Become a Question Writer
NAQT seeks question writers in all subject areas and all difficulty levels, though we are particularly in need of additional writers of middle school and high school questions. Previous experience writing questions in our style is helpful, but not necessary for acceptance.
In 2017–2018 we are paying up to $7.25 per tossup question and up to $5.45 per bonus question accepted by our editors for use in tournaments. The rate depends on the target difficulty of the question and the writer’s experience. Writers can also earn a bonus for writing consistently from week to week, leading to a maximum payment of $10.15 per tossup and $7.63 per bonus.
Writing for NAQT is the way many people enter the organization. Most of our current editors—and a number of our members—started out as writers for NAQT.
Applications from current college players are welcome; NAQT tracks the author of each submission to make sure writers do not hear their own questions at tournaments. College players may write for high school and middle school packet sets, and may also write college-level questions that will be stockpiled for later use. Applicants from people who are not current college players are also welcome, as long as they meet these criteria:
- Prospective writers must be at least 18 years old when they send in an application.
- Prospective writers must have, or be expected to have, a high school diploma (or equivalent) by August 1 of the year in which they apply.
- Applications are accepted between June 1 and July 31, inclusive, of each year. After July 31 we will not consider unsolicited applications until the following summer.
- NAQT requires prospective writers to submit a total of 10 sample questions (including at least 3 tossups and at least 3 three-part bonuses). After your writing sample is reviewed by our evaluation committee, you may be offered a one-year, renewable contract to work for NAQT as a question writer.
- Application questions must never have been shown to any other person besides the applicant.
It is expected that applicants will have experience playing or coaching quiz bowl. In general, successful applicants writers have had at least two years of experience as a player or coach.
NAQT has prepared a long article containing advice for applicants; we recommend reading it, but here are some highlights:
- Write your sample questions on the material you know best. As an NAQT writer you would never have to write questions in categories you don’t know well, though you can choose to do so.
- Proofread your questions for accuracy, easily understandable structure, and grammar.
- Write questions that are approximately the same length as NAQT’s questions. Tossups should be up to 291 characters for middle school and introductory high school, up to 425 characters for high school and Division II college play, and up to 500 characters for Division I college play. There are no formal length limits for bonuses, but keep them brief, as NAQT’s questions are meant to be played in timed matches.
- Look at NAQT’s sample questions to get a feel for our style.
Send your questions as an unformatted text file to firstname.lastname@example.org. NAQT’s editors aim to review all submissions and respond with comments within 30 days.
If you have any questions about this process, feel free to contact us at email@example.com.