Introduction To Textbroker, Constant Content and Writer Access
Getting Started With Freelance Writing: Textbroker, Constant Content and Writer Access
Hello, fellow writers. For the last three years I’ve been struggling along as a freelancer, and I thought I’d share some of the basics I’ve found out about getting started with Textbroker, Constant Content and Writer Access to ease your journey into the wonderful world of becoming independently wealthy (that’s a joke in case you didn’t know.) There are no affiliate programs associated with any of these links (or if there are I am too lazy to sign up for them or am not aware of them) so my reviews here are unbiased.
The first thing I did when I decided to take the (scary) plunge into freelance writing was to sign up with the fantastic newsletter: Freedom With Writing. This is a free newsletter and joining is a snap. After you register, you’ll receive periodic emails that contain tons of information about many of the websites out there actively looking to hire writers. In fact, it’s how I found out about Hub Pages in the first place.
I’ve joined on with quite a few of the websites I found through Freedom with Writing and the top three so far in terms of ease of use, availability of assignments, payment and reputation have been Textbroker, Constant Content and Writer Access. Full disclosure: I am still waiting for acceptance and my star rating from Writer Access, but I wanted to include them because the pay is quite competitive and they have a good reputation. I’ve been active with the other two sites for several months. Let's get started:
Textbroker is not a typical content mill, in fact, writers are rewarded for better quality submissions. One of the great things about Textbroker is that you do not have to have extensive experience to get hired with them. They have a “star rating” system and everyone begins somewhere between two and four stars. The better your writing, the higher star rating you are assigned, and the higher the star rating, the higher the pay for each piece. You also have a chance to move up in star rating if you consistently turn in excellent work. There is a five star level rating available, but you must first be a level four and pass an AP style guide test to obtain a level five. I’m going to be honest here. I really sucked at the test and did not pass. I found it to be very difficult and extremely detailed. Obviously I need to get an AP style book and study it intensely before retaking the test (you can take the test again in three months if you fail.)
Getting started with Textbroker is pretty simple, which is just one of the things that sets it apart from all of the other sites I’ve gotten involved with thus far. You fill out a form with some basic information and submit a writing sample on a topic that Textbroker chooses. That’s pretty much it, and then you sit back, relax (or, as in my case, worry constantly about what rank you will receive and check your email 50 times a day for the news) and you will receive your star rating within a week or so. After you get your rating, you can log in and start making money!
The interface is very easy to use. After logging in, you click on the link that says “Assignments.” You can choose to write assignments at or under your star level. Level two pays 0.7 cents a word. Level three pays 1 cent; level four pays 1.4 cents and level five pays 5 cents per word. There are plenty of assignments available at nearly every star level, (Generally over 1,000 assignments at any one time, so be ready to write!)
I’ve never felt there was a lack of work at my level (4) although I have seen some folks online say they occasionally have trouble finding enough assignments at lower levels. One of the best things about Textbroker is the huge variety of topics available. You can choose what you want to write about and ignore what you don’t. You can also write as much or as little as you want. My best piece of advice in choosing assignments is nothing new: “write what you know.” The more you know, the faster you will write, and the faster you write, the more money you will make. Try to avoid assignments that require a lot of research because it's is a major time-sucker.
After getting your feet wet with Open Orders (that's the general pool of orders open to different star levels,) you may be invited to join a "group" by a client who likes your work. Group Orders pay slightly more than Open Orders. There are also "Direct Orders" for which you set your own price. That's when the client hires you, specifically, for an assignment. Those orders are the best way to make the most money. Be sure to set a competitive price so the client will want to work with you on an ongoing basis.
Textbroker pays every week via Paypal, and they’ve been great about prompt payment. They’ve also been extremely accessible whenever I’ve had a question, and have responded quickly. For all of these reasons, they are my top pick for a new freelance writer to get started in the industry.
Constant Content works very differently from Textbroker, and so far, it hasn’t panned out all that well for me in terms of making money, but then again I tend to be a rather impatient person and don’t really like waiting to get paid. Constant Content is not a “sure thing” in that you do the writing and then the client decides whether or not they want to buy your article. This potentially results in a lot of work for no money, since there is no guarantee the client will choose to purchase your article over others'. So far, I have submitted about five articles there and have sold one, which makes me less than enthused when they send me new requests. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
To sign up for Constant Content, you simply fill out the profile information. Once your profile is all set up and you pick a username and password, Constant Content sends you an initial welcome email. You then log in, click on your Dashboard, and select “Requested Content.” This will bring you to the orders that the clients have placed on the site. Find an article you want to write and click on it to get the details the client has provided. Select the article and write it to the client’s specifications, then submit it through the dashboard. The main thing you need to focus on here is perfection. The editors are looking very carefully at new writers’ submissions, and I had my first several articles returned for typos and other minor grammar errors. We all know how incredibly difficult it is to copyedit our own stuff, but we have to, so make sure you’re thorough. Don’t fret if your initial articles get sent back; just make the required fixes and re-submit them.
After you article gets accepted, it will be shown to the client who ordered it. They then decide if they want to purchase it or not. If they do not purchase it, it gets sent to the “general pool” where anyone can buy it. If it does not ever get purchased, it sits there forever, lonely and despondent, and you get nothing.
You can set your own price for the articles, but the client indicates a price range in which they would like to stay. I suggest sticking to the low end of the range or even lower if you want to compete with the other writers. Prices range from $10-$250 depending on word count. The article I sold paid me $30 for 500 words (I had set the price at $50; the writer keeps 60% of the sale price and Constant Content keeps the rest.)
I have not been too active with Constant Content because I sold only one article there and poured a lot of work into the other ones I wrote. Thus far, no one has purchased them, but I suppose there is still a chance they could be bought one day (wistful sigh… violins in the background.)
If you don’t have any other paying gigs, you can put more effort into Constant Content and after you submit ten articles, you will eligible to apply to join a writing pool. That’s a select group of writers who receive higher pay for their articles on specialized content. I have not yet joined a writing pool because I got discouraged after only selling one article there, but maybe I will revisit that aspect of the site and update you if I am successful. Likewise, do write and let me know how this site works out for you if you join.
Writer Access is the site about which I know the least, but I wanted to include it anyway, because they pay a lot more than Textbroker but are set up in a similar way. The application process here is a little bit insane, though, and much more complicated than the other two sites we just discussed. First, you fill out a profile with all your basic info and submit numerous writing samples. After that, they send you an email saying they’ll get back to you within “a week or less.”
Well, I waited two months, never heard back, and decided to log into the site to ask them what was going on with my application. I arrived at the site to find a whole buttload of additional information they wanted, plus a really hard 44-question writing test. Apparently I had made it to “round two” but no one had contacted me. I thought the writing test would be a breeze. HA! That’s funny. I was sweating and shaking at certain points because I was so nervous. You get the answer after each question automatically, and every time I got one wrong I would kind of scream in dismay. Anyway, I ended up doing slightly above average at the test according to a little chart they provide you with at the end, so I that’s good, I guess.
I also had to fill out a bazillion more samples, broken down into “asset type,” “company size” and about ten additional categories. This thing took me over three hours to complete, so if you’re planning on applying here, do set a bunch of time aside to do so. There is also a big technical glitch with the submission forms- if you cut and paste from Word, the system will insert lots of garbled letters and symbols into your sample text. This resulted in my having to re-type all of the samples by hand which took an additional three hours. To save yourself that time, make sure to type your samples directly into the submission boxes and don’t cut and paste.
I submitted my test and additional samples three days ago and as of yet have not heard back. As you probably already know by now, I have been checking my email frantically a million times a day to receive their decision.
The pay at Writer Access is pretty solid. Like Textbroker, they also use a two to five star system to rank writers, but the pay ranges from 1.13-4.60 cents per word, so it’s much higher than Textbroker for the same amount of work.
I would love to hear any feedback or experiences you have had with any of these sites or additional sites for which you’ve signed up. I have registered at a bunch of other places. Some of the sites that accepted me never have any assignments available, and, of course, I’ve been rejected by some places as well (Ouch! It’s never pleasant.) For now, I’m off to check my email again to see if Writer Access has sent me on my way to riches beyond my wildest dreams…