Writing for Ritza
If you're part of the small group of people who likes writing and coding, we might be a good fit. Ritza produces very technical articles, blog posts, documentation, and ebooks, usually including code samples.
In many cases, our writers build proof-of-concept projects and write about how they did it, so they are proficient at programming (often generalists so that they can e.g. build a small web application, including the front-end, back-end, and database) and love writing (while we have expert editors on board, our writers are also good at things like sentence structure, grammar, and explaining complicated concepts using simple language).
We produce articles across a wide range of subject areas, but some focus areas include:
- Software Engineering - e.g. building web applications, games, tools, etc
- DevOps - e.g. deploying applications to production environments or using specific platforms
- Machine Learning and MLOps - e.g. training basic models or setting up production ML architectures
Some examples of our work include:
- Code With Repl.it: A set of tutorials and ebook for learning to code while using Repl.it
- Code Capsules: an example of a project we did for a PaaS provider.
What you need to be considered
We work with writers from different backrounds and we do not look for formal qualifications (though in many cases an understanding of computer science fundamentals typically associated with a university degree is important). Many of our writers need
- Experience with coding, preferably in a production setting
- Experience with writing, preferably educational style non-fiction writing (e.g. a technical blog)
But these are not hard requirements, so if you have a strong interest in both we can show you the ropes.
How we work with writers
We are not a freelance marketplace, so nearly all of our writers work with us regularly, not on one-off projects. We think that writing 40h/week is a sure way to get burned out and we value the industry experience that our writers have too. A majority of our writers work with us on retainer agreements for a fixed number of hours per week. This is not in addition to a full time job - we don't believe that anyone should work for more than 40h/week, so most of our writers are part time or freelance engineers, or they have other priorities in life like spending more time with their families and therefore a part time arrangement works out well for them.
Our preferred method of hiring is
- We look at your application (possibly including CV, writing samples, code portfolio, motivation letter though none are compulsory)
- If we like it, we arrange a short, informal call to get to know you a bit better
- If we like each other after that, we contract you to do a trial article (around 2000 words)
- If we like each other after that, we agree to a monthly retainer (you work 10-30 hours/month for us for a fixed monthly fee)
How our writing process works
Our writers often propose article topics themselves. Sometimes we have specific topics to meet the needs of our customers, or we brainstorm interesting topics as a team. Once a topic is finalised, the writer starts a draft. This often involves writing some example code, and then writing an article including that code. The article goes through some rounds of editing, usually a technical feedback round where higher level feedback is given and then a language feedback round focusing on clarity and match with our style guide.
Once an article is ready, we push it to relevant places - usually our customer's own website and possibly also channels like Medium, HashNode, and Dev.to.
We focus on quality over speed (we try to avoid 'rush work' or very short deadlines), but at the same time we work with a high velocity. Articles do not sit around between rounds of editing waiting for feedback from different people. The technical and language editing rounds should take no more than 2 days in most cases.
Frequency and quantity of posts
This depends a lot on complexity - a 2000 word post can take 2 days or 2 weeks, depending on things like research needed and technical complexity. We always mutually agree deadlines with our writers: usually they propose one that seems manageable to them first, instead of the assigning them arbitrarily. The number of posts a writer can do also depends on their hourly agreement with us. Some examples:
- A writer on a 15h/week contract with us produces, on average, a proof-of-concept application and draft of 2000 words per week (perhaps 5-7 hours on each the code and writing, with some time for collaboration, editing, updating existing content, etc)
- A writer on a 4h/week contract with us produces one very in-depth article (5000+ words with extensive code samples) after 4 weeks.
- A writer on a 30h/week contract with us produces 2 drafts a week for 2 different customers.
In many cases, we like to go from idea->shipped as early as possible. We like 'working in public', so we would prefer to make incomplete work public and get feedback on it then to spend weeks polishing it internally only to realise that no one really cares.
How does authorship, copyright, and bylines work?
We think that writing is a team activity, with the author as a central role. We strive to treat authors more like they might be used to from working with book publishers (many other roles support the author) rather than following the process used by content mills (where the author is pulled in different directions by different managers).
That said, most of our writing is for third-party customers who are doing this for their own brands, and therefore in most cases the author's name (nor the Ritza branding) will not appear on the final version. Authors are always welcome to include links to articles they have worked on in personal portfolio sites and similar.
Ebooks and larger projects are published under the Ritza brand, potentially with a list of contributors.