It looks like we’re going to hit a million views per month this year.

That was incomprehensible when we started, but our growth has been steady, sometimes shocking, and has even nearly destroyed us a couple of times. But Dirge has endured, and we are looking for more writers to join our team.

Part of what has made Dirge a success is that we just don’t do things like everyone else. Our staff and writers are a community. We work together and support each other, inside Dirge and out. It’s true that we look for a special kind of person to join our team, but it might be easier than you think!

1. We don’t pay, yet. But it isn’t as bad as it sounds.

Update (10/17/16): Our 2017 funding plan is in place! But don’t wait! We’re going to start by paying the writers who already write for us and have followings!

That’s a bummer for a lot of people. But the fact is, no one pays any kind of competitive rate for the type of articles we publish. We think that sucks, and we want to change it. You just don’t build a quality, self-sustaining platform overnight.

We aren’t HuffPo. We aren’t going to rake in millions while our writers work for free. We love what we’re doing, and we want it to be indefinitely sustainable. Therefore, our highest priority is paying everyone for what they already volunteer to do.

It’s been tricky because most of our quick-money options are things that are guaranteed to make Dirge suck. So instead of churning out inane, contextless and poorly-researched listicles for the sake of milling clicks, we established a Patreon, which is helping us raise money to pay our writers and staff.

It’s a direct line between our readers and us. They support the magazine they want, and we are able to deliver it unpolluted.

As for the money we’ve already raised there, our writers unanimously agreed on how we would use the funds, and have input on how to reach our budget goals in the future so we can pay well and sooner.

2. Dirge is a community.

We talk, play, and workshop articles in our active Bullpen. Sometimes we play games, or have contests. We had a fiction contest and the winner got a custom journal from McCall Handcrafted!

The winner of our contest gets this handmade beauty from McCall Handcrafted!
Our senior editor Renee Pickup won!

We also have a book club and a bumpin’ exclusive group for our Patreon supporters, where we constantly give away prizes, ask for feedback and post videos.

Not everyone participates in all of those things, or even any of them in some cases, but they’ve grown organically and are available to anyone who wants them.

3. You need to be able to write, but more than that, you need to be able to take notes.

Some of our most popular writers came in with little experience, but cared about their writing, and worked over time with editor feedback to improve and hone their voice for the Dirge audience. Some do it quickly, and some take months. We stick with writers who stick with us, and we’re always working to improve our game at every level. Some writers are naturally Dirgey. Some want to be, and have to work at it. That’s okay with us. As long as you care, we’ll care.

We have a style guide and full editorial support, so you aren’t alone.

4. You need to be able to meet deadlines.

Our managing editor’s primary responsibility is keeping our calendar full. He is great at this job. He not only makes sure that we have new articles every day, but he’s able to work with our writers to suit their schedule. We have writers who write every week. We have writers who write once a month. That’s okay with us, as long as you take your deadline seriously once you have it.

5. Be passionate about something.

Dirge does best when we have knowledgeable people writing about things they really care about. Even if your passion isn’t necessarily tied directly to dark culture, it usually can be: you really love gardening. Can you think of some articles about goth plants, poison gardens, or maybe tending a corpse flower?

6. Let us worry about whether you’re a good fit for Dirge.

It’s easy to talk yourself out of trying. But it’s our job to know what works and what doesn’t work; and believe me, we are good at spotting potential, and coloring outside the lines. Some applicants have been shocked that they were accepted, and have gone on to be extremely popular writers. People are terrible judges of their own work.

7. We hate saying “no.”

We want to say “yes.” To you, and your ideas. That is our default position. We only say “no” when we’re convinced that an idea simply won’t work, but we still make every effort to workshop it into an idea that will.

So, how do you write for Dirge? Just contact us and tell us you want to! Send along some examples of your work* (we do require that you have something to show us, whether it’s published or on your own blog), and tell us why you think you’d be a good fit for Dirge!

*Not fiction. This won’t tell us is you can write an effective article.

Maybe you could be a part of the dark empire.

Header image: Vanitas by Shawn Barber