blogging for Overland

For some years now, Overland has supplemented its online content with a lively group blog. But, with the editorial staff based in Melbourne, the blog lacks a national focus. And that’s what we want to change.

We want to hear about what’s happening for writers and activists around the country: not just in the big cities but everywhere. Overland bloggers can write about anything, from the book they read last night to their thoughts on the situation in Afghanistan. But we’re particularly keen to find online correspondents who will let us (and everyone else) know about writing and politics in their community. We want reports about book launches, festivals, demonstrations, poetry slams and protests: we want your take on what’s happening where you are, as well as your thoughts on the world.

We can’t pay bloggers. But we can offer guaranteed exposure for your writing on a high-traffic site of a prestigious journal. You’ll make connections with other writers; you’ll get your words out there; you’ll build something of a profile.

If that sounds appealing, there’s a few things you should know.

We’re looking for people willing to blog at least once a week. And we want them to be broadly sympathetic to the Overland project. If you don’t know what that means, have a look at the website and check out some past issues.

If you’d like to be involved, you need to send the following to overland@vu.edu.au (in an email with ‘Overland blog application’ in the subject)

  • two or three short (300 words or so) samples of your writing, or links to the same
  • a brief CV (or, at least, some information about yourself)
  • a statement about your particular interests (eg, poetry, anti-war activism, short fiction, etc)
  • suggestions for your first posts.

Applications close at the end of February. Shortly thereafter, we’ll be in touch with the best applicants to explain in more detail how the blog works. We anticipate relaunching the expanded blog by mid-March.

[UPDATE]

This initiative – along with a similar scheme by Radio National’s Book Show – generated a lively discussion about the propriety of employing unpaid labour and the relationship between blogging and the traditional outputs of a literary journal.

After much agonising, we have taken on board some of the points that emerged from that debate.

We do not have a budget to pay bloggers. There’s nothing that we can do about that: Overland has always relied on volunteer labour and, as a not-for-profit organisation, will continue to do so.

Given, however, that we’re asking people to blog without payment, we accept that it’s not reasonable to insist on participants posting once a week. We will be content if bloggers send us material at their own pace, whether that’s weekly, monthly or simply whenever they feel they have something to say.

Furthermore, in response to the arguments about the legitimacy of blogging as a genre in its own right, we want to integrate the blog more closely into the Overland project. That means we will be devoting some editorial time to blog posts, in the same way as we would to other content. Specifically, we’ll be asking bloggers to email their posts to a web editor, who will do a light copy edit and impose Overland house style.

The web editor will also be responsible for liasing with bloggers, providing feedback, advice and other support.