Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bukisa - Maybe worth a try?

I've decided to give Bukisa a try.

It's another website where you can get paid for writing, this time in proportion to the number of page views that your pieces get. At first I thought this was another of the "get paid peanuts to write gibberish" type.

What convinced me to give it a go is that established, serious, successful freelance writers like Dana Prince are giving it a try, and seem to be enthusiastic.


So far I am having some problems actually using the site and submitting content. The site is still Beta, so they may be teething problems that will be sorted out soon. Also I've been using the Safari and Opera browsers, and it may work better with IE or Firefox.

On the plus side there is some very good content on the site. Though admittedly there is also a lot where people are giving their two cents worth on subjects they know little about.

Being Beta has pluses and minuses. Being in on the ground floor can be a very good thing. If you can get established as one of the more visible writers during the early days, that can become a virtuous circle where visibility snowballs and bring an ever growing flow of readers and income.


Different pieces of the site functionality work in different browsers. Everything seems to work in IE7 though. Although the site is occasionally down.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Freelance Writing Resources

These resources are for journalists and professional freelance writers.

They have lots of interesting information, though some of it may not be applicable to newcomers trying to get started. (Though there are certainly plenty of journalism students asking questions as well, but they tend to be going through formal courses, newspaper apprenticeships etc.)

But they do have all kinds of relevant information for people interested in a serious income from writing. - I'm not sure if this is connected with the NUJ (National Union of Journalists), but is certainly seems to be a go-to place for British professional journalists. - is a site for and by London freelancers! Run by the London Freelance Branch of the NUJ. Among other things it gives information on typical rates of pay for different kinds of work in this freelance fees guide. This tells you for example that a guideline rate for 1,000 words for online media publication is £275, while for a similar length piece that needs intense research the rate is £350. And if you can land a gig writing for a top-tier US magazine, that's a whopping £1,500 per 1,000 words, with rates from at least $3 per word.

Meanwhile issuu is a service for publishing your work yourself. You can publish in many formats - hardback books, spiral bounds reports, brochures, and e-books. Because it's print-on-demand, you can create a book or other publication and there is no upfront cost to you. When people order the book, they pay the fee you set and issuu take their cut from that. There is no charge for publishing e-books there. There is even an option to buy your own ISBNs so officially become a publishing house in your own right.

Writing for Fun - and Income?

I've always loved writing and been fascinated by language. And that love has been rather good to me - I've picked up prestigious awards with handsome prizes attached for essays and such.

Sometimes I've thought about writing professionally, but mostly I just use writing as another tool of the various trades I've been in - whether that is writing research papers in academia, consulting proposals and business reports, or advocacy for a cause I believe in.

And in the past I've blogged elsewhere for fun, written very short stories to share with friends, and think pieces on subjects that were on my mind.

Lately though I've been exploring the possibility of writing for income.

I've been researching online, and there is a lot of material out there about making money from online writing - but most of it pretty worthless.

There are also lots of "get paid to write" sites  out there. Or more accurately, sites where you get paid peanuts to write gibberish.

However I have found a couple of sites that I can recommend.

I've signed up for Constant Content, a virtual marketplace that connects  authors and people looking for writing. This is my first week with them, and so far it's looking promising. There seems to be a reasonable volume of sales, with material going at decent prices. What's best about it is that they have an editorial process that ensures only good quality writing appears on the site, and there is a nice community of authors.

Did I mention that freelancing of any kind, and especially writing, can be a solitary and lonely business? So being part of a lively community is a pretty important part of making that an appealing choice for me.

I also recommend Writing for Your Wealth. This is a fantastic site written by a woman who has done very nicely out of writing informational websites, and is full of her wit and practical wisdom. Even if you don't learn anything - unlikely! - she's a heck of a lot of fun to read.

Best of all, unlike many writers of money-making guides, the woman has integrity. She's not all about gaming Google, or parting site visitors with cash any which way you can. So if you like to do work that you can be proud of, work that is of real value to the human beings that read it, and you want to earn good money in the process, Lindsay's your gal.

Those are my experiences so far. I'll let you know how things pan out.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Deliberate Haste

Barack Obama used the phrase "deliberate haste" to describe the process by which he is putting together his cabinet. I wondered if that was a phrase of his own making or a well worn expression that I'd not heard before.

Googling around I discovered a fascinating discussion at the Visual Thesaurus. (Which itself was triggered by a piece in the New York Times by William Safire.)

This debate is not so much about the origin of the phrase but whether it is an oxymoron.

The phrase does seem to be new, but it echoes the expression "deliberate speed", made famous by a US Supreme Court decision on desegregation.

Some people argue that "haste" inherently implies too quick, too unconsidered, and therefore certainly not deliberate, at least in the sense of "carefully thought out". They argue that deliberate speed is meaningful, but deliberate haste is a contradiction.

I'd say it is a striking and effective phrase. It works precisely because it conveys an emotional state, an attitude towards the situation, a way-of-being that is the holding together of two opposites.

"Haste" tells us that the situation is critical, the need acute, and speaker feels its urgency, is moved to jump right in.

But "deliberate haste" tells us that feeling all of that, he will make the effort to retain his composure, think through what is needed, move swiftly but not rashly. He will discipline himself despite his emotions and the gravity of the situation.

That seems to capture perfectly both Obama's approach to the transition and the nature of the man himself. It's a phrase that communicates vividly, perhaps even shows us a way that we too be in a crisis, people of deliberate haste.