Why is the blog called PhDiva?

PhDiva was a jokey nickname when I was a grad student, and yes, there are times I regret having named the blog PhDiva - it was meant to be light-hearted, and I'm not a big Diva. And yes a few people have tried to claim it as trademarked, but I've been using it for longer ...

I tagged you for a meme / to answer a set of questions / etc. Will you take part?

Sorry, probably not. They just ain’t my thing ...

Why havent you answered my e-mail / comment / Tweet / Facebook request?

I'm sorry, I try to answer comments and emails but don't always have time. Facebook requests I tend to ignore except from friends in real life and family.

Id like to advertise on PhDiva. What are your rates?

I am willing to consider them on a case by case basis, feel free to pitch your idea.

Why did you delete the comment I left?

I don't like rude or mean anonymous comments, so I sometimes delete them. This blog is an extension of my life, and in a sense I'm allowing you into my home. If it's something you wouldn't say face to face to someone over dinner, don't write it.

Can I send you a free book / product to review?

I loathe the assumption most PRs make that bloggers are easy targets and will automatically write something positive in exchange for a freebie. You're welcome to send me your product, and if I like it I might mention it here or in the Culture Concierge newsletter, but no guarantees. Address is under "Contact Me" etc. I should point out that Ben Goldacre named-check PhDiva in his book Bad Science ("a charming but obscure blogger") and I am not a fan of either pseudo-science or bullies, so I would never promote Rodial products, chia seeds or weight loss drugs.

Who designed your sites?

Me. It's easy, but remember that less is more - it looks better and loads faster. This blog is hosted by Blogger and I used their software. Loot Busters is a bit of a mess design-wise, as it is just too photo-heavy. Culture Concierge I built using Yahoo Site Builder - it comes free with hosting and is fabulously easy to use, although limited in what it can do - and a combination of my images and free clip-art. I've seen some very elaborate web sites, for example a Paris-based CC clone, but ... their clients also asked me to re-write and fix the awful itinerary they created, so substance is better than Flash.

When is your next book due?

Soon after pigs start flying. Seriously, I have no real urge to go through all that publicity nonsense again (yup, I ranked higher than a story about sex curing headaches on Yahoo News ... those were the old days when Yahoo was big ...). I also don't have the time right now to write a proper book in the way I would want to this time, but offer Ian Drury enough money and the right package and I'm willing to consider it.

Do you exchange links? I have a blog / website / something ...

I love hearing about new blogs, but I don't do link exchanges. I only link to blogs and web sites I read very regularly and believe in - otherwise the page would be all links.

Can I quote your blog?

Of course.  

What's your advice to people starting a blog?

Blog about what you love and what interests you - if you try to fake it, readers will pick up on that, just as people do in 'real' life. Don't try to copy someone else's 'formula' because if that blog is already a success, then why would people want an imitation. Keep it simple - the more gadgets you have that more it distracts people, and the less likely they are to come back. Ignore "the rules" - I often do, and it's more interesting. 

Can I email you?

Yes, my email is under "Contact Me" - I try to answer, honestly, but I tend to be deluged with emails about work so can't always.

General Policies

I've been blogging for so many years that someone called me the "grand-mother of archaeology blogging" and I've learnt that ... this is my blog and I'll blog whatever I want, in any way I want, so :-P

I tend to delete comments only if I find them offensive - for example racist or homophobic or implying someone has a drug habit.

I am not interested in guest posts from people promoting dodgy web sites. I welcome guests posts from people I respect, for example Sarah Bond, and if you'd like to guest blog just drop me a line. 

I value my time, so if you want me to work for you, you have to pay me.

I have no particular interest in being on television, for example, so if you're a production company please don't bother to email me with offers of doing all your research in "return" for the "chance" to be on TV - please go through my agent. Also don't try and 'guilt' me into it, as I already give 10+ hours a week to charities, and I react badly to bullies.

I have an agent, I signed an exclusive worldwide contract with him, etc.

I used to wonder why PRs keep offering to send me books, creams, etc, and then I looked at the stats: 172772 pages views this year for the post about Christina Hendricks' Curves, 29433 for the post about What Did Cleopatra Look Like? ... I tend to be sporadic in posting, and often take down old posts that are no longer relevant, so readers vary from the (very odd) peaks of about 200,000 page views a day (BBC story way back, '08 Obama election) to currently just under 5,000 a day.

If you want to send things, just send them - no need to email me (address etc in the "Contact Me" section). I don't guarantee to review or mention them, and as much as I love books I don't always have the inclination to finish them. If I like it I'll say so, if I don't I might say so or more likely ignore it. I check that address once in a while, so it's not good for urgent deliveries.

Any books etc I don't keep I either donate to a library or a local shelter. I pass on unsuitable beauty products to friends or to a local shelter for abused women.

I should also declare that I tend to be more generous in my reviews to really good friends ... eg Adrian Goldsworthy

I reserve the right to post really stupid and offensive emails people send.

I don't really do blogger events or openings or parties (oh sod it, great food can lure me though).
I also have a brain - so please don't expect me to cut and paste your press release gushingly.

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