Updated on 2 March
A big thank you for expressing your interest in writing for The Xylom™. We’re sure this is going to be an immensely rewarding experience for all of us.
However, to ensure our smooth sailing, your cooperation of the guidelines below is greatly appreciated. With that in mind, let’s begin!
First Things First
Our founder and editor Alex Ip studies in Atlanta, GA (GMT- 5). Since we are a team of one, we would appreciate your patience. Alex will reply to you within 7 days. (Usually, he responds in one.)
Applying to become a writer
Just shoot us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter. We currently accept writer applications for the following. If you meet one or more of the requirements below, you’re good to go!
- Faculty in higher learning institutions
- Postgraduates (studying or having obtained MPhil, M.S., Ph.D. or other equivalent degrees)
- Young men and women who have won awards at prestigious science competitions
- Staff working at science institutions
We welcome persons working in private or government institutions. You may add in a disclaimer just in case.
After you are added as a writer, you should be able to see your status in the “publications” page when you click on your profile pic on the top right-hand corner. As the publication gains traction, we’ll consider relaxing the requirements.
What we expect from our writers
Since we are a conversation, here are some qualities that we want from our contributors:
- Share honestly. It’s common sense that trust is built on authenticity. Bluffing or even outright lying only erodes whatever goodwill there is between you and the audience.
- Embrace complexity. Narratives will be a part of your story, but cutting everything inconsistent with your narrative will only take us further away from the complete truth, causing more polarization and reaffirming what people have always believed. It’s okay to write about how you feel unsure or vulnerable because all of us have our uncertainties. It is precisely the feeling of internal struggle that intrigues and provokes.
- Learn to agree to disagree. Each of our worldviews is shaped by our own experiences. Even if two people share similar core values, they might not agree on a particular subject. If readers do give feedback, it’s important to listen to them first. Treat them not as your opponent but try to see the values, interests, and beliefs that you could agree on.
Currently, you can write about almost anything. Our reader would like to learn what makes you you, so just imagine that you are telling a story to a stranger. Use the first person narrative, because this is your story. We encourage you to write around 1200–1500 words so that your narrative could be fully fleshed out, though quality always comes before quantity. If your first language is Chinese (both Traditional and Simplified), you can even write your draft in Chinese and let us do the rest!
Here are some prompts to stimulate your thinking. They will be changed regularly:
- “When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it — but all that had gone before.” — Jacob Riis
Since our main site is on thexylom.com, your article will be first published on our site and then two weeks later on Medium. Your article will be published under The Xylom™’s moniker even if you don’t have a Medium account, but we will credit you wherever possible. If you have your own Medium account and want to write yourself, please follow the steps below:
You are strongly encouraged to make your own cover photo. Otherwise, you can add an image from Unsplash. (When you make a new paragraph, click the plus sign, then the magnifying glass)
After you finish writing, remember to submit your draft to The Xylom. Click on the three dots on the top right-hand corner, then click “Add to publications”. You should definitely submit to The Xylom!
To make the most out of Medium’s algorithms, please send your unpublished drafts if possible. In the case that you’ve already published your article, you are still welcome to submit to The Xylom; just be mentally prepared that The Xylom might not be able to help you generate a large number of views and reads.
What if I would like some compensation?
We welcome our contributors to join the Medium Partner Program. It’s a good way of getting recognition for your hard work. However, by putting your article into the paywall you agree to provide your unique Friend Link to The Xylom™ so that our followers may get access to your articles for free. This will NOT affect your income in any way. Please take note that The Xylom™ does not pay any of our contributors in any manner and no money passes through us; all payments are made directly by Medium, and you are expected to comply with all U.S. and local tax regulations, including but not limited to filling in relevant tax forms and disclosing income paid through the Medium Partner Program. The Xylom™ will not be responsible for any legal issues resulted from joining the Medium Partner Program.
If you would like to submit your article to email@example.com without publishing on Medium yourself, you are still very welcome to do so. Please bear in mind that you would lose your eligibility to directly make income from your submission.
More details here: https://medium.com/the-xylem/changes-to-our-financial-model-aca0fea8ba20
Editing and Publishing
For the sake of the best reading experience, we may lightly edit your draft.
Things we might do
- Remove offensive or insensitive language
- Fix grammatical inaccuracies
- Replace your cover photo/ add photos
- Edit your headline
- Edit your tags
- Add something to promote your article (The signup form below, or links to your other articles)
To cater to readers of different time zones, we will schedule the posts to be published at set intervals. The width of the intervals really depends on the number of submissions on one day, so please don’t be upset if your article is published while you’re asleep!
Your article will be tweeted on The Xylom™’s Twitter account and shared on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages. You are strongly encouraged to retweet or reply to generate more discourse.
That’s all the guidelines for now. Please be reminded that the guidelines will be updated regularly.
Last but not least, remember to have fun and be yourself! That way we can all read the most authentic stories about the lives of scientists outside science.
PS. Here’s one last chance for you to sign up if you haven’t made up your mind.