Writing a guest blog: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

Edith was my mentor
I will help 
Take the time you need
Photos and text
This is what I tell all who apply to write a guest blog.
The rights
What should you NOT do?
Discovery writing
Summary

Every so often a certain blog will hit a nerve and you readers respond. I have seen this happen dozens of times over the 15.5 years this blog has run.  Maybe that is because over time all of our tastes change in a subtle way. One thing is certain, though — you cannot predict the topic that will cause this reaction. If you try, you will fail every time. So you watch for it and respond when it happens.

Yesterday’s blog by Ian McKee, or reader 45 Bravo, was such a report. I think what he did was touch many of you where you live when he said,”YOU know something about a subject that NO ONE else knows, and it is your duty to share that knowledge with someone.”

If you thought about that you knew it was true. I see it come through in your comments. Some of you are college professors with a great knowledge of the English language, yet you have the mature good sense not to confront someone directly and embarrass them when they make a mistake — me, included. So you come in obliquely and reveal what they need to know without pushing their nose in it.

Edith was my mentor

Many of you know that my wife Edith was my editor. When I lost her, I lost a critical part of what I need to write this blog. but reader Siraniko from the Philippines stepped in and started helping me with the editing. He had to do it after each report was published and some of you thought he was being nit-picky, but I welcomed his help and I still do. Typographical errors are very disturbing to me, as well as to many of you.

In 1994 when the only airgun magazine that was published in the United States went belly-up and took half my subscription money, I whined and cried for weeks! It wasn’t the money — it was loosing my only source of information about airguns — a subject I loved dearly.

One day Edith came to me and said, “Why don’t you write an airgun magazine?” I told her that I didn’t know enough to write about, which was very true at the time. So she handed me a 14-inch legal tablet and told me to write down the titles of the topics I knew enough to write about. Hours later I had filled almost three pages with topics, and some had subtopics under them. That’s how The Airgun Letter, a monthly newsletter about airguns, was born!

A year after we started the newsletter I got the idea to buy, test and tune up a Beeman R1 rifle. The installments in the newsletter became the basis for my first book! I certainly was no expert on the Beeman R1, but 25 years later the world thinks I am.

When I read 45Bravo’s guest blog, I realized he was right! You do know things that we would all like to know.

I will help 

He was also right when he told you that I will help you. In that sense I become your editor. And, after you see what I do with your first article you will get better — which I am defining as more like what I want to see.

Take the time you need

I crank out a new blog five days a week. Some of you are amazed I can do that. But I am like Meadowlark Lemon, the center of the old Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. I can pass, dribble, shoot and talk smack at the same time, because I have been doing this for so long. You don’t have to do that. You can take a month to write about whatever you want, then set it aside as 45Bravo said, and when you come back to it a week later it will be easier for you to make corrections. Don’t give yourself some arbitrary deadline and then stress out when time passes and you have done nothing.

Photos and text

Here is what reader RidgeRunner asked. “BB,
Perhaps you can expound on what format, picture size, etc. you would prefer to receive blog submissions in.”

This is what I tell all who apply to write a guest blog.

“Write your blog in a rich test format (.rtf) file, please. No word processors, because they embed formatting that takes me hours to edit. You put in an ampersand (&) and it comes across as four meaningless characters (:&,;) A rich text format program is the simplest word processor on your computer or tablet. Write something short and save the file. The file name should end with a .rtf designator.

Do not embed links to products like you see me doing in the blog. The way WordPress (the software I use to publish each blog) works, I have to remove those links manually and then do something entirely different in WordPress as I format the blog. This past January WordPress was updated to a version that works differently than it did in the past

Indicate where you want the photos to go in the text and give me a caption for each one if it applies, but please don’t embed the pictures in the text. If the photo needs no caption, indicate that, too. Send the pictures to me separately in the following format:

Images used in blogs must be .jpg images no larger than 560 pixels wide by 730 pixels high. They should be saved at 72 dpi (dots per inch) resolution. Some of your cameras save them at 96 dpi. I will convert them to 72 dpi, but they will become smaller when I do.

Images must be rgb color, not cmyk If you don’t know the color specification, save the pic for the internet and that will format it correctly.” Does that help?

The rights

Here is also what I tell all who submit a guest blog.

To accept a guest blog for publication, you must agree to abide by the following 3 (three) rules.

1. Any blog content that Pyramyd Air accepts & publishes (text & images) is the sole property of Pyramyd Air and cannot be duplicated or reproduced in whole or in part in any form. Pyramyd Air is the sole copyright owner of all images and text it publishes in any media or form.

2. Pyramyd Air has the right to edit, use, or not use all or part of any guest blog submission. If we do not use your guest blog, then you retain all rights.

3. Submitted content and graphics must be free of any other copyright reservations.

What should you NOT do?

Don’t write me at [email protected] and ask me what you should write about. When someone does that it goes into the trash, because I know they haven’t got a clue. I get email offers for guest blogs all the time (a couple each week) from startup businesses that want the powerful fetch of the Pyramyd Air website to boost their online presence. Somehow they have discovered that this blog is read all over the world by hundreds of thousands of individuals, and they want in on it. It ain’t a-gonna happen. Years ago I allowed a writer for the New York Times to write a guest blog. She wrote a fluff piece that included the word airgun about 50 times — thinking that that is how I get the visibility I do. Sorry, lady but that ain’t the way it works and Google has algorithms that look at all new material (they call it organic, because it conveys something new) for things like that. It’s an easy way to get the blog barred from the internet for a season. When she worked there, Edith warned Cheaper Than Dirt, who hired an outside firm to boost their internet presence that way, and they were kicked off Google for two years! In other words, no Google search would ever find them! Edith contacted Google and explained what had happened, promising it would never happen again, and the exclusion was reduced to three months.

Discovery writing

When I started writing for The Airgun Letter I wrote like I was telling something to my best friend. Edith called it discovery writing. I knew I didn’t know everything, but I did know some things and that was what I wrote about. I may not know much about a faulty camshaft but I sure as heck know what one did to my engine when I installed it!

Some people mistakenly believe they must be experts in what they write about, so they labor over their words like a prosecuting attorney, trying to pick each sentence apart to find any flaws. If I did that you would get five blogs a year instead of five a week. In other words — I make mistakes!

A pastor I once knew and respected said, “A job worth doing is worth doing poorly.” In other words — GET ON WITH IT! Let that be the guiding principal for your guest blog.

Summary

If you have something to say, a guest blog is a great way to say it. Sure the comments are okay, but if you want others to know — do a guest blog.

48 thoughts on “Writing a guest blog: Part 2

  1. B.B.,

    Thanks for the mention. Just helping any way I can.

    Siraniko

    PS: Edith was my Mentor: 4th paragraph 1st sentence: “A year after we started the newsletter I gort (got) the idea to buy, test and tune up a Beeman R1 rifle.”

    “Klaatu barada nikto”



  2. BB,

    OK fine. I guess I will have to try again. No Word. No imbedded pictures. No Canon DSLR pictures! No links?! Talk about creating a mess! No wonder it takes so long to post my blog submissions. Sheesh. 😉


    • RR,

      You can use any word processor that can safe a .rtf format file. I use WORD and just use “save as” to make a rich text format copy of the file for B.B. when I am ready to submit the guest blog.

      As far as pictures, use what ever camera you have and crop/resize the image to suit. Lots of free-ware out there.

      NCH has a (free for home use, inexpensive to buy) inexpensive photo editor that is simple and capable to use. ( https://www.nchsoftware.com/photoeditor/index.html ).

      I use the Tech Smith “Snagit” program for assembling my composite pictures – great screen capture and editing program. There is a 15 day free trial and the program is reasonably priced.

      GIMP is an awesome free photo editor that is on par with PhotoShop, it will do anything you want but there is a bit of a learning curve to deal with.

      Hank


  3. “A pastor I once knew and respected said, ‘A job worth doing is worth doing poorly.’ ”
    B.B.,
    The first time I read that comment by you in a previous report, I was like, “What? That’s so contrarian.”
    However, I have mulled it over for the past several months, and now see the wisdom of it; not only does it apply to guest blogs, but also to the 57 other things my wife would like to see get done, but I have basically blown them off as I felt I “didn’t have sufficient time to do a proper job of it,” when really, my wife would just like to see them get done.
    I guess I’d better take your advice and “GET ON WITH IT!” and stop making excuses. =>
    Take care, and thank you,
    dave
    P.S. Good Lord, I hope my wife doesn’t read today’s report! =)~


  4. B.B.
    In the paragraph “What should you not do”, can you help me understand what the writer for the New York Times did that could get the blog banned from the internet? “Edith warned Cheaper Than Dirt, who hired an outside firm to boost their internet presence that way, and they were kicked off Google for two years!” What was it exactly that caused the suspension? Thanks for educating us on the rules for writing a guest blog.
    Geo


  5. BB,
    If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly. That appears to be true.Four days ago I needed to stop raking the leaves in my yard, to order one of the few remaining portable AC units in the state of Ca. The $700. unit
    arrived yesterday(free shipping) upside down and open box. I decided to take a chance, but, the driver may need to come back. Normally when I ask for dime sized knots in my wood order and it arrives and they’re as big as my fist,it goes right back. Airgun content: Slugs dont make any sense to me inside of 50 yds, that a pellet can’t do just as well.
    Thank you for the specifics on the guest blog!
    Rob


    • Rob,

      “Airgun content: Slugs dont make any sense to me inside of 50 yds, that a pellet can’t do just as well.”

      I will try to make an argument for the sense of BULLETS/slugs with an airgun capable enough to launch them.
      :
      1. Hunting with them might be more humanely done given more Kinetic Energy on prey.
      2. Benchrest in the wind with the typically higher Sectional Density.
      3. The THWACK!!! sound is of better acoustical quality.

      shootski



  6. B.B.,

    As Ian pointed out, as a Naval Aviator I to was trained to refuse to do anything without a Checklist done by challenge-response (in a Multicrew Cockpit even though i knew the steps by memory COLD) in an aircraft…unless it is a Compound Emergency in which case the use of good headwork was prescribed by standardization over Single Emergency Checklist use.

    You and Ian have started a great Checklist for Blog Writers…there are NO Emergency Guest Blogs! Only Tom suffers the deadline created emergency Blogs…B.B. you appear to have a stash of Blogs in reserve or at least ideas when it is Good Headwork Time!

    Erratum:

    “This is what I tell all who apply to write a guest blog.
    This is what I tell all who apply to write a guest blog.”
    I know that is important but only once. Lol!

    The rights
    1. (Last sentence) “…any in any media or form.”

    Ian and Tom great blogs yesterday and today.

    Thank you,

    shootski



      • B.B.,

        Mea Culpa!

        I did a halfway job and left off the “This Report Covers:”
        I had no checklist to remind me!
        I will redouble my effort.

        shootski

        PS: i just COPIED in the statement “This is what I tell all who apply to write a guest blog.” in the Search box and hit Go…it went right to todays blog and the fix you did. Hope that helps in the future when thoughtless folks point out errors or typos.


      • B.B.
        If I am looking for a specific comment, or commenter, I use Ctrl+F which will bring up a search box at the bottom. I type in a word, or whatever I am searching for, and when I press “Enter” it will go directly to one of the comments. Then, every time I press “Enter” it will go to the next found phrase. This works very well to shorten the search time. For example, if I use Ctrl+F and enter “B.B. Pelletier”, I can quickly locate every comment on the page by you. Maybe this could help you at times. It’s kind of an unknown option to search for things on a page.
        Geo


    • I am glad someone got my comment about the boot.
      Not everyone has been exposed to that environment to understand that mentality.
      But it’s an example I use often.

      But apparently, Tom follows the pastor’s philosophy of just do it, and get it over with, never mind directions…..

      Ian..


  7. I would love to see a guest blog by whoever bought the bear River MX 1000 semi automatic CO2 rifle and put an HPA tank on it. There doesn’t seem to be any test reviews either on YouTube or on the Internet about that particular gun. Maybe it’s because of all the bad reviews that it’s received on Amazon Though whoever Mentioned it here seem to think it was a pretty good gun with the HPA tank.

    Brent


  8. 1stblue, Shootski and Don425,

    I thought I would jump in here and donate my two cents worth and open myself of up to the abusive ridicule I am sure to receive. 😉

    Quite frankly, I have not been that impressed with what I have seen with “slugs”. With me, when it comes to accuracy verses energy, I will take accuracy every time. I do understand that the diabolo is more susceptible to wind, but it also has more inherent accuracy than most airgun “slugs”. I have to admit that the quality is improving as more research and experience is acquired, but it still has a way to go.

    It is true that my personal experience with “slugs” has been very limited. I have only tried a few cast bullets in my HM1000X .357. The results were horrible. I do realize though that they will never be that good in this rifle as the twist rate is optimized for pellets, which it will shoot very nicely. 🙂 There are some newer “slugs” out now that I wish to try that may show promise. We shall see.

    Overall, “slugs” for airguns have a way to go yet. Their design needs to be optimized for use in the “typical” air rifle with “typical” twist rate, power level, etc. They will soon fall to the wayside if airgun shooters have to continue to buy expensive air rifles with expensive “specialty” barrels. This is the kind of stuff that almost killed field target.




    • R.R.
      I agree…what’s all the hoopla about regarding slugs? I think most of us would agree that most of our shots are taken at 50 yds or less, mostly less. Slugs do not appear to have any advantage at less than 50 yds. Now if you are like 68Whiskey, shooting pigeons and woodchucks at 100 to over 200 yds, yes, slugs have a definite advantage in that case. Slugs retain much more energy and are much less affected by wind at those ranges. But that is kind of a niche that most of us are not into. 68Whiskey makes some amazing shots at those ranges using slugs in FX Impacts. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5hXAM_ethdcoKqkiiEFW0w/videos
      Anyone interested in slugs might find Ted’s Holdover YouTube video interesting. Here he compares various slugs in several FX barrel designs. FX seems to be doing a lot of research in barrel designs specifically for pellet use, and slug use. Some slug designs, such as the FX hybrids, seem to shoot well in many rifles designed for pellets. Then, others don’t shoot well at all. Every rifle and barrel are different. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxDqZTmBlG8
      It always goes back to that statement “what are you going to use this airgun for?” Myself, I don’t see any use for slugs for my pesting applications, and I will probably never try them in my Urban.
      Geo


      • Geo,

        As has been pointed out, there are very few air rifles that can shoot “slugs” with any kind of real accuracy and those are very expensive air rifles with mostly dedicated “slug” barrels. I for one cannot afford one of these air rifles.

        Also, I am a woodland creature. One hundred yards is a loooong shot for me. When the feral soda cans come charging out of the woods, they are only about twenty yards away.


        • RidgeRunner,

          You keep forgetting Dennis Quackenbush. I know his list was always hard to get on but he is not building to SPEC these days. Dennis will tell you what he has built the airgun to shoot! Ball, Bullet, or Pellet. All his products are built “like in the olden days” and quite frankly it appears and just as a matter of reality there will be no more DAQ’s when Dennis decides to build his last. I believe his guns will be around for many generations…even if tge owners only use them as shootable wall Art!

          There are many posts asking or denigrating DAQ accuracy…sour grapes i think…if you learn to shoot a DAQ as B.B. even spilled the beans about a number of times you will not be unhappy. Just realize what each model and variation was built for and you won’t be unhappy.

          I agree fully that airguns specifically built to shoot pellets don’t need Bullets(SLUGS) at any distance. Bullets are for proper Bullet(slug) barrels and powerplants at “longer Range” in strong winds and for humaine hunting of prey or elimination of medium to large pests in the proper venue.

          At 50 yards with a 15MPH 90° crosswind compare a pellet and an equal weight diabolo pellet on any ballistics app and see for yourself which is easier to deal with. Make it a variable wind and the situation becomes crystal clear to an AVERAGE skill shooter.

          shootski


          • Shootski,

            “All his products are built “like in the olden days” and quite frankly it appears and just as a matter of reality there will be no more DAQ’s when Dennis decides to build his last.”

            That is a pretty strong statement. I respect that. Several things do however come to mind,…

            -Why not pass it on?
            -Why not sell the knowledge/craft?
            -What does he offer that others do not?
            -Even if the guns are made to shoot a (specific) projectile very well,.. is there no other air gun maker doing the same or capable of doing it?

            There is no lack of innovation of big bores, barrel tech. and projectile innovation in today’s air gun market.

            I admire quality and hand built. I will pay for that. I would even go so far as to say that I would even pay for it even if there is something else that might perform the given task better,.. air guns or otherwise. Eclectic as that taste may be,… I think the emphasis today is on performance,.. cost aside.

            So?

            Chris


            • Chris USA,

              Am I biased! Probably, since i am proud to conserve and use a number of his airguns but i submit i am not trying to sell for Denis and never have. The man stuck to his guns when people tried to get him to go into mass production, to raise his prices to three and more times his set price. His rationale for not selling at higher prices was he didn’t want the typical Big Bore airgun HUNTER to be priced out of the chance to own a DAQ! He didn’t go for mass production because the level of skill needed for all the steps to produce a DAQ are/were in vogue anymore. I have already put far too many words “into the man’s mouth that i feel uncomfortable. Just read his page and get the word directly.

              Quackenbush has discussed his outlook on airgun building on his pages.
              He also talks about apprenticeship and being/becomming a Machinist. He tried to offer and many have asked him to give them this honor…best i know only one ever actually started an apprenticeship….

              How many of the current crop of innovative Big Bore airguns deliver an honest 500 FPE? Quackenbush has delivered that level 500+ of power after a detune decades ago! How many have taken the range of game that DAQ’s are credited with? Any other 2,000 lb Bison? Oh! With one shot.

              “Why not sell the knowledge/craft?”. Now that is an interesting one! The man has provided much of that on his pages for the reader to glean. You can’t very well sell the CRAFT of a Master Machinist that takes years of study, training, and honing of skills. I’m also certain none of the modern producers/resellers of CNC fabricated parts and airguns are interested in what a person who can do better work on the “Old School” equipment can offer; it just doesn’t fit there business model!

              Final try! Denis builds his airguns to be around for hundreds of years and they can be serviced with relatively simple tools and a modicum of handedness.

              Just visit his site.

              I rest my case!

              shootski


              • Shootski,

                I went to his site. I have been there more than a few times before. Disjointed,… comes to mind. A site does not make the man or the product,… but a good (or at least decent) one can sure help with sales. Just sayin’.

                I have clicked around on the site in the past and it does give further insight as to his philosophy on what he does and why he does it.

                Maybe when he builds that last one,.. that will be the last one. ? For anyone to even consider it as a business (going forwards), it has to be feasible to make a living at it. If you don’t,.. it is just a time consuming and expensive hobby that is able to recoup of fraction of what it’s product is worth.

                Glad you have some of them.

                Chris


  9. This is off subject but maybe the sign of the times or just one of those business things. It happened last week. I have been debating on if I wanted to post about it.

    The machine shop I worked at for like 33 years that I quit at no going on about 4 years ago closed their doors last week. They been in business since the 50’s. They sold out to a machine shop from Ohio about 4 years ago. Pretty much why I quit was because of the new owner. Kind of seen where he was going with things.

    Supposedly the customer they was making parts for wanted a price reduction this year. The Ohio owner didn’t want to accept so the customer pulled the jobs.

    They have about 4 people working there to finish up other customers jobs till the middle of September. There are 5 people I got jobs coming to where I went to and work at after I quit that place. The place I work at makes the machines that they produced parts on. Plus we have a production shop with 25 off those machines. In a way it was good for the place I work now. Was hard to find qualified people.

    Last week they started moving the machines to Ohio from the other place that he has a machine shop. Don’t know if he is going to get other jobs andrun production or sale the machines. And there is another story behind that too.


    • GF1,

      Machine shops aside,…. I imagine a lot of things will be looking different. The Mom and Pop shops are hit the hardest,…. just getting by with full traffic, let alone -50%. Even a lot of the “big boys” are cashing in,… or out. I hear NYC property is getting cheap,…. just keep your head down.

      Chris


      • Chris
        The shop I’m at is going strong. We are working overtime and still can’t make enough parts. There are 4 other shops in our area that have the same machines we have. They all have layed people off in the last month. Seems like covid is making things change.

        We will just have to see how it all goes. As I say. Time will tell.



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