Monday, December 27, 2010

Pen Meets Wallet Has Moved!

Pen Meets Wallet has moved! Please note the new URL – If you are still following this blog from blogger, please take a moment to update your feeds.

I am excited to finally launch Pen Meets Wallet from my own hosting account, since I was becoming frustrated with blogger’s set up. I hope you find the new interface much easier to navigate!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

November Earnings Update!

This month marks an exciting moment in my online passive income journey. I am only $7.50 away from reaching the $100 point! Here's the breakdown:

Suite 101: $33.53
eHow: $19.44
Amazon: $2.61
Adsense: $13.83
Affiliates: $23.10

Total= $92.51

It was by far the best month I've had yet at Suite 101. I'm not sure what caused the spike since I haven't even added any new articles in a while, but perhaps it was from article maturity. Whatever the reason, it gives me more motivation to write up more articles for them! My original goal was to reach 100 articles by the end of this year, but that goal has taken a backseat ever since I started with The Keyword Academy.

As you can see, my adsense earnings were at an all-time high as well. Most of that was earned through the first niche site I established back in September. My second niche site is almost complete, and it has even started earning a tiny amount as well. I have high hopes for my niche sites, but the struggle has been finding time and motivation to work on them. I need to implement a schedule of sorts to help me stay on track!

My eHow earnings continue to remain steady. I'm pleased at how well my few articles over there have been doing since the end of the writer compensation program.

Amazon is ticking along, although I don't really do any marketing for it. My other affiliates are earning nicely though, enough to make a nice contribution to my passive income each month.

My December goals are to finish up my second niche site and begin building strong backlinks for it as well as the first site. I also need to start researching keywords for a third and forth possible niche site, which I will begin by the new year.

Due to the lack of easy-titles (topics in my area of expertise) at DS right now, I really need to concentrate on building up my own sites and writing for them instead. DS is nice when the titles are plentiful in your preferred topics, but it can be a real drag when you start from scratch each time. I'm hoping by the end of next year I will be able to write entirely for my own sites and not have to rely on DS for filler work!

Next week I will be sharing a summary of my 2010 online writing accomplishments- what I learned, what I wish I had done differently and so forth. Be sure to check back!

How did you in November? Did you meet your goals? Do you have any goals you want to meet before the New Year?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

October Earnings Update

Sorry I have been MIA lately, and this earnings update is a bit late! I have been focusing on my family and balancing writing life with mommy life. All the good stuff!

Here are the stats for those who have been itching with anticipation to see how I did last month:

Suite 101: $19.13
eHow: $19.57
Amazon: $0.00
Adsense: $3.82
Affiliates: $23.11

Total= $65.63

My Suite101 and eHow earnings seem to be holding steady. My affiliate earnings are also nicely improving. The biggest difference this month are my adsense earnings - which are purely from that single niche site I began last month. This is with limited back-linking and only a few articles. By the end of October, I was able to build up some good back links, and I am now reaping the rewards of them, although I still have some work to do. I was able to get my 2nd niche site up and running, and I am working on building the backlinks to that site this month.

By December, I hope to establish a 3rd niche site while building on the previous 2. I went ahead and renewed my Keyword Academy subscription after seeing the amazing income potential from just these 2 sites. For anyone interested in earning online income from niche sites, I highly recommend The Keyword Academy.

How did you do the month of October? Did you meet or exceed your goals?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

September Earnings Update

September was a great month for me in residual income. Although Suite 101 and eHow remained about the same, my adsense and affiliate earnings were at an all time high! Here are the stats:

Suite 101- $18.42
eHow- $21.76
Amazon- $2.61
Adsense- $11.48
Affiliates- $25.00

Total= $79.27

I was able to write quite a bit this month, even returning to Demand Studios for a bit of upfront pay. The new eHow Home and Garden section currently has quite a few easy (for me) titles to choose from, so I have been churning out articles there every few days or so. I wrote 2 articles for Suite 101, making my total there 66 articles. I also added 2 more Hubs to Hubpages. After learning the interface, I am finding Hubpages to be a really fun place to write with decent residual income potential.

I made decent headway on my Keyword Academy sites. I've almost completed the content for the first niche site, and will be spending the month of October working on building links as well as setting up the second one.

By the end of October, I hope to have added more hubs and Suite 101 articles in addition to working on my own sites. I'll also be writing plenty of upfront DS articles in anticipation of the holidays to help us fund our gift and travel fund.

How did you do in the month of September? Did you meet your goals? What are your goals for October?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

You Are What You Read

As a continuation of my post, 'Helpful Resources for Freelance Writers' I'd like to mention another writing book I recommend. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg is a quick, insightful read writing and life.

In her book, Goldberg takes her readers inside her own process and outlook on writing, encouraging writers to develop their own practice and make it a seamless part of their own life. Although I don't agree with all her personal views on writing, I found her book to be motivating and thought provoking.

As a writer, you should always been searching for new books to read, because as a wise person once said, 'You are what you read'. It is impossible to become a good writer without first reading good writing. Carefully evaluate the books you do (or don't!) read each month, and make it a habit and goal to keep fresh books on the end tables. Your writing will thank you for it.

What are some of your favorite books on writing? What are you reading now?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Update on My Keyword Academy Progress

As most of my readers know, I started the Keyword Academy this month to help boost my online income, learn more about SEO and target better keywords. My original goal for the month was to finish the core videos and compile my list of keywords. So far, I have watched all the core videos (which were by far the most helpful thing about TKA!) and a few of the webinars. I also have come up with a few potential keywords to start my niche sites.

I went ahead and bought all my domain hosting from Host Gator. I like that I can host as many domains as I want for only $7 a month! I also went ahead and bought 2 domain names and have already set up one of the 2. So far, I have 3 posts on this one site and plan to add at least 3 more before starting on the next one.

Even though the first month with TKA was free, I plan to continue my membership for the time being ($33 month special) because I've found it extremely helpful. I've learned more this past month than I have over the course of the year!

As a new segment to this blog, I will be updating on my TKA experience at least once a month. I will share my failures, progress and accomplishments regarding earning online income from my own websites. I hope this will help further contribute to this blog and help others who may be contemplating delving into residual and passive income online as well.

Friday, September 17, 2010

References: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Most articles require references in order to fully cover a subject and for the reader to trust the advice given in the article. With search engines like Google, it has become increasingly easier to get references on just about any topic in the world. But are all references created equal?

As an online writer, one of the most important skills you'll need is the ability to sort out bad references from good ones. The last thing you want is an editor or client discovering a piece of your writing contains errors or isn't backed up by facts. To avoid this, here are some tips on gathering references for online articles (or any article for that matter):
  • Check with .gov, .org and .edu sites first for authority on a subject matter. These are solid references that are trusted above .com or .net sites.
  • Search for professional organizations or societies on a topic. These websites typically go into greater detail and provide facts about a topic that can be hard to find elsewhere online.
  • Check the sources of the particular article. What goes around comes around!
  • Avoid websites with frequent misspellings or grammar mistakes.
  • Stay away from spammy sites that load pages with ads and completely irrelevant information. Websites that sell a product are generally not good sources for references either.
  • Avoid wikipedia. Anyone can edit articles there, so it cannot be trusted as a source of reliable information. If you are hunting for specific information about a subject, a brief look at a wikipedia article may help you discover better terms to search for, but avoid using it as a basis for facts in your article.
  • User-created pages (such as Yahoo! Answers) should be avoided as well, since the information they contained are typically not backed up by reliable sources. Again, you can use these pages for additional insight or better search terms, but do not reference it as fact or use it for the basis of your article.

You can create a special sub-search engine on Google to help weed out unreliable sources. Use Google Custom Search to include one or more websites or specific web pages. Or simply search within the main google search engine using the Advanced Search options. Typing the subject followed by the website directly into the main search bar is another option. (i.e. Plant Database

Remember, your article is only as good as the sources behind it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August Earnings Update

Is it September already?! Although I am very excited for fall and cooler weather (the heat this year has been excessive and draining), I can't believe how fast summer went by. I suppose having a new baby can help make things seem like a blur!

Here are the stats for August:

Suite 101: $18.96
eHow: $20.26
Adsense: $6.32
Amazon: $0.00

Total= $45.54

I added 4 new articles to Suite 101 in August and managed to write 2 DS articles all while dealing with a colicky baby who refused to take naps. So considering the limited amount of time I was able to put in, I am pleased with that. I also added 3 new hubs to HubPages.

At the end of this month, I started the Keyword Academy, which is where I will be placing my efforts in September (if you've never heard of TKA, read my post about it- the first month is FREE). My plan is to get through all the core videos, and make a good sized list of keywords. I also would like to buy my domains and start assembling a few websites by the end of this month.

Depending on how much time I have, I'd like to get to 70-75 Suite 101 articles (I currently have 64) in order to stay on track for my goal of 100 by Thanksgiving.

How did you do in the month of August? Did you meet your goals? What are your goals for September?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Keyword Academy

I frequent many writer forums across the Internet, and time and time again I noticed successful writers and Internet markets referring The Keyword Academy as an excellent and invaluable resource for online writers. When I discovered they were offering the first month free, I decided to check it out. What could it hurt? If I didn't like it or didn't find it useful, I would cancel after the first month.

After being a member for only 3 short days, I finally see why this resource has been so heavily recommended. The videos alone are worth the full month price. I've long known that I was no good at SEO, but now I know why. And thankfully, the videos are teaching me how to do it right! Keyword selection is crucial. Although I've used the Google Keyword Tool in the past to find high paying keywords, I never knew how to effectively use it to my advantage. The Keyword Academy teaches you a specific formula to help you find the high paying keywords and teaches you how to know which ones are more likely to be successful.

I've learned more about SEO, Keyword research and passive income in the past three days than I have in the past year alone. This is truly the resource I have been searching for all along! I can't wait to see what possibilities will open to me when I start implementing these methods!

If you're an online writer who writes for content sites, or an Internet marketer running niche sites, then you need to check out the Keyword Academy! The first month is free, with each month after that only $33. I promise you won't regret it. :-)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Suite Changes

Suite 101 recently made some changes to its contributing writers program. I was pleasantly surprised to find out 1) the 10 article quota has been done away with and 2) the restriction on voice has been removed.

What does this mean for the Suite 101 writer?

For those of us who write for Suite 101, we no longer have to figure out how many articles we've written over the last 12 weeks or worry about being fired due to not writing. This is good news for those who wish to diversify and work on some other writing site besides Suite 101, yet still retain writing privileges for Suite. I was getting tired of trying to figure out when I needed to have my articles done by and then rushing to complete them. The new rules will make the articles I do decide to write of better quality since I won't be pressed for time.

In the past, all articles for Suite 101 had to be written in the third person. Now, the use of second, and even first, person is allowed. This will make some articles flow much better since inserting the words 'he or she' all the time can make an article read awkwardly. Some writers, who previously struggled with writing in third person, might find they are able to write more articles at a faster pace than was possible before.

All in all, I think the new changes are good for writers and for Suite. I'll probably end up writing more articles there simply because I like to use the word 'you'!

What do you think of the new changes to Suite 101? How do you will it affect your writing and productivity on the site?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Helpful Resources for Freelance Writers

Here are some of my favorite books and resources for the freelance writer.

Writer's Digest - This magazine is a staple for writers everywhere. I look forward to my issue each month, and the articles get devoured almost as soon as it's out of the mailbox! The magazine is not only a wonderful source of inspiration, but it motivates me as well. Whenever I finish reading it, I feel compelled to sit down and write. Not to mention the invaluable tips and insights from accomplished authors that are included in every issue. If you don't currently subscribe to this magazine, I highly recommend you do so!

Writer's Market - This is perhaps one of the most invaluable resource for writers everywhere. For the freelance writer hoping to break into print and online publications, it provides a listing of all the bigger open markets as well as submission guidelines, pay and tips on getting published. Be sure to get the current year's edition, as submission guidelines and markets are constantly changing.
The Writers Digest Guide To Query Letters - For those new to the world of querying online and print publications, this book shows you how effectively write queries that grab the editor's attention and land you the job.
Writer's Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing - Learn how to write magazine articles. This guide gives tips and suggestions on how to write one from initial research to final copy.

Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer: How to Win Top Writing Assignments - I love this author's down-to-earth writing style! Learn how to make it as a freelance writer in today's world, written by a seasoned pro with published clips in the 'Big Ones' like Good Housekeeping.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

June and July Earnings Update

I'm back! The past two months have been unusually busy with the birth of our beautiful daughter. Needless to say, I haven't had much time to update, write or even get online! Now that our family is adjusting to life with a new baby, I finally have time (during naps!) to update my readers on my earnings and writing goals.

Here are the stats for June:

Suite 101- $14.83
eHow- $9.42
Adsense- $1.56
Amazon- $1.92

Total= $27.73

June was definitely a lower than average month. I added no new articles during this month.

Here are the stats for July, which was a much better month:

Suite 101- $24.27
eHow- $20.38
Adsense- $1.56
Amazon- $1.12

Total= $47.33

I'm not sure what caused such a huge difference in earnings on Suite 101 and eHow, but I'm hoping the good trend continues.

During the month of June, I also wrote 28 articles for Demand Studios. Considering my daughter was born on the 26th, and I stopped writing a week before she was born, I think I did pretty good.

Because of the lack of articles currently available in my preferred subject (gardening) on DS, I'm not sure I will be able to write as much for them in August. I'd like to try writing in different subject areas and see if there is anything I can replace it with. So, my goal for DS in August is to just write a few articles.

Due to the earnings increase, I would like to write a few more articles on Suite 101 for August. I'd like to get to 100 by Thanksgiving (I currently have 60). Since these articles are so easy to write, I don't think I'll have any problems reaching that goal.

How did you do in the months of June and July? Did you meet your goals? What are your plans for August?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Avoiding Passive Voice

Lately, I've been writing numerous articles for Demand Studios. Writing for DS is much easier than it used to be since I've mastered the styles of several formats. I also tend to write in select categories, so I'm quickly building an expertise on certain topics, which makes writing much faster.

However, I've found that I still struggle with using passive voice. A couple CE's were kind enough to mention this to me while still approving my articles. One recommended I use a passive voice checker online to help streamline my writing. The 'To-Be Verbs Analyzer' helps to identify all the 'to-be' verbs in a given document. Although not all instances of to-be are passive voice, most are, and writing in a more active voice translates into better writing.

So, if you're wondering what you can do to improve your writing, try out the analyzer. It's free and might help you better identify passive voice, leading to richer quality articles. I plan on checking all of my articles with this tool from now on!

Have you ever struggled with using passive voice? What did you do to overcome it?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May Earnings Update

May was a much better month than April. I've started writing regularly again for Demand Studios, and my residual income at Suite 101 and eHow improved if only just slightly. I've finally started earning with amazon, so from now on I'll include monthly earnings from their associate program.

Suite 101- $16.54
eHow- $14.07
adsense- $4.82
amazon- $1.90

total= $37.33

My actual income from writing was much higher than this due to writing for DS again. After a hiatus of DS, it is rather nice to be back. I feel like I have a much better grasp on how to write successfully for them than I did before. I wrote the entire month of May without a single rewrite! My favorite new feature at DS is the 'track changes' application. I love seeing what a CE did to my article since it helps me realize the types of editing my articles undergo.

With the end of eHow, I have decided to pursue other residual income opprotunities besides Suite 101. I wrote 3 articles for Hubpages this month. I'm just testing the waters at this point, so I'll update with more information once I've gotten a better article library established.

My goals for June are to write the 10 Suite 101 articles per terms of my contract as well as continue writing for DS. I also plan to add a few more hubs.

As a side note, I've started a new blog if any of my readers wish to check it out. It's called Mothering Blindfolded and is just a fun blog about my family and my journey into motherhood. I'm officially full-term as of tomorrow, so if you're wondering where I am and what I am doing when I'm not posting on Pen Meets Wallet, check it out!

How were your earnings in May? Did you meet your goals? How will/does your writing schedule change once the summer months roll around?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Power of Routine

I'm the not the writer type who waits for inspiration to strike before putting pen to paper. And although I can produce some of my best work under a hoovering deadline, I like most of my writing to be done on a routine. That is, I write at the same time each day for a set amount of time.

Now that my husband has a set work schedule, it is very easy for me to fit writing in. Although he used to be gone the same amount of hours each day, knowing exactly when those hours are and, being able to plan my writing around, them makes a huge difference. I able to focus and get much more accomplished than ever before.

Getting into the habit of writing is not easy, but it pays off. Not only do I start to look forward to the time I get to write each day, but it helps me become a better writer by establishing consistency. My time is spent more wisely, and I am able to churn out more work in less time. Research starts to become streamlined, and editing is quick.

If you don't currently have a writing routine, I highly encourage you to set one up. Whether you set aside one hour or several during the course of your day, having time reserved for writing will make a positive impact on all aspects of your life. Make it a priority, and it will show.

What is your writing routine like? Do you write at the same time or place everyday? What are some things you do to keep yourself motivated when you don't feel like writing?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

April Earnings Update

I'm a little late on this earnings update! But I wanted to share what I earned nonetheless. I've been very busy settling into our new apartment, and thus have not had much time for writing. Learning to navigate a whole new city alongside social obligations, camping trips and my husband starting his new job has kept me occupied.

Suite 101- $15.41- Did not add any new articles.

eHow- $11.95 - My eHow earnings are holding steady despite the cut of the WCP.

Adsense- $0.95 - Not much, but I put blogging on hold this month.

Total= $28.31

It was my lowest month since Janurary! But note I didn't write a single article during the month of April. I suspect more people were outside enjoying the nice weather rather than surfing the internet and clicking on ads!

May Goals:

-Finish organization with home office

- write 5 Suite 101 articles

- write 5 articles for DS

-resume blogging!

My goals are quite modest this month since I'll be busy getting things ready for the baby, and I'm a lot more tired these days. I hope to get into a nice writing groove nonetheless. The April break was nice, but it's time to get back to work!

How did you do in April? Did you meet your goals?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

eHow Pulls the Plug on the WCP

In my previous post, I included the dramatic announcement by eHow to end the WCP (Writer Compensation Program). After perusing many different writer forums, I've gotten a nice overview of what these changes mean.

Future eHow Articles

All future eHow articles will now be written by Demand Studio writers. This means that each article must go through an editorial process before being published on the site. Writers can opt for revenue share on these articles like they had at eHow, or they can take advantage of the flat fee payment of $15.

A good lot of eHow writers were automatically selected to become writers at DS. Others received emails informing them they would need to apply separately with DS to continue to write for eHow. Those that were automatically selected will only be able to write How-to's on DS. If a writer already had a DS account and was selected to continue writing there at the close of the WCP, they will have two separate DS accounts.

Current eHow Articles

Articles published under the WCP will remain on eHow, and they will continue to earn as they have in the past. Writers will still be able to edit their articles as well as access their eHow profiles as usual. They will not, however, be able to write new articles. It is worth noting that the current eHow articles are not immune to a future sweep.

What This Means for DS Writers

Those who write for DS have expressed mixed feelings about the eHow merger. Some are afraid it will slow down the editorial process while others are concerned about the availability of titles now that there is an influx of new writers. However, since the eHow writers automatically accepted at DS will only have access to how-to's, this is not likely to be much of a problem since there are many different formats such as About, List, Strategy and so forth.

What This Means for eHow Writers

For those eHow writers automatically selected to write how-to's at DS, there are many changes. Unless already writing for DS, eHow writers are likely to be shocked at the editorial process when they are used to instant publishing. They might not be able to meet the high standards that is expected of writers at DS. I've found that writing a DS how-to and an eHow how-to are completely different in terms of time spent researching, editing and adhering to style. Good references and resources are required, which can take a bit more time as well.

What This Means for eHow and Demand Studios

The decision to merge eHow and Demand Studios will have lasting implications on eHow as well as Demand Studios. For eHow, it's a good thing since the site will have less spammy and poorly written articles. For Demand Studios, only time will tell if this is a good step for them.

The Importance of Diversification

If there is anything a writer should learn from this event, it's the importance of diversification. Whether or not you wrote for eHow or Demand Studios, never put all your eggs in one basket be it a client or a website. Diversify your income streams with the anticipation that something like this may happen to one or more income source.

Since just about 50% of my residual income is from eHow, I will now have to branch out and try other forms of passive income. I was already contemplating doing this before the end of the WCP which just confirms it was a good hunch.

What are your thoughts on the end of the WCP? Will you continue to write for eHow through DS? What steps are you taking to diversify your writing income?

Monday, April 5, 2010

The end of eHow?

Just minutes ago, I received a pop-up message from eHow alerting me that eHow has now closed their Writer Compensation Program.

Demand Studios is now the exclusive platform for writing new articles for

EFFECTIVE AS OF APRIL 5, 2010, THE WCP WILL BE CLOSED TO NEW PARTICIPANTS. Articles which were previously submitted under the WCP prior to April 5, 2010 will continue to be governed by the supplemental WCP terms available here.

Effective as of April 5, 2010, all users who desire to submit articles for syndication through must join Demand Media's content creation platform, Demand Studios, including users who formerly participated in the WCP. As part of the application process, you will need to review and agree to a Contributors Agreement which will set forth the terms (including payment options) that apply to any contributions that you submit to Demand Studios.

You agree that from time to time we may, at our sole discretion, modify, suspend, add to, remove or discontinue all or any portion of the WCP or the Supplemental Terms, and that we will not be liable to you or to any third party for doing so.

Big changes are underway over at eHow. Stay tuned for more updates!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

March Earnings Update

March certainly was an eventful month. Not only did we move, but we moved twice. After discovering a major problem in the original apartment we moved into, we became nomads for 4 days, living at the Holiday Inn. Thankfully, everything was resolved and we managed to find another apartment fairly quickly. However, it was very stressful, and I'm just glad it's all over.

As a result of all this, I didn't write much. Here are the stats!

Suite 101 - I wrote a total of 6 new articles at Suite in March. I am finally getting my 10% bonus! It feels so good to reach this milestone, and it just gives me more momentum to continue writing. I earned $21.18 for the month of March, which was less than I was expecting, but not all of my articles were SEO friendly in the rush to get to 50.

eHow- I wrote 4 new articles at eHow in March. I also resubmitted all of my articles to google, since someone had mentioned they might have had trouble during the UK fiasco. I'm so glad I did, since I saw a tremendous increase in earnings! I earned $14.74 for the month of March, which is my highest since November. Another thing I did was delete articles that were duds.

Google Adsense- After killing my oldest blog, I was unsure how my adsense earnings would turn out this month. I was pleasantly surprised when my earnings totaled $5.04! I didn't work on promoting my blogs at all in March, so I am pleased with it. Still pretty far away from payout though!

Total March earnings: $40.96

April Goals:

-Write 8 articles for Demand Studios (for extra baby savings)

-Write 5 eHow articles

-Write 10 Suite 101 articles

-set up home office!

I'll be working on decorating our new apartment, but I should be able to meet these goals pretty easily. I'm also in my third trimester of pregnancy, so planning for the baby will keep my busy too!

How did you do in March? Did you see an increase or decrease in earnings? Did you meet your goals?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Why Having an Idea Folder is Essential

As a writer, one is bound to experience writer's block from time to time. There are days when I desperately want to write an article, but I just can't think of anything to write about. And then there are days when ideas seem to flow from an endless fountain of inspiration.

Even if I don't plan to write that day, I write down my ideas in an idea folder. This helps tremendously. Not only does it help get me going on days when I would rather be baking than writing, but it prevents me from ever NOT writing due writer's block.

I do this for all the sites I write for, since some fit the style and formatting better on one particular content site than another. Some days, my idea folder will be bulging. Others, it might only have one or two possibilities. The key is just having these on hand and being prepared for whenever the inevitable writer's block might strike.

When I have exhasted my idea folder, I usually go hunting for more ideas to build it up again. Sometimes this means reading blogs or other articles on my favorite websites. Other times it means taking a trip to the library and reading some new books to help fill my mind with new knowlegde. Simply taking a walk outside can inspire me too. Wherever I find my idea, I make sure to write it down.

My idea folder works for me in preventing writer's block. What are some other tips you use in dealing with writer's block?

Demand Studios Now Accepting Canadian and UK Writers!

For those of you who live in Canada or the UK, you'll be happy to know that Demand Studios is now accepting applications from these regions.

Demand Studios is one of the best upfront pay content sites on the web right now. Although now I don't write for them save an article here or there, it was a great place to write when I needed upfront pay. Many writers make their living working from home over at DS as a freelance writer. You can easily make a decent part-time income there as well!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

February Earnings Update

March is officially here! Spring is literally just around the corner, and that makes me very happy! Although February was a bleak month in terms of weather, I managed to stay quite productive and write a lot.

I launched my first niche blog mid-month, and so far, I have earned almost $2 in adsense from this site. With only a small amount of content, it is already earning, which I am excited about.

February was my best month at Suite 101. I tried really hard to make it to the 50 article mark, but only managed to get up to 45. All said and done, I wrote 21 new articles- smashing my goal of 8! I also made $18.58 for the month, my highest earnings yet. Most of these articles were written mid-month as well, so March should bring about an even bigger increase in earnings.

My goal for eHow was 4 new articles, but I only wrote 3. Part of this was due to the publishing issues the site was having in the beginning of the month, and I wanted to see if it would clear up. I made $9.15 on eHow, meaning I didn't make payout. I contribute most of this to the fact that there were only 28 days in February.

I orginally wanted to write 4 examiner articles this month as well, but I have decided to let it go. There just isn't any real residual income coming in from that site. You only make money if you write, and it seems like Examiner is turning more into an upfront pay site. So for those reasons, I am quitting, choosing to focus my efforts elsewhere.

I didn't manage to query a magazine or write any fiction, but this is because we have decided to move. I've been busy packing and preparing for our relocation to a new city. This means my writing time will be limited in March, so I have adjusted my goals accordingly.

Here's the grand total for the month:
  • Google Adsense- $5.06 (highest month to date!)

  • Suite 101- $18.58

  • eHow- $9.15

  • TOTAL= $32.79

My March goals are...

  • Write 10 new articles on Suite 101

  • Write 4-5 new eHow articles

  • Write 3 articles for niche blog (I only wrote 7 last month)

I think I can easily exceed or meet these goals if I stay on task and focused. Like I said, we will be packing and moving to a new city this month, so I'll definately have my hands full for a while!

How was your earnings in Febraury? Did you see an increase or decrease due to the Olympics and Valentine's day? What are your writing goals for March?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tax Information for Writers

Every writer who earns an income is required to report their earnings and pay their taxes each year. For those of you new to or just unsure about the process involved, below is an article I recently wrote on how to make tax time easier for writers. I hope this helps those of you who might be filing taxes as a writer for the first time this year!

Tax Tips for Writers
Freelance Income Reporting

Avoid IRS audits for self-employed writers by keeping tax time in mind
all year round.


Monday, February 22, 2010

The Future of eHow?

With less than one week left to the month, I am beginning to have serious thoughts about the direction of eHow's future. After several months of not submitting any new content, I published 3 articles near the beginning of the month but have yet to see any revenue from them. Aside from that, I am also earning half of what I was in January, if that is even possible (And January's earnings were half of October's...).

This makes me very hesitant to waste my time on a site that is likely heading for failure. I don't want eHow to fail, but I am extremely worried this might be the case. It will be interesting to see what my final earnings are for Febuary with eHow.

On another note, my Suite earnings have sky-rocketed. I've already met my all-time earning high! For the remainder of the month, my writing efforts will be concentrated there. With my goal to reach 50 articles on Suite 101 only 6 days away, I am just 17 articles away from reaching that goal. We'll see how I do!

Friday, February 12, 2010

eHow UK Compensation

With the recent eHow UK fiasco, eHow informed writers last month that they would be receiving "generous compensation" for the earnings lost with articles displayed on the UK site. Yesterday, this bonus came in, with most of the writers on eHow receiving a 10% bonus on top of their monthly earnings in January. I myself received an additional $1.30.

While I am grateful for the extra money (no matter how small), I cannot help but feel jipped by eHow. The UK problem had been going on for the past 6 months, and writers were only compensated a tiny, tiny portion. I saw my earnings drop by 50% when the UK site launched, and the bonus eHow gave me does no justice to the amount I should have recieved. I know many other writers are upset about this as well, since they took a bigger hit with loss earnings.

What does this mean for the future of eHow? I am not sure, but I am hopeful despite all that is going on. I am hopeful that issues will be resolved within the next few months and writers start earning more again. We'll have to see how the next few months play out. If the kinks are still going on come June, I will likely retire my writing there.

How much did you receive in compensation for the UK eHow problem? Do you plan to continue to write for eHow? What is your outlook on the future of the site?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Review of Writer Gig's E-Book on Writing for

When I first started writing for, I can across Writer Gig (Maria)’s eBook, How to Earn Passive Income at Residual Income for Web Content Writers. I was intrigued and wanted to buy the book. Maria currently makes over $1500 a month from her eHow articles alone. She clearly has succeeded as a writer there and knows what she is talking about. I put off buying the book, however, thinking I could figure things out on my own. Recently, I caved in and bought the book with my monthly residual income. My only regret is not buying it sooner.

Maria’s eBook includes step by step instructions on how to effectively optimize eHow articles for maximum earnings. She includes screen shots of her monthly income as proof as well as resources and links to online tools that will help you in the research and writing process. She also has keyword and SEO tips which both beginners and veteran web writers can benefit from.

After reading her eBook, I am excited to begin implementing her techniques to help maximize and greatly enhance my eHow earnings. I highly recommend it to anyone who writes for eHow, as it is a timeless resource that will help you succeed in your writing efforts there. The price is totally worth is, especially since your monthly earnings will increase quite a bit with her technique.

Maria also has a money back guarantee. She states, “Your satisfaction is guaranteed. With dozens and dozens of customers, I have never had a single request for a refund! If you try my method for 30 days and don't see results, I'll refund your purchase! You have nothing to lose.”

***UPDATE: Due to the recent eHow rule banning all affiliate links in articles, Writer Gig will be updating her eBook with new information. When the new version is available, those who have purchased her eBook will receive the updated eBook at no cost to them.***

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

January Earnings Report

It's that time of month again- evalution and reporting of earnings. My actual earnings will be down the following months, mainly because I've stopping writing for Demand Studios. If we need the extra money, then I'll write for them, but otherwise I'm choosing to stick to residual income opprotunities such as blogging and writing for sites like Suite 1o1 and eHow.

And without further ado, here are the stats!

Suite 101- $14.89 (this is almost double what I made last month, with 7 new articles added)
eHow- $11.18 (up a tiny bit from December, but still about half of what I was making)
Examiner- $0.92 (I did not focus on examiner this month)
Adsense- $0.55 (I have not launched my new SEO focused blogs yet)
Total= $27.54

This past month was largely spent outlining my specific writing goals I want to achieve in the upcoming year. February will be the first month to implement my weekly goals, so that should bring an increase in residual earnings. I hope to stick to the plan and remain focused throughout this new month. I just need to keep writing, writing, writing!

February, I'll be focusing on...
  • Launching 1 new niche blog
  • writing 2 new articles per week for Suite 101
  • writing 4 new eHow articles
  • writing 4 new Examiner articles
  • Query 1 print magazine
  • write 1 short story
In order to hold myself better accountable, I'll be rewarding myself with a manicure if I get all this done! I have MUCH more time available to write this month, so this is very doable.

How did January go for you? Did you see a jump in residual earnings from December? What are your goals for February?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010 Online Writing Goals

My husband and I are currently following Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, and we also like to listen to his show on the radio or podcast every weekday. Last week he talked about goals basically being dreams in workclothes. Goals have to be specific and have a time limit. I decided to write up some more writing goals, and in doing so, came up with a more detailed and specific course of action I want to take with online writing.

2010 Writing Goals Defined

-Increase passive income from $25mo to $100mo by June
**Create 2-3 new niche blogs with 10 pages of content, domain names, SEO focused, pictures**

-Write 10 articles a month at Suite 101 (2.5 a week)
-Write 1-2 articles a month for e-How
-Write 4 articles a month for Examiner (1 a week)

-Continue writing for my existing blogs, At least 2 posts a week
-Buy a domain name (choose a more SEO focused title)
-Comment on 5 blogs per week

Freelance w/ Magazines:
-Send out 1 query every month

I want to build up my passive income, so my main focus this year will be starting niche blogs and writing for Suite 101 and eHow. I've yet to build a successful niche blog, so this is a new area for me. I will be sharing my progress on them throughout the year here on Pen Meets Wallet.

Happy writing!

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Examiner Guidelines

I recieved an email in my inbox today from about some updates they are implementing for their writers. Starting immediately, all articles written by LOCAL Examiners will go through a review process to ensure they meet the following requirements:

-On topic
-Local interest
-200-400 word requirement
-Credibility (link to sources)

Although these have long been requirements for the writers of, they have yet to be enforced, and thus many writers have deviated from the original guidelines in effort to get more pageviews.

The new rules are something to cheer about, because not only will they help clean up the site, but writers will get paid more as well. That's right! For all articles that meet the guidelines, Examiner will pay a flat fee of $1 per article (max of 5 per week) as well as the traditional PPVs. This new payment system goes into effect January 23, 2010.

If you've been debating over whether or not to write for Examiner, this news might affect your decision. Even if your topic is unpopular, you will get paid for each relevant article that you write.

Anyone can apply for a local or national Examiner writing position. If you do, please feel free to use me as your referral- Rachel Campbell, Cincinnati Staycations Examiner.

I am really glad I decided to stick with Examiner, and I'm optimistic about what the future holds for writers there.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New look!

I've managed to stretch my technical skills on this blog! The new layout will hopefully make it easier to navigate and read. I am loving the simplier design. Come check it out if you currently subscribe in a reader!

Friday, January 1, 2010

December Earnings Update

I can proudly say that I met my goal this month, despite it being the holidays. However, I met my goal in an unusual way since the bulk of my earnings did not come from Demand Studios for once.

eHow- $10.40 (33% DROP)
Examiner- $125.83
Suite 101-$7.36
Demand Studios- $75
Google Adsense- $0.93
Private Clients- $0.00
Total= $219.52

My Suite 101 earnings are slightly up, but I did add several new articles this month. I did not blog as much this month as in the past, so my adsense earnings were down, but this was expected. I only wrote 5 articles for DS, but made up for it with my Examiner earnings, which were spectacular. I can only hope that this continues! I turned down any private client work since I was out of town for an extended period of time in December. My eHow earnings were disappointign again-only around $10-which means a 33% drop from November and a 50% drop from October.

My goal for January is to make the same amount ($200), but more than that would be ideal since we are working on saving money for when the baby comes. I may or may not have another print magazine assignment to work on as well, since I got the call that one of my queries was seriously being considered for publication (yay!). I queried this particular magazine way back in May, so it has really given me more motivation to get back to the drawing board. Since magazine writing can be excruciatingly slow, it's important to constantly churn out queries.

Some of my New Years Resolutions include:

  • Clearing clutter from my home to make room for the baby
  • send out 1 query a month to print publications
  • Up my residual income to $100 a month (it's currently near $25)

How did you fare during the month of December? Share your goals and acheivements in the comments below.

(If you're new to online web writing, I encourage you to check out my sidebar where I post several writing opprotunities you can apply for.)


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