Freelance Writing Woes
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 18, 2008
Only one post on a Monday, which is somewhat unlike me, but I have a good reason. My main computer is down, and I’ve spent most of the day working on it, trying to get it to reboot. Computers; ugh.
Then again, y’all have read about when I first took my computer to the computer guy and the subsequent visit with him, then again when I was trying to fix my computer and inadvertently deleted all my files while trying to reinstall Windows, then luckily being able to recover all my files. Computer problems are nothing new for me, and I’m still having problems with my computer even now, so I’m on the laptop writing this post as the computer works itself through another issue that I’ll probably write about at another time.
A few days ago, in a comment on one of my posts, I said that I’d love to find a writing gig or two and make some money off that. Well, putting my mind to it, I decided to do some research online to see if I could find someplace where someone was really looking for writers.
I figured freelance writing was the way to go as far as my search term. It came up with over 4.5 million websites; that should have given me a nice grove to pick from. Instead, it turned out to be filled with guppies and nothing else.
First, I’m not highlighting any of the pages I’m going to mention except one. They don’t deserve any links, good or bad, from me because, it seems, even the freelance writing field can be filled with scams, or less than perfect situations.
The first one I went to was freelancewriting.com, which seemed to make a lot of sense to me. It had jobs galore listed. However, it turned out to be mainly categories leading to other sites, which was gravely disappointing.
It got worse when I checked out a couple of the sites that it was linking to for freelance writing gigs. Two of them, online-writing-jobs.com and writingbids.com, were just more direct versions of the first one I mentioned. Instead of them having writing jobs, they linked to jobs listed in other places around the country. Many of the jobs these sites linked to were obviously scraped, because the jobs they were highlighting were from Craigslist.
I decided, since I was on this road, to look at the jobs on Craigslist. A couple of them appealed to me, so I sent both of them email to find out more.
One of them turned out NOT to be a writing gig at all, but some kind of odd deal where you go online and fill out those surveys you usually see on some of the big sites, where they promise you things such as cameras and the like, do everything to get whatever it is they’ll eventually give you, then you sell it to him for $20 and he gets to resell that item on eBay. Not quite a scam, but easily not worth any real person’s time.
The other was indeed looking for writers, but “free” writers, taking the word “free” at face value. Every other listing on Craigslist was, well, less than forthcoming once you clicked on the ad. Now, I didn’t check out every major city, but I did go through ads in my local area and NYC. Very disappointing.
I actually did find one site where someone could write something, but I was kind of disappointed with it also. It’s called Helium, and they’re more of a news site than an actual writer’s site. They do have a section where some people are looking for articles, and the pay ranges from $10 to $200, so I felt it was worth a look.
Even though I ended up submitting an article, there were two problems with this site. One, there aren’t a lot of requests for articles, which is why I could only find one I could submit to. Two, these people request multiple articles for a short period of time, and the only people who know whether or not their article is used is if you get paid.
How does one prove that someone got paid? I don’t know, but the article I wrote, which had to be at least 950 words, was for a shot at $60; not earth shattering, but it would have been interesting. Overall, I’d rather get at least .10 a word, but it was an experiment (I wrote a followup on Helium… it’s not good…).
It would seem that the world of online freelance writing is suspect at best, and hardly the best place to find any work. What one can try to do, though, is go to the Warrior Forum, possibly some other internet forums, after writing a package of articles, and try to market them there. They frown on new people coming in and submitting articles for purchase without at least participating on the forum for a little while. But that gets one into the business of Public Label Rights (PLR), something discussed in the book 20 Ways To Make $100 A Day Online.
There you go. If you’re looking to be a freelance writer, find another way to do it other than looking for websites or Craigslist. I hope I’ve just saved someone major disappointments.