A few weeks ago-- actually, over a month ago-- I had mentioned the possibility of accepting user-based submissions for news and other features here on The Mega Man Network. Today, I'm ready to share with you what I have managed to put together in order to make it happen.
I'm not going to lie to you; this entire prospect has me a little bit nervous, as I'm not immediately aware of anything like this that's been done before, and I'm worried I'll be leaving out some critical technicality or piece of information that's going to blow up. Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best, though.
The simple idea is that, since we are by and large too busy these days to handle everything Mega Man and Mighty No. 9-related by ourselves, we're enlisting help from the community to pitch in with news articles. Big stuff? Game announcements, new Mighty No. 9 screens, previews of the newest Mega Man comic? We can usually handle that.
But there's so much else going on as well, a lot of things with the fan community, or other things which might just otherwise slip through the cracks. Fan games, a cool piece of music, maybe someone auctioning off a cool custom Mega Man figure; while at a corporate level, Mega Man has cooled off quite a bit and Mighty No. 9 is still deep in development, the community is still rather bustling with activity. That's where we need help.
Additionally, perhaps you have a more feature-esque piece you'd like to contribute: Some sort of review, editorial, or other analysis. This will allow you to do that as well, but note that we don't want anyone encroaching on territory already staked; for example, Erico handles the month-by-month reviews of Archie's Mega Man comic book in "The Blue Ink". That doesn't mean you can't write about the comic, but you'll need to bring something else to the table; review of a graphic novel release, for instance, or maybe an in-depth analysis of what drives the Emerald Spears. Maybe you'd like to go on an Easter Egg hunt through the background art and share with readers?
As a side-note: We're still not looking at continuing or handing off "A Critical Look at" at this time (not that it's really ours to do so). If you'd like to look at, say, the Mega Man X series in a similar light under a different name, though, that could be done.
Hopefully that's enough exposition here. So, how do you set about contributing? Simple!
Everything should be rather self-explanatory, as this form provides you room to include a headline, author name, a body of text, links to necessary/pertinent images and/or video, a spot to plug your own sites/projects, and of course, your source! Regarding images, if you can't provide links, you can send them attached to an e-mail to the address listed below.
A few disclaimers/tips:
- We are not guaranteed to use your work. We welcome all submissions related to the site's general theme, but are under no obligation to run everything sent to us. This especially pertains to poorly or sloppily written submissions that are too much work to try to salvage. Or duplicate submissions, as we don't need two of the same story here; we'll probably choose whichever one looks best if it comes to that.
- If we use it, it's ours. It's yours, too, but for at least the first week, we'd like to have some exclusivity to it here. Primarily, this is just a way of saying "we're not hunting through the archives to remove something that's been posted. We might make exceptions, but this is just to save headaches.
- We reserve the right to edit as necessary. I'm the one who will be doing this, and I'm reserving the right to clean up or otherwise do what is necessary to maintain some semblance of professional decorum here. Ideally, this only extends to typos, errors, and redundancies. I do it for Erico, I do it for James, and I'll do it for you.
- Keep it clean! Mega Man is an all-ages franchise, and that's the kind of site we try to run here. Cursing is allowed, but no worse than you might hear in the games themselves ("Damn!"). Same goes for making vulgar references and other such things.
- Keep your opinion out of the news. Naturally, editorials and features are another matter, but for news? We generally prefer to keep things to the facts and let fans form their own opinions, though if people are being particularly vocal ("fans upset over Mega Man Legends 3 cancellation", "severe backlash over Rockman Xover reveal"), you can make note of that. Otherwise, leave your opinion for the comments section, please.
- Provide your best work. As noted, if it would have been less trouble to write the thing myself than to correct all the mistakes, it probably won't be used. That said, having something nice up here can be a good reference if you're interested in pursuing further writing jobs (it didn't hurt for me).
- Images are a must. Mainly for thumbnails when posting across social media and our own front page. Just make sure they're at least 100px tall.
- You're not getting paid for this. Harsh reality, I know. This site is a labor of love, and just the same, it's expected that contributions will be, too. If we could afford to pay someone to write for us, that's probably what we'd have done first.
I think that's basically it. I know it may seem sort of rigid, but please keep in mind that I'm doing this by myself, and it's because I don't have the time to apply to this that I used to, so cooperation is greatly appreciated. Otherwise, it kind of defeats the entire purpose.
Above all else: If you're not sure about something? Then by all means, ask! Not sure if certain content is appropriate? Ask! Not sure if someone else has already submitted something similar? Ask! Just drop us a line at the.mega.man.network (at) gmail.com, and I will personally get back to you as soon as possible (sometimes it might be a day or more with some exceptions, but it usually won't be too long).
As for more general questions about the above, you can (as always) leave comments below, and I'll respond as soon as I can (and perhaps update this post accordingly).
Update: I've temporarily (hopefully) turned off submissions for the time being because apparently, receiving more than one just smushes everything together into one big pile of multisubmission. So I need to straighten that carp out before reopening it. Stay tuned, going to try to figure something out this weekend.
Update 2: And I think we have things figured out! Submit away!