.....Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand. For the times they are a-changin.
I usually try not to post rants on this blog and instead focus on providing helpful information. However, since this is the one tiny corner of the internet in which I don't have to apologize for my opinion, I figure there's no better place to present my feelings.
I considered quitting the blog, the forums, and all other means of online social interaction today. This is normally my first reaction to these things. I don't have to deal with it, so I won't. My feelings are easily hurt and while I can take criticism, or even blatant disagreement with my views, I can't understand personal attacks, no matter how subtly executed.
I don't like being at odds with anyone. I don't like being responsible for harsh feelings or disagreements in any form. I believe that kindness and understanding are far more effective than disparagement in every instance. That being said, I can only stand idly by without defending myself for so long, and I've got a few things to say.
Writing for content sites is NOT the same thing as freelancing for private clients.
There are so many old-school writers out there who don't seem to differentiate between the two. Gone are the days when it's necessary to send hundreds of query letters en masse every week to secure work. I rarely take on private clients and not because I'm incapable, but because I like to choose my own deadlines and write on the topics of my own choosing.
This doesn't make me any less of a writer. Good writing is good writing whether it's posted on Examiner.com or printed in the New York Times. However, that' s beside the point. What I'm really trying to get at here is the difference between writing for content sites and freelancing for clients.
Here's a prime example. I read a blog post today, which I believe is in direct response to advice I gave to a fellow writer on the WAHM forum regarding Examiner.com. I told this writer that she should try it out and if it doesn't pan out, she could always quit.
I'm sure you, my dear reader, will see the wisdom in this advice if you have any experience with content sites, particularly residual income sites. But the blogger deemed it as "the worst advice ever," and then went on to say that it's irresponsible to quit a writing gig or enter into it knowing that you may quit.
When it comes to content/residual sites, I respectfully disagree.
When a writer stops writing for a residual income site, it doesn't "leave a void to fill." There are hundreds of people creating content for these sites. The site isn't out any money or time because you stopped contributing. In fact, they'll continue to profit from your contributions (as will you) even after you're gone.
Continuing to write for a residual income site when the earnings aren't there simply because you signed up seems a bit silly. In this situation, often quitting and cutting your losses is the best route, and you can never know which sites will perform well for you until you try them. I've tried almost all of them. Some I've kept, and others I've discarded.
I've "quit" writing for several sites (which still pay me monthly for my contributions) because I found others with higher rates. I fail to see what's wrong with this. Would you stay with a client who paid $10 an article if you found another who paid $20? Most of us would not. We'd finish out any obligations and move on to bigger, better things.
Quitting Examiner.com is not the same as abandoning a client who relies on you. I really feel that there has been a blurring of the lines when it comes to content sites and freelancing for private clients. They are two very different things and require two very different approaches.
I would never bail on a client or advise anyone else to do it, either. However, I stand by my advice that quitting a content site if it's not working out is the smart thing to do. This doesn't make you irresponsible or untrustworthy. In fact, it shows that you're smart enough to realize where your time is best spent writing - and where it's not.
This brings me to my next point...
I KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY I MAKE!
I write for upfront pay so that I can keep a weekly paycheck and pay my bills. Doing this work, I make more than enough money to support my family. However, when it comes to residuals I write in my spare time for extra money. To me, it's worth every second I spend doing it for the monthly payments I receive. Someday, I hope to rely on this income solely. Does this make me any less the writer than the person who writes full time for a magazine or website? I think not.
I can decide for myself if a site is lucrative enough to pursue. If it's not, I stop writing there. Where's the problem with this?
I can also share my experiences with others who wish to know them and trust them to use the information to their own benefit. I would never insult my readers, friends and colleagues by assuming that they aren't intelligent enough to find suitable gigs for themselves.
Another thing that irks me (and this is the last one, I promise) is when people shoot down residual income based on the short term returns. While I may have only earned $2 for an article in a month, it will generally continue to earn this amount every month. If I make less than this per article per month for several months, I call it quits and move on.
It takes time to decide if a site is right for you or lucrative enough to continue with. It's a gamble, and some writers aren't willing to take it. I used to be one of them, but no longer. I don't fault others who can't or won't try it. I know what it's like to need money right now and there was once a time when residuals weren't an option for me. Now I have the time to pursue these sites and I'll experiment all over the place and leave anything that doesn't work in the dust.
It's insulting when people insinuate that I don't understand or know how much money I'm making. I keep extremely detailed records for each residual income site I pursue. If the earnings don't live up to my expectations, I continue to collect my monthly payments and move on to something better.
I know that I won't always be paid what I'm worth by doing this. I know that some of my articles will make only a small fraction of what they may generate for the site on which they're published. However, this is a chance I'm willing to take to establish a long-term passive income.
So far, I've found three sites which have met my requirements on article earnings - ehow, Suite 101 and Examiner. The latter two may not work out in the long run, but for now I'm earning at least $24 per year per article. If my earnings drop below this, I won't contribute there anymore, no matter how irresponsible someone else might believe me to be.
When it comes to residual income, you can't just take a very small sample of earnings and use this to make a decision. I have 10 articles on Examiner.com. I've made around $19.00 so far this month. That's $1.90 per article. Well, many people would scoff at that amount and call me an idiot for writing for such low wages. THIS ISN'T HOW IT WORKS!
I've only made $1.90 per article THIS MONTH. That means that if my earnings don't increase at all, I'll make approximately $22.80 per article per year. That's perfectly fine with me, especially when it takes me a total of around 30 minutes to write one article (including keyword research) and about 20 seconds to promote it on Twitter, which is the only promotion I do.
This puts my hourly writing rate at around $45 per hour for Examiner, which is what I average writing for upfront pay. If I begin to make less than this, it's not worth it, but please don't insinuate that I don't understand how to value my own time and work.
I'm not in this for the glamor or the fun. I'm in it to earn a living, and that's what I intend to do, regardless of anyone else's perception. I will retaliate no further, but I did feel that I should say something in my own defense here. I have no hard feelings for anyone, but I am sorry that potentially positive relationships with fellow writers have been made impossible by a difference of opinion.
Sometimes the online world is a little too reminiscent of the real one....