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Lessons Learned from Demand Studios

Writing for Demand Studios is an interesting adventure. It constantly teaches me more about myself. For example, this weekend I learned that I’d rather be rich than the right (at least when it comes to DS). Let me explain.

Over the past few days I wrote several articles for DS.  The articles were on a topic that I know like the back of my hand. I wrote the articles, found the appropriate sources  and posted them to the Demand Studios site.

Editorial Surprise

This weekend must have been the troll CE weekend. Of the articles I wrote, at least two were edited by someone who used more words in the editorial comments than I used in writing the original article. This person wanted to introduce all sorts of unnecessary information into the article (What color are the rocks?)

Demand Studios Self-PreservationDemand Studios

As a matter of habit and self-preservation, if I glance at the editorial comments and the comments far exceed the word count of the article I’ve just written, I neither read the comments nor re-write the article. Although, curiosity got the best of me and I did read one or two lines of the comments (that’s how I found out the person was attempting to add unnecessary information).

My husband heard me suck my teeth (surprised I have enamel left on them) and wanted to know what the frustration was about. So, he read the original article and the CE’s comments. He then asked if I could appeal the comments.

Dollars vs. Being Right

MoneyMy answer to him was that I’d rather be rich than right. For a $15 article that takes me 20 minutes to write 10 minutes to edit and upload I’m at $15 for a half hour. I’d be willing to expend as much as an hour of my time on a Demand Studios article. However, to appeal the editorial rewrite request would mean not only that I am putting in more time, but I’m allowing Demand Studios to interfere with my peace of mind.

Through experience I have found two things that are very important to a freelance writer, time and peace of mind. It’s very difficult to write when your mind is frazzled and it’s also tough to write if you have run out of time because you wasted it on unnecessary drivel.

Learning from an Earlier DS Appeal

In the past I had appealed a Demand Studios article. What ended up happening was that in addition to the half hour it took for me to write the article, I had to spend time addressing the editorial comments, assembling my back up information, proving my point and submitting the info to Demand Studios. It took them several days to respond. The final outcome was less than what I expected.

In essence, I received an email from them telling me that my information was correct but the title was not (the article was about a particular tax form for a prior year). To make up for the problem, they inserted into my queue another article with the same title, but for the current tax year.

The long and the short of it was that I wrote two articles and got paid for one. Not to mention the time wasted and the disruption of my peace of mind. In my case, the appeal wasn’t worth it.

Protecting My Time and Peace of MindPeace of Mind

The bottom line is that you can earn consistent money with Demand Studios. You just have to set, in advance, what you will and will not do.

As I said before, with each DS article I write, I always have a backup site in mind on which to put the article if I get an unreasonable CE request. About 90% of my work is approved immediately. About 5% have minor rewrite requests (and I do those with no problem), and then there’s the other 5% of rewrite requests. Those are the ones I walk away from.

To make this long post short, Demand Studios has taught me that time and money are more important than proving that I was right. Don’t get me wrong, under different circumstances (outside of Demand Studios), I might spend more time, effort and money on proving my point, but for $15 an article, I’d rather move onto the next.


At what point do you let it go?

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Mandy August 30, 2010, 9:56 am

    You hit it: “It’s very difficult to write when your mind is frazzled.” I’ve been struggling with that concept myself over the past few weeks. Writing is a creative endeavor (yep, even the DS and TB articles). Writing is just plain hard to do if you are stressed.

    I struggle because I come from and am surrounded by the admirable blue collar work ethic. It’s the “no matter what” attitude, i.e. it gets done no matter what. I wish I could work like that, being highly productive despite stress. But I can’t. That’s not good, neither is it bad. It just is. Whether the stress is from editors, or just life, we, as writers, have to recognize its toxic levels and manage it in our unique way before it interferes with our work.

    On textbroker, I don’t rewrite articles, not even the high-paying level five’s. Of course, I do the small changes. But I don’t rewrite the whole thing. I figure if the client wasn’t clear enough about what he wanted the first time, then I can’t trust that he is being clear now. Rewriting it – rather than letting it go – sets me up for a rejection, not to mention wastes my time.

    Where do you post your rejected articles?

    • Felicia August 30, 2010, 10:09 am

      Mandy, I’m a big fan of Brian Tracy (the motivational speaker). In listening to one of his audio books the other day, he stated “Creativity favors the relaxed mind,” and “Creativity can’t be forced.”

      I wrote those two statements in my list of “quotables.” As a writer, I find it very important to protect my peace of mind if I ever want to be a productive writer.

      I too grew up with the “no matter what” attitude, but over time realized that the more I tried to force it the more difficult it became to write (Brian also said “In all creative work, mental effort defeats itself”). So, I’ve evolved into a much more relaxed writer.

      As far as rejected articles, I have a few sites/blogs of my own that they go on (sometimes). Other times, depending on the subject matter, I might modify it for Suite 101 or HubPages, but generally they go on my own sites (I don’t like making modifications if I’ve already written the article in one format).

  • Christina Crowe August 30, 2010, 10:46 am

    I learned this same lesson long ago, as well. Some copy editors just don’t know the subject that they are reviewing. Or else, they find mistakes to make it appear like they’re doing their job (even if there are no mistakes in the article).

    This is a great article. Demand Studios is a hard company to work for, especially for the money they request. Though their pay might be better than some companies, the quality they expect far surpasses the pay you receive (at least, for some articles).

    To be honest, I preferred eHow’s way of running things. It’s a shame that they closed down their writing platform.

  • Deanna August 30, 2010, 12:25 pm

    I feel the same way you do, Felicia. If I do write an article for DS and they don’t like it the first time around, then I will sell it somewhere else. I don’t mind making a few small adjustments, but I won’t re-write it because they have a different vision than I do. Years ago, I would have done anything to sell an article but now I’m just old enough and ornery enough to walk away and move on. I’m happy I have that option – it saves my sanity! 😉

  • Kathy August 30, 2010, 4:26 pm

    I used to get really worked up about crazy rewrites, and I’ll be honest, I still can feel my blood pressure rise when I see some of them. I have tried to appeal two or three rewrites since I started in January, and each time, DS either took the side of the CE or seemed to be neutral. So now, I do the same thing as you. If the problem is something quick and easy, I fix it. If not, I change the title and place the article on Suite 101. I like DS alot most of the time, but sometimes the hassle of certain articles just isn’t worth it. I’ve noticed something weird this summer, too. From January through June, my scorecard was consistently high and my rewrites hovered around 15-17 percent, which was okay with me. But for July and August, my scorecard numbers have dropped. So I studied up more on AP style, have been extra careful to proofread, and began using more and more .org, .gov and .edu references. If anything, I think my scores are getting lower. My rewrites for August are also much higher. I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s frustrating.

  • Ignatius September 1, 2010, 9:58 am

    Hi Felicia,

    A lot of the long-termers at DS seems to take the same approach. They say that they can kind of smell a re-write that is heading for disaster. However, I have been hearing good things about the new re-write appeal process at DS. It seems to be much faster than the old system and the writers win pretty often. You might consider it if you feel pretty confident about the article. Of course, that’s if you haven’t already put the article someplace else.

  • Julie-Inspired to Write September 1, 2010, 11:22 am

    I have not written for them in a while. I find HubPages more enjoyable. But, that is a good way to think. There are other avenues for articles if DS rejects them including your own blog. I do not like any writing to go to waste! 🙂

  • Edward G Gordon September 1, 2010, 1:37 pm

    Hi Felicia,

    What you say makes a lot of sense. I applied to Demand Studios and sent them an absolutely woeful piece of work for which I got rejected. I was in far too much of a tizzy when I wrote the piece as my father had only just been re admitted to hospital with a blood clot on his lung.(He has lung cancer.)So I relate quite strongly to what you are saying.

    As well as that $15 dollars could disappear very quickly if you lost track of time. I’d like to ask one question. Is $15 dollars an average fee for writing an article or does that apply only to Demand Studios? ($15 dollars equates to £9.58 in the UK and would not be the worst payment to get for an hours work.)

    I totally regret sending in the application now and it has made me very wary about writing test articles for other companies, for fear of being rejected. There are only so many companies to work for after all.

  • Laura September 2, 2010, 4:10 pm

    I let Demand go after my first article, which was also my first revision request and I never even entertained doing it. I honestly can’t tell you whether it was major, minor, reasonable or nonsensical request. What I can tell you is that I rather liked the article as it was, so I listed it on Constant-Content and, within a few days, sold it there. The good news is that I sold it for usage rights, which means that I can sell it over and over again, and I can submit it elsewhere for even more money (and keep my byline). About a month ago, I logged onto Demand to give it another shot with the same results. Yes, I took that article elsewhere too.

    If you can spend 30 minutes or less on an article there, then I think Demand is cool. I don’t even have a problem with them requesting revisions (although I understand where you all are coming from), but for me it’s just not worth it timewise to oblige them. I don’t have any immediate plans to try again, as I just don’t think Demand is for me.

    • Felicia September 2, 2010, 9:57 pm

      Laura, thanks for sharing your journey (short as it is) with Demand Studios. Your Constant-Content experience is encouraging. I think I need to take a second look there.

  • Mo September 2, 2010, 11:08 pm

    Hi! I haven’t had a rejected article yet, but I got into a tizzy the other day because a copy editor changed the words “bright red blood,” in an article to, “bright-red blood,” with a hyphen. That’s wrong, I know it’s wrong, and all the major writing biggies say it’s wrong, too.

    I don’t know why I was so upset by this, but I really, really was.

    There have been several times at DS that this sort of stuff has happened to me, and it drives me nutso.

    I love your blog, by the way, and I have been lurking here for a while. Keep up the good work!

  • Master Dayton September 6, 2010, 10:32 pm

    This is an absolutely great post, and similar to one I did on my own freelance writing blog (I linked my name to it in this comment) and I agree: it’s worth writing for DS when the articles go right through and it’s worth a very quick rewrite, but sometimes you get that one editor or those stupid rewrite requests, and I usually change the title and move right to HubPages to publish what I’ve done. I’ve found that even a minor additional writing on HubPages and I’ll outrank any DS company’s version of the same article – which I admit gives me a strong satisfaction when I check the SERPS. Great post!

  • Laura September 7, 2010, 12:40 pm

    Yes, do take a second look at Constant-Content, Felicia. If you’re approved to write for them, let me know and I’ll share a few worthwhile ($$$) pointers with you.

    @Mo, it probably bugged you so, because there’s nothing like being corrected by someone who is so clearly wrong. It’s natural for the ego to want to shoot back with proof, but at DS I suspect it’s not worth the time it takes to do so. Again, my experience with them is very limited, but after reading horror story after horror story about their editors, I really do question where they’re finding these folks.

    • Felicia September 8, 2010, 6:17 am

      Laura, I do have an account with Constant-Content, but in the year or two since I signed up, I’ve never written anything there. Please do share your money-making tips.

  • Laura September 8, 2010, 1:37 pm


    Well, my first tip is…write! If you don’t write, you don’t sell. 😉

    Next, the more you write, the more you sell. An analysis of the site has concluded that 70% of all content sells there. If you visit the C-C forums, you’ll find that the writers who write steadily all agree with this number.

    Also, write often. Customers have the option of being notified each time new content is available and many of them select this option. Some also subscribe to the new content section by RSS. Point is that each time you post something new, customers are notified. Makes posting content every day worthwhile when you know that your name and content are both automatically passing before the eyes of folks actually looking for articles to purchase.

    Publish your articles that sell for usage rights on C-C on other revenue sharing sites to maximize your income.

    Write for public requests as much as possible. They may sell and, even if they don’t, they beef up your article library. More often than not, someone else will come along and buy these. (Remember, 70%!)

    Public requests often lead to private requests. Your most successful authors at C-C are earning comfortable, full-time incomes writing, primarily, for private requests. Oh, and they’re earning these incomes while still only working part-time! Private requests are really Constant-Content’s pot of gold.

    Avoid the mistakes that unsuccessful authors make at C-C. Among them, never writing a single article, only submitting 1 or 2 articles before giving up and deciding that C-C doesn’t work, leaving the site after a month (make a 3-6 month commitment at least) and pricing articles so low that it doesn’t make selling articles there worthwhile.

    I’ve gotta run. We just had a blackout while I was writing this and now I’m waaaaay behind schedule.

    Take care!

    • Felicia September 9, 2010, 7:29 am

      Laura, thanks for the great tips.

      I think I’ll take another look at C-C. It sounds like a nice place to include in my online writing rotation. As with so many other sites, it sounds like consistency (and quality) is the key to success.

      Last night I spent a little time browsing the forums to get a better feel for what to do and how to do it. I’ll let you know how it goes as I progress.

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