Article Market Writing - Is It Worth It?

I’ve been freelance writing for quite a few years now. I’ve had several short stories, poems and fillers published in print. Now I concentrate on writing web copy, ad copy, direct mailings, personal statements and resumes for businesses and individuals. I’m new to article writing, having been at it for just over a month. Although my article writing career is in its infancy, I’ve been able to get a sense of whether or not it’s worth pursuing.

Is making pennies worth it?

First of all, no matter what anyone says, you’re not going to get rich writing articles for article directories. If anyone thinks it’s possible to pay bills with pennies a day they’re fooling themselves. And pennies a day is probably an exaggeration. I have 16 hubs (or articles) on HubPages in the last 5 weeks and just hit the $1.50 mark. I dare anyone to pay a bill with that. I have 13 articles on Suite101 and have earned just over $4.00. Again, can’t pay a bill with that. I also have articles with markets that don’t share any revenue with its authors. So why would anyone keep plugging away, coming up with original writing and giving up all rights to their work? Good question.

Writing pay scale lower than that of a McJob?

Unfortunately, writers are not given the credit they deserve. I have profiles on Elance and Odesk and am appalled at the nerve of some people who offer to pay $5.00 for a series of 10, 400-500 word articles. Are they serious? What would happen if you applied for a job and were told you’d be hired if you agreed to work for a penny an hour? You’d think they were crazy right? So why is it that writers sell themselves so short? And, don’t writers who work for such low pay realize that as long as they continue to work for these slave wages cheapskate clients will continue to post these insulting ads?

Advertising for your business or website?

The main reason why I see any value in writing for article directories is because it’s a way to get yourself noticed. If you’re a smart writer you have a website, which you mention in your bio on any site where you submit articles. But do people who visit article sites to find quality content even bother to read your bio? Do they even abide by the rules not to change, alter or delete information (including your bio) when they use your article? Sure there are ways to report someone for not following the guidelines, but you have to catch them first.

Looks good on a resume

Writing for article directories also allows you to build up a resume. I’ve gotten some good paying gigs as a direct result. Having articles on Suite101, EzineArticles and Yahoo Associated Content looks good on a resume. It gives people a chance to see your work. It can open doors I suppose. But it doesn’t come without effort.

Good writing takes a certain amount of time

Creating quality content takes a certain amount of time. You need to come up with a unique idea, do some research, type it, proof and edit, find a photo, upload it and then share the heck out of it every place and any place you can think of. That all takes time. Most article directories require that the content hasn’t appeared anywhere else before. You also give them sole rights for a year. So it’s not like you can get much mileage for all the effort you put in to writing one article.

Feedback please?

I would love to hear from people who’ve been doing this longer than a month. I really want to know if anyone else thinks the article market business is stacked against the writer. Let me hear your stories of the good, the bad and the ugly side of article market writing.

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Why do you write for article markets?

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Comments 14 comments

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 5 years ago from Midwest

I don't make "lots" of money, but I make enough to work at home full time. Of course I've also been online for almost 10 years and have built my name/presence up over time via my own websites. I am now starting to branch out with hubs, elance and other things. I also freelance doing some graphic design and photo restorations, but primarily it's writing that is paying my bills.

I just started hubbing to have a place to share writing that didn't tie into my websites. So far I am happy because I have generated revenue already less than a week in. I look at it as a long-term investment whenever I do anything with Adsense. I currently make around 200 a month or so in just ad revenue and it's grown steadily. This is in addition to my "actual clients" and I look at it as sort of a bonus.

It can be a long road to get established, but once you are persistent for awhile and stick with it - it will pay off. There are decent paying article writing gigs out there too that pay upfront.

I second your frustration on some of the jobs though! I had one guy offer me .50 per 100 words after he had read some of my articles and decided my writing style was "good enough" for him. I flat out told him "No thanks I require a living wage" and he actually apologized and said he understood ;) lol

Most of the writer's working for those ridiculous wages are in other countries and the articles are of terrible quality. Fortunately, people are finding that they get what they pay for. I agree with you - writer's need to stop selling themselves so short!

lovesleftovers profile image

lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks so much for the feedback Christin! I appreciate it. While I'm pretty pleased that I've been able to get published with some excellent writing markets, the revenue isn't quite there yet :) Hopefully that will improve as time goes by. And, I'm glad you share my sentiments about how some writers sell themselves short. It really does hurt us all. Thanks again!

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SusieQ42 5 years ago

I found Hubpages on Webanswers. I don't know if you're familiar with Webanswers but you answer people's questions and if they choose your answer you get awarded. Anyway, the person that wrote about hubpages said he didn't really make anything for 6 months. He kept writing and started seeing some money. My goal is to write like crazy for 6 months and hopefully the money will increase.

lovesleftovers profile image

lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks for the tip on Webanswers SusieQ! I'll have to check it out. Writing like crazy sounds like a great idea to me. I guess I'll do the same :) Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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SusieQ42 5 years ago

You're welcome. I'm no pro but I really do love writing. I set a goal of writing 7 hubs a day, stuck with it 3 whole days and now I'm down to 3 or 4. I write some poems, herbal remedies, budgeting, religion, and anything else that comes into my mind.

lovesleftovers profile image

lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas Author

I'm the same way. I enjoy writing about a wide variety of subjects. I have a lot to say I suppose :)

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I think the idea of hub is not for instant gratification where wages are concerned. It's the whole hope that it will pay off once you have hundreds of "hubs" circulating. As for the places that offer pennies per word - that's horrible! I'm new to writing online period so it's all new to me and I'm trying to figure it out too. Writers do need to not sell themselves short because it does drive the whole pay scale down I think. I am not at the level where I think I should get paid so I don't feel ripped off;) haha!

lovesleftovers profile image

lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks for the comment RealHousewife! I think you have a lot of good things to say and you should eventually think about getting paid for it :)

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Thanks so much! I'm working my way up to it but I'm comfortable still feeling like I'm in hub school:) lol a really awesome hub person sent me a link once to apply to write for a paying service - I felt like a fraud! I kept thinking - well I'm not a real writer!

lovesleftovers profile image

lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas Author

You are a real writer. You became one when you wrote your first piece :)

Bud Gallant profile image

Bud Gallant 5 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Very good points in this. I've just begun freelance writing myself, and I've certainly noticed it's not the fastest way to make money. I think persistence is really the key. I do focus much more on passive income than selling articles directly, but that is the tougher way to start off. You might want to look into Demand Media Studios, if you'd like a higher rate. It's not unusual for some people to make $30 an hour or more writing through them. Among other things they publish for eHow. You do need a resume to apply, though. it's the highest paying entry-level opportunity I'm aware of.

I didn't bother with Elance or Odesk exactly due to the issues you've mentioned. The other thing that has to be acknowledged is that in a "global economy", we're competing with writers from countries where $5 an hour is an amazing rate of pay. Many of them can, despite stereotypes, write as well as the average American (or better).

I think a primary aspect of being successful as a freelance writer is developing connections with clients directly who expect high-quality writing for a respectable rate. Developing those clients, in the beginning, is not always easy, though.

You can end up in a catch 22, where you might have to accept less than what you believe your writing is worth initially, in the hopes that you can charge more later. The catch 22 part is, while you're doing that, you're establishing a reputation as someone who works for peanuts, so you're offered more peanuts.

All things considered, HubPages really works well for me. I definitely can make more money writing elsewhere, but I enjoy the freedom of being able to choose my topics here and building up an income source that will continue to pay me overtime!

I've heard of people making out quite well on Content Exchange. I've yet to sell an article through them, though, so I can't speak through experience. I'd look into that, as well.

lovesleftovers profile image

lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks for the insightful comments Bud! I've actually been accepted by Demand Studios, but their assignments are so ridiculously narrow and obscure it's practically impossible to find something to write about. I've published one article with them so far because I was frustrated with having to wade through topics like "How to Find the Cardinality of Real Numbers and Integers" And who could possibly turn down an assignment for "What are Binders in Paramotors" I've talked to other writers who've said the same thing about Demand (eHow). I write a lot for Suite101 and I really like them. I just signed up with Textbroker and, unless you have a 4 or 5 star rating, the assignments are really limited. Most people start out with a 3 star rating.

Your point about writers from outside the U.S. accepting assignments for very little pay is a valid one. And as long as they continue to do so many clients will use them. But, I've also noticed that more and more clients are making a real point of looking for writers "whose native language is English", but they still want to pay a ridiculously low fee for a 500 word article. Some clients I've seen on Odesk have the nerve to offer a dollar an article. Seriously?

I have one really good client who I love and I found him on craigslist. I had found another client on craigslist and she ended up pulling the rug out from under me (see my "Help, I've Been Plagiarized" article:

Writer's don't seem to be valued for the service they provide. For too many years I wrote for the heck of it and now that I'm trying to make some real money with it I'm seeing how difficult that can be. I'm hoping slowly, but surely things will pick up. Thanks again for the feedback! Keep up the good work :)

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Keep at it and you'll soon make more than pennies a day here. Many of us do make more with our writing, it takes time and unlike freelance you have to build up your readership.

I just started with Elance and another writer told me you have to start low and work your way up there. Eventually you get enough offer that you make a decent wage with them.

lovesleftovers profile image

lovesleftovers 5 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks for the comment and advice Pamela! I've actually registered with Elance too, but have yet to do anything with it so far.

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