View Full Version : A new wrinkle--CC and the Animal/Nature Writer

09-08-2006, 05:13 PM
This might be better under "paying markets", but I don't think so. Moderators, I leave that to you to decide.

I posted in another thread the pros and cons of content production, specifically as regards Constant Content. I'm not going to revisit that, and this isn't a retraction of my previous assessment. I'm here to say that if you can put up with the nonsense, it's possible for content production to lead to something better. I know I'm not the only one who has experienced this, so it's unusual but not rare.

This is how it went for me last month:

The buyer posted a content request, to which I responded with an article and a question. He was clear in his request for not just one or two horse articles, but a long-term relationship with more than one freelance horse writer. He turned down my first article but clarified his needs and bought the second one I posted. Then he contacted me and offered me a long-term situation. In August he gave me 10 assignments, which I completed, and bought three additional articles from me that I pushed on him when I sensed he was having a weak moment. That's 14 horse articles in one month--more than I normally sell in a year! I'm in it now for at least 10 short (800-word) articles a month, and he rewrote the contract at my insistence so I will regain full rights to my work after a year in case I want to compile it all into another book.

And he paid me. Wonder of wonders! I'm still reeling from all the times I've been stiffed, so that's a real plus. :rant:

To boot, he's coming out here next month with his tech assistant, and I'll be doing a few webinars on horse care and other such fascinating (choke!) topics, all leading up to the series of 20-page how-to e-books he wants me to do.

And I'm not the only writer he took on. He needs hundreds of articles on horses and various other topics. When his 'zine launches, I'll post the link and you can all have at it. There's no link to post yet. Just an "under construction" non-entity at this point. As far as I know he's still buying on CC.

I'm not just blowing my own horn (Okay. Maybe. :D Just a little.). I want to let you know that there might be hope for content production after all. There have occasionally been requests on CC for articles about cats and dogs (I sold one on clicker training your dog), and lots and lots of requests for travel articles and outdoors content, so I want to encourage anyone who's having a hard time getting started to go to CC, open an account, and subscribe to the email updates on new requests. It's all free, and you don't have to post anything at all if you don't want to. Just remember if you do post that CC's buyers are only looking for content--basic articles, well-written, readable, technically clean, but without a lot of bells and whistles, and they want them written to their specifications (which are generally pretty fuzzy but can be clarified on the interactive part of the board). First-person essays don't sell. At least mine didn't. Most of my sales were articles about finance--mortgages, in particular--which, by the by, are higher-paying markets than the average. If you can write knowledgeably about how to re-fi your cat, you're golden! ;)

A caveat is needed here. I did engage in a skirmish over the contact I had with the buyer. I had to prove to CC that I wasn't luring away one of their clients. That was easy to do as he was looking for things CC doesn't sell. But the rules, questionable as they are on the CC site, are fairly straightforward. You have nothing to lose either way. I really didn't care whether or not CC "froze" my account. I'm not a big seller there (I think I made about $300 this year), so it was a moot point. I opted to join the battle but could just as easily have walked away. In fact, I did. They decided not to encourage me to do so.

Oh, and if you do decide to go the content-production route, you will find that you will pretty much have to sell all rights to your work. Though you have the option of limiting the rights you're offering, I've found that the majority of content buyers want exclusive rights in perpetuity. Don't post articles that you are attached to or that you think are outstanding examples of your work. You'll lose the right to use them as clips the minute the buyer clicks the button. He'll take your by-line off and put his on before the money's in your account.

Good luck! At very least you will find a quick increase in your personal Google results. Every article you post on CC, whether you sell it or not, becomes part of your Google results. I surged from a single page to about six pages of links, and I've had contacts from other buyers (usually very cheap ones, so don't get your hopes up) thanks to those links. It's a side door, but might be worth at least peeking through the crack for a minute.

09-10-2006, 05:23 AM
Glad this is working well for you, Joanne. Thanks for all the great information.

01-02-2008, 06:09 PM
Well, guys, I know some of you will remember my Excellent Adventure last year when I was able to connect via a content production site with a major site owner who wanted a long-term relationship. Over the course of about a year, I sold him 130 articles, and he paid (not well, but on time) for all of them without hesitation. He even gave me a raise, though he discontinued buying articles from me immediately thereafter. A clue I clearly missed. I did three webinars for him for free with the long-term goal of becoming a real presence on the site and, by reflection, on the web overall in my niche.

Imagine my surprise when I found on the barely-launched site several of my articles posted on the forum under the name of the magazine editor! I contacted the site owner immediately and gently pointed out that the contract his lawyer and I had carefully hammered out indicated that I own the copyright to all my articles, and he has only bought licenses to use them in prescribed ways for one year each. He had a conniption, I told him he needed to cut-and-paste my by-line onto the articles, and he had an even bigger conniption.

I sent a long documenting email to him (including a slice of the discussion with his lawyer--I never delete anything ;)), and he announced he'd get around to the correction in his own good time. Naturally I forwarded all of the correspondence and the link to the site to my lawyer, who is slavering, waiting to pounce at a moment's notice. I canceled the 25 video clips he'd intended for me to do as an online "horse news" gimmick and demurred politely his offer of editorship of his monthly newsletter. I won't sell him anything else. It's going to be hard enough to police his site for the next three years to make sure he isn't doing anything else he shouldn't be.

Note that I haven't mentioned the site's address or the idiot's name. I'll get to that when he's run out of time to make the correction. I'm not out to hurt anyone unnecessarily. Suffice it to say, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. I would like all of you to think carefully before you get involved with an online market. Not that the print media are immune to plagiarism and other assaults on our tender spirits, but the 'net makes it just that much easier to do the damage and that much harder to undo it.

I'll be sure to post all the pertinent info if I haven't been satisfied within the allotted time frame, I assure you. No one else should get sucked into his "entrepreneurial enterprise" if I can help it.

James D. Macdonald
01-02-2008, 06:41 PM
I'm not certain "Bewares" is the right venue for this post. Generally speaking, if the name of a company isn't the subject line, it doesn't belong.

01-02-2008, 07:41 PM
I've moved Schoolmarm's followup post of 2/2/08 from Bewares & Background Check to the thread that I believe originally references the website she has had problems with. The reason: no names have been provided, which doesn't make her post especially useful for Bewares. I'll be glad to port the entire thread back to Bewares if Schoolmarm is willing to provide more information.

- Victoria

01-03-2008, 07:13 PM
Thanks for putting the post where it belongs. I'd originally intended to add the name and web address, but changed my mind halfway through the post. I couldn't figure out how to move it after the fact. :Shrug: