I Write For Money – Or That’s The Idea, Anyway
I have been exploring my write for pay options over the past week or so during the school holidays. Term time is upon us so that means I am back to being busy tutoring and lecturing. I don’t try to make every penny I need just from my writing, I’d starve and so too would my wife and five small daughters. So four times a year for ten weeks at a time I tutor about six or seven, mostly high school and undergrad students in English, History, Geography, Social Science and up to Year 9 in maths. I also run my community college courses that I designed: ‘Become A Published Author‘, ‘Making A Living As An Online Writer‘ and ‘Critical Reading And Writing’. I’m in the process of developing them for online, distance delivery. I have also written units of learning for the Master of Arts in Writing course at my alma mater, Swinburne University of Technology and of course, at the moment I have my ongoing eBook series for a US client. On top of all that I am publishing books and eBooks and helping other writers where I can. But there is always time left for making money, so I thought I would find some other, paying, writing gigs.
I have had some success with Elance, but not Odesk, although that is more my laziness than any fault with the web site. I have dabbled with ‘content mills’ in the past but felt the low rates of pay simply weren’t worth the effort. $5 for 500 words is a fairly average sort of rate. I looked around for more and found it. The first site was Demand Studios and they are aptly named. They do, indeed, demand a lot for the $15 they offer for a 400 -500 word ‘How To article. You apply and submit a sample of your writing along with a resume and they decide where they will place you and what assignments you can chase. Then you have to submit three articles to see how you go.
I found it rather bizarre that under the topic heading of ‘Literature’ they had article titles such as:
Pero Stair Nose Installation Instructions, How to Speed Up a Token Ring Topology, Repair of Huck AK175A Tools, How to Repair a Miehle Vertical Printing Press, How to Repair a Miehle Vertical Printing Press That Will Not Go on an Impression, How to Insulate Stoker Firebrick, How to Write a Queue Class Without Using Templates in C, How to Make Comic Book Software for Windows 98, How to Access Office Live Communicator Through Code, How to Use the Navigator PICC Guidewire Use With Bard
I found three titles I felt I could handle; ‘How To Make Sap Gloves’, ‘How To Repair Switchblade Knives’ and ‘How To Make A Keel For A Duck Boat’. I was wrong, I couldn’t handle them at all, at least not Demand’s way. I was told I should have double checked the titles they had on offer seeing as how I quite rightly pointed out that possession of sap gloves and switchblades is illegal in many states. So now it is the new guys responsibility to police their titles? I also had to include proper references the way they liked them. So where was I going to get a reference on sap glove manufacture or the repair of cheap, Mexican made switchblades? The thing is, I used to own a few of those switchblades in my edged weapon collection (I had a permit) and I know the most common repair needed on them and how to do it. But I am not expert enough for Demand. The same with the sap gloves. How hard is it to figure out a way to make up a field expedient pair of weighted gloves? Yet again, I am not expert authority enough for a $15 article! Like, who is?
When it came to the keel on the duck boat, same problem. I have made boats before but that isn’t good enough for Demand Studios. If I had put that on my resume they might have allowed it, but I focused on my writing, not my hobby boat making. All up, with rewrites, finding photos (they insist on a photo or a reason why you haven’t got one and a caption that says more than merely describing what is in the photo) and of course sourcing references…. we are talking three hours of my time at least. Since they were all rejected, no pay. But then no problem, I doubt I would want to work for such anally retentive a culture as that one anyway and I guess by now I won’t be allowed to anyway.
So who else is there out there to write for? Here is a list of URLs I have gathered from my colleagues at LinkedIn. They all write for one or more of these sites and I am slowly working my way through them. As I learn more, so shall you. As I get paid to write, so I will write and tell you all about it.
|http://writeraccess.com US Only|
|http://textbroker.com US Only|