Now I understand what people have been complaining about!
I submitted this Hub to Bellatory:
and got back the same standard email as everyone else did, with the following suggestions:
All links in the article should go to high-quality sites, directly support the content and be useful to readers. Self-serving links (links to your business, blog, or website) are not permitted on Network Sites unless they are absolutely necessary to the reading experience. It is best to leave these links out and/or put them on your Profile. Lastly, a link's anchor text should give readers a clear idea of where the link goes.
Link Capsules are for showcasing a group of relevant and high-quality links to your readers, not for self-promoting other articles you may have written on HubPages Network Sites. Link Capsules should rarely contain more than 3 or 4 total links. If you choose to include more, we strongly suggest adding a custom description for each link.
Every article on Network Sites should have at least one high-quality photo. If there are multiple photos in the article, they should all be relevant to the content and visually appealing. Original photos are always preferable to stock photos. If you must use stock photos, please choose them carefully and tastefully. We recommend making all photos full-width, with the exception of photos that degrade in quality at that size.
This article has really good information. It could gain high traffic if photos are better quality. Could you please find relevant and high-quality photos? You can go to Flickr.com and search for photos that are licensed for commercial use."
Like everyone else, I'm struggling to work out how the suggestions apply to the Hub. It looks to me as though most of that email is generic, except for the last paragraph which specifically mentions photos. Funnily enough, the existing photos ARE all from Flickr and licensed for commercial use!!
I think they're kinda swamped at the moment. I hardly ever read those emails for not having much of a clue what they are saying they'd like to be changed to this or that.
I've submitted exactly two articles to Spinditty. One they grabbed right away and didn't change a thing to. The second one they've not taken. For a hot month and some days they took every single thing I published and put it directly to Spinditty, and more often than not, changing not a thing.
Well, I'm not unhappy. After all, I don't keyword research, so I'm doing educated guessing as to what will be successful, and doing as good and even sometimes far better than expected. I've been in a very high mode of production at this gig lately. I'm seeing it start to pay off more and more too. I'll give them time to catch up with me, but I almost never go to an actual old school email site to read messages there.
I'm struggling with a very similar email.
My only suggestion for you is possibly they objected to the photo of the schnauzer. That's being really picky but the dog's legs are out of focus. Otherwise, I truly have no idea.
Hi Marisa: The only thing that strikes my eye is that only one of the links at the bottom really seems to apply directly to what you're talking about. Also, I think your photos are way too big. If you make them smaller, they will be more focused, although they seem well focused to me. I see no place where you have linked to your own work, so can't figure out why they put that in the email.
Also, I'd tighten the article up a bit. You're talking about gray hair, not eyebrows, even though their color does matter.
I think the issue with photos has more to do with quality than licensing. I'm not talking about your particular article, but article quality generally.
Aesthetics is important. Many people are repelled by poor layout and second rate pictures, in the same way that they are repelled by poor grammar and spelling.
If a writer cannot get the basics right, the reader will suspect an unprofessional product and many will just click back. There is no point in putting a lot of work into the text then shooting yourself in the foot with poor presentation.
A good first picture and a good first paragraph are so important if you want a page to be successful.
Link lists at the end of the page have been discouraged here for years for a variety of reasons, including suspicion of link spam. I would be surprised if readers make much use of them anyway. Most readers want a quick information fix and prefer to get what they need on one page.
There are 'big subjects' where links can be helpful, of course. If you are offering a link, you need to provide a compelling reason in the text for a reader to take the trouble of following it.
I totally agree. When I see an article and there is a photo obviously taken with a cell phone or another one that is poor quality in some way or another - or, even worse, off subject or unintentionally corny - I immediately think "amateur". Presentation certainly is a top priority. Unless we're talkin lists from The Chive.
Welcome to the club!
When I had this, I wrote to Kirsty, politely requesting clarification, and she put me in touch with the editor who had worked on the hub in question. She was very helpful and specific about what she wanted, explaining that all the hubs get these general and generic replies. Each editor seems to have a different set of standards and requirements. So, if you really want to get into the niche sites, I recommend asking to communicate directly with the editor in question.
I now have 7 hubs transferred to Owlcation and the traffic to them has quadrupled at least. If I had 100 hubs in a thriving niche site I'd be back to the days where I was really earning a useful second income from the site. The editing process is a bit convoluted and arcane, but worth it.
Hope that helps.
I just had a quick look through and there are several grammatical errors they will want you to fix before they'll accept it.
Just as an example:
"Now look at the “gray icons”. Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” – pure white. Helen Mirren – an unblemished platinum."
The period is outside the quotation marks. It should be inside. You should use single, rather than double quotes. The dashes should be replaced with link words and the middle clause should be enclosed in commas. Like this:
"Now look at the ‘gray icons.’ Meryl Streep, in ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ is pure white. Helen Mirren sports an unblemished platinum."
Better still, would be to get rid of the middle clause altogether by rearranging the sentence for clarity:
"Now look at the ‘gray icons.’ In ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ Meryl Streep's hair is pure white. Helen Mirren sports an unblemished platinum."
Grammatically, that's the sort of detail they're angling for.
Marisa uses British punctuation, in which case she is correct—full stops (periods) etc. are placed outside the quotation marks. I've also tended to use British punctuation, although I'm now modifying this for the niche sites. I've nevertheless always adopted US spelling and vocabulary for my hubs in order that they can be better understood by an American audience.
As far as I know (judging by my own edited hubs), according to the APA style guide, which is what HubPages is using for the niche sites, we should be using double quotation marks for the examples you give.
Marisa, I think you ought to take a look at the style guide with regard to the use of italics (your tip about lemon juice).
However, I don't believe any of this has anything to do with why the hub isn't being accepted.
I'm not sure if this has anything to do with it, but I personally find the choice of photos unappealing. Even the one of the woman having her eyebrows dyed.
A good example of a public person who made a graceful transition from coloured to white is the Queen. As a male example, Karl Lagerfeld is another. I think I'd look for Public Domain photos of people like this if it were my hub.
The model Carmen Dell'Orefice was the inspiration for Meryl's white wig in "The Devil Wears Prada"—I think a photo of her would also make a great illustration for the hub.
Theresa May is, I think, a good example of your "average woman" grey.
Well, I'm sure you're right. Thanks for clarifying. As I said, every editor seems to have her own ideas.
Well, as I say, they're working according to the APA style guide, so they ought to be consistent. Knowing this can also help us modify our punctuation etc. Up to now, I'd always worked with the AP style guide (although not strictly).
Thanks, Jayne. That's really helpful. I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't just my 60 something year old brain getting muddled. I was only trying to help - but perhaps I only confused things. I'm glad you showed up as you actually seem to know what you're talking about!
I got the info about the use of the APA style guide (or at least consciously perceived it) after emailing the team to query the use of serial commas in one of my edited hubs. It's actually mentioned in the email we receive informing us that a hub has been edited, and I've seen it mentioned somewhere on the site, but don't ask me where.
It's not the grammar. For one thing, you'll notice that grammar is not mentioned in the email. If there's one thing I do understand about the process, it's that you should NOT make any changes that aren't asked for! If the email doesn't ask for changes to the text, don't change the text - you risk getting rid of the very things the editor liked about the article.
For another, I do not agree that there are grammatical errors in the article. If you mean there are sentence fragments, or sentences starting with "And" or "But" - then yes, I know they're there and no, I am not changing them. They may be incorrect according to strict grammatical rules, but they are part of modern colloquial English and perfectly acceptable.
When I write a Wikipedia entry, it's a different story - but I'm not writing a Wikipedia entry on HubPages, or a text book. I don't want my prose to sound dry and academic. In your example, for instance, I think my version sounds snappy - yours sounds bland. On HubPages, I've always felt we're writing to entertain as much as to inform, and therefore we need to think about the cadence of the language too. A Hub where every sentence is subject-verb-object would be quite pedestrian.
I write all my Hubs in that style. I have had several Hubs moved to the niche sites and some were subject to HubPro, and none of them were edited or questioned for grammar.
Quite right. I have already backed down over my grammar comments (see above) as it seems they were incorrect in any case. I hope you enjoy the editing process and your hubs go on to great success on the niche sites.
Yes, now you know what I was complaining about, Marisa. The editors often aren't specific enough what they want you to do.
This is just my opinion, but it seems to me the email clearly laid out what changes must be made:
1. Get rid of the link capsule at the end. I know, but obviously HP isn't liking it.
2. Get rid of the dog pictures and replace them with people pictures. The Hub is about people going gray, not dogs. I see how you made the connection, but wouldn't it be better to have visual examples of the types of (people) gray hair you've discussed in the Hub?
I'm a little frustrated with the editors too, and I feel your pain. Someone above made the comment, "Each editor seems to have a different set of standards and requirements." That should not be. There should be one clear standard, for Hubbers and for editors. Whether a Hub gets snipped, changed and/or accepted to a niche site shouldn't be up to the whims and tastes of a specific editor.
I've had Hubs I thought were pretty darned good passed up for the niche sites. I've had Hubs I thought were only okay moved right over. I recently submitted three Hubs to the niche sites, one for each account. One was accepted within hours, while nearly a week later I've heard nothing about the other two.
Overall I am very happy with how things have been going, but I also think a little transparency would go a long way. For me, the #1 thing that would motive me to write more and edit more Hubs would be a more clearly defined path to the niche sites.
People have asked for clarity in editor feedback and it has been delivered. Well done to HP.
Problem is most writers will need to give some serious thought to their weak areas, whether it is aesthetics, punctuation, organisation, or whatever.
When I first had my pages copyedited (years ago) I was horrified by my mistakes. I was basically paying someone to make me feel inadequate and miserable.
But at least I learned where I made systematic errors. Still not good with punctuation.
We just have to accept that we are not perfect and need to learn.
I'm not horrified at all, and if you look at the email it makes NO reference to the actual text of the Hub. So I don't take it as negative feedback or any kind of criticism at all.
The email is about links and photos. Turns out HubPages doesn't have my sense of humor. That's OK. Although it would be nice to have the article moved to Bellatory because it would probably do better there, I think changing it would lose its point of difference. No worries.
Here are some photos you are welcome to use. Just give credit back to Donna Harris www.AtlantaHairStudio.com
Thanks Solaras, can you just clarify what the pictures show? Is she having her old colour removed or getting her gray hair coloured?
Both - She was coloring it dark, so the color is being removed, and then she is going with a metallic color from Guy Tang. This is what I would do if I wanted to go gray. Go metallic and see how that blends with the natural gray as it comes in.
I did this with the first image, and added text in the blank space I created. So you are free to crop or do whatever you want to it. The first image has not been used on the web, except in this forum.
Edit: It seems I created a little "mothman" for Halloween in the middle there lol.
See, this is probably why my Hub isn't worthy of being transferred to Bellatory anyway - I have NO idea what you're talking about! So I clearly don't have the expertise to write about the topic in the first place (it was written a long time ago when such considerations didn't matter!). Metallic, is that a thing?
It is here in the USA right now!
This explains some of the options: https://bellatory.com/hair/3-Metallic-H … -List-Star
I would do it myself if I weren't old enough to deserve gray hair. (I think this girl was in the salon for 8 hours getting the color removed and then going gun metal gray. I can't imagine how expensive it was).
Also, and maybe this will apply to your future hubs too - sometimes the message is generic and doesn't really reflect the truth. For example, I got several of my not approved articles published as featured simply by sending them an email asking them to take a look at them again.
First let me say, we really appreciate the dialogue and understand the frustration. We implemented the "requests author edit" feature so that articles had a better chance of making it to a network site. We knew there would be backlash because taking negative feedback is difficult. However, we thought it would be better than simply rejecting the article. And yes, we have an automated check box that delivers the feedback and more guidance. We couldn't possibly leave specific feedback on every article or we would never get through all of the articles we need to assess. Editors do have a way to leave specific feedback, which this editor did.
As for standards, we do have a different bar for different sites and are working on specific editorial policies for each site. For example, we can't have the same standard for holidappy as healdove; photos on Delishably and Bellatory are more important than on HowTheyPlay. We know certain sites are image focused and need higher-quality images. The images in your article, Marisa, should show that you are an expert on this topic. We also know that google holds a higher standard for YMYL (your money or your life) content, as it should, so we hold that content at a higher bar. Advice about a Halloween costume won't kill you, but advice on curing cancer could.
I understand that negative feedback is difficult, but we know our path is working and we are committed to only allowing high-quality articles on sites. Yes, we've made some mistakes, and I'm pretty sure we will make more, but our intention has always been in the best interest of the HubPages community and providing a platform for enthusiasts to share their knowledge.
Marisa, my advice is to remove the links at the bottom and add a lot of original images, if you have them, or cc images of women with grey hair. That's what your readers want to see. Hope that helps. Thanks again for the discussion.
I'm not upset by the feedback at all, just curious because I couldn't work out what the email was getting at.
The links at the bottom provide additional information which is useful to the reader, so it would reduce the value of the Hub to remove them (but I can appreciate the moderators don't have time to follow the links to check that). And there are thousands of articles on the subject which feature pretty pictures of women with gray hair: I'd rather not make my article a cookie-cutter copy.
No matter, I'd rather the Hub stayed on the main site than make the changes, and I'm fine with that.
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