Friday, March 26, 2010

Make a Living Writing Online?

It's not about the networking.  Okay, so maybe it is a little.  After all, without networking, you couldn't make friends with your fellow writers and have that support system with help and leads that we all love and need.  What I'm saying is that if you think you're gonna increase your page views by digging heavily into networking, unless you have a network of millions, it's not gonna work like you want it to.

But I've learned a little something along the way.  If you want the page views, if you want to make the money, here's what you do:

  • Don't just write for AC.  I currently write for AC and in addition to my blogs.  I could probably make a lot more if I wrote for other sites as well but I prefer to keep it to two sites and concentrate extra time on my creative writing.  If you'd like information on different sites that pay, you can consult experienced writer Suzanne Alicie's site, Freelance Writer Online.
  • Stick with it.  Trust me when I say that you WILL get frustrated.  Your pay will suck while you are starting out and learning the ropes.  But if you keep working at it, you will eventually learn what I have and earn a descent pay out of it.
  • Write frequently, write often, write well.  If you need a critique and some advice on your article writing, hit the AC forums and put your work in the Workshop for more experienced contributors to take a look at.  Don't be too shy to do this.  It could mean the difference between your failure and success on AC and other sites.
  • Research frequently searched topics and hot topics.  In addition to writing articles that can last over a long period of time, write for the heavy hitting as well.
Another thing I've learned about this biz is that there are two types of contributors out there.  On one hand you have the hobby contributors who publish here and there when it suits their fancy.  Three such contributors are, Randy Barefoot, Dell Billings, and Erich Rosenberger, MD.  On the other hand, you have the contributors that want to make a living of this.  There are too many of those to list.

If you're one of those people who want to make a living of it, in addition to the points above, you have to understand that you have to treat your content writing as if it were a job where you get up and go to work everyday.  Everyone thinks working at home is all about watching all the television you want, taking breaks when you want, being able to just take off when you want... and while the flexibility is great (it's awesome being able to make a doctor's appointment without having to check a work schedule or check with a boss), you will need to be in the mindset that it is a job.  If it helps to get up in the morning and shower and dress like you would if you were leaving the house, then do it.  If it helps to sit down and schedule your writing throughout the week, then do it.  Often, you will work harder than you would if you were leaving the house to work.  But in the end it is worth it.

But you have to understand that it will take time.  Even after all this time, I'm still learning.  Just stick with it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

You Might Be An AC Contributor If...

In the great fashion of Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck if...", here is a list of "You might be an AC contributor if...".  If you are an Associated Content contributor, enjoy recognizing yourself in the list below. 

Feel free to add your own in the form of a comment below.  Have fun and keep writing!

You might be an AC contributor if...

-You dream in SEO.

-When your spouse nags, you can pick out the keywords.

-When you're struggling for article ideas and you think that an article about the disgusting stuff you found in your kid's jeans pocket is a good idea.

- When you turn on the computer to check page view updates before you turn on the coffee pot in the mornings.

- Seeing a heart monitor makes you want to check your account page.

- You can form a keyword cloud in your head just by reading a magazine article.

- When you make a reference to being "Darnelled" to your family without giving thought that they have no clue what you are talking about.

Care to add yours below?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pointing Out Others' Mistakes Publicly Makes YOU Look Like an Idiot

First, allow me to point your attention to an Examiner article I wrote a little over a month ago.  This came on the heels of someone who publicly commented on one of my Examiner articles that I basically was full of s*** and had no clue what I was talking about on my page.  Why would someone take advice from someone who couldn't spell?

So, why the drama?  Because there was a typo in my title.  I inadvertently wrote "chose" which was supposed to be "choose".  And instead of sending me an email (which is available on the page), the person decided to rip me to shreds, demean my credibility, and try to prove their own superiority by downing me on a comment section which could be seen by everyone who viewed my page.

Lately I've been getting several comments on my Associated Content articles by people who want to be the grammar police and want to publicly throw stones at me for typos and mistakes.  It's been happening a lot more lately, which I guess is because of my new found success at AC, having come in over 100,000 page views now, I'm starting to get some more attention.  People are taking a look at my articles to either try to figure out where to go with theirs and get descent page views or they are taking a look at my articles to pick them apart for mistakes to try to tell themselves that they are superior and can write better.  The thing about this is that nine times out of ten, these "Guests" that leave questionable remarks on our articles are actually other contributors.  So to those who want to waste time trying to up their own ego by cowering behind a "Guest" title and leaving comments that only make them look like a nitpicking idiot, this post is for you.

I've never claimed that I was a better writer then anyone else.  When I began this blog, it was done so on the newbie level.  Since then, I've grown with experience and with that came the inevitable "figuring things out".  Now, while I've figured many things out, I don't know it all and I've never claimed to know it all.  I try to help where I can and if I don't know the answer, then I'll find someone who does.

What were the comments?  One comment from "Guest: Canadian Writer" stated, "Please, please, please take a writing coarse."  Another comment from "Guest: Jazz" pointed out some mistakes and proceeded to order me to correct them on my articles as if that person was paying me instead of AC.  And they do this publicly to try to rally support.  There have been many more comments but you get the drift.

Listen, on places like AC, Examiner, and all my blogs, mistakes are inevitable.  These are fast publishing platforms and as such, sometimes it runs like a mill.  Doing around 3 to 5 articles across the board on most days, I'm bound to miss something.  I am human despite what my stepchildren might believe.  If there is a very obvious mistake on something, I more then appreciate a nice quick (private) note to let me know so that if I have the power to go in and change it (if it is a Display Only on AC, for instance), then I can.  And trust me, I will thank the person who does that for me.

So, before you point out my most common mistakes, I already know what they are:

-Course and coarse: I used to have a BAD problem with this one.  I'm not that terrible with it anymore but occasionally in a hurry, I won't pay attention to which one I'm using.
- Then and than: same as the above.  Only I haven't gotten any better with this usage.  This is next on my agenda to conquer.
-I'm southern and as such, I don't talk (or write) the way most others do.  If you catch an "ain't got no" phrase in my work, it's just me writing in my talking voice.  Same goes for some other phrases that I use.  If it is too terrible to swallow, then drop me a note.  I may or may not have intentionally wrote it that way.

Having said that, if it is a matter of little things like "then and than" that you are drawing my attention to, I won't be going back to fix it.  Regular readers (who are not also writers) are likely not going to notice anyway.  I don't see the need to waste time going back through my over 200 articles to correct "then and than".

Inevitably, though, I will still get these "superior" remarks because there are those out there who simply have nothing better to do.  And I shall block and move on.