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Suite Just Got Sweeter!

Suite 101 recently made changes to their writing guidelines. For folks who write for Suite should take a moment to review the new writing guidelines.

Cut to the Chase

I’m guilty of being the typical online reader. I scanned through the announcement and pulled out two things that were of interest to me:

  1. We no longer restrict the use of voice
  2. Goodbye quotas (although the quotas still apply to Feature Writers)

For a lot of us, being able to write in the second person is huge! It will make it much easier to write for Suite 101. I think writing in the second person makes articles flow in a more user friendly fashion.

Regarding Article QuotasWriting for Suite 101

Dropping the quotas makes it a lot easier for Contributing Writers. No longer do they have to try to calculate how close or far they are from their quotas (there appeared to be much discussion and question about how the quota system worked).

In the past, Suite was rather forgiving regarding the one a week quota for Feature Writers. As long as you met your quota by the end of the month, you were fine. In other words, if you were working on a project and couldn’t write weekly, but made up the difference in the last week of the month, it was okay. I hope they continue with that practice.

Other Stuff

The other stuff in the email talked about article length, accreditation process (news articles) and minimum standards. Since I tend to write ever green articles and never had a problem with article length, I scanned over those items. I’m not even going to discuss minimum standards (never strive for the minimum).

All in all, I’m pleased with the new changes. It makes it just that much easier to write for Suite 101.

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Rachel @ Pen Meets Wallet August 18, 2010, 9:06 am

    I’m so pleased they did away with the article quotas. It was frustrating rushing to meet ‘deadlines’ and trying to figure out how much time one had in between them. That being said, I’m thankful for the quotas, because they kept me writing when I might otherwise had stopped or slugged along.

    I’ve never had that much of problem writing in third person, but I do agree being able to write in second person will make it easier and article writing quicker.

  • Kathy August 18, 2010, 10:50 am

    I’m excited about the changes, as well. I found writing in the third person difficult for some articles, and am glad that the quotas have been lifted. Not that I really minded the quotas, I just like freedom better!

  • Deanna August 18, 2010, 1:30 pm

    Hmmm… While I am happy that Suite has relaxed some of their rules, it makes me think they are fearful of losing writers to other writing sites because of their old rules. I liked the old rules of deadlines and writing style only because is kept the site more uniform, more professional. However, being able to use the word “you” in a travel or parenting article will be very liberating. I just can’t help wondering what is actually behind this sudden change in thinking. Writers for Suite have always wanted to relax the rules, but Suite never gave in before. Why now?

    • Felicia August 18, 2010, 2:06 pm

      When I first started writing for Suite I was able to write in the second person and then things changed. The one thing I’ve learned about business is that if you stick around long enough, things will change again…and they did. Now I’m back to being able to write in the second person again.

      As to why they did it, only Suite knows for sure. In the meanwhile, I’ll enjoy the change.

  • Kidgas August 18, 2010, 5:10 pm

    Well, I will certainly have to consider and look into Suite 101 now. One of the things that kept me away was the idea of having a quota. With my busy schedule, I just couldn’t guarantee that I would be able to fulfill a particular commitment. That would have made it seem like a job, and I don’t need another one of those.

    • Felicia August 18, 2010, 5:18 pm

      Kidgas, I think you should give it a try. With your finance background you should do very well there.

  • Julie-Inspired to Write August 18, 2010, 9:56 pm

    That is HUGE!!! Those are the biggest reasons I did not like writing for Suite! YAY! I wonder why I didn’t get the email? I will have to go check it out. This pretty much made my day – thanks!!

  • Kayte August 19, 2010, 12:24 am

    Thanks, Felicia, for the news. I may have to try to get reinstated with Suite.

  • Crystal August 19, 2010, 10:59 am

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Felicia. This is great news for me! I was waiting to get kicked to the curb for missing my quota as I’ve been spending all my writing time the past few months at DS, which brings in the $$ but isn’t doing a thing for building residual income. But for now, that’s ok.

  • Emory August 19, 2010, 10:21 pm


    You posted awhile back that your Suite earnings had dipped. Have they rebounded? Now that they’ve relaxed the quota, I’m thinking about applying.

    • Felicia August 20, 2010, 6:29 am

      Emory, My numbers have not bounced back as yet. I’ve noticed a very small improvement, but my earnings are not where they used to be.

  • Sean August 20, 2010, 6:14 pm

    This is definitely great news, and sent me checking the announcements again instead of just skimming on by. I’m so used to writing in the second person that this will make a huge difference, and the doing away with quotas will definitely help me be more consistent since there is no penalty for having to take time off now – it doesn’t become an albatross around the neck. Great news!

  • Christina Crowe August 21, 2010, 8:39 pm

    This is fantastic! Being a part-time blogger/part-time freelance writer, not writing in the second person is often a difficult task. I’m glad they did away with it.

    As for quotas… It’s hard for me, personally, to stay dedicated without some type of push. I have a major problem with motivation (even though I absolutely love to write). I get distracted easily and struggle with fulfilling tasks unless I’m in the zone. Quotas, for me, would give me a reason to keep working.. or at least something to consider if I ever get distracted.


  • prerna August 22, 2010, 9:29 pm

    I know Felicia.. Am really thrilled about the changes too.. Am sure they’re for the better. Like you, even my earnings had sunk.. But they’re looking better now.. Hopefully, they’ll be back to where they were in September:-) Meanwhile, am really hoping they’re ok with FWs meeting monthly quota and not get strict about weekly. There’s a discussion going on this in the writer’s forum.

  • Nida Sea August 25, 2010, 2:32 pm

    Do the new rules apply to all Suite101 writers? I was brought on last month and have yet to submit anything. It probably doesn’t apply to new writers does it? I did find where they announced it, but I can’t find any information about it not applying to new writers on the Suite101 handbook… I’ll keep looking.

    – Nida

    • Felicia August 25, 2010, 4:44 pm

      Nida, you’re over thinking the situation. Take the announcement at face value. There’s no quota except for FW’s.

  • Nida Sea August 25, 2010, 5:07 pm

    OK, that’ll work for me! Thanks Felicia. 😀

    – Nida

  • HealthyOpal August 31, 2010, 12:26 pm

    Greeting Felicia,

    I stumbled upon your site a few days ago, and have read through several of your posts since that time. I can definitely identify with being “Mentally Unemployable.” I’ve been in that category for years. I’m business owner, and recently I’ve been thinking about getting back into freelance writing. I mainly write about health and fitness, although I have written about Mac & Windows technology too. Since I do have a strong background in that area.

    About two years ago, I took a break from freelance writing. I was simply burnt out. I made the mistake of taking long term assignments that had deadlines and quotas. Those jobs paid fairly well, so I stayed with them for a while, however, I did get burnt out in the process.

    Although I have a few monetized sites, I do miss writing for others too. I liked the additional income I was able to make with freelance writing, at times it came in handy. Freelance writing was the money I used to purchase things I really didn’t need, at times I used it to pay for unexpected items too, like the when I had to rush to the vet when one of my ferrets stumbled upon some erasers and decided to sample them, lol.

    I’ll definitely check out some of the sites you’ve recommended. Thanks again for having such an informative site. I’ll definitely be keeping up with your writings via my RSS feed aggregator. 🙂

    • Felicia September 1, 2010, 8:17 am

      HealthyOpal, welcome.

      I’ve got to say, I ran across a few of your sites early on in my online research and writing days. I know you used to (or probably still have) several informative blogs. As a matter of fact, reading your blogs is what gave me the motivation and inspiration to stick with it.

      I’m glad you’ve found NJFM!

  • Edward G Gordon September 1, 2010, 1:55 pm

    Hi Felicia,

    This might seem a slightly daft question but is Suite101 suitable for a newbie freelance writer even if his writing and grammar are acceptable or should I stay clear until I pick up some more experience?

    I find it difficult to decide whether to take the risk now or wait until I have written a bit more for myself. Do I join now and run the risk of messing up an assignment through lack of experience or do I wait until I am more confident about my abilities. After mucking up the Demand Studios application I worry about closing too many doors before I achieve a high enough quality of writing that I no longer have to worry. What would you advice?

    • Felicia September 1, 2010, 4:08 pm

      Hi Edward,

      I’m going to answer a few of your questions (this one and a few on other posts) with a question. Have you downloaded my free ebook?

  • Edward Gordon September 2, 2010, 10:40 am

    Hi Felicia,

    Yes, I found it not long after reading this article. I devoured it in under three hours. I felt a little bit daft for asking all those questions as you answered them all and a few more besides in your book. The ebook impressed me so much – not to mention this site – that I wrote a post about it on my own blog last night and included a link back to your site. I am also going to add another link back from my link pages. I am still only setting the site up but I hope to have some of it by tomorrow evening.

    I have been surfing the net for several weeks now looking for information and more importantly inspiration for and about writing. I found a lot of both here. This is without doubt the most informative and energetic writing blog that I have seen so far.

    Thank you.

    • Felicia September 2, 2010, 11:07 am

      Edward, I’m glad the book helped. As far as the NJFM blog goes, I’d love to take full credit for all of the information here, but I can’t. I’ve got a great bunch of readers and contributors here. Without them NJFM wouldn’t be what it is.

  • Paul Novak September 2, 2010, 12:12 pm

    While I understand why places like Suite 101 have regulations on the work they’ll accept, I couldn’t reconcile my writing style with them. Especially the limiting of voice since I use any approach that will facilitate the message and result in as natural a read as possible. Seriously, it’s like the rule against ending in a preposition. We all know that there are plenty of exceptions, and that if you follow the rule it often actually hurts the flow of the writing.

    Good for them for relaxing a bit. I wrote a bunch of stuff for Suite 101 many years ago and have watched how they totally transformed themselves over the years. One of the things I felt they lost was the laid back and amiable atmosphere they originally had that made them so popular. I don’t write for them now because I’m not a fan of those income methods, but may reconsider if they return to a more easygoing format style.

    Thanks and look forward to your posts.

  • Edward Gordon September 2, 2010, 12:14 pm

    Hi Felicia,

    I understand what you mean, the original article that I read was about Content Divas and you did a great job of breaking the pros and cons of that down (which on its own inspired me to bookmark the page) but the additional commentary from your readers was proof in my eyes that the site had a lot of value to offer. No one really wants to comment about something they are not passionate about – do they?

    Anyway, by the time I had read a few more of your articles, downloaded your ebook and had time to digest the information in it, I was and still am convinced that I have found “Eldorado”. So much so I have added you to my RSS feed, and inspired by what you wrote and I quote, “If your goal is to have your freelance writing to bring in a certain amount of money each month, the only way you’ll reach the goal is if you begin.”(page 19) I signed up for an account at suite101, factoidz and Infobarrel.

    I’ll let you know how I get on.

  • Edward Gordon September 3, 2010, 7:58 am

    Hi Felicia,

    I just want to thank you again. I just got an email from suite101 accepting me as a writer. I know it’s only a small step but for me it was beginning to become a hurdle. Now all I have to do is actually write something intelligent.

    I am pasting in the acceptance email so that if there are any other new writers who would like to become freelancers then perhaps it will give them the motivation and confidence to do it themselves.

    I am not a great writer – for all that I love to use words – but perhaps I can be a good writer. Anyway thanks for the kickstart.

    This is the mail I was sent.

    Congratulations! Your application to become a writer for Suite101.com has been approved. We are proud to showcase some of the most talented writers around the world and are excited to have you join our team.

    CLICK HERE to log-in and get started.

    We look forward to publishing your work. Welcome aboard!

    Best Regards,

    The Suite101 Editorial Team

    Questions? Visit our FAQs

    Wishing you the best of everything Felicia.

    • Felicia September 3, 2010, 1:55 pm

      Congrats, Edward! You’re on your way.

  • Tashana September 5, 2010, 12:25 pm

    Wow, Edward can you please contact me and let me know what you did because I’ve applied twice now and been told twice that my writing doesn’t meet their guidelines. What am I doing wrong?

    Felicia, is there some tool you use to run your articles through to ensure that the grammar is the standard used for Suite? I have downloaded your ebook and I plan on reading it thorougly this evening because now my ego is a tad bit intimidated. I am certainly ready for the challenge because if my style of writing needs work I would love to know what I need to do to change it. But, since I have no plans to take any more college courses for English grammar, it’s difficult to assess what I’m not doing.

    Any advice you can offer would be great.

    • Felicia September 6, 2010, 8:26 am

      Tashana, I don’t use a program to review my grammar (I know I’ve got grammatical mistakes sprinkled here and there). Maybe it’s not your grammar. It could be writing style, the subject matter, keyword usage or SEO expertise; it’s tough to say without having read your sample.

      Suite, just like most online content sites, looks for engaging, tightly focused articles that show some knowledge of online writing skills. By online writing skills, I mean using subheadings, shorter paragraphs and keywords/search engine optimization.

      In my opinion (and this is only my opinion), I’d rather teach a quality writer how to improve her style for the web than take a web savvy writer and teach her the basics of writing. In other words, if your article is focused and engaging you probably stand a better chance of getting approved even if you’re not an SEO expert than if you were an SEO expert with poor writing skills.

      Since Edward was recently accepted, maybe he can share a few gems of wisdom.

  • Edward G Gordon September 6, 2010, 5:52 pm

    Hi Tashana, Hi Felicia,

    I don’t know about pearls of wisdom. It’s probably got more to do with fear of rejection than anything else.

    I wrote a woeful piece for Demand Studios which got rejected. I know it was woeful because I wrote in in less than 15 minutes and quite frankly my head was just not in the game.(I did not want it to happen again.)

    On the other hand the article that I submitted to Suite101 was an article that I wrote for the Writers Bureau, the company that I registered with to polish up my writing skills. I spent something like five or six hours total on the article and according to my word files made about fifteen different rewrites. (Some of them complete rewrites.)I polished it until the shine came off.

    One thing about the article I wrote is that it was not a web based article, nor was it SEO keyword based. I wrote it with a local magazine in mind. I have actually sent it to them for approval.

    I am not going to paste the full article, (it is over six hundred words) but I will paste the first couple of paragraphs to give you an idea of what I wrote. Trust me I did nothing special, but maybe you will get some ideas from it. I am sure that Felicia or some of the regulars here might be able to see where I went right and give you some advice. I hope it helps.

    An Irish Plague.

    In his poem the “Dying Girl”, Richard D’Alton Williams (1882 – 1862) wrote, “Consumption has no pity for blue eyes and golden hair.” The “white death”, invisible, struck with wanton regularity, respecting no boundaries of class or station. No one was immune with husbands and wives, young and old, all falling victim to the disease. There was no predicting where it would strike next. In the late 18th and early 19th century, popular understanding of tuberculosis was clouded by folklore traditions that believed the victims to be vampires who sucked the life out of other family members.

    Circa 460 BC, the Greek physician Hippocrates noted that “phthisis” as it was known at the time, was a widespread and often fatal disease, common to many cultures. He described the most common symptoms as including fever, sweats and the coughing up of blood. In the 11th century the physician Ibn Sina put forward the idea that tuberculosis of the lung was contagious. He was the first physician known to use quarantine in an attempt to prevent further infection.

    It was not until Robert Kock, a German physician, announced his findings regarding the TB bacteria, (mycobacterium tuberculosis) to the medical world on March 24th 1882 that the true revolution began. Years of painstaking research had finally led to a breakthrough in understanding one of the deadliest contagious diseases known to mankind.

    I really hope that was of some help Tashana.

  • edward G Gordon September 6, 2010, 6:10 pm

    Hi Tashana,

    One further note. On the Suite101 site there are a list of writing resources, articles really on how best to write an article, what title format to use etc.

    I don’t know if you actually need to be accepted as a member before you can access them, but if you can, it might be worth having a look at them. I printed them all off and found them to be full of helpful information. You might see something you can apply to your own articles.

    Best wishes.

  • LilyRose September 16, 2010, 11:37 am

    Hi Felicia,

    I was just curious as to how your page views and revenue is for Suite?

    I’m a FW as well, but we write in completely different areas. I had great months in May and June, which is opposite of most Suitees, but then I started to see a steady decline in revenue for July and August, 20% less of May and June.

    I’m getting a bit concerned bc Sept has been abysmal, I believe for other Suitees as well. And it’s abysmal for page views as well.

    I’d be curious to hear about your experience, thank you!

    • Felicia September 16, 2010, 12:18 pm

      LilyRose, to be honest with you, I haven’t been happy with my Suite earnings since January of this year.

      Despite writing an additional 40 articles since January, my income is still far below my January level. The only reason I remain with suite is because of my per article rate. Although, as I analyze my numbers from year to year, my per article rate seems to be hitting a plateau.

      When I take my annual earnings and divide it by the number of articles I’ve written each year, my per article rate climbed from $6.93 in 2007 to $78.13 in 2009. So far in 2010, my per article rate is only $1.58 higher than it was last year.

      I don’t know what is going on over at Suite, but it seems that I would have to work harder just to maintain a lower rate of earnings. In my book, that doesn’t make sense. I continue to honor my contract, but am experimenting with other writing venues.

      By contrast, my eHow earnings continue to grow and I haven’t written anything for eHow since March when they discontinued the WCP.

  • LilyRose September 16, 2010, 3:55 pm

    Wow, Felicia, that is eye-opening. I agree with you. It shouldn’t be a backwards revenue trend.

    I have a theory that Google’s new Caffeine is a mess still. Another writer and I discussed this at length, and we believe Caffeine has a lot of kinks in it. It doesn’t make sense the articles that are showing up as #1 rank hardly have text, but have literally 100 links.

    I also think Suite keeps doing weird, experimental things with ads. And I’m not too happy with the new article box in our articles, which sometimes leads to your articles and sometimes don’t. They said it has increased revenue, but I would be curious to hear whose and how.

    I’m like you, I’ll stick with it. I’ll become more evergreen. But it’s becoming quite disheartening looking at revenue.

    Thanks 🙂

    ps I wish I had written for eHow. I missed that revenue train!

  • Leigh September 16, 2010, 4:29 pm

    Wow, I saw that they did away with quotas (not that they ever enforced that with me, hehe), but being able to write in 2nd person is something I missed!!! I can’t wait to write something for them!

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