Guidelines for New Tellus Members

  • Articles should be at least 500 words in length and should not be more than 1.500 words. Two 1,500 word articles have a greater impact than one 3,000 word article in terms of attracting traffic to the website and building your audience. Readers tend to get annoyed when you go over 1,000 words, and very annoyed when you go over 2,000. When readers become annoyed, they stop reading.
  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the deliberate use of another person’s copyrighted words in your document without attribution. You have a perfect right to quote from any copyrighted material without obtaining permission from the copyright owner in the course of writing a news article, a review, a scholarly paper, or any other project in which the opinions of the person being quoted are significant. You must give credit where credit is due by putting quotation marks around the quote and citing author, the publication, or both. You must also provide a hyperlink to the original article from which the quotes have been taken. We have software that checks for plagiarism. If we find that you have submitted plagiarized work as your own, you will be terminated. If we find that more than 10 percent of an article was copied, you will be warned. Three strikes and you’re out.
  • Pornography: Graphic depictions of sexual acts or sexual intercourse are not permitted. Gratuitous descriptions of sexual behavior are not permitted. Violators will be warned under the three strike rule.
  • Libel: Libel is a false or defamatory statement made in a published article.The problem with libel is that the burden of proof is on you. You have to prove that the statement was true. Tells News Digest does not edit or review posts for libel and we accept no responsibility for any libel committed by the users of the website. You are also on your own if you are sued for libel. 
  • Defamation of Character: Defamation of character includes statements made to deliberately hold another person up to shame, ridicule or embarrassment. This is also a gray area: it is possible to make a factual statement that nevertheless constitutes defamation of character. Satirists often run afoul of this fine distinction. It is difficult to prove, because it requires documentation of the perpetrator’s intent to do harm, but that means it is also difficult to defend against. Tellus News Digest accepts no responsibility for defamation committed by anyone who uses the website.
  • Hate Speech: Defamatory, provocative, incendiary statements or threats against any individual or group that refers to their gender, sexual preferences, race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship, or disability will not be published. Anyone making comments of this nature on Tellus articles will be barred from the site.
  • Don’t make shit up: You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. Do not invent quotes or attribute fake quotes to real people. Don’t make up fake people. Don’t be Jayson Blair.
  • Professional Courtesy: Treat people the way you want to be treated. Be civil. No excessive profanity or personal attacks of any kind on Tellus members will be tolerated. If you have a problem with another Tellus member, bring it to us. That’s what we are here for.
  • Do not ask for money: Do not give money to anyone. Report anyone who asks you for money regardless of the reason. You will be contacted by people who will promise to help your articles go viral. They are con artists. Avoid them.
  • Illicit Activities: Any attempt to conduct any illicit activities through Tellus will be reported to the appropriate authorities. If you have any doubt about whether an activity is permissible, ASK FIRST.


  1. No payments will be made until we receive IRS FORM W-9 accompanied by a copy of your Social Security Card and Driver’s License or other government document certifying your identity.
  2. All payments will be made by check only. Checks will be issued not less than 14 days and not more than 28 days after receipt of the invoice.
  3. Each month, Tellus News Digest will publish a trial closing statement for the previous month, itemizing income and expenditures for that month and showing the net profit for that month.
  4. The company’s books will be audited on a quarterly basis by an independent auditor. The auditor’s reports will be published on Tellus in the Members section.
  5. Each month, Tellus News Digest will tabulate the total number of words published during the previous month and determine the per word rate for payment by dividing the total net profit by the total number of words published that month. This rate will then be published on Tellus News Digest.
  6. As an independent contractor, you must tabulate the total number of words in the articles you have submitted to Tellus News Digest during the previous month and submit an invoice for payment that itemizes the articles for which you are claiming payment, using the form provided by Tellus News Digest. (Click here for the Invoice Form)
  7. If there are no net profits, there will be no cash distribution for that month.
  8. If there were no net profits for that month, the credit for the word count for that month will carry over to the following months until there are sufficient net profits to cover those payments.
  9. There will be no distributions of dividends to shareholders until such time as all pending invoices have been paid in full.

NEXT: How to Prepare an Article for Submission