How to submit a story
YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL!
Of course you do! That’s great—and this is the place to learn how to:
1) Write your story
2) Submit your story to us
3) Get published on THE DAD STORY PROJECT website (and maybe in an e-Book)
WRITING YOUR STORY
Short and sweet is best. Aim for 400 – 800 words.
Just about anything that helps tell us what it’s like to be a dad (or the child of a dad) is fair game. And your stories don’t have to be about dramatic life events, they can be downright simple. In fact, they should be simple—after writing family-oriented essays for my local paper for going on nine years, I’ve come to see the beauty and the wonderful in the ordinary things of Everyday. For instance, in my first book I write about (among other things) sitting on a rock, turning around a boat trailer, painting a ceiling, holding a tiny pocketknife in my hand, and standing in the road in front of my house and waving. Write about simple things, and write about them from your heart.
Point of view
While TDSP focuses on fatherhood, the stories can come from any perspective. Dads, write about your kids. Kids, write about your dads. Wives, write about your children’s dad. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors…well, you get the idea.
Here’s the only place where we are going to get a little prescriptive. TDSP is all about encouragement and affirmation, building up and celebrating, so your stories should be positive, upbeat, and heartwarming. That doesn’t mean they have to be all fluff—go ahead and tackle challenges and problems and hard questions; tell us sad and difficult stories; just be sure to wrap things up in a positive way so that we end up with smiles on our faces. When you think about your story, ask yourself this: “Will the dads and their families who read this feel better about the joyous struggles of parenthood?” If the answer is yes, then send it our way. We want to learn from your experiences!
Formatting your text
You can write your story using any software you like (e.g., Microsoft Word), and please just use a basic font and size (e.g., Times, 12-point). Don’t include any character or paragraph styles, line spacing, indents, page numbering, headers, etc.—when you paste it into the submission form it’s just going to render it as plain text anyway.
Other useful writing stuff
The kind of stories I write (and the kind that you will write for TDSP) falls into the general category of “creative nonfiction.”
Here is a great article that describes what this is and gives good pointers about how to write creative nonfiction.
Here is another nice article aimed at bloggers that gives great general writing tips.
And now for two book recommendations. Both are old but absolutely classic, still perfectly relevant, and a blast to read: On Writing Well, by William Zinsser, and The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. The 4th Edition (1999) is my favorite.
SUBMITTING YOUR STORY
Use the handy form on the right side of this page
Fill out all the contact information, give us some background on you and what inspired your story, give your story a title*, paste in your story in the obvious box (add any extra information I might need at the end of your story, e.g., “I have a great photo to go with this!”), do the simple math problem (to keep the spammers at bay), and then click the send button! Yep, it’s that simple. (And don’t worry, your entire story will fit in that little box.)
A few seconds after you hit the send button you will see text appear below the Submission Form header saying that we got you story.
And you will immediately find an email in your in-box.
Your contact information and story will be delivered to our site and will be flagged for moderation. That’s just a fancy way to say that we want a chance to read your story and respond before we toss it on the site and let it go viral.
You will get a response from us within 30 days, and the answer will be Yes!, Maybe, or Thanks, but no. If you get anything other than an enthusiastic thumbs up, we will share our thoughts about what could make your story better (and perhaps good enough for a resubmission). An initial rejection is not the end! (As a freelancer for most of my life, I well understand the crush of rejection—I’ll be gentle and kind and encouraging.)
So go ahead, write! I’m just sitting here waiting to hear from you! 🙂
* If you don’t give me a story title, I’ll make one up for you! Like, “You look so much better since you got your gallbladder out!” Consider yourself warned…LOL
GETTING PUBLISHED ON THE DAD STORY PROJECT
Right here on the website
If your story is selected for publication, it will appear on the website as part of a separate blog (the Author Blog). You own the rights to your story (of course), and by submitting it to us, you are giving us the right to share it with the world. I hope we can keep this part of the project that simple.
Perhaps in an e-Book
Our ultimate hope and goal is that we will get so many great stories that we will need to publish more e-Books! When that happens (note the optimism), we will determine how to compensate authors for their work—we will not publish anything for sale without having an agreement with our authors.
This is the