Want to Write for Scarleteen?
5.2.20: Until further notice, we want anything new we publish to be something most of our readers can both safely use during the pandemic and that is also deeply relevant to their lives and the moment right now. Our readers typically do not live with sexual or domestic partners, so we're not going to be publishing any new content yet content that's about in-person sexual or dating interactions. We also would like content that addresses both interpersonal and systemic racism. Some suggestions are in the list of wanted pieces at the end of this page. Thanks!
Diversity of voices and perspectives is important to our organization and our users. So is having some of the best content for young people about sex, sexuality, relationships and identities there is. That's where you could come in!
We want more great, original and radical writers, sex, bodies and relationships educators and thinkers on our freelance team. We welcome and are open to all kinds of voices, though we are especially seeking content from queer and LGBA writers, BIPOC writers, women, trans and nonbinary writers, people with disabilities, young writers and other marginalized and underrepresented groups.
Our current rate for most first pieces is $100, paid to you as an independent contractor. We do not support work-for-hire: we share copyright, so you retain the rights to your work. You may reprint or republish as you like, we simply ask that for the first month a piece is published, it is exclusive to Scarleteen. As well, if and when a writer turns out to do a great job for us, and work for our readers, we love keeping writers on as part of our ongoing freelance team. Writers who have written two or more pieces with us who continue to work with us are advanced to a minimum base pay of $150 per piece.
We do our best to make writing for us a positive, relaxed and supportive experience. Our writers typically report having a very good experience working with us, and feeling like both they and their work were treated with care and respect.
Content for Scarleteen needs to be written professionally -- with solid, correct and accessible grammar, spelling, style and structure -- as well as inclusively, considering factors like diversity of economic class, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability and agency.
We ask that writers demonstrate and convey a true respect for young people, presenting themselves as a helper or guide, not a parent, leader or director. Young people trust Scarleteen as a place that has and always conveys a real value of them as whole people with agency. If you're familiar with our content, you know already that it is primarily user-driven; based in what users have expressed to us meets their needs. It is friendly and accessible in style, plain and direct in tone, while treating sensitive topics with the sensitivity they truly demand.
Currently, our site serves around 20,000 users daily (and around 5 million unique readers a year), and many likeminded organizations and media services link to our content, so your work will be seen widely. Scarleteen is and remains the most widely used site specifically for young people seeking out sex and relationships information, so it's a great place to get targeted readers for that content.
Our users -- and thus, your readers -- are primarily between the ages of 15 and 25, and live all over the world. About 50% of our users are in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, and the other half are all around the world. Our readership is highly diverse when it comes to sexual and gender identity, economic class, race and ethnicity.
Pieces here can vary in length: if the piece is engaging, how long or short a piece is is mostly influenced by the topic at hand. Human sexuality and relationships are very complex topics, so typically very short pieces are not right for us: clear, engaging longform, or a longer series made of short pieces tend to be more of what our readers want and respond to. We expect writers to say as much or as little about something as needs be said for a reader to benefit and clearly understand, and to do so in an engaging way. Literacy tends to be high for many of our users, but we still ask that writers do their best to use plain language and explain any terms or acronyms. Demystification of all the things is the name of the game around here.
How This All Typically Works:
1. You take a look around the site, including our publicly posted direct services (that's the message boards and advice columns), and see if the tone, style and subject matter here feel like a good place for you as a writer. Please familiarize yourself with our content and style before pitching: some of the most popular current styles of internet content -- super snappy, snarky and short, or where much of the content is image-based -- are not a good fit for us. We also have been publishing for 21 years now, so if you have something in mind, best to check our search engine first to see what our coverage has already been of that topic. We need writers who can give our users real depth, and the feeling of someone really taking the time to talk with them in a rich, caring and sensitive way.
2. You look at the current needs listed below for ideas, throw us a couple examples of your writing, let us know where you have been published before (but that's not a requirement: new writers are totally welcome!), and a pitch in email based on that list, or another similar subject that's near and dear to your heart or your geekdom. It should be emailed to: editorialATscarleteenDOTcom
3. We look at what you send, email you back if we're interested, have a chat, set a deadline for a first draft, then send you off to get cracking. We care a great deal about fair conditions and value for labor: we believe the agreements we suggest and ask for respect the rights and value of our content creators and collaborators, but if you have any special needs or concerns with it, you can always let us know and we're happy to consider adjustments or changes. We ask that you please work in -- or at least turn your files in using -- Microsoft Word or Apple Pages.
4. You come back with a first draft. If it looks like something we just can't work with, or will have to do a lot of work on ourselves, we'll have to decline taking it any further. If it looks pretty solid, we will review, leave notes and edits using track changes, and then you'll ideally make a final draft based on those notes and edits. Please do NOT remove anything added by us in track changes, nor accept or delete any changes. Instead, just leave what's fine with you without touching it or make changes asked for, and for anything you don't like or otherwise want to reject, do so by adding comments/notes to or within the track changes.
5. Then we'll review and edit that draft, polish it up any more as needed, okay all the track changes, and publish and promote the piece. You invoice us then, and we'll get you in our payment system and will pay you within 30 days, though typically payment now clears in around a week. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the length of the piece, how quickly or slowly you and we are working, and where it fits with our editorial schedule.
Current Topic Needs (last updated 5/2/20):
- Pieces about racism, primarily from and for BIPOC, like: how to cope with it in your larger world, or smaller communities and relationships, making decisions about protest and risks, how to ask for help and support when you need it, how to take good care of your friends, how to get and stay away from friends who aren't good for you, how to find your people, how to care for each other in intimate relationships right now in health ways, how to deal with differences of opinion between young people and parents about racism or how to react to it, historical pieces about Black youth activism.
- Content on how to still feel and celebrate Pride on lockdown.
- Pieces relevant to living through this pandemic -- some possible topics might be talking about how to deal with touch deprivation or loneliness, how to deal with mental health struggles right now, how to use telemedicine, how to deal when your life plans all of a sudden look less possible, what to do about familial abuse right now, breakups, online relationships (including moving an in-person relationship online), how to take care of yourself, body image helps.
- Content expressly by and for gay or otherwise queer men
- Self-acceptance pieces, especially for queer, trans and/or BIPOC young people
- More disability content for those with cognitive disability, and disabilities that limit mobility
- Relationship information expressly for men (of any or every sexual orientation, but we have a particular need for information for gay and bisexual men)
- Positive content about singlehood
- Pregnancy and young parenting content, including: going through a pregnancy, obstetric care and choices, doulas and midwives, childcare, managing intimate relationships while pregnant/parenting, body changes and issues, self-care
- Youth rights guides
- A primer on microaggressions
- Healing from and dealing with sexual assault or abuse
- Living with HIV
- Practical information about accessing funds to pay for abortion (ideally not just for those in the United States)
- How to survive while living in abuse you can't currently leave or get away from (eg, a legal minor in an abusive home)
- Learning to create and nurture healthy relationships for those who have grown up with normalized abuse or dysfunction
- How to better support and care for one another; practical kindness and compassion help
- Support, information and acceptance for bisexual people
- Processing and managing familial conflicts with sexuality or intimate relationships
- Learning to feel more comfortable with sexuality, sexual identity and sexual interactions