One of the greatest things about working with Rosie Sherry, Nathan Luther and our proof readers (Stephen Hill, Thomas Ponnett and Joel Montvelisky) on The Testing Planet is the laid back and relaxed approach we all have to producing the publication. It’s one of the most satisfying creative journeys I think I’ve ever embarked on and I’m hoping we can keep this whole process as fun as possible.
The fact that we enjoy what we are doing should hopefully shine through in the final product. And this fun factor is something we hope our contributors experience too. We want you to enjoy writing about testing.
This laid back approach by us manifests itself in our approach to article submissions which often takes many people by surprise and bewilders others.
It seems we do thing differently to other publishers, rightly or wrongly. It seems to be working fine for us so I guess we will keep on doing it. During the submission process I receive lots of questions about word count, article size, topics, deadlines and whether or not we can provide some cool images. This is all good. I love helping people to get a focus on their writing and to help bring this whole thing together but I thought it might be useful to give a little more insight in to how we put together The Testing Planet.
So here goes:
Question : How many words should the article be?
Answer : How many words does the article need to be?
Ok, so I’m answering a question with a question but our philosophy is that the article needs to be the length it needs to be. If I set a constraint of 500 words your article will often become constrained. If you need it to be 800 words to be “done” then so be it. If you can keep the audience entertained, engaged and intrigued through a monster 2000 word article, then so be it. If your little 100 word poem or ditty is excellent, so be it.
Sure, there will be some editing and fine tuning and chopping and moving, but bloating it out or cutting it down to meet a word count, in our mind, is insane. We are in the world of digital publishing so let’s make use of the technology and freedom it offers with respect to word counts.
Q : What shall I write about?
A : Whatever floats your boat
I can suggest some topics. In fact, anyone can. Take a look around the STC forum for inspiration, but really we want you to suggest the ideas to us. We are open to a huge array of topics. We like balanced views but we also love opinions about controversial subjects. We will always try to be balanced in our publishing but above all, the articles must be fun and interesting.
We basically want topics which make you feel passionate about testing. If you don’t feel passionately about a topic in testing this will show through in your writing, and we probably won’t accept it. We want passion, intrigue, humour, information, opinions, balanced views and a writing tone that suggest informality.
Q : Does it have to be an article?
A : Absolutely not.
Take a look through both editions of the magazine and you will see that we are active promoters of cartoons, poems and stories. Anything goes in terms of format.
Q : Do you have any rules?
A : Yes.
Check out some basics here : http://www.thetestingplanet.com/submit-content/
Q : Do you have a defined house style I need to stick to?
A : Not really.
Take a read through the last two copies and you will clearly see that there is no “one” style. Each tester is different so it’s to be expected that each article they produce is different. We want the real you to shine in your article not the writing style of the editor.
Q : My writing abilities may not be that good but I have a cracking idea and I really want to write an article – can you help?
A : Absolutely.
Although The Testing Planet is currently done voluntarily we do have some excellent and incredibly talented people working hard behind the scenes. There is no doubt these people would be able to help you write your article. We can help with ideas generation and fine tuning but can also help with proofing and aiding you to write your article. We will not, however, write your article for you.
Q : What is the deadline
A : The deadline will change per edition, check here for latest dates : http://www.thetestingplanet.com/submit-content/
Q : Is it easy to create the Testing Planet?
A : No, no, no, no
When we started doing the magazine we never thought it would be easy but in reality it takes about 100 times longer than we thought it would. There is a lot of effort that goes in to creating The Testing Planet. Even now, when I look at the printed copy of The Testing Planet I see an exceptional end product. One that we are all massively proud of. But what many people don’t see is the process of creating it. It might often appear, even to me, that The Testing Planet springs up out of no-where. An idea that just gets done.
But in reality, it’s a lot of hard work and I’d like to thank all of the people who have created the content. I also know exactly how hard it is to write content, it’s a big commitment. A big thanks to Rosie and Nathan for putting it all together, making it look awesome, sorting out the distribution process and getting all of the process sewn together. A big shout out to our proof readers; Thomas Ponnet, Stephen Hill and Joel Montvelisky. And a big thank you to the Newspaper Club for the excellent printed copies.
So there you have it. A bit more of an insight in to how it’s made.