Answering some recent questions

For some reason, the following three questions have been posed to me several times recently. Must be something in the water. So, rather than write the same email over and over, I figured I’d answer this way.

1. Do you accept unsolicited guest posts at TIE?

Yes, but not from everyone, and not all the time. Other TIE bloggers can set their own criteria. These are mine: Because guest posts require some editorial management that I don’t want to do a lot of, I want guest posts to be rare. And, if you’ve read TIE for a while, you know they are. I think we’ve had fewer than 10 in almost three years. My other criterion is that I only take unsolicited guest posts from people with whom I’ve worked on one of the four “Ps” recently (like, in the last few years): proposals, projects, publications, or presentations. Working with someone fosters trust and understanding. That matters. It gives me some confidence I will get something I will want to post. You see, if I give someone the go ahead for a guest post, I like to accept it. I don’t want to tell the person “no thanks” later. So, I really have to know them well to be confident that’s going to happen.

2. Who is TIE’s target audience?

Others posting at TIE may have different audiences than I do. I mostly write for these three: (1) myself, (2) my colleagues, (3) journalists. A lot of my posts are for me. This blog serves a notebook function, or as an extension of my long term memory. That’s why some posts are not that well developed. It’s a blog. That’s OK. To the extent I have time and I’m motivated, I try harder to make my writing more accessible to others. I’d say that happens the majority of the time, but certainly not all the time. I don’t always signal explicitly which audience I’m targeting. That’s because I don’t necessarily think about it. But sometimes I do warn readers of particularly technical content. If a post doesn’t seem accessible to you, just skip it.

3. Should I send you my paper in advance of publication?

Yes! Just tell me the embargo date. I will respect it. A little secret: whenever someone sends me their paper under embargo, I type the embargo date at the top of the file or in the file name. If I know I’m going to blog on it (no guarantee of that, naturally), I write the embargo date at the top of my draft post. And, of course, I don’t schedule that post until after the embargo date/time. Even then, I leave it in draft form until I see the paper is online. I only pull the trigger when I know the paper is out in public. I tell you all this to reassure you that I take an embargo seriously. I’m not going to blow it. (If it makes you feel better,  you can also put the embargo date/time in the file you send me, in 75 point font, bold, highlighted, italicized, and underlined.)

Oh, one more thing. Do me a small favor and if you send me your paper in advance, send it as a PDF, not a Word doc. Naturally, I can read either, but PDFs work better with my iPad annotation software. Yes, I can PDF your Word document, but if you save me the step, I appreciate it.


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