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Thread: About.com?

  1. #3501
    little by little moth's Avatar
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    Thanks broken, that's really helpful and very good to know. Sorry you didn't get the position though. Even though you were ready for the possibility, it must have stung at least some.

    I've applied three times (or is it four? I'm starting to lose count ) and have never made it to prep, yet hope springs eternal -- I keep checking the available topics. Maybe someday it'll work out to a right-topic-right-time match for me, and I'll still keep applying as long as I'm still interested in working for them...but I'm not holding my breath either.
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    Maybe I'm not there, but I'm still trying

    .................................................. ..........-- Dexter Holland


  2. #3502
    Sorry to hear you didn't get the position, broken_seq. I've been a guide twice and in between I have applied for a topic I really wanted and didn't get it after going through prep and applied for another topic and didn't even get into prep. Keep applying for topics you are interested in -- it's worth it.

    For others, the actual requirements for prep could change from topic to topic and over time. I believe my requirement was 4 articles over two weeks plus 2-3 blog posts.

    On the bright side, the 'new' prep is much easier than the old prep. And if you don't make it into the guide position, you can always post your stuff on another site.
    Read all about the iPad.

  3. #3503
    Onlyifyouwanttowillyoufin daway-Enya inkkognito's Avatar
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    It sounds like prep has changed a bit since I went through it in terms of the number of articles and blog posts, although I can't remember for sure how many I had to do. Broken_seq, I'm sorry you didn't get chosen, but hopefully another suitable topic will come up. I remember how nerve-wracking it was waiting for that final decision, and it was also scary not to know who or how many people were going through the exact same thing that I was.

  4. #3504
    little by little moth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herdon View Post
    On the bright side, the 'new' prep is much easier than the old prep.
    I was thinking that too. I never went through the old prep, but I remember reading others' accounts of it here. Did not sound fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by inkkognito View Post
    it was also scary not to know who or how many people were going through the exact same thing that I was.
    I remember reading this too, from others here. Sigh, I miss the days this thread was hopping with activity.
    .
    There's more to l
    iving than only surviving
    Maybe I'm not there, but I'm still trying

    .................................................. ..........-- Dexter Holland


  5. #3505
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin broken_seq's Avatar
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    Thanks all...yeah, even though I was prepared for a rejection, it did sting a little bit. I think it kinda' comes down to, especially with writing, you get offered these "opportunities," but then when they never seem to work out, you just get...I don't know...down.

    But, alas, what is meant to be will work out in time, I suppose.

    All of that aside, yeah, the process wasn't too intense or insane, and the workload wasn't that bad; however, there is a LOT of info to read through on how they want things done.

    "The Lounge" is basically the manual for About.com, if you will. It details essentially every aspect of what they're looking for in long-form content, blog posts, etc. It's also the manual for how to use their publishing tools...and again, it's a LOT of information.

    But, if I had any advice for anyone going through it, it would simply be to relax, focus on writing good stuff and know your topic. I think part of my issue was that, while I was certainly interested in the topic, and while I do have quite a bit of experience with the topic, I've never worked in the industry, nor have I received a formal education in it. So, no matter how good my writing was, if someone else was vying for the position who had experience AND could write well...well there you go.

  6. #3506
    Onlyifyouwanttowillyoufin daway-Enya inkkognito's Avatar
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    It's a really strange feeling. I don't like wishing anything negative to other people, but I of course wanted to be the one chosen. It was to sad to know that I was chosen, others (who were likely thinking the same thing) had to be disappointed.

  7. #3507
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin broken_seq's Avatar
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    Actually, I thought quite a bit about that too. I also chalk it up to God's way of saying that the other person needed the job more than I did...in which case, I'm glad they got it.

    Kind of reminds you to think about other aspects of life...times when you got something and someone else didn't...even something as simple as getting the last cheeseburger at McDonalds (ok, well, not really like that and all.)
    yeah, yeah, yeah...

  8. #3508
    Onlyifyouwanttowillyoufin daway-Enya inkkognito's Avatar
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    That's a great way to look at it! And as it turned out, I needed the gig more than I knew, since we took a big financial hit a few months later. That, plus the drying up of DMS, would have left me in a bad position if I didn't get About.com and another good gig.

    Hopefully the people who were in prep with me will get their own victories just at the right time, too.

  9. #3509
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin broken_seq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inkkognito View Post
    Hopefully the people who were in prep with me will get their own victories just at the right time, too.
    It tends to work out that way.
    yeah, yeah, yeah...

  10. #3510
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin sandyc27's Avatar
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    Broken_seq, that's so sad you didn't get the gig after prep! But very thoughtful of you to share with us your process. As a newbie to about.com, only 2nd application I put in over the last 3 years, it's really nice to see writers support each other.
    Comparing my notes to the posts from this seemingly endless thread, looks like prep got less intensive because there is less writing required? Am I right? Here I am working on my categories nearly everyday~ did you need to do categories? Good that it's less intense, but the few pieces they request will now be heavily "graded"?
    Interesting how you refer to experience in the industry; I can see where that would hold weight in their final decision as well as your personal interest in the topic.
    Again thanks for sharing!

  11. #3511
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin broken_seq's Avatar
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    No problem...hope I can help (in some small way) anyone else seeking info...

    As far as categories...I forgot to mention...I would have been taking over for someone else, so the categories were already filled in. The instructions said that if that was the situation, just leave them for now...

    But, I would imagine having to do that part would add quite a bit of extra work...kudos to you.

    Also, I've lurked on AW for quite a while, just hitting it up here and there, and when I got into prep, I found this thread...I didn't want to comment until I knew one way or the other (just in case prying eyes were watching.) But, anyway, yes, I agree that writers should support each other more often, and I'm glad everyone here seems to do just that. My thanks to each of you.
    yeah, yeah, yeah...

  12. #3512
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin sandyc27's Avatar
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    Broker_seq: Oh wow, I see. For my aspired topic is the same thing where the categories are there, and I see why they chose the previous guide in the first place. But I also do see where things can be changed, improved, added, etc with the topic. It also helps when you experience your topic in everyday life as a cultural thing, by family or chosen family. I have personal and professional experience, so that's a plus. I'm obsessive about clean writing, but will admit coming from a mixed cultural background, my grammar could be better than it is. Where I am concerned I've never written for the web, and certainly have no clue about a blog (wondering if I should start one, just for practice, maybe even use as a link if I were to get the gig, like the previous guide used her polished blog as a link). But I do know my topic well because I've been doing it for years, and am always eager to learn more about it, however painful to my ego. Writing about it and getting paid for it would be like I was getting away with something.
    Everyone in previous posts, guides and "almost" guides, have offered a wealth of information here. But I have to admit this is the longest I've waited for any gig/job with hope.
    Any suggestions on getting my feet wet with a blog will be appreciated.Now I am wondering if it is wise to just do the articles that are requested with the new way of prep, or write more than is mentioned? ~ ~
    Last edited by sandyc27; 02-17-2012 at 07:18 AM. Reason: Added to post~

  13. #3513
    little by little moth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broken_seq View Post
    I also chalk it up to God's way of saying that the other person needed the job more than I did...in which case, I'm glad they got it.
    I agree with ink -- what a wonderful way to look at it!

    I've had the same issue of 'plenty of knowledge and personal experience but no degrees or professional/industry credits' with each of my apps. Everything I have degrees and job experience in never seem to be up for grabs.

    One other thing I've been meaning to ask anyone who's a current About writer -- is it still true you're required to use your real name if you get the gig? I'd much prefer (safety reasons, long story) to use a pseudonym, and with each of my rejections I remember being a smidge relieved, that I wouldn't have to face that hurdle just yet. (Sandy, it was your question about blogs that reminded me of this...have you seen the blogging subforum here? I don't spend much time there, and I don't know much about current blogging myself, but I bet there's tips and good info in it. ) I know that I'd have to give About my accurate name/SSN info for payment and tax purposes but I sometimes wonder if their no-pen-name policy is still in place and/or still as rigid (the only one I know of that doesn't have his real name listed is the Alcoholics Anonymous Guide).
    .
    There's more to l
    iving than only surviving
    Maybe I'm not there, but I'm still trying

    .................................................. ..........-- Dexter Holland


  14. #3514
    Onlyifyouwanttowillyoufin daway-Enya inkkognito's Avatar
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    I don't know about the real name requirement, but for categories if you get a new topic, they will help you out with those. The person who was my mentor during prep have me suggested categories, which helped a lot. I didn't have to come up with them from scratch.

  15. #3515
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin sandyc27's Avatar
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    Moth: I didn't realize there's a blogging subforum here, thanks! Was going to start at about.com, lol! And my virtual assistant support group (yes, I am a certified VA, but blogging was not one of the things on the menu) has some resources, but I always like to ask around with the same question.
    Inkkognito: Ok, here I am coming up categories from scratch! Well, its probably something I could use later that will trigger ideas for articles and blog posts.

  16. #3516
    Onlyifyouwanttowillyoufin daway-Enya inkkognito's Avatar
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    They might not always give you category suggestions, and even when they do, they're open to your own suggestions, so it's definitely not wasted work. I stuck with the suggestions because my topic is straightforward and it made sense to break it down by different animals/types of pets.

  17. #3517
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin sandyc27's Avatar
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    Inkkognito: ok thanks!

  18. #3518
    Onlyifyouwanttowillyoufin daway-Enya inkkognito's Avatar
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    Here are the current "hot topics" for About.com for which they're seeking Guides:

    Style—Swimwear Industry & Trade—Pharmacy Cities & Towns—Sacramento Home & Garden—Mobile Homes Food—Australian & New Zealand Food About en Español – Crédito [Credit], El e-mail [email] and Póker y cartas [Poker and cards]

  19. #3519
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin sandyc27's Avatar
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    Thank you Inkkognito for keeping us in the loop of available hot topics (none of which I am qualified for ~ even though I am Hispanic and can speak some Spanish, writing in proper Spanish is a whole other ballgame!)

  20. #3520
    Onlyifyouwanttowillyoufin daway-Enya inkkognito's Avatar
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    They give us a list pretty regularly, so I'll keep posting them here whenever I get the info. I was very blessed to get into About.com when I did so I'm happy to try to return the favor by helping others do the same.

  21. #3521
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin sandyc27's Avatar
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    I don't know who to ask, but the entire section my topic was under is gone today. I believe it was under " Parenting & Family". Is there a way to check if the topics there are in prep already and I can let go of hoping to be called, or that since my specific topic was not pulled but all 3 maybe means something different other than prep? Now I'm nervous and not making sense...
    Here is the response to status check:
    Thank you for applying to be a Guide with About.com. As requested, here is the current status of your applications:
    We have not had a chance to review your application. We review applications and work with potential candidates in small groups, so it may take several months before we're able to review your submission.

    I remember Herdon mentioning that if it says nothing about prep, then prep has not started. But on the website, it says if the topic is no longer available, then a candidate has been chosen. But for all 3 topics at the same time?
    Last edited by sandyc27; 03-05-2012 at 02:24 AM. Reason: Correcting section name and adding to post

  22. #3522
    Onlyifyouwanttowillyoufin daway-Enya inkkognito's Avatar
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    All of the topics disappearing sounds strange. When I became a Guide, my topic didn't disappear from the list until I went live, or maybe even a bit afterwards.

    Here are the current hot topics for which they're actively seeking Guides:

    Industry & Trade: Lobby . Finance: Retirement Planning . Style: Kids' Fashion . Sports: BMX . Home & Garden: Rugs and Carpets

  23. #3523
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin sandyc27's Avatar
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    Inkkognito,
    First, as always thanks for sharing the list. I did see one I would be qualified for, but not as much as the topic I have been waiting on since September.
    It gives me a bit of relief that you find this strange as well, pulling 3 topics under a main header from the list. Now 2, including my topic still have a site up, one other is completely gone, unless I've completely missed something on the outside looking in. So I don't know if they are doing away with all 3 topics, pulling the topics because they have more than enough applicants to choose from, or some other plan.
    Going to apply for another topic in the meantime, but have not fully given up on this yet. Just checked my status today for the heck of it, says the same thing. Hmmm...my hands are tied, there is really no way I can personally find out, other than sending an email to the editor. Focusing on being patient...

  24. #3524
    figuring it all out MrAlex'sMommy's Avatar
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    Ha. I've been waiting for six years for one of those topics you just posted, Barb. Six very long years of checking on the former Guide and hoping to spot the topic in "the list"...it must have just come up in the last two weeks. This is THE topic, and if it doesn't work out this time, I think I'll take it as a sign that About and I weren't meant to be.

    I wonder how they decide which topics are in demand. It's interesting that none of the topics you posted on 2/24 are repeated in the new list. I wonder if they rushed the others into prep that quickly.

    As a funny aside...I obviously rushed my app off for a new topic, even though I have a Topic Guide app out as well (same general section, different subject). But when I use the application check tool, it only lists the app I sent today -- twice. Maybe I'll take it as some sort of good omen.

    I hope your situation works out, Sandy. I know how frustrating it is. For the first time ever, I'm actually busy enough not to think about my application more than maybe once a week. It has made all the difference in the world to my sanity. I hope you hear something soon!


  25. #3525
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin sandyc27's Avatar
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    Mr. Alex's Mommy,
    Thanks for your sincere thoughts! I hope to find out very soon, but hope is the key word there. This is the topic for me, waited about 2-3 years (can't remember) when I saw it pop up again on the list and I immediately applied. I have professional and personal experience, and get excited on the smallest of things about this topic, when of course, my hubby laughs because he could care less. (Then again, he thinks there's only 2 shades of each color, light and dark, unless it has to do with electronics!) I would like to know just what happened here with my topic, what did I miss?
    I hope you get into prep for your topic you've waited so long for...hopefully it's very sweet this time around!

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