Selling Your Soul as a Freelance Writer

It’s shameful how many publications and editors are willing to take advantage of freelance writers. After all, those editors know writers need the work in order to earn income.

They know the writers need the exposure to help build their own reputation and exposure to help them gain new clients in other fields.

What annoys the CRAP out of me are those shameful editors who pretend to publish “reputable” publications, but then demand payment from businesses who want their story to feature in that particular publication.

Are you confused?

Let me draw you a picture. 

Let’s assume there’s an online publication out there known as News-stuff Monthly and the editor (and conveniently, also the owner) of that publication is called Jane.

Now, Jane has a little stable of obedient freelance writers who are told what to write every week. Those obedient freelance writers create lots of great content for Jane’s publication that earns her income. That’s nothing new. That’s called publishing. Get over it.

But let’s take the example another level further. Let’s now assume that Jane ALSO owns a marketing company outside of her online publication.

Jane’s marketing company charges clients who want to circulate their news or press releases to the world. She charges a handsome fee for her services. She ALSO charges those same clients a fee for having a freelance writer create a news-worthy ‘article’ that will be published in her online publication.

At first glance, it doesn’t seem as though there’s anything wrong with this business model.

What you might not realize is that the poor shmuck freelance writer doing the work of promoting businesses who are paying for the marketing are being ripped off.

Let’s look a little closer at this particular business model – and how much it stinks.

Fictional editor and publication owner, Jane, receives a press release from a paying client through her marketing company. She pays her pet freelance writer $30 to write an article about that press release to be published in her ‘reputable’ online publication. She sends an email to the poor shmuck writer, outlining the company and story she wants written and issues a deadline of a few hours away, because it simply needs to be published RIGHT NOW.

(Um…. $30? For a 600 word article WITH quotes from company execs and research on the company and  a news-worthy story being written? I won’t start a rant about the outrageously low pay for such work. But I digress. Let’s get back to the fictional story.)

So the shmuck writer isn’t given the opportunity to say his or her schedule is already booked with other work. The shmuck writer doesn’t get an option to extend deadline or explain that other, more regular, higher paying clients have standing orders in place that need to be written first.

The megalomaniac editor, Jane, doesn’t want to hear that.  The response is to write it NOW, or don’t write for that publication again.

So that silly, gullible writer is told to interview the company CEO and get some exclusive quotes to be published in the online publication NOW. Then that low-paid writer is expected to create a wildly wonderful, newsworthy article that will be published in just a few hours and that story is fully expected to go viral all over social media.

Oh yeah, did I mention that the writer is also expected to promote the piece written on all of his or her own social media profiles to increase circulation?


The writer stays up for 8 hours researching the piece, working out pertinent questions to ask the company execs, collecting quotes from the CEO, fitting them into the story, ensuring research is correct and completed, foregoing sleep and family, and ignoring personal needs.

For $30.

AND THEN the fictional editor, Jane, decides the article that was written is so great, she publishes it in HER OWN NAME, so the poor shmuck freelance writer doesn’t even get the benefit of a byline for those efforts.


I’m beyond disgusted with this story right now.

Matthew Hays, a Montreal-based author and journalist wrote about a particular ‘writer’ who took press releases received from clients, rewrote them, and then posted them on one of the world’s most popular publications (yes, I'll say it - it was for Huffington Post). His comment about that kind of behavior was:

This is the exact opposite of what reliable journalism is supposed to be: It’s not about clients paying for advertising, but fair and reasonable assessments of what is going on around us.

Now, let’s take the consistent abuse of freelance writers by asshole publishers and editors another step further.

Let’s assume that the fictional editor, Jane, and her fictional publication News-stuff Monthly also allows her pet freelance writers their own email addresses from the publication address (for example,. dumb-writer@news-stuff-monthly.com).

No matter what those poor freelance writers send out as questions to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies or marketing execs of globally-recognized brands, the editor goes into the account and edits the content being sent by that writer.

For example, let’s say the writer has posed some questions of a company exec and sent them out. The editor then logs into the writer’s account and asks a few more questions that are redundant in terms of the article being written.


 Not only is this extremely unprofessional, but it’s also highly unethical - and likely illegal.

The writer’s reputation in the industry is ruined. The writer’s credibility in the industry is destroyed. The writer’s name becomes known for being nothing more than a cheap hack, writing for a publication that insists on being paid for any kind of publicity offered in their cheap-ass bull$hit publication.

Seriously. It’s ridiculous the lengths some freelance writers will go to just to try and ‘break into’ new markets.

The Moral of the Story

This little ‘fictional’ story is actually happening to a friend of mine RIGHT NOW. He’s a qualified journalist with a long history of writing for some of the world’s most prestigious publications. And he got duped into working with a dodgy publication with an amateur ‘editor’ with a God complex just to get his name into an international market.

And the silly writer won’t stop. Apparently, he thinks he’s getting valuable ‘exposure’ for all those efforts and that below-minimum-wage payment.

Personally, I think he’d be better off flipping burgers and Micky D’s if he wants to earn that kind of bullshit money.

My advice – steer clear from any publication that doesn’t pay PROPERLY for your time and effort. 

And completely avoid those editors who only want to use you for what they can get without paying you properly for the privilege of your time and effort.

End rant.




ContentMart - Great Freelance Writing Platform

If you're looking for a steady stream of online freelance writing work, try ContentMart.

ContentMart makes it easy for freelance writers to find good quality writing jobs quickly.

There are always plenty of jobs posted, so writers can pick and choose the projects they want to complete. There are new projects posted every day

What's more, ContentMart accept international writers, so as long as you can write quality articles and receive good ratings from the editors and clients, it's a great way to earn a constant income.

Getting Started with ContentMart

Head over to ContentMart and create your profile. It only takes a few minutes to sign up. You'll be sent an email to verify and activate your account.

Once your account is activated, you'll be asked to complete your profile, including contact information, preferred topics or niches of expertise, and a brief writing sample (about 500 words) to show off your writing style.

Complete the Tests

Before you can start picking up any work with ContentMart you'll be asked to complete some tests to show your proficiency in the fields you've selected as your preferred topics or niches of expertise. Each test is relatively quick and easy, so get them done and completed. You're given a set of 20 questions and given a time limit of 20 minutes to answer them, although it should take much less time than this to complete the test.

Start Writing

Once you've cleared the tests to become a 'Vericate Writer', you're able to start choosing the writing jobs and projects you want to work on. There are thousands of clients who submit regular assignments to the platform, so there are always plenty of jobs to choose from.


 ContentMart has two different payment options. If you're a writer earning US dollars, your funds will be deposited into your PayPal account. However, if you're in India, you're able to withdraw any money you've earned from your writing efforts directly to your bank account once your balance reaches the minimum threshold of 3000 INR

The platform also offers a safe billing system that protects the writer. If a client assigns work to a writer and then cancels the order later, the writer still gets paid.

Referral Program

ContentMart does offer a referral program that pays 10% of the referred writer's earnings for 12 months. You'll find your referral link in your portfolio after you've completed the sign-up process.

 If you know some writers who would like the opportunity to increase their freelance writing income, you can refer them to the platform and earn a bonus for your efforts.

And yes, all the links to ContentMart shown on this page are referral links. If you sign up using this link, I get a bit of a bonus that helps me keep this blog free.



Content Gather - Alternative to Constant Content?

If you're searching for somewhere to sell your articles as an alternative to Constant Content, perhaps Content Gather could be a good solution for your needs?

Content Gather is a relatively new marketplace that allows writers to list their articles for sale in the hopes that buyers will come along and purchase them.

Content Gather

How Content Gather Works

There is no approval process to go through, but editors do take the time to approve each article submitted individually as it is uploaded by the writer. The editors assign a rating to each article submitted to the marketplace, between 1 and 10.

That rating, along with various other factors, such as the number of articles sold, ratio of approved-to-rejected articles, and the age of your account, will determine your overall account level.

The account levels available are:

  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Diamond

Your account level affects the number and quality of custom orders you can see on your account. The level also dictates the maximum price per word you're able to charge for any articles you submit to the marketplace. You can learn more about the writer rating system and how your rating is calculated here: https://contentgather.com/faq-writers

What Can You Write?

Content Gather is an article marketplace, so you can basically write any article you feel like writing on any topic that captures your interest and submit it for approval. There is no limit to how much you can write and submit to the marketplace.

The site does offer customer the option of ordering custom content, so there are opportunities for writers to receive orders to write custom content.


Content Gather takes a 20% cut of whatever you sell on their marketplace. That's pretty steep, but when you compare it to the whopping 35% cut taken by sites like Constant Content, it's suddenly not so bad.


Payment is made via Paypal as long as you have more than $5 in your account.

However, payments below $10 will attract a fee of $0.50. If you wait until your account reaches $10 or more, you won't pay a fee for the payment to be processed.

You can request a payment at any time throughout the month as long as your account balance is higher than the minimum amount required.

Advance Payment

The biggest factor that attracted my attention is that Content Gather offers writers a small advance payment on any articles approved for submission into the marketplace. Essentially, you get paid before it even sells!

If you're a Silver-level writer, you'll receive an advance of 5% of the cost of the article listed on the market place. The amount you can earn as an advance payment increases until you reach the 15% advance payment Diamond-level writers receive.

Writer LevelAdvance Payment (% of Article Price)Maximum Listings

Even if your articles don't sell right away, you're still earning at least some money for your efforts.

The 'Maximum Listings' column shows the number of articles a writer can have listed on the marketplace that will attract an advance payment. However, you are allowed to submit as many articles as you want over the maximum listings limit if you wish. You just won't receive an advance payment on additional articles you submit.

Keep in mind that you can delete your articles at any time and the rights revert back to you. However, you will need to pay back your advance payment if you do this.


Content Gather is still only a relatively new site, opened in late 2016. However, the company who owns it used to also run PostLoop, a company that used to pay writers to post on forums, so they have a history of being reliable with payments.

Referral Program

Content Gather does have a referral program. They pay 5% of any sales generated by writers you refer.

The links shown on this page to Content Gather are referral links, so if you decide to sign up with the site, I will receive 5% of any sales you make. Keep in mind that your own payment doesn't change. You still earn the same amount. The company still takes the same 20% of your sales. However, I get a little bonus for introducing you to the site.

Final Thoughts

Constant Content has dominated the article marketplace scene for so many years that it's nice for writers to finally have an alternative option.  The site is only new, which means it's competing with larger well-established sites for attention from buyers, so it remains to be seen whether sales pick up over time.

Let me know if you've dealt with Content Gather and what your experiences were like. It will be interesting to watch their progress as they grow.


GreenPrints Magazine - Freelance Writing Market

Do you have a personal story about gardening?

GreenPrints Magazine (The Weeder's Digest) is America's only not-how-to gardening magazine. They're not so concerned with the 'how' of gardening - they really want to hear more about the 'why'.

Write an article about your gardening tale and GreenPrints Magazine could pay you up to $150 US for your story.

GreenPrints Magazine wants to hear about the passion or frustration or enjoyment you get from gardening, so don't submit basic 'how-to' articles.

Their website says they want the following types of articles:

"Expressive, thoughtful, humorous, angry, contrite, flippant, searching, witty, observant, sad, inviting— whatever! We focus on the human, not how-to side of gardening."

If you're not sure what style of writing their editors want to see, take some time to browse through their sample stories (here: http://www.greenprints.com/content/7-sample-stories). These samples should give you a clearer idea of the style and tone of article they expect from submissions, which makes it easier for you to get your submissions accepted and paid for!

You'll find the full submission guidelines for GreenPrints Magazine here: http://www.greenprints.com/content/12-writer-guidelines

If you're tired of only getting paid pennies for your freelance writing, it's time to start looking at higher paying markets that pay you properly for your time and your efforts.

Good luck :)


My Next Foray into Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you'll know I'm a BIG advocate of writers enhancing their own incomes by putting their writing talents to good use. That means finding ways to earn more money from your freelance writing efforts.

As a freelance writer, there are SO many opportunities to earn more and more money from your talents. You can create your own blog and find ways to monetize your content. You can write for private clients. You can sell your writing on private marketplaces, such as Constant Content. You can join content mills and write random content for clients. You can pitch your article ideas to magazine editors or newspaper editors.

Or you can create passive income from royalties on ebook sales.

That's right. When you take the time to write an ebook, you do all the work of perfecting your manuscript. You create the content. You edit the words you wrote. You polish your creation and then you publish it. Each time someone buys a copy of your book, you earn a little more income, known as royalties.

Now, if you've read any of my previous posts you'll already know I despise the idea of revenue-share sites. Sharing the revenue some other website owner earns really isn't true passive income at all.

But I seriously LOVE the whole idea of royalties on book sales.

So... Would you like to see the latest series of ebooks I've just released via the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing platform? Okay, here they are....

Yay!! I'm really pleased with how they turned out.
Here's the fun part - I'll be releasing ONE book per day as a freebie download over the next few days. So if you'd like to check out my Kindle ebooks without paying for them, keep an eye on the freebie lists. They'll only be free for 24 hours each, but I've already set the promotion dates for each of them. Take advantage of them while they're available.
Oh - and if you do download them, I'd love it if you'd take the time to leave a review. That would be awesome


Can You Leverage Amazon’s Kindle Publishing to Boost Your Freelance Writing Income?

Can You Leverage Amazon’s Kindle Publishing to Boost Your Freelance Writing Income?

Did you know there are more than 18 million Kindle devices worldwide? There are almost half a billion Android devices out there as well, along with almost 400 million Apple iOS devices, all of which can download and read Kindle ebooks. Of course, you’re also able to read Kindle ebooks right from your desktop computer screen, using the right software to make reading accessible.

That’s certainly a lot of people around the world with access to downloading and reading ebooks. Of course, Amazon lists almost 2 million ebooks in their e-bookstore for you to browse and choose from. When you combine the sheer number of people browsing for something to read with the massive traffic Amazon generates, it’s easy to see why so many writers are jumping onto the Kindle publishing bandwagon.

So how can a freelance writer leverage the power of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform to boost freelance income?

It’s much easier than you think….

Write Your Knowledge

No matter what your clients might pay you to write, it’s very likely you’ll have a hobby or passion that you enjoy writing about in your own time. Think about what you already know a lot about. You might have a great way to help moms think up healthy meals that kids love. You might know a good way to train dogs to be perfect puppies.

You might love gardening and have plenty of knowledge to teach others who have never even pulled a weed before. Your hobby might be golf or fishing or sailing or jogging or….

You get the point. Think about what you already know. Make some notes about your knowledge. Compile those notes into some kind of logical order and turn them into an ebook.

Write Your Research

If you’ve been a freelance writer for any length of time, chances are you’ve written about some strange, bizarre, fascinating, obscure, interesting, helpful and truly weird topics for your clients. I still get surprised by some of the odd topics my clients order from me at times.

Of course, before I write anything at all I spend some time researching the topic. I always keep my research filed for future reference, just in case.

When I’m out of ideas for something new to write, I’ll go back through my research files. It’s sometimes entertaining to see the variety of topics I have lots of information about. Collate your information. Sort it into logical order and turn it into an ebook.

Write from Imagination

Yes, there’s always room for a freelance writer to get creative. Spark that imaginative flair and write a short story or a short novel. Write the type of stories you love to read. Format your story nicely and turn it into an ebook.

Why Bother with Kindle Publishing?

When I first heard about writers making decent incomes on Amazon via the Kindle ebookstore, I screwed up my nose and decided it wasn’t for me. After all, if ebooks are selling for .99 cents per download, that’s mere pennies.

Surely my time is better spent writing highly paid articles, right?

Boy, was I wrong.

You see, a friend of mine jumped onto the bandwagon a few years ago (yes, it’s my regular friend and mentor, Lee. Hi, Lee…) She wrote some simple ‘how-to’ ebooks and published them under a pen name. Her sales were steady, so she wrote some more in a different niche under a different pen name.

Two years later, she has a series of best-selling novels and a huge collection of ‘how-to’ series generating more income than she used to earn writing full time as a freelance writer. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll know Lee has a team of 12 freelance writers working for her almost full time just to keep up with orders.

Many of her smaller titles don’t make significant amounts of money on their own. In fact, she has a couple of titles that maybe churn $40-$50 per month each. Nothing to write home about, surely.

But then she released those big profitable best-selling fiction titles that blew her monthly income through the roof! Rather than write another series of high-paying fiction, she promptly released another quick series of how-to books again.

My first question to her was: “Why didn’t you focus on writing the more profitable fiction stuff to start with?”

Her answer surprised me. She said “I write full time as a freelance writer. Orders from the clients come first. In my spare time I put together well-researched chapters about information that people need or want or find helpful. It’s all I had time to do.”

Then she said: “Besides, if you write something straightforward like a how-to instructional book, you’re working from reference material. You can have it finished in a matter of days, spend another couple of days editing it for quality and then publish it right away. Writing fiction takes time. A LOT of time. And patience. And creativity. And more time.”

In essence, those short simple non-fiction books and how-to books might only earn $50 per month. But imagine if you had 10 of them selling comfortably every month. Imagine if you had 20 of them. Or 50. Or 100! That would be cool.

And then you’d have income coming in that would allow you to focus on the more time-consuming fiction writing that has the potential to earn even more money each month.

By diversifying the types of books she has for sale, her income can’t be affected if sales of one or two slow down, or if a particular topic goes out of style. She spread her risk and guaranteed her income.

Why All the Different Pen Names?

Now, my friend has an easily-recognizable name in the writing industry. Yet she released a large percentage of her ebooks under different pen names.

I just couldn’t work out why she wouldn’t want to capitalize on the recognition of her own name. Again, I asked her why.

She said: “I chose to use different pen names across different genres to keep them separate.”

If you love to read romance fiction from one author and she also wrote nasty, gory horror books, or books about making model trains, or wrote about cooking with gluten-free ingredients, or wrote about cultivating a worm farm in your back yard, would you buy those too just because her name is on the cover?

Or would you stick to the genres and topics you prefer and follow individual authors across your chosen niches?

Why Start with Simple Books?

That first series of basic how-to books taught her the intricacies of Kindle Publishing. It taught her about the formatting requirements and how Amazon’s formatting can sometimes skew your paragraphs and page breaks. She learned  how to tweak her book descriptions to boost sales a bit more. It taught her about book promotion and marketing tactics. And it taught her how to work through the payment systems Amazon has in place for earnings in different currencies.

I really thought about my friend’s advice long and hard. I definitely saw the benefits of learning the industry and the publishing platform with a series of simple books. I also saw the benefit of having a consistent income rolling in each month on books that were faster to write, giving me some freedom later to write more detailed work.

How Do You Promote Your Kindle Books?

I asked my friend how she promotes her books. She promptly wrote an article for her own blog so everyone can learn some marketing basics. You can find her article about Kindle book promotion here: http://fictionfactor.com/articles/book-promotion-tips-for-marketing-your-amazon-kindle-ebook/


When is your first Kindle ebook being launched on Amazon’s ebookstore? Let me know your thoughts on the whole ebook publishing idea.



Paying Tax On Freelance Writing Earnings as an International Writer - Part Two

I wrote at length about paying tax on freelance writing earnings as an international writer in an earlier post (here: http://ravens-writing.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/paying-tax-as-international-freelance.html)

The original post looks at tracking your ACTUAL foreign income earnings from other countries in each different currency. It also looks at being accurate about tracking your converted earnings to your local currency as soon as you earn it so you're able to pay taxes correctly in the right currency.

While I provided a few examples to illustrate where you should be paying your own taxes, one reader offered an example I didn't cover.

Jords wrote:
What about this. A further complication....
Australian writer, living in Spain for the year.

Australian government still classifies me as a resident for tax purposes. Spanish tax office says I need to pay tax here as I will be here for more that 180 days.

Any advice before I pull my last hairs out.

That's an interesting dilemma - but it's not impossible.

Here's how I would work this situation:

Let's assume Jords is earning a mix of US dollars, Euros and UK pounds. Being an Australian writer, Jords still needs to pay taxes in Australia to the Australian taxation office each year.

However, the Spanish tax office wants Jords to pay taxes on earnings in Spain as well. I note that the Spanish financial year runs from 1 January to 31 December, while the Australian financial year runs from 1 July to 30 June. This overlap is a real pain in the @$$ (it's also the same overlap with the Aussie to US financial year).

I don't have to pay tax in Spain, but I sometimes end up paying tax in the US during that overlap of financial year.

So... let's get into it.

Step One: Create a spreadsheet that shows precisely how much was earned in foreign currency AND how much that converts to in Aussie dollars in the next column. Create a new column to reflect how much the same amount converts to in Euros. Tally each column at the end of the reporting timeframe.

Step Two: Register your Australian writing business to complete your BAS (Business Activity Statement) quarterly via the Australian Taxation Office web portal. (this is a painful exercise all by itself.... but awesome once it's set up)

Step Three: Enter ALL your non-Australian writing earnings into the 'foreign income' category, (no GST paid on foreign income - yay) but be ABSOLUTELY certain you enter the Australian-dollar equivalent amount into the form. If you also earn Aussie dollars, enter that amount into the regular income section, along with any GST claimed (if applicable). Provide a total income amount and your quarterly PAYE tax amount will be calculated automatically for you. You CAN amend this down to zero on the online form if you wish, but it's not usually a good idea.

Step Four: Declare any tax you have already paid to the Spanish tax office on your quarterly BAS AND your annual Aussie tax return. After all, you don't want to be paying taxes on the same income twice in two countries!

Step Five: Declare any tax you have already paid to the Australian tax office on your Spanish tax return. From what I can tell, Spain won't care what you've already paid elsewhere. But the Aussie tax office DOES! They should (.... remember the operative word here is should!) reduce the amount of tax owed here in the form of a tax credit for amounts already paid overseas on the same income amounts.

Step Six: Keep track of the two different end-of-financial year dates and be aware of the overlap. Always double-check your conversion rates and always report in the correctly converted currency.  You're reporting in two different countries with very different tax laws, so it matters that you get it right.

Step Seven: Learn as much as you can about what's deductible in which tax system for where you live. After all, there are some benefits to earning foreign income living abroad in terms of deductions and costings with the ATO. This will help keep your taxes down :)

***Important Note: I am not an accountant! I am just a freelance writer earning money from multiple countries in a variety of currencies.***

I hope this helps :)


How to Get a 30% Increase in Amazon Kindle Royalties

Have you written and published anything on the Amazon Kindle store yet? You're a freelance writer, after all. It makes sense to write your own stuff along with articles for clients too.

I've had a couple of different book series selling well in the Kindle bookstore for almost 2 years now and they royalties are really handy each month.

The biggest problem I've had as a non-US author is that Amazon insist on withholding 30% of my royalty income and giving it to the IRS. You see, when you sign up for your Kindle Direct Publishing account, you're required to submit a short tax questionnaire. Your answers determine whether they withhold almost a third of your income or not.

The only way I had to get that income back into my account where it belongs was to submit a tax return in the US each year. That's really painful, especially since I already submit a tax return here in Australia at a different time every year.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when my long-time friend and mentor figured out a way to get out of paying that 30% withholding amount.

You can find the original article, along with instructions how to stop the IRS from withholding 30% of your royalty payments here:

Now, I followed the instructions and I figure it took me around 15 minutes to complete the necessary steps. The IRS issued me a new EIN immediately.

I logged into my Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing account, re-submitted the tax questionnaire with the EIN included and now they don't withhold ANYTHING from my income.

That's an instant 30% pay rise I just received on my royalty checks each month!! Thanks for the tip, Lee. The additional income is MUCH appreciated.



Bubblews Has NO Confidence In Its Own Future!

You may recall I wrote at some length about whether its worth writing for a site called "Bubblews" earlier on this blog. After learning that you give up all your rights to anything you post there, and after comparing the low pay to real freelance writing opportunities available (here and here) I gave up trying to help those writers who seem to be somewhat brainwashed by the whole pennies-per-hour culture.

I also learned they are asking people to "interview" the site owners. According to the Bubblews website, they're happy for ANYONE to email them with questions they say they will answer "honestly".

Of course, in my efforts to warn REAL online freelance writers away from rip-off scam sites paying writers pennies-per-hour for their time and effort, I immediately emailed the Bubblews staff a list of questions at once!

Here is an exact copy of the email I sent:

I own a blog that focuses on helping freelance writers increase their income from home. The blog is at http://ravens-writing.blogspot.com

My questions are as follows:

1) What do you see Bubblews evolving into over the next 12 months? Or will it stay as it is right now?

2) Does the threat of a "Google Slap" punishment for low-quality content bother Bubblews in any way in terms of traffic or advertising revenue?

3) Is the revenue-share model and payment structure you've adopted for Bubblews sustainable over the long term, or is the payment structure chosen simply a way to build popularity during the start-up phase?

4) Is there a valid reason as to why so many people receive zero response from admin staff to queries received regarding redemption issues, other than "we're too busy"?

5) Do you actively employ writers directly to endorse the site on this site, or any others, in blog posts, Bubbles, or other forms of endorsement, to improve the perception of Bubblews, or to enhance the online reputation of the company?

Thank you in advance for your responses. I'm certain my blog readers will be very keen to see your replies.

That email was sent to Bubblews almost 2 months ago. As expected, I received ZERO response.

Apparently, the Bubblews management, admin and staff only bother to respond to people who offer them positive feedback on their amateur efforts, their low pay and their poorly designed, badly coded and unreliably hosted site. They don't seem interested in honest questions from real freelance writers who want honest answers.

If you're one of those poor, mistreated, misled, underpaid people being paid a few pathetic pennies-per-hour for your time and effort on Bubblews, I'd love to hear from you.

Likewise, if you've managed to get the Bubblews team to respond to your interview questions at all, I'd REALLY love to read their responses to your questions - almost as much as I'd like to read your initial questions.

After all, any long-term professional website with any credibility or future would happily answer questions from ALL their readers - not just the brain-washed slaves willing to sing their praises...


Are You Giving Away All Your Rights When You Write on Bubblews?

Blowing Bubblews

You've probably heard all the hype surrounding revenue-share site Bubblews. There are plenty of people singing the praises for Bubblews being an 'easy way to make money online'.
The rules are so simple. Write about anything you want, make sure your post is at least 400 characters long, post it and you make money. 400 characters is around 100 words, so it's quick to get going.
What could be easier?
The site is filled with thousands of people posting endless 'bubbles' about what they ate for breakfast or about some mundane thing they saw on the way to work.
There are also loads of posts containing highly personal information, such as kid's names, family member's names, pet names, locations of where they live, personal family photos, and other personal trivia.
Of course, there are also people there willing to publish their own creative inspirations, such as poems and short stories, all in the hopes of earning a few extra pennies.

What Are Your Rights?

When you write anything at all for Bubblews, you do all the hard work. You do the writing. You promote your posts. You try hard to find more people to view your work. And then Bubblews pay you a few pennies (if you get paid at all, that is....)
But what does Bubblews get out of the bargain?
Maybe it's time to read their Terms of Use a bit more closely and see what you're REALLY giving away.
If you look at Paragraph 5, Section C in some detail, you'll notice a lot of legal sounding jargon that looks as follows:
Bubblews.com owns a copyright in the selection, coordination, arrangement and enhancement of such content, as well as in the content original to it. You may not modify, publish, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale, create derivative works or in any way exploit any of the content, in whole or in part.

Is Your Work Still Your Own?

So, once you've published your 'work' on Bubblews, do you still own it? Or is the copyright for your work handed over to Bubblews in return for a few pennies?
What about those beloved photos of your kids and pets you posted to the site? How about those precious poems you labored over during their creation? Do the rights for those now belong to the site's owners?
I've seen it written that many people are happy to post "otherwise under-performing" articles on Bubblews in the hopes of making a few extra cents.
When the next big revenue-share site fad is launched and you want to shift your work over to the new site, what happens then? If you delete your own posts on Bubblews, they deduct money from your account. If you don't have much in your account, your bank balance will drop to a negative figure indicating that YOU owe THEM money for removing THEIR content!
Let's find the nicely worded section in the Terms of Use that explains that little bit of trivia more clearly. You'll find it in Paragraph 5, Section D:
...you grant Bubblews.com and its assignees and licensees right to review and make public any and all game play, film, photograph and record your name, nickname, pseudonym, persona, picture, biographical material, voice and/or likeness and to use and distribute the same in any manner or media whatsoever, by any and all means, media, devices, processes and technology now or hereafter known or devised anywhere in the universe at anytime in perpetuity, for any lawful purpose whatsoever, including advertising, publicity or trade.

Blowing Bubblews Back at You

In Paragraph 5, Section D, it actually states that by posting any of your work to Bubblews, you're handing it over to them in exchange for a few pennies. That's right, folks, they can do what they want with YOUR hard work. You accepted the pennies in payment and they get to do what they want with YOUR work, photos, artwork or whatever else you post to the site.
Aren't you generous?
By submitting material to any public area of this Site, or otherwise submitting materials to Bubblews.com, you automatically grant, or warrant that the owner of such material has expressly granted Bubblews.com the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, edit, creative derivative works from, distribute, and sub-license such material (in whole or in part, through multiple tiers and/or via syndication) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or hereafter developed for the full term of any copyright that may exist in such material. You also permit any other user to access, view, store or reproduce the material for their personal use.

What About Using Graphics on Your Bubblews Posts?

Almost everyone uses graphics to highlight their Bubblews posts. Some people make their own graphics featuring nothing more than their name or random pictures. (yes, Bubblews owns those too - you submitted them. You got a couple pennies. They're not yours any longer...)
However, lots of people choose to use images from royalty-free stock sites. As long as you have the rights to use and reprint those images - and you credit the source correctly - you have no problem.
But if you spend even 5 minutes on the site, you'll see tons of Bubblews posts float past the 'recent additions' scroll featuring images that are copyrighted to other people. There are pictures of celebrities and products and name brands floating around on the site at any time.
So, what happens when the rightful copyright owners decide to take up legal action against Bubblews for publishing a copyrighted image? Yet again, their Terms of Use make it really clear how they intend to deal with that. Just read Paragraph 6, that states:
Any controversy, claim or dispute arising out of or relating to these Terms of Service, its breach or claimed breach shall be settled by arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association in accordance with its Commercial Arbitration Rules in Virginia, except that, to the extent you have in any manner violated or threatened to violate Bubblews.com 's intellectual property or confidentiality rights, Bubblews.com may seek injunctive, monetary or other appropriate relief in any state or federal court in the State of Virginia (and Bubblews.com may assert both intellectual property causes of action and other appropriate causes of action in any such action), and you consent to exclusive jurisdiction and venue in such courts.
They even TELL you they're coming after you to seek compensation for any damages YOU caused them by publishing whatever you want in your 'bubbles'.

Did Bubblews Make it Clear Enough Yet?

Just in case you didn't read the rest of the Terms of Use on the Bubblews website, they decided to make it abundantly clear in Paragraph 8 that YOU will be held responsible if someone decides to pursue legal action against them in anyway, including coming after YOU for their expenses and fees:
You agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Bubblews.com, Bubblews.com affiliated companies and their respective directors, officers, employees, agents, assignees and licensees from and against all claims and expenses, including attorneys' fees, resulting from (i) any breach of these Terms of Service or your negligent and wrongful conduct; (ii) your use and access of this Site, including the posting of any content on this Site by you; and (iii) violation by you of any applicable law, rule or regulation.

Think Before You Bubble

If you're happy bubbling away on Bubblews, fine. Go for it! Have fun!
Just be sure you think about what you're posting - because you're giving away all your rights the moment you hit that submit button.
I still refuse to endorse any site that makes getting paid a random event.


Claiming Foreign Earnings as Export Income for International Freelance Writers

A reader left an interesting comment on a previous post about international freelance writing income: http://ravens-writing.blogspot.com.au/2010/08/benefits-of-being-international-writer.html

Emma asked:
Hi Bianca, I was wondering how you claim income if it is not a full rights sale of an article and the income is from a foreign country? For example, if you earn residual income from a company like Hubpages where you do not sell them your article, or if you earn income from an affiliate sale that came from an article written on your own site about a product? Do you still claim these as export income, or as regular income?

Basically, if you earn any income from a foreign country in a currency that is different to your own local currency, it's instantly foreign income - regardless of where you earned it.

For example: if you live in Canada and you sell an article to a US client and you're paid in US dollars, you earned foreign income.

Now, Emma's questions was more about residual income, such as through HubPages. In this case, you're not selling your own article, but you ARE still earning foreign income. The amount you earned is still paid to you in US dollars and it still forms part of your freelance business's revenue.

Obviously, you'll need to convert that income to your own local currency in order to spend it. But the amount you earned was still derived from a foreign source.

Personally, the Australian Taxation Office asks that I report ALL income in Australian dollars. Yet I earn the vast majority of my income in US dollars, Canadian dollars, British pounds or Euros.

So I keep a spreadsheet that shows me exactly how much I received in which currency AND what that amount of money equates to after it's been converted to Australian dollars. I also take careful note of any fees charged for the exchange, as those are tax deductible for me.

Then I report the TOTAL income amount to the Australian Taxation Office - but the form includes two separate components: one is for locally earned money and the other is for export income earned. It's important to keep the amounts separated wherever you can.

While the total income may be shown in your local currency, one component of your income will be comprised of foreign earnings. Those foreign earnings are usually taxed differently within most countries' taxation laws. It pays to ask your accountant how this works for your own country's laws and how you should report it, just to be sure you're getting it right.

What If You're Paid in Local Currency from a Foreign Source?

One aspect of foreign earnings that can be very tricky is when you're paid in your local currency, but the source is still a foreign client.

As an example, if you set up a Google Adsense account you can change the currency you receive to be the same as your local currency. I personally receive Australian dollars when I reach payout with Google.

However, the client is still American. The source of the income is still American, despite the fact that they pay my in Australian dollars.

Therefore, any income I earn from Adsense ads is automatically export earnings and is considered foreign income.

I hope this helps!


Increase Freelance Writing Income by Broadening Your Income Sources

There are so many writers around complaining about how hard it is to make a decent income from writing articles these days. Unless you've signed up to a site paying pennies-per-hour for your time and effort, nothing could be further from the truth! I’ve been writing full-time for 8 years now and I’ve learned that a good writer can easily earn a full-time income from their writing efforts. 

In order to break away from the low-paying ranks, you’ll need to treat your writing as a business proposition – and this means learning to make sure your business has as many streams of income coming into it as you possibly can. The key to making this work for you is to treat your writing skills as a viable, marketable product - and then go out and find the right customers for your particular products

In business terms this is called “broadening your debtor base” but it simply means making sure that there is always money coming in from someone, somewhere, all the time. If you rely on just one source of income, then you’re really in trouble if that one source dries up! The more sources of income you have coming into the business, the more chance you have of getting your business to grow to a six-figure income.

Here are some of my favorite options for keeping my writing business strong:

1) Write Articles Offline
This is the main income source for my writing business. I’ll write about whatever topic comes into my head. Selling articles to magazines and newspapers is fun, challenging and rewarding - and pays a whole lot MORE than any writing market you'll find online. Do a Google Search for “Writer’s Market Listings” and search out the high-paying magazines actively looking to pay big dollars for quality articles.

2) Write Articles Online
This has become a secondary form of income for me in the last year because the pay is about 1/10 of what you could earn by writing for offline publications. Even though the pay-rate is lower, the potential for quick, easy, repeat-business means quick cash into your writing business. 

Marketplaces like Constant Content make it very easy to write anything you feel like. You set your own prices and wait for buyers to snap them up. I've written a lot about how to earn more from Constant Content sales on this blog already, so check them out (http://ravens-writing.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/increasing-your-freelance-income-with.html)

You can also find plenty of private clients willing to pay good rates for professional, reliable writers to create content for them. If you're really stuck, you'll also find various content mills around the place offering to pay a flat rate for articles you generate.

3) Royalties
I am always amazed when I meet a writer who is serious about earning a full-time income from writing - and they haven't even considered the true value of earning royalties for their skills. You get paid royalties for writing a book, novella or short story and publishing it with a good publisher or publishing platform. It doesn't matter whether your work is non-fiction and informational in nature or a fictional story you created. You do the work once and you earn money for each sale you make for as long as that work remains available for sale! Such an easy option to boost income for any real freelance writer. You will have to think about some book promotion and marketing tactics to keep sales coming in, but it's really easy when you know how.

4) Write Fillers
This one is a weird little writing market – but it’s one of my favorites. The pay-rate per word is so high and the work is so quick that you can churn out quite a lot of these every week and make good money. A “filler” is the tiny snippet of information you'll find in multiple places and pages inside every magazine. It might be a joke or a riddle or a funny saying or puzzle or even a recipe. Many glossy magazines will pay $20-$25 for a 50-word phrase or joke or recipe. That’s great money for very little work!

5) Paid Blogging
I’ve had a blog for a while but it never occurred to me that people would pay me to post in my own blog! But they do. My logic in taking on this extra source of writing income was that I’m now being paid to do what I was doing anyway! There are sites around that will pay you to blog about topics their clients want. Others will pay you to create blog posts for their own blogs. Easy money.

6) Building Your Own Blog
When you write on your own blog, you're building your brand. You have the freedom to monetize your site however you choose and it's likely you'll be happy to share the links to your blog posts on various social media sites you have profiles on. You're building a readership at the same time as giving you another platform to write on.

7) Value Your Time
If you're serious about earning a full-time income that will cover your bills and sustain your lifestyle comfortably, it's important you take stock of how much you're earning for your efforts in the time you spend. As an example, if you spend 1 hour writing an article you intend to sell on Constant Content for $50, it's likely you're earning around $32.50 per hour (that's after CC take their fee from your sale). However, if you spend waste 50 hours per week trying to earn $50 on a pennies-per-hour amateur site like Bubblews, you're earning $1 per hour.

Always monitor the hourly rate you're earning for your writing skills and talents. Have some self-respect and get rid of any writing avenue that doesn't match up to the amount you need to survive. Be brave enough to replace low paying sources with better quality clients or writing income sources as you find them.

These are just a few ideas to help increase your writing income. The best part about writing across different forms and niches is that you never get bored. You’ve always got something different to work on – and they all have the power to increase your income!

Any writer who is really willing to diversify and break into a few different forms of writing will find that earning a full-time income really is easier than you think! 


Writing Articles for Upfront Pay vs Writing for Revenue Share Sites

Have you ever read a freelance writing blog or website that tells you how AWESOME revenue share sites are for earning extra income? Usually, those tips are written by freelance writers who work from home and earn a bit of pocket change working on some cheap-skate revenue share sites.

Now, don't get me wrong - there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with earning a few extra bucks on the side from your writing efforts. Good for you! It's a great way to earn some pocket money.

What I'm talking about are those freelance writers who really want to make a real, sustainable, full-time income from their writing skills. You won't find any realistic tips to further your freelance writing career by following the advice from someone who earns a few pennies per hour on a revenue-share site.

How do I know this? I've joined up and made contributions to a few of those sites in the name of being able to research my reviews honestly and thoroughly. You can see two of them here:

Bubblews - http://ravens-writing.blogspot.com/2013/10/can-you-really-earn-money-writing-for.html
HubPages - http://ravens-writing.blogspot.com/2013/04/more-passive-income-from-freelance.html

All the freelance writing "tips" you've read from other beginners tell you it's a good idea to write lots and lots and lots of articles. Unless you're on Bubblews, then you're told to write lots and lots and lots of posts that their community call "bubbles".

You're also told not to expect much while you're still starting out. Rather, you're encouraged to keep submitting more content to a website you don't own and you don't control so those faceless website owners can get richer off your efforts while your popularity is still growing.

Let's Do Some Math...

I hear you groaning over there "oh, Bianca you're such a math-nerd". But seriously, math can be awesome fun for proving where your time and writing efforts are better spent.

Let's assume you spend 5 hours per day writing articles or posts for a revenue-share site, such as Bubblews. You spend another hour finding ways to promote your articles and entice other people to read them so you can earn a few extra pennies. You connect to a lot of other people, read their stuff, leave a comment and hope like crazy they bother to read yours in return.

By the end of the week, you've worked 30 hours and you've earned $25 (if you're lucky). YAY! That's less than a dollar an hour... if you can manage to get page views high enough... if you can get that many people viewing your articles... if the site's advertisers actually pay enough to warrant paying you a few cents for that post...if the site's cheap web-hosts actually keep the site online long enough for you to post anything on there...

If you do the same thing for 12 months, you'll have earned a grand total of $1,300... maybe. Remember, the amount you earn is shared revenue. If the site you're writing on loses their advertisers or changes their advertising modules, or if Google changes their algorithms again, your income could easily go way DOWN. You're also heavily dependent on making sure you can get lots and lots and lots of people to view your articles or posts.

Every. Single. Day....

All year long. Without stopping.

What's the Alternative?

Now let's look at it a different way. Let's assume you spend two hours writing a well-researched, well-written 700 word article and you submit it to a good marketplace like Constant Content or Ghostbloggers or Daily Article. You charge $78 for your effort. The marketplace takes their cut and you're left with $50 in your pocket that you get paid for right away.

You've earned $50 for 2 hours work. That's $25 per hour. Not awesome, but certainly not bad. Imagine spending 30 hours per week doing the same thing? That's a potential income of $750 per week if you did this full time. That's money you receive right now without having to spend hours promoting someone else's site or spend waste time commenting/liking/interacting. You simply move onto the next order.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Let's just stick with spending only two hours a week, writing one single, solitary article per week at $50 per piece. You put that in the bank and you earn 4% interest on your earnings. After 12 months, you have a guaranteed $2,704.12 in your account. Not a bad effort for 2 hours work per week.

It's also more than double what you could earn if you spent wasted your time on a crappy $1 per hour revenue-share site and the money is guaranteed. It's not a guess. It's not a maybe. That money is yours.

How does it look side by side:

Revenue-Share Site
Selling Articles
Words Written
100 per post
700 per article
Number of pieces written
Sub-total words per week
2,000 (+words written for comments)
Number of comments left
100 (about 20 words per comment = 2,000)
Total words per week
Number of connections required
Time spent per week
Amount earned
$25 (maybe)
$50 (after fees)
Earnings after 1 year
Guaranteed Payment

Okay, so based on this example I know I would rather spend 2 hours earning $50 I can spend right NOW than spending 30 hours earning a variable and unpredictable amount of money that may never arrive. Besides, once I've earned my money, I can go hang out at the beach or in my boat and relax and enjoy the company of my husband and my daughter and my dog and the rest of my family. I'm not "bubbling" for 12-13 hours a day into the small hours of the night to earn an extra 3 cents.

Of course, I happen to work more than 35 hours per week writing articles for various clients and marketplaces ,so I do earn more than the examples shown here. It's not difficult. It's not slavery. It's not rocket science.

However, if you're still starting out 2 hours per week is a great start for someone wanting to start replacing income from a job with writing income. It's also a very handy part-time income for anyone already earning money elsewhere.

Comparing Accurately

Just to ensure that I'm giving accurate comparisons, in the past month I spent 30 minutes per day - AFTER I'd finished actual properly and respectfully paid writing assignments - spending wasting time on Bubblews to see whether the "claims" of various bubblers were actually true.
(here's the original post: http://ravens-writing.blogspot.com/2013/10/can-you-really-earn-money-writing-for.html)

Yes, I got paid twice - despite the fact that lots of writers don't get paid by this site. If I spent 30 minutes per day on the site I earned a little more than $25 per month.

If I spent 30 minutes per day writing articles, I earned $50 per day which adds up to more than $1,100 per month. TWO HOURS PER DAY compared to more than 30 hours a week....

Gee... let me think for a moment.... Um $25 per MONTH on a crappy revenue-share site paying pennies or $50 per DAY? Hmmmm.... take a moment.... think about it.... what would you do?

Get the idea?

Even if you sold your articles for $10 each and write five articles per week, you're still earning $50 per week, which is still $200 per month - and still far more profitable than spending wasting time on a site like Bubblews.

Math lesson over.