. So here's a look inside our heads as we read through each submission.
Our favorite articles can be easily read and appreciated by people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds (since our readers live all over the globe). They're concise, friendly, and helpful. When we dig into the articles submitted to moderation, or sift though our RSS feed of MVB blogs, we're basically looking for good writing.
And what do we consider "good writing?" I'm so happy you asked! Good writing can be difficult to define, but I have a few tips and tricks I'd like to share with our dev friends. Consider these cheat codes to make the DZone editorial team sit up straight in our chairs and say "Wow, can you believe how great this contributor is?"
We Aren't Looking for Documentation
We love and appreciate documentation — we need it to figure out how stuff works. To be honest, though, it gets boring to read. We're looking for articles that show off your personality and style, while also telling the DZone audience something valuable. If you're creating a tutorial, check out this fantastic article by Brian Rinaldi on how to write for a tech audience. He includes a few questions to ask yourself as you write. Regardless of how you respond to these questions, your answers will help your audience enjoy reading your tutorial.
Explain why you are trying to do something, not just what you are trying to do and how you are doing it. What made you get interested in doing this? Did you have struggles along the way?
— Brian Rinaldi, Tips for Writing for a Tech Audience
If you're writing something other than a tutorial — for example, an article outlining a piece of research, a presentation, or your opinions on recent tech news — it's just as important to have a personality and a unique voice. But there's a difference between having an interesting point of view (which we like to see!) and pure-and-simple advertising (which we don't!).
No Advertising (Please!)
DZone will not advertise your product or service for free, so please don't submit an article where you talk about how great it is without mentioning any drawbacks. This is the quickest way to be 100% sure we'll delete your article. Everyone has their own preferences and biases, and we love to read articles with a strong point of view, but please take your hard-sell marketing tactics elsewhere.
What's the difference between marketing and simply being a fan of a product? Traditional marketing tends not to acknowledge its own biases. If you're a fan, though, you know that not everyone feels the same way you do. We often tell contributors that if they can't describe why someone would make the opposing argument, it doesn't belong on DZone.
Have an Open-Source Mentality
We want to help you build your reputation as a developer! Every article submitted to DZone is read by a real human being. If we see potential in your article, but there's something missing, we'll reach out to work with you on improving it. We like working with people who respond well to feedback, and who can incorporate constructive criticism into their writing. Don't argue with us about whether your article meets our article submission guidelines. It's not a good look.
The best contributors also respond to comments on their article once it's published. DZone is a community of developers and tech professionals sharing knowledge with one another. Your readers will appreciate that you considered their thoughts and took the time to address them thoughtfully. When you respond to comments, you're also building connections with people in your field.
If you've ever contributed to an open-source project, this probably all sounds familiar to you. Sometimes you need to change direction based on feedback you get from a peer review. It's important to be patient — every part of the process takes time. My awesome colleague Mike Gates, a senior content coordinator here at DZone, said today that our best contributors seem to have an "open-source mentality." They write frequently. They learn from their failures and they don't hold back from sharing this new information with others. They're accepting of those who are newer or less experienced, and they value constructive criticism. The parallels between DZone's workflow and open-source communities go on and on and on. And most of all, remember...
We're Rooting for You!
We read so many subpar articles every day, and we're always waiting for that one amazing contributor to sweep us off our feet. We want to see you succeed. We'd love it if every article submitted was a perfectly written, compelling, and beautiful dream come true. Keep all these tips in mind as you write, and you'll have an advantage as your article goes through the moderation process. Good luck, and stay tuned for a new "Ask a DZone Editor" column next month!
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.