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How Freelance Writing Classifieds Have Changed

ClassifiedsI remember just a couple of short years ago when I began writing online, I would search the online job boards for writing assignments. I remember I landed my first “big gig” through one of these sites. If was for a trade magazine and it paid me $525 for a 1,200 word article.

Wow, I thought I had hit the big times (until it took me almost 8 months of repeated follow ups and letters to finally get paid). Back then a lot of the jobs posted were for off line publications looking for freelance writers. Of course there were the sweat shop ads for 500 word articles at the rate of $1 per article or something like that, but mostly there were legitimate gigs, many which paid well.

Change in Classifieds

Since I’ve been rather busy lately, I’ve ignored quite a few of my Google Alerts, but this morning as I was having my coffee, I decided to goof off and read a few of my alerts.

In my freelance writing alert, I found a CNN Money link to Freelance Writing Jobs. Just for grins, I decided to see what they had. After all, we’re talking CNN, not a fly by night ‘we have freelance writing jobs’ website. Imagine my amusement when at least 4 of the freelance writing jobs were for Demand Studios, one for Suite 101, two for Examiner and finally one for About.com (here’s the link to check it out for yourself).

Been There Done That

Since I already write for Demand Studios and Suite, applied for About (went though the entire process of building a sample site and waiting about 3 months before they turned me down) and don’t really have the desire to write for Examiner, there wasn’t much that interested me in the search results (although the FabJob.com listing looked a little interesting).

Times, They Are a Changin’

I don’t know if there will ever be enough writers to fill the internet’s thirst for online content. That’s a good thing because there are always online writing opportunities for freelancers.  It seems, however,  that the days of landing a high-paying off line writing gig merely by performing an online writing job search is a thing of the past (or maybe my “big gig” was just a fluke).

Oh well, at least there’s always the opportunity to build residual income. During the 8 months I was tracking down my $525 from the publisher, I was able to start my residual income base. Boy, am I glad that I did!

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Deborah February 13, 2010, 1:45 pm

    Wow, you must have read my mind, Felicia! I was feeling really depressed the other day when I was sifting through tons of classifieds and finding things with crappy or dismal pay. It seems like only two kinds of ads appear anymore; ads with crummy pay or ads for mill sites. I don’t know what’s wrong with our industry and I pray that it can recover from this. Residual earning is nice, but I prefer up-front pay. Even during the summer of ’09, there were many more good ads. I think the only way to earn decent money is to write for print, which is hard, because the Internet is making print magazines obsolete. Even still, I have high hopes and will be submitting my first query letter this weekend. Wish me luck!

    • Felicia February 13, 2010, 2:24 pm

      Good luck, Deborah.

      I’m sure with persistence you’ll find the right magazine gig. The key word is persistence. 🙂

  • Samantha February 13, 2010, 2:11 pm

    I feel you on this one. As more and more people are willing to take a pittance for pay, it seems like the market for content writing is becoming less and less livable. I suspect, however, there will always be a premium for writers who can generate quality content.

    Like you, I think residual pay in the long run carries the most potential to make writing fulltime possible, but then you’re trusting that the revenue streams providing that passive pay will always be there.

    When I think about my current pay for writing online I think back to when I was a teenager…I did some work for a local paper, at $25/piece – amazing by today’s standard pay for online content.
    .-= Samantha´s last blog ..Xomba: Nada for Pay, Not Bad for Promotion =-.

  • Elizabeth February 13, 2010, 3:54 pm

    I’m with you Felicia. It seems like the higher-paying or upfront-pay assignments are all through the same sites, and there are very few legit opportunities to work outside of this structure. That is frustrating as Demand Studios is abysmal and About requires more effort than its worth. My goal is to eventually generate enough residual income to not have to worry about it. One can dream, right? Anyway, thanks for the sobering advice. It just solidifies my resolve to work even harder at increasing my residual income streams. Now I’m off to write, ha ha.
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Suite!!! I’m a Winner! =-.

  • Julie - Inspired to Write February 14, 2010, 11:48 am

    There are definitely opps out there, but not high-paying ones. I think that residual is really the way to go! I just wrote a post about finding freelance jobs! You can even find them on Craigslist. I, too am sticking with Suite 101 and eHow aka Demand Studios. 🙂
    .-= Julie – Inspired to Write´s last blog ..Freelance Writing for Websites: Find your Niche =-.

  • Netlexis February 14, 2010, 1:24 pm

    I’m a refugee from big media and I can honestly say I’m not missing it. I came to realize that even with big paydays, the work was never mine. Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to the idea of residual income, whether it’s from articles on eHow to my own niche blogs. What I create belongs to me and I reap the benefit. That’s not to say I won’t jump at the opportunity when big media calls, but now I know it’s not the be-all, end-all.

    I also take a contarian view on the pay-for sites like DS. Honestly, the quality expected is not worth much more than $.03 a word. Those articles are generally a rehash of other writers’ words and research distilled into bite-sized chunks for the DS audience. Don’t get me wrong, I’d have no problem with DS paying a $1 a word, but the point is, DS knows what that type of writing is worth and that’s why they pay what they pay. There are — and will continue to be — places that pay a decent wage for a writer’s work, but the expectations will be high. And the competition stiff.

    My advice to writers who want to go for the brass ring is to remember their DS work (or Heilium or Internet Brands) is just a way to make survivalmoney. If you wnat to write feature articles for big media you need to learn the craft and process (which might mean submitting filler pieces for two years before one is accepted). But even when you start writing for good venues and making that $1+ a word, remember that writing never truly belong to you. Take the time to start building a residual income and consider it an investment in yourself.
    .-= Netlexis´s last blog ..Earn Money Writing: Your eHow Articles Could Be Worth $300,000 =-.

    • Felicia February 15, 2010, 12:11 pm

      Netlexis, thanks for a view from the other side.

      Most of us don’t have the long-term experience working for the big guys. I like your sound advice, “Take the time to start building a residual income and consider it an investment in yourself.”

      I couldn’t have said it better myself! 🙂

  • Cassie Tuttle February 14, 2010, 3:49 pm

    Love your take on the Internet’s insatiable thirst for content.:-) I often wonder just when and how that need will ever end. Infinity, I suppose. But who knows what the future holds.

    Speaking of classified, I was just wondering about your thoughts and experiences with Craig’s List. Any success there?
    .-= Cassie Tuttle´s last blog ..Speak well, and carry a grammatically correct phonetic stick =-.

    • Felicia February 15, 2010, 12:13 pm


      I used to review Craig’s list regularly, but stopped once my residual income picked up. I don’t think I ever landed a writing gig with Craig’s list.

      I do believe, however, there are some legitimate ads there, but you’ve got to go through a lot of junk before you find one.

  • prerna February 15, 2010, 4:20 am

    Hi Felicia,

    Thnxs for the insightful post and you’re right. I spend quite a bit of time researching job leads and as you’ve discovered find that most of them are for DS, Examiner, Suite and plenty of fly-by-night operators:-)
    Anyways, since most upfront ops are for US writers, I plan on sticking with QG and residual sites as well as select private clients. That’s all that I can handle!
    .-= prerna´s last blog ..Book Review: The Journey of Om by Chandru Bhojwani =-.

  • Julie - Inspired to Write February 15, 2010, 12:25 pm

    There is a site called aboutfreelancewriting.com that has jobs with links… it is like a one stop shopping for jobs. I peruse through it occasionally. This way you do not have to look at the huge amount of websites out there for jobs.
    .-= Julie – Inspired to Write´s last blog ..Top Fifteen Free Blog Directories =-.

  • Tamara February 24, 2010, 9:22 am

    Hi Felicia,

    I just looked on your link and the advertisement is not for writing. Did they change it???

    • Felicia February 24, 2010, 10:00 am

      Tamara, it looks like they changed it. I see a lot of ads for HubPages.

      It appears that they update their ads rather frequently.

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