Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How to Succeed as a Writer on Demand Studios

I often frequent many writer forums across the internet, and there seems to always be a trend in conversation concerning Demand Studios. Most of them center on the outrageous rewrite requests and many revolve around copy editor rants. I can and do sympathsize with those who express their concerns, but I do think that in some instances, people just are not fit for the writer life. Being a writer means dealing with rejection- plain and simple. I don't care what kind of a writer you are- be it fiction, non-fiction, novelist or article writer, we all must come to grips with rejection at one point or another.

I own a book, "How I got Published" which details the success stories of aspiring novelists. Often, I read it for inspiration for my own dreams. However, I've noticed a trend in many of these stories- rejection was a heavy influence on their success. Some had to face thousands of rejections or put up with near complete re-writes on their novel. The criticism was tough and abundant. Why should other types of writing be any different?

Writing for Demand Studios is one of the best ways (in my opinion) to make money as a writer on the internet (outside of finding your own clients, which many people cannot or do not like to do). They pay you for articles and want them written well and thorough. Yes, some rewrites are ridiculous, but I have found these to be far and few between. Most of the time they only need minor tweaking or additional information. We should not hold our writing so high to think we are exempt from critique, even for a short 400 word article.

That being said, here are some tips on how to reduce rewrites on DS and succeed there as a writer:
  1. Pick a format and stick to it. I started on one format and learned it front and back. I never have had a rewrite request pertaining to style guidelines in this format. However, once I tried to do more (2-3 new ones at once), I received several rewrite requests. I now stick with 2 formats rather than sticking to a specific 'topic'. Download all the copies of the style guidelines for the formats you use to cross check before submitting.
  2. Consolidate research time and find all resources before you write the article. Remember to check the backlisted sites that DS does not allow for use as a reference. I always try to find at least 3 references and one resource for each article before writing. I then come up with all the subheadings at once so I can write in one subheading if I am struggling with the introduction or other heading. (NOTE: When writing Abouts, it is wise to stick with the suggested subheadings. This is just my opinion, since there are typically many rewrites for authors who create their own subheadings).
  3. Stay away from titles that can be interpreted in more than one way. Most, if not all, of my rewrites were for titles that could imply many things. I went with the obvious most of the time, but the CE would disagree and call for a complete rewrite. These types of rewrites are most disheartening, and so I advise to stay away from titles that might suggest something other than what you initially think. Read through them from a different perspective to help decide. By eliminating these titles from my claimed list, I have greatly reduced the number of rewrites I receive.
  4. If something seems fishy, report it. I had my first rejection from a CE who did not inform me of what needed to be changed during a rewrite which led to their rejecting the article. I sent a letter to the appropriate people explaining my situation, and it was corrected almost immediately. Sometimes, and it's rare, CE's are in the fault, so report it if you think you've been treated unfairly.
I hope this helps any aspiring or current writer for DS. As I have only been writing for them for a little over 3 months, I am always learning too. I just know if I had known these things before starting out, I could have avoided a lot of stress.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

eHow's Ongoing Sweeps

Well, it seems eHow has done it again. I have only been writing for eHow for a total of four months, but this is the second large sweep I have seen. Seems like my theory on writing for eHow is probably correct.

I had two of my higher earning articles wiped out without a stated reason. At least in the last sweep they provided a reason.

eHow is a great place to get started with online writing, but I don't think it merits long-term writing success because of these sweeps, lack of editors and lack of communication. That being said, I am glad I started with eHow, because it got my foot in the door, but at the same time, I won't be rushing over to publish new articles any time soon.

For those of you who lost more articles in this sweep- I feel for you. But keep your chin up. Being a writer means dealing with rejection. I've learned, over the past few months, that with every rejection comes a lesson. If we choose to apply that, then we will become better writers.

And if you did not already back up your eHow and other online articles, this is a reminder to do so. You can publish the deleted ones on a different site, such as Suite 101. I use Google Docs for all my online writing. Using a flash drive or external hard-drive is another option. Just don't let your articles sit in a folder on the computer or on the site you published them on, because things like the sweep can happen.

To retrieve lost eHow articles, do a Google search for the title in quotes. Then click on 'catched'. That should get you to the article for at least a couple days after deletion. Hope this helps!

How do you deal with rejection?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

September Earnings Update

It's the first of October! Last month really did fly by, and I feel as if this month will too. September was not the best writing month for me, I am sad to say. I had many projects I was working on around the house that distracted me and was also feeling low in morale due to an excess amount of DS rewrites. Any-who, here are the stats for month:

eHow: $17.41 (37 articles)
Suite 101: $8.96 (11 articles) (will be paid from Aug with Sept for a total of $13.29)
Examiner: $2.41 (24 articles)
Demand Studios: $165 (11 articles)
Adsense: $2.46
Private Clients: $9.31

Total: $205.55

Definitely my worst month yet. I only added two articles to eHow, but surprisingly my earnings nearly doubled from last month. My Suite earnings also doubled, due to my increase in articles there (however, many of these articles came from abandoned rewrite requests on DS). I really lost motivation to write for Examiner (they are barely giving me pennies) and thus, missed payout by a few bucks. I am hoping to reach payout this next month within the first two weeks so I can get my 25 bucks and leave the company for good.

I wrote significantly less for DS, primarily due to the lack of good titles in my preferred style. As I wrestled with new formats, I got quite a bit of rewrites and even an uncalled for rejection (which was later taken off my record after I appealed it). This made me unmotivated to put out very many articles. However, near the end of the month, I wrote more after mastering two new style categories, including Fact Sheets, which pay $7.50 but take 20-30 minutes to write. This was definitely a challenging month for me at DS!

So what are my goals for October?

eHow- write 2-3 new articles or when idea strikes
Suite 101- write 5 new articles
Examiner- write enough for payout
DS- write 20 articles total or make $300
Private Clients- send in 5 queries to print magazines (1-2 per week)

Since I will be kept busy finishing research and starting my novel as well as planning for a Halloween party, I think this will be plenty challenge for me!

How did you do for September? Did you meet your goals? What are your goals for October?


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