We are always looking for new contributors to hissing lawns. We have published almost 1,000 posts since late 2013, but we could have covered so much more if we had had more writers and photographers.
If you are interested in joining us, please read some of the following guidelines/details and then get in touch with us via message to the hissing lawns Facebook page.
1. We cannot pay you. The site might one day have some great advertisers and generate much more traffic, but at this point the Google ads are generating a few dollars per month, at best.
2. If you are a professional writer or photographer and are offended when people ask you to do things for free, then this is probably not the place for you. On the other hand, sometimes it is actually true that exposure, experience, and networking have real value. It is also certainly true that many media professionals are affiliated with sites (often their own, of course) to which they routinely provide free content.
A few relevant details on this broader issue:
- Three former hissing lawns’ contributors — Anna Chandler, Josh Peacock, and Larissa Allen — now have important jobs in Savannah media. I’m not saying that any of those people got jobs because of their affiliation with this blog, but there is no doubt that getting your work out there into the world can pay off in myriad ways
- one of my photos of Meklit appeared on the cover of her album We Are Alive (and I was paid for that)
- Murder By Death has a few photos originally posted here in their DPK at Bloodshot Records
- Tom Cartmel’s photography appeared on the latest Obnox album
Again: if you are hoping to establish yourself as a freelance writer or photographer, if you want to move into music journalism, if you are looking for chances for professional development that could beef up a portfolio or resume, you would be smart to take advantage of opportunities to get your work out there.
3. So what is hissing lawns looking for?
Right now, 90+ percent of our posts deal directly with the Savannah music scene in some way, but we’d love to have more contributors interested in the local scene and more who are interested in posting about regional, national, and international news, artists, releases, etc.
We post a lot of photo galleries and short show reviews, and we’d love to have more of those, but we’d like more of everything else too — more reviews, previews, interviews, etc., etc. We are certainly better at covering some genres than others, but that’s not because we don’t want broader coverage. I’ve been asking around for ages for contributors with particular expertise with hip-hop, for example, and we had one for a hot minute, but now we’re right back to zero.
We’ve been averaging just under one post per day in recent months. In my fantasy world, we would be averaging at least two posts per day.
4. At the end of the day, hissing lawns contributors are people who are passionate about music — especially live music. With so much good stuff out there, we see no point in dwelling on the negative, although we’ve had plenty of posts that deal with illness, death, venue closings, and all the other realities of the world.
5. We generally do not cover DIY shows because we generally cannot cover DIY shows. We’d love to be covering more of the DIY scene generally, and we’d welcome posts with band profiles and interviews, embedded streams and videos, and coverage of DIY shows at legal venues.
But house venues are basically by definition operating in violation of a slew of laws and ordinances. If we brought attention to those shows, we’d very likely contribute to those venues being shut down, as most of them will be eventually anyway.
A short rant/tangent: I’ll confess to being a little puzzled that so many house show operators and attendees seem to assume that the practice is legal. If you live in a residential zoning district, you probably have extremely limited rights to have events of any type that are open to the public, and once you’ve declared a space publicly as an entertainment venue, then you need a business license, tax ID number, a plethora of inspections including for handicap accessibility and fire safety, etc., etc., etc. If you can avoid pissing off your neighbors too much and if you can present shows essentially as private parties about which the average person would never know, you could keep operating a house show venue indefinitely. But if you’re all over Facebook promoting your apartment as a public venue, then you should expect to be shut down eventually — and it’s silly to blame officials for enforcing some of the most obvious ordinances that we have.
6. What are biggest problems that contributors encounter? We can help everyone get set up with WordPress, so unfamiliarity with the mechanics of blogging is really no barrier. A few other problems that contributors seem to have encountered:
- Some people are already over-extended, and they simply don’t have the time they think they will have.
- Some photographers have cumbersome systems for editing their work. If you’re editing in Photoshop, deciding on a photo-by-photo basis where your watermark (recommended) will go, and paying close attention to other details, you run the risk of never actually getting anything finished. I generally edit in Lightroom and generally just paste the same settings onto a whole gallery. I add the watermark in the same spot on all the photos when I explore a huge batch. If you like slower processes, that’s fine — it’s just going to make it much harder for you to blog regularly.
- A few potential contributors might have gotten a little intimidated by the work of others. That’s silly, but I think it might have happened. We can help you edit your text and/or photos. It’s no big deal.
- Some people just overthink things. Those people are often not good bloggers because they want to endlessly mull over potential posts.
7. How many demands are placed on contributors? Basically zero. Periodically, we use our secret Facebook group or private messaging to sort out coverage of big shows and festivals, but it’s largely up to you to decide what you want to write about and when you want to post. For local events, we rarely even ask for or take advantage of press passes since most of the time we’re writing about things that we would be doing anyway. So this is a pretty loose ship, by design.
8. Are you hip enough to blog for hissing lawns? Ha ha ha. If you were asked to pick out the music bloggers from a lineup of all the regulars at Savannah music venues, you would not identify any of our core contributors. Trust me, you’re cool enough.