Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fame and Fortune

As my loyal readers know, I left my job about a month ago to pursue a freelance writing career. Since then, I haven't had a lot of success. I actually started a freelance writing blog so as not to bore my bicycling readers with my freelance writing woes. However, this is somewhat related to mountain biking, so bear with me.

A couple weeks ago I answered an online ad for something called Demand Studios, which was looking for content writers for several blogs. I had to send them samples and be approved before writing any articles.

When submitting my application, they gave me the option of choosing a site. I was excited to see that LiveStrong was one of the options. I submitted my choice and a few days later found out I was approved. There's only one problem. I was approved to write articles for eHow and eHow only.

I didn't waste much time worrying about it because, after all, clients aren't exactly beating down my door, and getting paid to write is getting paid to write.

So, here's the way it works. I can look at a list of available topics and choose one I am interested in writing. This was where my second disappointment was realized. Among the 40 or so topics there were to choose from, most went something like this: "How to Remove the Windshield from a '68 Camaro" or "How to Start a Tanning Booth Business in Indonesia." None of these was even remotely up my alley.

But, wait. There's a silver lining. They allow you to submit your own titles for approval. I could ask to write on any topic I wanted as long as the title began with "how to." Great. So, I set about thinking of titles and submitted a few, most of which were approved. I chose topics I could write from what was in my head, without having to do a lot of research.

Then came my third disappointment. The articles I submitted are worth exactly one-third of what their suggested articles are. So, I could still write these articles and get paid something for them, but it was even less than the already small amount for their articles.

All this buildup is only to announce that yesterday I found my first eHow article, with the very exciting title of "How to Dress for Winter Mountain Biking" had been published. Disclaimer: This is not some of my best work. The format they gave me is very restrictive and their publishing tool messed up all the bullets. (I thought they might fix these before it was published, but apparently I was wrong.)

I'm not posting this link because I want to brag about the article. Okay, maybe I do. You see, even though the article isn't great, someone actually paid me to write an article about mountain biking. That makes me an expert, right?

P.S. Please, no disparaging comments from the peanut gallery about what I left out, how this part sucks, etc. Chris, this particularly means you. Thank you.


Ali B. said...

Yay Andrea! I mean... certainly disappointing to realize the restrictions and lower pay for your own topics, but hey, it IS a start!? :) Ok, off to read your article... and no peanut gallery comments from me! I'm skiing this winter!

Lisa Russell said...

Hey Andrea, welcome to eHow. I used to write for Demand Studios, too. Their guidelines for eHow articles are really a great way to learn the format (still hate that format.) I support my family of eight via freelance writing online, so if I can do it anyone can.

Chris said...

Please read the commenter above. Your husband would like to spend the majority of his winters riding a trainer, on a sailboat in the Exumas. He needs your help in this pursuit.

I gave the article a 5.