Thursday, July 30, 2009

Do you expect instant success?

Something that I noticed among those people who are involved with the various writing sites (Helium, Associated Content, etc.) is that a lot of people join them, write a couple of articles, then become upset when the money does not come flooding in. Then they post a complaint and leave in a huff.

Now, there are people who do not fall under this category. People who are willing to put in the time and energy to build up a stock of articles. These people eventually reach payout.

And as far as I can tell, these two types of people populate all the earning possibilities. Whether it is PTC, PTR, survey sites, social networking, etc. Either they expect instant success, or they are in it for the long haul. The same holds true for brick and mortar ventures.

In my case, I tend to assume for the writing sites that I will only earn a stack of pennies after I create a ton of articles. I am in it for the long haul.

I think that one of the reasons for this expectation is my experience with previous businesses. My father never made any quick money. And restaurants make mere pennies for their most frequently sold items. It is time and volume that makes up the profit, not a quick instant success. Or at least, that is the way it works in my universe.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Who reads astrology columns? I still don't know.

Today, I spent some time trying to find out information about who your typical astrology column reader is. A couple of hours worth. And I still don't know.

While I have found some information, it is all third party information.

Interestingly enourgh, the articles and sites that do cite demographic information are all anti-astrology: astronomy, Christian (anti-magic and anti-divination), and fraud awareness sites. The professional astrologers seem to have made their own typical customer a trade secret.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Occasionally, I wonder about some of the emails I get. The lastest one was entitled "Sometimes."

The message said, "My contempt responds in the wolf."

There was nothing else in the email. No picture. No advertisment. And no clue why it was sent to me.

I wonder what the sender meant to accomplish. Was it merely to make me wonder?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Finally created a twitter account

Well, I finally set up a twitter account. I have avoided doing this for awhile. I realize that as a writer, I should have a twitter account. Or at least, that is what the good folks over at Associated Content tell me.

Personally, not believing in mobile phones, the idea of twitter has passed me by. You can have a cell phone; but for myself, I had one for a couple of years, and I think I used it a dozen times over that time period. So it is like a hundred dollars per time I actually used the phone to make or recieve a call.

But a couple of people I know have twitter accounts, and actually update regularly. So I created a twitter account to be able to read their updates.

And if I can figure out how to do it, I will set my Associated Content account up so that it posts a link every time I publish something on AC because I am not the world best promoter of my own material. Having some of my self-promotion set on auto-pilot might help.

So if you want to get updates of all my Associated Content stuff (some of it might actually be readable), follow me on Twitter. And I will try to update it as often as I update Facebook.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Who died and made you editor?

Yesterday, I had a piece that I had written rejected because...well, I am not exactly sure. The form rejection said that it did not exhibit correct grammar, sentence structure, spelling and punctuation, which is like saying that something is not orange; it really does not narrow the actual problem down.

Looking over the piece, I could only find one sentence that was awkward. The rest of it would have gotten by the harshest of my university professors.

So I am left with wondering why it was rejected. Could it be that they did not want to pay for the piece and that was a handy reason. Or could it be that online editors are not necessarily qualified to do the job in the first place.

Yes, it was an online rejection.

I miss the days of the print market. At least there, you would occassionally get your article back with a sentence circled, so you would know where to look. But online rejections are even more cryptic than the form letters of the print market.

Looking over the piece, I noticed that I was writing at a college level; I was using complex and compound sentences, and some colons and semicolons.
And that is why I think the piece got bounced.

Call me paranoid. But there is one thing I have noticed from college class peer reviews and writing circles: if a person does not know why something is being done grammar-wise, they will say that it is wrong.

And a lot of online editors are not editors by trade. They are business people, computer people, and other people who did not have to suffer beyond eighth grade English (as in they never needed to prove that they knew what a semicolon was good for). These are the type of people that would prefer you to commit the crime of creating a comma splice, rather than use a semicolon.

Maybe I am wrong in this case. But the nagging voice in the back of my head tells me that I just encountered another editor who should not actually be an editor.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mylot glitch and rumor fixed

Last week, over the weekend, Mylot had a small computer glitch. Basically, earnings were not being updated in a timely manner. Of course, this started people (or maybe more properly trolls) talking about how Mylot was not going to pay anymore. Computer glitch, trolls and rumors---what an unpleasant combination.

I wasn't worried. As many of my readers know, I use Mylot to relax, and perhaps warm up for a day's worth of writing. For me, Mylot is only a little pile of pennies, not neccessary a big deal if it did go payless. I just don't have enourgh referrals to make it worth my time to sweat over.

But it does call to mind two things.

First off, you should never be relying on one source of income that its removal causes you to panic. This is especially true for us writers. Markets come and go, and you should never have all your eggs in just one basket.

The second thing is that I have heard rumors like this on every site I belong to when a glitch results in earnings not being updated in a timely fashion. Trolls like to use every little glitch to stir up the pot. While some sites do go under, there are far more rumors than actual sites going under. One should never rely on rumors to figure out the health of a website that you are earning on.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Observing oneself in others

The last couple of weeks, I have gotten to watch someone obsessed with a research project. My wife is interested in tracing her family tree; she is also busy researching the history of our local neighborhood. The two projects overlap to such an extent that they appear to be one and the same to me (same skill-set, same type of research).

On one hand, it is cutting into my computer time, hence my writing time (though I will admit that I am not sure how much writing I would actually be doing; I am guilty of treating my summer as a vacation). On the another hand, it has given me the opportunity to observe someone obsessed with a research project.

I, personally suffer from research obsession. It is a trait that is useful both as a writer and a student of the mysteries (it has proven to be less useful as a college student---go figure). But it does have the side effect of me staying up until four in the morning trying to locate the one fact or figure that will make an entire scheme understandable. ("Just give me ten more minutes; I want to consult one more book before going to bed." Repeat as needed.)

The reason that I find my wife's obsession so interesting is that I have never watched a research obsession from the outside before. Call it knowing oneself though the actions of others.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

An off day

I am kinda out of it for today. The most productive thing I have done today is guard the injuried sleeping kitty, and fed the recently fixed kitty. The cleaning lady sneak up on me (OMG, is that the time) and I have spent a lot of time on Facebook doing very little. I do not think that I am going to get any writing done today.