Can I Use My Articles On More Than One Site? Ask Anne

by Anne Wayman

writer's roseIn comments in response to

How to Make Content Mills Pay You in More Ways Than Once altcharm asked:

I realize this is an old post. I am a novice thinking about getting started with content mills to get my feet wet. I realize they don’t pay much and I hope this isn’t a silly question, but is it possible to write an article for one content mill and submit it to others I am writing for? For instance, if I am writing an article on gardening and the topic for my other content mill(s) happens to be the same topic, could I submit the same article or do I need to reinvent the wheel each time?

atlcharm

Hi altcharm, 

The short form answer is no. Even content mills usually require that each article you submit be original. (Check each site’s terms and conditions.)

Putting the same article in two or more places creates duplicate content which search engines, particularly Google, frown on. I think every site wants original articles. There are programs like Copyscape that help site owners be sure they aren’t getting stolen or duplicate content.

Same topic, different article

That doesn’t mean you couldn’t write about growing roses for both sites – but the articles would need to be substantially different from each other. For example, one might be about getting rid of aphids and another about how to avoid aphids in the first place. Both are about roses and aphids, but the articles are different.

Gardening can be a great niche. So can growing roses. If you think about it you’d never really run out of topics in either.

What Bill was suggesting was to take any article that’s rejected by Demand Media and put it on AC, which is now, I guess, Yahoo Contributor Network. The hope is that you might get enough clicks on it to be paid something. I can’t find specific payment info on YCN – so I can’t say if this would work or not.


Demand pays $15 and I would guess if you can get $15 from Demand you can get at least that much from other sources.

Resources for more pay

The ebook, or self-study course How To Break Free From Low-Paying Writing Gigs by Samar Owais at The Writing Base will show you how to move up from content mills.


At least half of success in freelance writing is in the marketing of yourself and your writing. That’s why there’s a whole marketing category here.

When you sign up for the newsletter here you get a free copy of my ebook The 3 Keys to Making Your Writing Pay!

There’s lots of help – good for you for asking.

How have you/are you breaking free from low-paying freelance writing gigs? Tell us your story in comments, or ask a question there.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

atlcharm January 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm

iWriter has introduced a fast track program where you can get promoted from standard writer to elite writer much more quickly. The caveat, you have to pay $147 for the privilege. I know they are legit, but this sort of rubs me the wrong way, but then again it may be worth it. Here is how they have presented it: http://www.iwriter.com/fast-track.php

Thoughts?

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annew January 24, 2013 at 2:24 pm

So if you pay the $147 what do you get… in terms of income? Who is iWriter? I don’t like it? Are you making money with them now? You’re right to be suspicious, altcharm

Ugh, they say this on their website: Writers get paid 81% of the price of each article. The rest is taken by Paypal transaction fees, as well as Copyscape quality checks to ensure the article is unique. This leaves a profit of $1.62 for a 300 word article, $2.43 for a 500 word article and $4.05 for 700 word article for the writer. These amounts vary based on the “type” of writer you are (i.e. Standard, Premium, or Elite). The amount displayed in this example is based on your current, personal, status. Elite writers can earn $15+ for an article. If you receive a “special request” from a requester you receive another 5% (i.e. 86%) earnings per article, which equates to $3.01 for a 500 word article.

you could go broke in a hurry writing for these folks… even without the $147… a profit of 1.63 for 300 words? that’s slave wages.

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atlcharm January 24, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Lol, exactly! To answer your question, I haven’t made money with them because I am still at Standard level which is $2.43 per 500 words. I can’t bring myself to write for that little. I just can’t. According to them if you pay the $147 and submit a couple or writing samples and they approve then you MIGHT be promoted to elite level which pays $10.13 per 500 words. Pretty much the $147 gets you to elite faster than waiting to be rated over time.

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annew January 24, 2013 at 2:34 pm

So you’d have to write what, 15 article to get your money back? That spells rip off to me. I may blog about them.

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atlcharm January 24, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Yeah it just seems like they are trying a new way to make money for themselves, not the writer.

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Ron C. January 23, 2013 at 3:25 am

Nothing works so easy, I guess! But then again, when you are writing original blog articles, you can actually syndicate on many other blogs because you own the copyright to that work.
Ron C. recently posted..Online Marketing Trends (India, 2013)My Profile

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annew January 23, 2013 at 7:25 am

Tell us more about this Ron, or write a guest post about it.

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atlcharm January 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I just received a rejection from Break Studios, so discouraging.

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annew January 20, 2013 at 7:39 am
Steve Maurer January 17, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Some of the “content mills,” such as Textbroker, will actaully run your text through Copyscape. So if it’s already published, you’ll get it back for rewrite.

Be careful if you start working for these sites. Several have already gone under and others are needing to rethink their business model because of recent changes to search engine algorithyms. (did I spell that right?)

But the most dangerous affect that these mills have is on your own percieved self-worth. Once you start writing for pennies a word or dollars a piece, it will seem otherworldly to be charging “real” copywriting fees. That’s a hard concept to wrap around and you may need help in finding out what you should actually be charging.

You also lose most, if not all rights to your work. Once submitted, you lose all access to it. Even should you actually be dealing with the publisher, there is another problem: referrals. Let me explain.

One form of marketing is to get referrals from your clients. That’s a no-brainer. But, consider this. If you’re writing for clients who pay pennies per word, guess who they will be referring you to. That’s write . . . other pennies per word clients.

I’m not going to tell you what you should do. After all, it’s your business. I just want to let you know that there are some pitfalls in content mill writing, and some of them are pretty deep and hard to climb out of quickly.

Steve
Steve Maurer recently posted..Are Discount Text Services Really That Cost Effective?My Profile

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annew January 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Good points… playing devil’s advocate… one or two articles, no more, on content mills can build confidence if it’s the very first time you get paid… after that, I’m in total agreement.

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Steve Maurer January 17, 2013 at 4:14 pm

You’re right, Anne. It can build some confidence and some actually have editors that will help you with grammar, punctuation and the like. It can be a good learning experience as long as you don’t stop there.
Steve Maurer recently posted..Is Your Home Page a GPS or a Laundry List?My Profile

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annew January 18, 2013 at 7:02 am

That’s why I tell my coaching clients no more than 2 to content mills ;)

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atlcharm January 18, 2013 at 9:20 am

I know they are the devil. However, I’m a beginning writer so I wasn’t sure if there was any place to start besides content mill. How would I market myself with no experience? On top of that I need income NOW.

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annew January 20, 2013 at 7:41 am

Atlcharm, you may have to find temporary part time work while you build your writing career – it’s what many of us have done… telemarketing, waiting tables, baby sitting… etc.

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Luana Spinetti @ Writer's Mind January 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm

To atlcharm:

Republishing online is always risky, unless you’re reselling a short story or an article to an online magazine when another online magazine bought first rights and then left your story in its archives. But those are exceptions and they won’t apply, say, to guest posts. Anyway, the best thing to do is to check for rights you can sell: if it’s first rights, then you can republish your price elsewhere; if you sell all rights, then you can’t re-use your article. But you CAN write another article on the same topic (i.e. different angle, different information, etc.)
Luana Spinetti @ Writer’s Mind recently posted..A 12-Items Proofreading Rubric For Your Beta Reader FriendsMy Profile

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annew January 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Yes, the rights are usually spelled out in the terms and conditions on the sites in question.

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Elizabeth West January 18, 2013 at 8:23 am

Yep. As part of my contract with wiseGEEK, it was written that any and all articles they published by me are now their property. I can, however, link to them as clips, and I do.
Elizabeth West recently posted..2012 in Review- Happy New Year!My Profile

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atlcharm January 18, 2013 at 9:18 am

That’s good to know about WiseGEEK!

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atlcharm January 15, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Thank you sooo much! That clears a lot up for me.

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annew January 16, 2013 at 7:43 am

Glad it helped… feel free to ask more questions… that goes for others too.

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