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Algorithms or Individual Clients?

by Daniella Cressman 2 months ago in advice · updated 2 months ago
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Both have their pros and cons.

I love to write.

I feel like I'm in a marriage with words, even though it's a dysfunctional one sometimes...It's very fickle, it doesn't always invest in me as much as I invest in it, and there are days when my muse just doesn't show up.

How rude of her!

Anyways, attempting to earn a living—or any money for that matter!—from writing is, in a word, challenging.

That being said, there are ways to do it: Ghostwriting tends to pay quite well—at least in comparison to many other options, especially when you are just starting out.

I have mixed feelings about giving up credit for my work because my ego is THROUGH THE ROOF, but it's arguably worth it for the money, especially because I can choose to write pieces for clients who are carrying out a mission I believe in, and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I also love VM, NewsBreak, HubPages, and Medium.com though: I earn money EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. What a dream!

Okay, so, honestly, I'd advise posting on (at least) one platform and writing for clients, but here are the pros and cons of each.

Platforms

Algorithmic platforms are great if you're thinking long-term, but they're very disappointing if you only have a small following and the rent is due next month!

Pros

  • You earn money every day. With NewsBreak, you get paid on the 15th of the next month, with Medium.com, you get paid by the 8th of the next month, then it takes up to eight days to transfer funds, so they will 100% arrive by the 16th if you are budgeting and want to be acutely aware of the schedule you're working with. That being said, you earn money every day, so that's nice—You don't have to suffer through a dry spell for days or weeks!
  • You can gain an audience. This is HUGE—It can help you build and grow your email list and get a sense of what people like if you want to sell courses in the future. It also gives you the opportunity to share more of your work with them in many cases (if they are curious). If shit hits the fan and you suddenly have no income for one reason or another—suspended accounts, etcetera!—you'll still have your email list and can at least sell digital or physical products to them and let them know what happened and why.
  • You can often write about whatever you want.
  • Building a portfolio for yourself online can potentially attract major magazines in the industry—they might just want you to write a piece for their publication!
  • You can often get your work showcased in quite a few online publications, which counts for a lot these days! While print magazines are honestly incredible—especially for nostalgic wordsmiths like myself—being published on the World Wide Web has its advantages: For one, your article will remain there forever, and will likely hold readers' interest for longer; the content in a print magazine, on the other hand, is merely seasonal.
  • If people really love your work, it's quite flattering and you'll likely have a very consistent stream of income—and views!—as a result.
  • The income potential is ENORMOUS—You can earn six figures annually on Medium.com if you put the work in!

Cons

  • You earn less in the beginning, and I'm talking a lot less, like $5 per month—at most—for like, 30+ articles. Sigh...
  • You have to work for free (sometimes) to get the ball rolling. NewsBreak won't monetize your account until you have 100 followers and 10 articles. A lot of platforms are similar in this way. It's a bit annoying and time-consuming, but it's ultimately good practice.
  • You have to deal with "the haters..." 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄Honestly, I just don't read the comments at this point, unless I'm like 99.9% sure they'll be positive!
  • Everyone knows your business and you have to sacrifice your anonymity. I mean it's not like the paparazzi are knocking on your door or anything as a writer, but still...it's hard when you go on a first date and the guy can sort of "research" A LOT about you before he even meets you. It's the little things sometimes.
  • If you write controversial pieces, the attention is GOOD when it comes to money but it's, well, a mixed bag when it comes to trying to maintain relationships with certain people you are close to who may or may not agree with your views...
  • Views do go up and down so, even though your income is more consistent, it's not set in stone: You have to be VERY PROLIFIC and earn that money every month.

Writing for Clients/Magazines

Writing for clients is great if you have to pay the rent next month!

Pros

  • The rates per piece are generally higher and more consistent: I've written for one magazine before and gotten published. I also ghostwrite articles for individual clients consistently. Honestly, the HUGE PRO is that you get paid based on the wordcount, and these rates are often quite decent compared to the meager $1-100/month you might make when you're just starting out on an algorithmic platform. Additionally, you'll always get paid the same rate for the same number of words, so that's heartening.
  • Ghostwriting can be a real goldmine! The rates are generally much higher than they are elsewhere!
  • Ghostwriting for a client can help you build your empathy because you are having to put yourself in someone else's shoes.
  • When the money does come in, there's more of it, especially in the beginning!

Cons

  • If you're ghostwriting, you can't build a portfolio: You might gain a following amongst clients who are looking for ghostwriters—which is something that can definitely be beneficial—but that's about it. Naturally, it's harder to market your work and filling out your resume becomes complicated.
  • INCONSISTENCY. This is a big one: There is not really a time frame for clients to purchase your work for the most part, but—if there is—you can bet it's going to be very flexible—It sucks when the rent is due and the money has not yet come in: That's the nature of the beast, but it's certainly something to consider. The turnaround times for magazines are especially long. Ghostwriting tends to move along a bit faster, but it can still be a major challenge and budgeting becomes EXTREMELY important.
  • You may find yourself having to write about things you don't believe in for profit.
  • Rejection is inherent in this line of work, which can take a toll on a person, but you simply have to remain consistent through all of the declines and hateful comments. Praise is precious, and it can occur frequently too, but as someone who is pitching to a client or magazine, rejection is practically expected—You just have to get used to it.
  • You win big or you lose big. There's no middle ground—It's a high-risk/high-reward gig!

So there you have it: Both forms of writing have their pros and cons, and, honestly, I enjoy both, but I've found that algorithmic platforms are generally a smidgeon more consistent, even though you will (almost always) inevitably earn less in the beginning. You can also earn more from them long-term in most cases if you stick with it: There are people on Medium who are earning upwards of $10,000 per month.

For a writer, that's FUCKING AMAZING.

+++

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About the author

Daniella Cressman

American-Canadian.

Non-Fiction: I write about the art of prose, politics, culture, &, occasionally, entertainment.

Fiction: I write short stories in the suspense/thriller/horror/mystery genres

https://daniellacressman.squarespace.com/

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