Thanks for your interest in submitting a guest post to News from the Sea! Here are some guidelines to help you put together a great post that helps you shine and connect people with the ocean or coast, and/or marine science and technology. If you have any question at all, please get in touch. Note that these guidelines may change without notice.
Types of works accepted
As long as your work is in some related to the ocean or the coast, coastal communities, marine science, or technology, tells a good story, and is of good quality, there aren't really any limitations on what you can submit. For example, it could be a piece of science news, a well-researched opinion piece, an explainer, a story of personal experiences, a short story, a piece of poetry, some illustrations, a comic, a photo-essay, or an infographic.
I'd like to avoid advertorial-style pieces, but that doesn't mean you can't works related to an event you are holding or have held, or something you have created. The piece just needs to be a story rather than a sales pitch.
Any work that could be deemed libellous, defamatory, or violate any personal or property rights of any third party cannot be accepted. This is to protect you as well as me from potential lawsuits (scary stuff, but this can happen).
No ghostwritten stories please - unless the writers are given some credit (and thus no longer ghosts…). In this case you can use phrases such as “ideas by X and words by Y”.
Whether you are writing about science or a work of fiction, your work needs to be accessible to the wide audience Ocean Oculus’ News from the Sea attracts (which ranges from scientists to industry professionals to the person on the street who has never even seen the ocean!).
There is no word limit for your post, but ideally, it should be at least 500 words. At this time, pieces need to be submitted in English, and must be well written. This means good spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. It is best if you avoid acronyms and jargon, but if you do want to use some technical terms, make sure you define them. Oh and no plagiarism please.
If you are writing about science in any way or are using pieces of data in your work, you will need to include hyperlinks to your sources - which ideally should be primary literature (peer-reviewed papers or grey literature from reputable sources - Green Open Access archives are accepted). Even though your work is not going in a peer-reviewed publication, it needs to be accurate and backed by solid science. Peer-reviewed papers published in 'predatory journals' will not be accepted as sources. Even though the science itself may be sound, sadly none of us can guarantee they are of the same standard as papers that have gone through more rigorous publication processes.
If you are writing about an experience that involves other people and would like to change some of the identifying features (like people's names, places) please indicate that you have done this (this is just transparency for the readers).
Please include at least one image with your writing for the ‘image header’. See ‘Accepted Images’ below for what types of images are accepted.
The old saying a picture tells a thousand words is so true. Nevertheless, you will still need to submit some words with your image so people can understand what they are looking at. For example, depending on what you create, you might want to explain some of the background behind your piece - what inspired you, what is the story you are trying to tell? If you created something that involved some special technique you might want to tell us a little about that too.
If your image is in any way based on science or data (as typically happens with infographics), you will need to include links to your sources - which ideally should be primary literature (peer-reviewed papers or grey literature from reputable sources - Green Open Access archives are accepted). As with written pieces, papers from predatory journals cannot be used as sources.
Photos, videos, drawings, paintings, infographics and so forth make wonderful additions to your work - or can be work in their own right! Regardless of format, you need to make sure that you have permission to use those images with your pieces and can give full credit to the creator, otherwise you (and I) could find ourselves facing a copyright infringement case! Here are some guidelines for you to follow when sending your images:
If you have created the image yourself: This is nice and easy! Just let me know that you are the creator, and I'll attribute the work to you.
If someone gave you an image they created to use: You must have permission from the creator to use their work. Please specificity that they have given permission for the image to be used, and provide me with their name and preferably an email (in case I need to get hold of the creator). The work will be attributed to the creator.
If you found the image on the web: Only images under a Creative-Commons/public domain licence can be used. Please send me the link to the image so I can grab the appropriate atrribution.
Short Bio and Headshot
You've put in some hard work pulling your story together, so now it's time to celebrate you! Feel free to send a short bio (max 100 words) and a headshot and I'll make sure it's included with your story. Feel free to add any links to websites or social media.
Rights, liability, & compensation
So a little bit of legal-speak here. By sending me your work, you grant Samantha Andrews/Ocean Oculus the non-exclusive, worldwide right to publish your work and make it available in perpetuity online and in any other format Ocean Oculus uses or may use in the future.
Essentially what this means is that you are allowing me to publish your work, use it in multiple formats beyond the Ocean Oculus website (for example, on social media or in newsletters), but you, as the creator, own the work you have produced and are free to publish it somewhere else if you ever want to.
Whilst I review all guest contributions, ultimately you are responsible for the accuracy and validity of your contribution. Alongside your rights, you also retain liability over your work. All guest posts have a disclaimer added to them:
News from the Sea does not make any money. As such, sadly I cannot pay for contributions. By submitting your contribution, you accept that you will not receive financial compensation at the time of submission or any point in the future.
Submitting your post
Before you put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard) and create your masterpiece, I recommend you contact me first with a brief introduction on who you are, and what you would like to write about. That way we can both make sure your post is on topic, and deal with any questions you might have.
Once you submit your post, I’ll check it over for grammar, spelling, and clarity. If any corrections/changes are needed, I’ll send the post back to you for revision/approval of recommended changes before the post goes live.
Submissions are not guaranteed to be accepted for publication. If your post isn’t accepted, I’ll let you know (with a brief reason why). Most common reasons for rejection are
The post is not in any way ocean related
The post is a sales pitch
The post is poorly written
Frequency asked questions
Here are some of the most common questions I’ve been asked about guest contributions
Q: I've sent you my post! How quickly will you get back to me?
Normally you can expect to hear back to me by email within 3 weeks with an accept as is, suggested edits, or a rejection (though often it is faster than this). If your post is time-sensitive e.g. for an event, campaign, etc. that is coming in the very near future, let me know when you send contribution.
Q: If you think my suggestion for a guest post is a good idea, is it guaranteed to appear on your site?
A: No it's not. There are many reasons why you’re the contribution you finally submit may not be published here. The most common reasons for rejection are that it simply doesn't follow the guidelines or it is poorly written, or needs substantial editing/reformatting/information to bring it up to standard.
Q: If I give you money, will you guarantee my contribution is published?
A: I don't take payment for contributions. Sadly the site does not make any money, but I don't intend to monetise it in this way either.
Q: Can you pay me for a contribution?
A: I really wish I could but at the moment I have nothing to pay you with as the site doesn't make any money at all. I opened up News from the Sea to guest contributors in response to several requests to do so. After all, there are more stories, more science, more perspectives, more opinions that I could ever possibly share. I would love Ocean Oculus’ News from the Sea to become a platform for all those stories I can't tell as well as those I can, a place where different people from all sorts of different backgrounds and cultures can share what they know. By submitting your contribution, you accept that you will not receive financial compensation at the time of submission or any point in the future. I will also not charge you for your contributions (even if reviewing and editing contributions is essentially unpaid work for me - yes some sites do charge their guest contributors!).
Q: I'm having a hard time finding images. Can you help with this?
A: Sure! I wrote a short article about the importance of not stealing other people's images, and how to get images for your contributions legally and ethically.
Looking forward to seeing your work!
Last Update: February 14, 2019