Monday, January 17, 2011

Suite101 vs. Yahoo! Contributor Network: The Experiment

I recently found myself faced with a difficult question and no real answer at hand. After a little brainstorming with myself I came up with an idea for an experiment.

Since being approved to write for Suite101 I have been busy reading the guidelines and searching through articles about – none other than – writing for money. I find it interesting and a learning experience to read what other people are saying about freelance writing. I also find it inspirational and motivating, but I digress . . .

I have been working on an article that I plan to submit to Yahoo! Contributor Network. In the midst of researching Suite101 and writing an article for Y!CN a thought occurred to me. Why couldn’t I republish the same, or similar, article on Suite101 AND Y!CN? I was interested in learning whether or not I could get more visibility for my articles and make more money if I publish it on both sites.

An important item I learned while researching Suite101 was that they carry full rights to my articles for one year. After one year I can republish my articles on other sites. This is very important to know! It means that if I publish an article on Suite101 I cannot publish the same article anywhere until a year has passed.

This leads me to the difficult question. Where can I make the most money? Suite101? or Y!CN?

When I look at the payment options between Suite101 and Y!CN I learned that Y!CN pays upfront and performance payments for pieces that have not been published. They pay performance payments for pieces that have been published. Let’s say I have an article that I have yet to publish. By submitting it to Y!CN I have a better chance at making a little upfront money PLUS performance payments. I have yet to publish anything so I cannot say what the upfront or performance payments are.

How can I make money with Suite101? I can make money through advertising. How much depends on traffic and interest in the advertisements on the page where my article is.

After careful thought and consideration I have come up with an experiment. I will send an article to Y!CN and one to Suite101 on the same day. The idea is to compare the editing process and time frame for publication – that is if the articles are approved. I can also see which site offers the most earning potential.

Wish me luck! I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I have been approved to write for Suite101!

After a great deal of hesitation and a push from all the ads I have seen on the Web, I decided to apply to Suite101. It always makes me nervous when I have to submit an application and provide background information on myself and samples of my writing. BUT! I overcame my fear, applied and was approved! I can hardly wait to submit my first article . . . I just need to some research on the site to get a feel of the atmosphere and check out the tutorials.

I will keep you posted on what I learn and what I earn!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Writing for Money: How I Started

After graduating college with an English degree in May of 2010, I decided to go into the executive administrative field. I considered writing for money, but was somewhat intimidated by the idea. I already had experience in the administrative field. I was once a secretary for a busy real estate office and then became a volunteer coordinator for a non-profit organization. I figured with my experience and degree I would land a job in no time. After a month of sending resumes, searching the Internet and making cold calls I became discouraged when no one returned my calls or responded to my resumes. It seemed that nobody was hiring. I reconsidered writing for money. It was something I had always wanted to do. I enjoyed writing and wanted the flexibility to work at home. So, I decided to give it a try and see if I could make money as a writer.

I soon realized that deciding to write for money and actually making money as a writer are two different monsters. I discovered that I needed determination, patience, perseverance, and more importantly knowledge on how to begin!

Words from one of my English professor’s still resonate in my head, “The Internet, Jodi. That’s how you will make money.” He said this to me after I quizzed him about making money as a writer. Since I had considered the thought before school ended and I had no luck with landing a job I was pretty much forced to finally make up my mind and find a way to make money as a writer. I had the time - for I was jobless. I had the ambition - I just graduated college with a bachelor’s degree – yippee! And I had an Internet connection. Then I hit a bump on the road. I wasn’t even out of the garage – so to speak – before stalling the car. I became paralyzed by fear when I realized I had no idea what I was doing. How was I going to make money by writing . . . on the Internet?

It has been several months (a smidge over six) since my car – so to speak – stalled. I got the engine going again and have pulled out of my driveway and am traveling down my road to writing for money.

I will show you how I started . . .

I began to research

When I say, “I had no idea how to start making money as a writer,” I am being completely honest. BUT! Thank goodness for search engines like Google and Yahoo. One day, after stalling (or procrastinating) I sat down and typed in a few keywords and received instant hits. That was how I got my drive going, again.

Keywords I used:       

Writing for money online
Writing for money on the Internet
Freelance writing jobs

With all of the hits I had I became a researching maniac! It was like a whole new world opened up for me. I began to see that there were many ways to make money as a writer! I was browsing sites that offered a list of jobs for writers and I was scanning sites that paid writers upfront or through residual income. I would spend days looking at these sites. Before long I became overwhelmed with all of the information and found myself stalling again. I needed to arrange the vast information into something more Jodi friendly. 

I organized myself

At first, I would print everything from the site of interest and place the information in a notebook for easy access, but I found that I used a lot of paper and ink. So, I started to bookmark sites that were most useful to me.

I had a large journal with nothing in it and decided to use it for notes and ides. This journal has become priceless to me! When an idea strikes me I write it in my journal. I consider my journal a mess that only I can understand! I have notes scattered throughout along with web addresses and job leads.

With all of my research and ideas in a tidy area, be that on my computer or in my journal, I am able to research more efficiently and focus on making money as a writer - which leads me to the next item . . .

I applied for writing jobs

By doing research and organizing the information I was ready to apply for writing jobs. One of the sites that caught my attention was Demand Media Studios. DMS offers upfront payments for articles, and writers can choose from a list of assignments. Before I could do anything with DMS I had to submit an application, resume and two writing samples. I had nothing published at the time. After a few frantic moments I decided to send an article from a newsletter that I developed in college and a donation letter I had drafted for a local non-profit organization. I was excited when DMS approved my application!

In addition to applying to DMS I began to apply to want-ads for writers. One of the sites offering a wide range of help-wanted ads for writes is Online Writing I have found this site to be invaluable in my research for writing work.

Something I noticed as I was scanning application forms and want-ads was that many sites and companies want writing samples or links to a Blog. I came up with writing samples, but a Blog I did not have. So, my next destination . . .

I began a Blog

I was hesitant to begin a Blog. When I first started to toss the notion around I was coming up with ideas that covered parenting styles, environmental issues, and writing. I felt as if I was experiencing an instance where I am offered three wishes and my mind just goes blank. I can have ANYTHING I want, but I freeze. I really had no idea what to write about, and yet I was filled with ideas.

I came up with the initiative to Blog about how I make money as a writer. It is my desire to assist others and at the same time it will give me experience and samples of my writing. I am still learning the Blog process and am finding that there are ways to make money with it, and I am all about making money!

I still spend a lot of time researching and my journal is growing with ideas. I apply myself daily to sites that offer work to writers and continue to work on articles for my Blog. I am a busy girl and my time is precious and I make certain to  . . .

Schedule my time effectively (or at least I try to)

It is easy for me to get off track. I can stare out the window and ponder my writing dreams, but that doesn’t help to pay the bills. I can jump at the beckon call of family members and friends, but that doesn’t get my work done. It took me a while to formulate a schedule that works – truth be known, I am still perfecting it.

I typically begin my day by checking my email. I then scan assignments on Demand Media Studios. I search for jobs on sites like Online Writing then begin, or complete assignments from the previous day. I spend a few hours brainstorming with myself on ideas for upcoming articles. Basically, my days are made up of writing, researching and planning projects.

The information above is by no means a complete car-care kit – so to speak – but it did guarantee my start at making money as a writer! I have come to understand that the process is going to be a long one – but the benefits are going to be worth it! I just need to keep driving . . .

Sites of Interest:

Photo provided by Jodi Hughey. Copyright 2011.

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Not-so-Formal Three-Minute Writing Resume

In the beginning . . .

I started in the writing field before I hit kindergarden. I started with creating books out of construction paper and glue. I would draw pictures and scribble marks that in my young eyes were actually words. I would then glue the pages together to bind the book. In grade school I started my first book . . . a romance . . . and a terrible one at that! In junior high I started on my second book about a teenage girl looking for love. That book went nowhere. I dabbled in song writing, too. When I hit high school I was sending queries to magazines with the hopes of publishing my first article. I had a story accepted by Highlights for Children on the condition I made a few revisions. I was ecstatic! I was on my way to becoming a writer and I hadn’t even graduated high school yet!

Shortly after graduation I started as a contributor for a local newspaper. My job was to write articles that covered school activities and events. It wasn’t long before I had established relationships with many schools in the area and soon I was being called by principles and teachers with article ideas. It was a great time, but it didn’t last long. The editor committed suicide and the paper folded, as did my job. I was too young to take what I had learned and utilize the relationships I had started to begin a paper of my own. The idea never struck me, but . . .

I purchased a book about self-publishing and it didn’t take me long to create a book, obtain an ISBN number and start a marketing campaign. I was young and knew enough to get by, but not actually succeed . . .

In the middle . . .

In my late 20’s I began working for a rape crisis center. I created brochures and newsletters. I also assisted with grant writing and wrote letters requesting donations; from money to materials. One of my greatest accomplishments for the organization was creating a training manual for volunteers. I was responsible for doing the research, writing, and formatting the information in an easy to follow guide.

Recently . . .

I have a Bachelor’s degree in English, a few publishing credentials, a Blog and a sense of humor.

While attending college I was part of the English Club and editor for the campus literary publication for three semesters. I worked as a writing tutor and assistant to the coordinator of the Service-Learning Program. For the Program I created a brochure and two newsletters.

After graduating in May, 2010 I had an idea I wanted to be a freelance writer. I hesitated on embarking on a freelance journey. Instead I opted for the traditional route: working for someone else. I sent out at least a hundred resumes and received no bites. I explored the Internet for writing jobs and stumbled on an ad seeking writers. I applied to be a writer and was approved!

Currently . . .

I offer copywriting, web content writing, proofreading and editing services.

Obviously, I have left out a few items. I just wanted to provide an idea of my merits and a sense of where I have been.

If I had to give an objective to what I want, or a reason behind my madness, I would have to say that I have a desire to communicate with words and be the mouth for those who cannot speak, or cannot speak well. For me, writing is everything. It has always been with me and it has never let go. I will take what I have learned and use it to the full extent.

If you would like to get an idea of what I have written I have included a few links to my publications . . .

Service-Learning Program Brochure

Exceptional Service + Exceptional People = PAL Mission

Benefits of Joining Campus Clubs and Organizations

Photo provided by Jodi Hughey. Copyright 2011.