Thursday, March 4, 2010

Demand Opening to U.K. and Canadian Writers

If you're pretty happy with your writing and feel like you've struck a balance between what is good and what is salable, you now have the opportunity to throw that away and start writing for Demand Studios instead. I know there are a lot of people who live in the U.K. or Canada and have felt that their options are limited because a lot of the U.S. content companies weren't open to them.

Well, now you too can write soulless articles that will be mangled by editors who talk to you like you're garbage. Hooray! The pay is actually pretty good, especially if you're coming from a journalism background. It's also extremely flexible. If you've read about writing for Demand Media before from people who say it takes hours and hours to write an article and you have to interview people and you get paid .01 an hour, that's all crap.

It's Web writing. It takes about 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the topic and the format. And, it's not all for eHow. They supply content to a lot of different sites and have varying pay available for different projects. If you are a competent Web writer, understand Web formatting and how to write and organize quickly, you can make a decent amount of money with them. Some people unfortunately have categorized this work as journalism that is extremely low paying. It isn't. The only thing it has in common with journalism is the speed. If you take 20 hours to write a badly researched article, as the fellow in the link did, you're not up to the task. And if you're not up to the task, there's a world of hurt coming.

Here's what gets me, though. As a journalist who was trained to double check facts, to keep my opinions out of it, etc., both of the articles above simply don't cut it. If I had turned in anything like those two articles, complete with inaccuracies (both claim $15 to $20 an article, which is wrong), they would have been thrown back at me. Literally so, in one case. I actually Twittered the writer of the first one to tell him that Demand wouldn't have accepted that article from him. And you know what? It's true. Somehow, such shoddy work has resulted in a few highly-paid writers who think they can never be replaced. I don't really understand the world we live in sometimes, but I do know this- if you want to write for a living, get with the program. If you can't write for the Web, you're going to have a tough road ahead. I see a lot of writers who look down at Web writers and simultaneously declare that you can't make a full-time living by writing. You can.

Here's what you need:

Diversity- Keep several companies on tap and write for each so that no one company going under means the end of your job.

Skill- You need to be able to organize your thoughts quickly and write your item clearly and correctly the first time.

Reasonable Expectations- I see a lot of writers who want to get into Web writing and expect $100 or so per article. This isn't print. I have gotten that before, but it isn't reasonable to expect it most of the time. There are people out there who spend weeks looking for high-paying work because anything else is beneath them. Those people have day jobs. Don't price yourself out of the market and your job will always be there.

Am I a crappy writer because I work for market prices and don't assume that I can't be replaced by someone else if I don't? No. I'm a crappy writer for a number of other reasons. But, I don't apologize for taking on full-time work even if it isn't work that makes me feel super important. If you want to work for Demand, then work for Demand. You can make a lot more an hour than you can working for a newspaper, and there are a few perks here and there. New York Times writers may look down on it, but when those reporters are out of a job like the rest of us and can't get hired by Demand, they may have wished they'd kept these three principles in mind and moved with the industry instead of assuming that they can't and won't be replaced.

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