If you're in it for money, you'll be disappointed.
Because it's not a highly searched thing, if you expect to come into AC to get rich from your creative writing, you've got another thought coming. Even if you're super good, it takes time, networking, and patience to build an audience.
So how do you make money from it? Write for AC as a content writer first and think of publishing creative endeavors as secondary.
The most common complaint I hear from contributors is that their poetry or short stories aren't bringing in page views. One way to get page views is to get on Facebook and Twitter and network the link. However, even networking, it is unlikely, unless you're super popular, that you'll get the rockin' page views that you'd want, but it shouldn't deter you. As you build up more content, you should revisit those links that aren't getting as many page views and tweet them out every so often. But to be honest, very few people on AC who write short stories or poetry ever get the outstanding page views they want. So why continue to do it?
Why should I write short stories and poetry if I'm not getting the page views?
Associated Content is an excellent platform to get your feet wet in that area of writing. Not only do you get the practice that every writer needs, you get feedback from fellow writers. (Please note that you can't get feedback if you don't network so get out there and network yourself!)
Be aware, though, once you publish your story on AC, you lose first publishing rights. For me, this isn't a big deal as I am constantly churning out story after story. But many writers have a problem with this so that's why I'm sticking it out here. But I feel like if musicians and artists are expected to put themselves out there in order to get to the top, it should be the same way for writers. There are a number of people out there, though, who believe that writers should keep their work hidden away and wait for the big offers. But I feel like if you aren't willing to put yourself out there, learn, and grow, then you're going to have a hard time getting noticed anyway. But that's my opinion and I respect that others feel different about it.
Having creative writing on my page that isn't getting the page views like my other content is dragging down my page view average.
(Say that three times fast!)
This is another common complaint and one that I can't say whether it has much merit or not. I've even heard contributors say, "If this poem doesn't get more views by the end of the month, I'm deleting it."
First, if you're simply writing your creative writing for the money of it, like I mentioned before, you'll be disappointed. Second, and this is another opinion of mine, why write fiction or poetry at all? When you're thinking of dollar signs even as you write the words, it will reflect in your writing. You should never write creatively for money alone. You should write it for the passion of it first.
As long as you're writing good evergreen and popular content, then publishing a poem or short story maybe once or twice a month won't make a bit of difference. Page view averages, as long as you are writing consistently and well with other articles, rarely make much of a difference in upfront offers or other page views (not that I could see anyway).
Getting a break from the routine
Associated Content is one of the few platforms (and is the best among it's peers, IMO) where you can sign up and write about ANYTHING you want. Many of us make a business of it by writing evergreen and popular content. Other popular sites are topic focused and that editorial we may want to write about the election has no place among our other pages. Being an AC writer lets us have that voice and break from the routine. This is the same with fiction and poetry. We are lucky to have an outlet where if we're struck by the muse, we can write our creative piece and (unless you are brand new) can publish it immediately, satisfying our need to be read.
As always, every writer on Associated Content has very different goals and dreams. What may work for one doesn't always work for another. I offer this post as just one view of many. Ultimately, it's your choice but I just wanted to show that it isn't always a bad thing to have your creative writing published on AC.
If you're interested, I have a Creative Writing column on Examiner.com. Join me and subscribe if you'd like. I cover almost everything writing related.
(ETA: 12/01/10 - I noticed this old post was getting hit quite a bit lately so I wanted to add that I no longer write for Examiner.com (Hence the removed link). Instead, you can keep up with what I'm doing in creative writing on my Author Site. The blog there basically serves the same purpose that my column on Examiner.com did plus it's also my personal blog. Thanks for reading!)