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Keep Your Writing Samples

Yesterday, a local newspaper editor asked me for several writing samples. My heart lifted, as it always does when I get another "chance" to be published. It's happened a lot before, but the happy feeling never changes.

Thankfully, my husband was kind enough to set me up with a scanner some time ago. With a few clicks of the mouse, the scanner starts buzzing, and my screen magically displays a .JPG file of my work. I love this scanner! All it takes is a few more clicks and my samples are scooting across cyberspace. Now I'll just cross my fingers and hope the editor likes my style.

Yes, the story is simply fascinating, I know (NOT!), but I do have a point: ALWAYS keep your writing samples. Keep original copies of the published article if your can, and make copies to use as samples. Scanning is another convenient alternative. It gives the luxury of emailing your clips, or even posting them on your website.

Take care to categorize your samples, as well. If you're approaching a magazine, you'll want to find pieces that suit their style. If you're looking for a newspaper gig, try a third-person fact driven piece. While the styles don't have to match exactly, it will certainly give your stuff the extra edge.

Finding an Expert

Once you stumble upon a great story idea, you have to follow through. Sure, you'll want to write an outline, do your internet research, and read all background issues of that particular publication. But to really add meat to your story, you'll need experts.

Expert advice is priceless. An article without an expert may be functional, informative, and even fun. But experts add authenticity. They add good solid advice. They offer personal experience. They offer statistical information. Most importantly, they add meat.

For years, I fretted over the expert issue. Where would I find an expert? Would they want to talk to me? Why would they agree to talk? What would I say? But each of these questions has a simple answer: It's easier than you think.

Experts can be found everywhere: your backyard, your local store, local doctor's offices, local universities. You can step outside your box and call people from across the country. Contact people who have websites. Contact the people who write press releases. If all else fails, sign up for At Profnet, you simply ask for experts on a particular topic, and they call you.

The best part is that everyone likes to talk. Experts enjoy sharing their knowledge with others for a variety of reasons; perhaps they enjoy the subject, they enjoy the questions, or they simply want to promote their product or way of thinking. In any case, their knowledge will be useful to you. (However, if they are promoting a particular product or service, ensure that you interview several folks---you don't want to write a biased article.)

Imagine my surprise when I logged onto Epinions and discovered my earnings. I signed up way back in 2001, and frankly forgot about it until I saw it on someone else's blog recently. Back in the day, Epinions was having some issues and it seemed like it was shutting its doors. But I guess these struggles worked themselves out.

So when I logged onto Epinions yesterday, I discovered two things.One, my earnings had topped $50; and two, I lost over $25 from not participating in well over a year. Wow! So needless to say, I have once again logged into my Epinions account.

Come visit me and join my Web of Trust:

See you there!

The key to being a good writer is to write every day. The truth is that, now that I write every day, I have become addicted to it. I spend much of my day answering questions online ( or writing for one of my article sites.

What do you write? I'd like to hear where you are publishing; for example, are you writing for Hub Pages, WebAnswers, etc.? (Please just list the websites. Referral links will be removed.)

Writing for Hub Pages

Since the big change, many eHow writers are looking for a new venue. After all, the biggest benefits of eHow were the (a) great community, (b) friendly web design, and (c) the residual income. Many of them have joined Demand Studios, many have joined Suite 101, and many have joined Hub Pages--everyone is trying to find out how to make money. Of course, many have joined all of them!

I've limited myself to a few sites, so I don't spread myself too thin. However, Hub Pages is quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to make money online. Publishing articles is quick and easy, and you can "move" parts of your article around, add text boxes, add polls, add pictures, and complete other easy tasks.

Hub Pages sets itself apart with a unique payment structure. They offer residual income by offering commission of 60% of the ads from Google AdSense, Amazon Associates, Kontera, and eBay. In addition, writers receive a 10% commission on the ads from any writers that they refer within 30 days. Last but not least, they offer 9% to 12% of the commission when writers refer readers to articles written by other people. The total adds up quickly, and it is easy to make money online.

As an example, visit one of my articles on Hub Pages. You should take the time to sign up---it's quick, it's free, and it's a great opportunity to make money online as a writer. Visit now!

My Recent Online Articles

Yes, I've been pretty busy writing articles for different online venues. I did some work for Demand Studios, which by the way is paying quite steadily. I've also written several articles for other online writing sites, and I am very interested to see if I'll be able to make a decent amount of money. It's nice to see that Google AdSense amount increasing daily!

Here are some of my most recent articles:
Common Causes and Treatment of Acne
Finding a Great Contractor
Safety for Kids on Halloween While They Trick or Treat
Last Minute Tax Tips
Make Extra Money with Xomba
Get Paid to Write & Answering Questions for Cash
Fruit Cobbler Makes a Delicious Dessert - Easy Recipe
Easy Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
Use Xomba to Promote Online Articles

So what the heck is a backlink, and why do you care about them anyway? Because you want to earn money online.

A backlink is created when another site links to your site. This page, which links back to your blog or article, tells search engines that you must be important. After all, why else would someone link to your page anyway? You must be a very talented writer, or have great advice on how to make money writing online content.

When the search engine looks at your article or blog, it will count the number of sites that link to yours. The higher the number of backlinks, the higher you will rank on the search engine. So, as a writer, if your article has a lot of backlinks, then your chances of making money are increasing.

But don't be temped to cheat. These search engines are pretty savvy, and they will automatically look for discrepancies. There are a lot of people looking to make quick cash, and the search engines don't count reciprocal links (so no link trading!), or links obtained through a free (or paid) search engine submission tool. So play by the rules and manually submit your links.

If you have been writing online, you have invested considerable time in your blog, web page, or online articles. In most cases, your income depends upon your page views (how many people visit your page). So if you really want to increase your income, you need to work on promoting your website. After all, big companies spend millions of dollars each year on advertising; it must be a good investment.

Fortunately, investing in our articles is not as expensive. The real cost lies in the time spent promoting our articles, not in actual advertising expenses themselves. Thus, a portion of your day must be spent in promoting the articles that you have already written.

The two primary ways to promote your pages are through word-of-mouth and through the search engines. Over the next few days, I'll touch on both topics and discuss ways to advertise your website, blog, or articles without spending money.

If you have not already done so, sign up for Google AdSense and the Amazon Associates program. These sites pay as visitors click through and/or purchase items through their links. (All click throughs must be legitimate. Never click your own link or click a friend's link!)

Who knew? You can get paid to answer questions online.

About two weeks ago, I visited Web Answers on a whim. My brain had started churning, and I realized that writers and visitors are flocking to sites like, Yahoo! Answers and I figured that someone must be paying big bucks so writers can earn money while answering questions.

The answer was surprising. Most of the sites I visited actually do not pay writers to respond. The helpful suggestions were made by good Samaritans, looking to help others. While it would be nice to fall into this category, I do need a paycheck.

My investigation led me to Web Answers, a small site that does pay writers to answer questions. The answers are often well researched, the writers are authoritative, and the site has many keywords to pop up in a search engine.

Writers are paid via Google's AdSense. When you sign up, you include your Google AdSense information. (Warning: You DO have to provide them access to your account.) When your answer receives an award on WebAnswers, your Google AdSense link will be displayed on those pages. When visitors click those ads, you receive the 60% of the advertising revenue! ( keeps 40% of the revenue for overhead.)

When your answer receives an award, your post is highlighted and you receive a "trophy" next to your answer. I won an award when I answered a question about allergies.

Several of my other answers responded to the following questions:

And no, I don't get commission when you sign up for WebAnswers. I'm just trying out the Good Samaritan role!

eHow's New Structure

Yesterday was an interesting day for eHow's writers. Their lucrative writing venue literally transformed overnight. We awoke to find a new message in a bright box in the middle of our screen. It shouted that all eHow articles would now be written through Demand Studios. (Demand Studios and eHow are owned by the same company.)

As a new eHow writer, I personally am not affected by the change. I have made exactly $0 in advertising revenue at eHow, although I have made a decent amount of cash at Demand Studios. Frankly, I find Demand Studios to be a nice broker for freelance writers; it creates an easy bridge between writing for enjoyment and writing for pay. They provide the topics, and I write what I like. But that's a story for another time.

Today I wanted to focus on other online writing sites. Writers like to get paid to write. We like to have articles that link to Google AdSense or another form of advertising revenue. We like royalties.

So where do we go?

In addition to Demand Studios, I have had a lot of luck with Suite 101 ( It pays via advertising revenue, and I get to retain my rights (as outlined in the contract.) I like Suite 101, and highly recommend it to other writers.

So my question to you is this:

eHow has changed its rules

Oh my! It's been an interesting day for writers of eHow, who have been used to the revenue sharing program that has been in place for several years. Luckily, eHow's changes have not affected my writing, as I have only submitted several pieces. However, I do suggest waiting for the fall-out to finish before signing up.

In the meantime, I have written one more title for Suite 101. It's been slow going, but I have made a few dollars from Suite 101. Check out the article at

See you soon!

Publishing Online

While I still prefer to write with pen and paper, I have found that there is a large online writing market. I've been experimenting with Demand Studios over the past few months, and I must say that it has been rather successful.

Demand Studios pays fairly well, and the work in interesting. The pay rates vary per article; when I began the pay rates were $3 for a short answer, $7.50 for a fact sheet; and $15 for a longer article. There is an application process, and all submissions must go through a copy editor.

In the meantime, I'm flirting with another online magazine, Suite 101. I'll fill you in on this one later. In the meantime, feel free to visit my newest article at Suite 101:

Writing Old School

I've found that I'm an "old school" writer. (Mind you, I am not old though!) I've found that a pen and a pad of paper do wonders for my imagination. When I'm sitting in front of the computer, the temptation is too great. Within moments, I find myself playing Mob Wars or Mafia Wars on Facebook. It's not the pad and paper that bring my ideas to life---it's the temptation that doesn't exist.

Writing Market Slow Down?

Traditionally, a freelance writer's revenue depended primarily on print publications, such as magazines and trade journals. Over the past year, I have noticed that some of these magazines are shutting their doors, shrinking the opportunity to write for print publications. What's a writer to do?

I'm currently testing the online writer's marketplace at two new sites, Suite 101 and Demand Studios. Keep in touch for updates on my results!

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