Contributor Basics

Your Agreement with MQR

Basic Commitment

Deliver 1 post per month, by the assigned deadline. (Your deadline will be the same each month and was assigned in your offer letter.)

Term of Appointment

1 year, which begins and ends with the months specified in your offer letter.

Post Parameters

Word Count

Shoot for between 500 and 1500 words. (If you want to do a piece that doesn’t fall within this range, please consult the Blog Editor for feedback.)


The blog crew is diverse, and you are expected to be who you are and to do what you do. Collectively we’ll cover a lot of bases. In your offer letter, you were likely assigned a beat based on your application. You are not required to stick to this beat exclusively, but you are expected to contribute in this vein substantially. If you’d like to amend or alter your beat, please consult the Blog Editor.


If your first paragraph will encourage readers to knock themselves out to click “continue reading,” then it may serve as your excerpt. Otherwise, please craft an appropriate excerpt for your post that achieves these ends.


You were invited to join the crew because the Blog Editor (and others) appreciate your voice/experience/work. Be yourself, and be “familiar.” The tone of your posts should make readers feel as if they are having a conversation with a warm acquaintance. Think epistolary and/or personal essay, and by all means avoid anything that approaches the distancing often characteristic of academic or technical writing (and even some journalism).


If in doubt, contact the Blog Editor, who will be happy to discuss proposals and/or take a quick look at preliminary drafts, as time permits.

Editorial Direction

Know that the Blog Editor may suggest changes to your posts and/or provide direction. Don’t take it personally; any direction is intended to wrangle 16+ diverse contributors into a cohesive MQR blog crew and to insure that your work is presented as its best possible incarnation.

Contributor Expectations

  • MQR runs with a bare-bones staff, and you will be expected to deliver fully proofed and publication-ready content by your assigned deadline. Although the Blog Editor is available to provide strategic guidance and direction, you must be a highly proficient, reliable, and self-reliant writer to succeed as an MQR blog contributor. Additionally, you must be tech savvy enough to navigate a WordPress blog publishing environment successfully.
  • Contributors are paid only for published posts, and you are discouraged from submitting material that you do not stand solidly behind.
  • You will be expected to rely on this Contributor Guide as your go-to resource for business-as-usual questions.
  • When unusual tech issues not covered by the Guide arise, you will be expected to escalate the question/problem to the Blog Editor and/or blog crew for trouble-shooting and resolution.
  • To maximize our resources, you are encouraged to consider the MQR Blog Crew as a viable crowd-sourcing option. Feel free to reply-all to the group email list if you have a tech issue/question that the group might be able to solve collectively and/or to identify whether it’s an isolated or shared issue; if you have an idea for a post collaboration or for a collaborative series; etc.
  • Transparent communication with the Blog Editor about content is helpful and advisable.
  • Because MQR and U-M bureaucracies sometimes collide to create issues such as payment delays or technical issues that require longer than one might expect (or would be desirable) to address, some flexibility and patience may be required of you.

Missed Deadlines

MQR relies on a strict (and largely inflexible) system of transparent expectations and accountability in order to function as a high quality online experience run by a team of one extremely part-time person. In this system, MQR cannot accommodate deadline extensions.

If your post is late or absent for any reason, it counts as late/absent for the purposes of the contract accounting. No excuses or explanations are necessary (and, the Blog Editor prefers not to field excuses and explanations because they tend to make neither their author nor their reader feel very good). However, communication that a post will be late or absent is advisable, and advanced notice is most helpful.

Although MQR does not accommodate deadline extensions, MQR does acknowledge that life sometimes intervenes. Our system is designed to accommodate “life” and still deliver high quality content 52 weeks per year. Thus, while the expectation is that contributors will deliver 12 monthly posts per year, according to an assigned deadline schedule, you are allowed one late/absent post per pay period without automatically jeopardizing your commitment to MQR. This allowance is designed to account for non-delivery of any kind that results from “life,” but it should not be considered permission to skip a month regularly. Skipping a month regularly will jeopardize your MQR commitment.

Although MQR’s system is designed to insure that we have enough high quality content to publish each week, even when life intervenes, if everyone goes offline in a given week or month for say, the start/end of the semester, the Hopwood Awards, summer, etc., then the system breaks down. Please plan accordingly, and use your “missed deadline” allowance only for major life events that you are planning and/or for genuine emergencies or issues that you have no way of anticipating.

Finally, if you submit material outside your regular deadline cycle, please know that MQR publishes what’s delivered on-time first, providing it is up to our standards. Secondarily, MQR publishes whatever extra posts are available in the queue if they are up to the standards, the Blog Editor has time to address them, and a hole needs filling. Submission of material, particularly if out of cycle, does not guarantee publication.

Contributor Compensation

To be compensated, MQR requires the following information:

  1. Your social security number must be mailed, faxed or phoned-in to the Managing Editor and remain on-file in the MQR office. (Do NOT email your social security number.)
  2. Your name as you would like it to appear on your check and your full street address where the check should be mailed must be on-file with the Blog Editor.
  3. You must indicate, to the Blog Editor, any current or past affiliation with the University of Michigan, beyond the MQR Blog.

You will be compensated $30 per published post.

Payment will occur three times per year for the following pay periods: May-August, September-December, and January-April.

Following the close of each pay period, you must review a pay request submitted to you by the Blog Editor for accuracy and return any corrections by the specified deadline.

Contacting the Blog Editor

You can expect a 24-hour response to queries that require responses. If you haven’t heard from the Blog Editor within that time frame, it’s likely that your message has fallen through the cracks. Please try again.

So that your email distinguishes itself from non-MQR business in the Blog Editor’s email queue, subject lines should follow this convention: “MQR Blog: [insert your subject here].”

Moreover, to facilitate communication tracking, if you are replying to an existing thread, please do not change the original subject line.

Blog Editor Contact

Vicki Lawrence


Leave a Reply