Freelance Writing – can you make money?
If you have a flair for words and a few spare hours you could put your talents to use as a freelance writer. The market for freelance writing is exploding and if you can write quickly and professionally, it is very possible to earn a full time living as a freelancer. Even if you have only a couple of hours a week to spare, you can still make a few extra pounds supplying content to websites or articles for magazines. There are a number of websites online that either buy content from writers or allow website owners to get specialist articles written. Pay ranges from “rip off rates” through to extremely generous, although the better paying sites demand a very high quality of work, and some are ridiculously picky about what they will accept. If you can get a reputation as a reliable writer who consistently produces a good standard or work, you may start to build up a loyal customer following and clients may start to approach you directly. The obvious advantage of this is that you are not giving any of your earnings to a middleman. However, for most writers starting out, article selling sites are a good way of getting known, and whilst the site will take a commission from your work, advantages include flexibility and you have the choice of which article to write. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the downright ugly in freelance writing sites.
Iwriter tends to stir up strong emotions within the freelance writing community, whilst some writers love its flexibility and quick pay, others see it as nothing more than a low paying content mill. I have worked for Iwriter in the past and earned Elite status (back in the days when Elite was the top bracket), but I would personally never work for them again as the pay is too low and requester naturally want to pay as little as possible for quality content. The amount you will be paid depends on what level you obtain as writer – all new recruits start off as standard writers and progress through the ranks to Elite Plus and Professional.
This is an example taken today of the type of work available for standard writers:
Product review-MYX 701 blue
Requester: xxxxxxxx (38 reviews) Approved: 67 Rejected: 188 (Approval rate: 26%)
Total tips sent: 0, Average approval wait time: 56 hours
Writer type: Standard
Word count: 150 (English (US))
Writer’s earnings: $1.01
Time to complete: 2 hours
As you can see in the example above the requester is offering a measly 1 dollar for a very brief article but also has a very poor approval rate – just 26% so he rejects 3 out of 4 of the articles submitted. Who would waste their time working for this requester? Unfortunately this is not an uncommon scenario. There are some requesters on Iwriter who downright take the p*ss and treat writers very poorly indeed. Also the staff at Iwriter are not particularly sympathetic to writers complaints as no doubt they want the clients to keep the money rolling in.
How much you will earn from each article depends on your writer level – an Elite Plus writer can be expected to earn around $35 for a 700 word article, whereas an Elite Writer will receive an average of $12.15 for the same amount of words. A premium writer will get just $5 for 700 words and a standard writer earns a paltry $2.43 (around £1.67) for a 500 word article. Imagine that the average writer (with research) writes 1000 words an hour and you could be earning just over £3 an hour. If you are lucky. There is no guarantee your article will be accepted so you could be wasting your time. If a reviewer tends to reject a lot of articles then most writers will avoid writing for them – it just isnt worth it.
Good Things About Iwriter.
They pay on time, every time. Pay is weekly, bi-monthly or monthly depending on what option you prefer. There is the facility for requester to pay tips for really good articles. You can get started right away just by signing up and they accept writers from all over the world. Requester can “favourite” writers and ask for special requests for which an enhanced rate is payable. You can choose which articles you wish to write from a number of different categories. You write directly onto the Iwriter interface which has a built in timer which shows how long you have to complete the project.
Bad Things About Iwriter.
The pay can be pitiful. All writers start out on the standard rate so you will be writing at well below minimum wage until you work your way up or unless you can write extremely quickly. Many of the remaining writers with Iwriter appear to live in countries where the cost of living is quite low and they can afford to work for lower rates of pay. In the UK unless you are very prolific it is difficult to earn a living solely from Iwriter. Whilst there are some great requesters on Iwriters, it has more than its fair share of complete idiots who reject almost all articles, nit pick and are general pain in the a*ses. Unless you are Elite or Elite Plus Writer status it is difficult to earn anything like a decent wage and you can lose your status in an instant – all you need is a couple of bad requesters who mark you unfairly or just don’t like your style of writing and down you go. There isn’t always a lot of work available on Iwriter and as you can only write what is available rather than sell random articles, there may not be enough to sustain you.
Constant Content allows writers to sell their own articles to a pool of requesters who are looking for quality content. You can write articles on any subject you wish and of any length subject and best of all you can set your own price for your work. You have the opportunity to sell unique content or usage rights, so Constant Content offers a great deal of flexibility for writers. The main criticism writers tend to have of Constant Content is that they have a very, very strict editorial policy and all articles have to be approved by editors before they can be put on the site to be sold. Depending on how many articles are waiting for editorial review, it can be several days before an editor looks at your article and after that he or she may request several rewrites before the article is accepted. Constant Content demand a very high quality of writer, and if initial articles are rejected more than a couple of times, writers will be blocked from writing for the site again. Editors have been known to send back articles for as little as one comma out of place and whilst most editors are quite reasonable and are willing to include a short reason why the article may have been rejected, others are much less forthcoming and writers may be left scratching their heads as to exactly what they may have done wrong. Style is a subjective and some editors may reject pieces on a point of style even though the article has been written in acceptable usage. Nevertheless, Constant Content defends its editorial policy and cites that it must maintain its high standards in order to retain the quality that clients have come to expect – an admirable intention if not a little bit frustrating for writers.
Writers get to set their own price for articles so you can sell for whatever you like, subject to the minimum. However when setting your price remember that Constant Content take a commission of 35% of the selling price of each article. You can sell articles for both full rights which guarantees the purchases full and unique rights to the article or usage rights. At the present time the average price per 500 word article seems to be about $40 of which the writer will receive 65% or $26. Payments are made promptly during the first week of each month for amounts of $5 or more.
Good Things About Constant Content
Constant Content maintains consistently high standards and attract quality clients. Writers have complete freedom over the articles they submit, the rights they sell and the prices they set. It is very possible to earn a full time living from Constant Content, and many writers do. There is also a “pool” of article requests which authors can choose to fulfill although these tend to attract a lot of competition from writers. Payment is always made on time, and once approved articles stay on the site until they sell. I have received payments months later from articles which did not sell immediately. Clients can also make offers on articles if they do not want to pay full price and the author can choose to accept or reject these accordingly.
Bad Things About Constant Content.
Perhaps the biggest complaint amongst writers is the strict editorial policy which can drive writers quite potty. Whilst most criticism and re-write requests are constructive, some writers have complained that editors just seem to be having a bad day and are unreasonably critical. The editorial process can be grindingly slow and it can take days for articles to be approved. Whether things have been expedited recently I don’t know, but certainly when I worked for Constant Content, one common complaint from authors was that they would write Special Request articles which would take so long to be reviewed that the request would have expired by the time the piece was reviewed.
Tips for Making Money Freelance Writing
There are hundreds of sites who will buy content. Don’t be afraid to try out different sites.
You don’t need to work for low paying content mills. There are better options available.
Practice makes perfect. The more you write, the easier it becomes.
Keep a portfolio of work to show potential clients.
Freelance writing isn’t for everyone. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it.
It is possible to make a living freelance writing. It is not necessarily easy but it is possible.