Thursday, November 13, 2008

Little victories make life worthwhile

I have a writing star at Helium now. To get a writing star there, you need to have written at least 4 articles, and they have to rank, on average, in the top quarter.

Let me back up a minute- one of the key features of Helium is that members rate articles written on the same title- this is done anonymously and there are incentives for rating on a regular basis. The idea is that the best articles will 'rise to the top.' With at least one rating star and one writing star, you are eligible for a number of extra payment options, like small upfront payments on articles, and revenue sharing. Since I finally have one of each, I'm looking forward to seeing what my payments look like when they are calculated at the end of the month.

Let's just say, though, that I'm not holding my breath here for a big payday. Still, I really like Helium and would definitely recommend it to a burgeoning writer.

I will say though that I've gotten turned off of the Marketplace feature, which originally had been my favorite part of the site. In the Helium Marketplace, different publishers post calls for content and any writer can tackle the assignment and hope their work is accepted and subsequently paid. I guess I got spoiled because I was able to sell two articles pretty quickly. They were both sold to the same publisher (video game download reviews) and I got cocky and thought, since they seemed to like my writing style, that I'd be a shoo-in for all subsequent articles. Last week I probably spent nearly 8 hours working on 4 different reviews for these folks (an hour playing the free trial, which admittedly, should only count as half "working," and then up to an hour writing the review). If all of these had been purchased, the pay would have averaged out to be around $8.00/hr, which is awful- but when you're starting out, any pay is good pay, right?

In fact, I received "no pay" for this work because none of that batch of four were chosen. It was kind of an ego blow and confused me, because at the time of their decision, I think 2 of my articles were rated #1 out of all the choices. After putting what amounts to a full day's work into these reviews and getting nothing out of it, I decided I was going to pull back from the Marketplace bidding for a while. My ego was bruised, my time had been wasted, and I not-so-secretly hoped that that particular publisher would regret alienating a writer who had put a lot of thought into their assignments.

Shortly after this decision, feeling righteously indignant and miffed at the company that had rejected my last four articles, I was perusing their website and saw a call for writers to form an ongoing freelancing relationship with them- basically, to do what I had been doing through Helium, except for I'd actually be guaranteed payment on an assignment, instead of crossing my fingers, hoping I get chosen. Immediately, I pushed my indignation aside to email and request to be considered for the position. Hey, I just quit my full time job to do this writing thing, and husband and I just put an offer on a second home, so I can't afford to nurse my battered ego right now! However, I haven't heard back from them. Ouch . . . guess rejection comes with the territory though. I'd better get used to it!

{Originally published November 7th, 2008 on my Wordpress blog}

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