Why I Stopped Hiring Bloggers to Write for Quips and Tips 20


If you’re a freelance writer, these reasons I no longer pay writers for Quips and Tips articles will help you get more article assignments. Learn from my perspective as an editor – I offer several tips for freelancers below.


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First, did you know that: “A catless writer is almost inconceivable. It’s a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys.” ~ Barbara Holland.

And there you have it: the number one reason I stopped paying bloggers: most of them didn’t have cats!





I thought the reason I’d have to stop paying writers is lack of money – I earn a full-time income from my blogs and wrote an ebook called 75 Ways to Make Money Blogging to explain how.

But, money turned out to be the least of my concerns…

Why I Stopped Hiring Bloggers to Write for Quips and Tips

If you’ve written for Quips and Tips, don’t take this personally!

It’s not you, it’s me.

This article is a follow up to Want a Blogging Job? Quips and Tips is Hiring Bloggers.

Receiving and approving article pitches was frustrating

No matter how many times I asked writers to send specific, focused, creative, interesting article ideas, 90% of the time I received general, vague, ho hum pitches. I think this is because I’ve been a freelance writer and blogger for several years, and I’ve seen and pitched thousands of ideas. So, the “6 Writing Tips for Students” aritcle ideas just don’t cut it.

Since I felt bad about just ignoring pitches, I had to explain why I didn’t want to publish the article. That took time – especially since I didn’t always know exactly why I didn’t want the article.

  • Takeaway for freelance writers: If you write about things you’re experiencing in your daily life, make sure you have a fresh, unique twist. “Write what you know” only works if you have a fresh, unique perspective.
  • Another takeaway: Sometimes editors can’t explain why they don’t think an article is suitable for their publication. They just have a gut feeling. They know articles that fit when they see them.

Editing articles was annoying

Since I didn’t pay much per blog post (I’m just a writer, after all), I didn’t ask writers to edit their articles. I did all the editing. On the one hand, I found the grammatical, spelling, sentence structure, and other errors really annoying. On the other, I realize I only pay $15 per article…so what do I expect? Sometimes you get what you pay for. So, I spent tons of time editing articles to make them flow.






The good news – for me – is that my writing skills improved! The bad news – for the writers I paid – is that theirs didn’t.

  • Takeaway for freelance writers: No matter how much you’re getting paid per article, make it the best article you ever wrote. Your name is on that article, right? You want more assignments from editors who pay more, right? Then write good, dagnubbit!!! Potential clients and other writers who may have writing leads on jobs won’t give you work if you can’t write.
  • Another takeaway for freelancers: Don’t switch perspective or point of view in the middle of a paragraph, article, or sentence. Many, many, many writers do this. In fact, I did it when I wrote “…I realize I only pay $15 per article…so what do I expect? Sometimes you get what you pay for.”

Fellow scribes, do not write, “Writers should stick to one point of view, so you can write good blog posts for Laurie.” Instead, write, “Writers should stick to one point of view, so they can write good blog posts for Laurie.”

Receiving and paying invoices was boring

Ugh – it was a major drag getting the invoices, filing them so I could pay writers at the beginning of the month, paying them, and then filing them in a “paid” folder for tax purposes. Bo-ring.

  • Takeaway for freelance writers: Don’t ask your editor what their payment policies are or how to make an invoice. Read the information they sent you in your contract! My writers’ guidelines explained everything clearly, yet writers still emailed me with questions. And, if you don’t know how to create an invoice, then learn it on your own time. You want your editors to eagerly open your emails – not feel dread when they see them.

The worst part of no longer paying writers is that I have money! I set a budget for Quips and Tips, and haven’t even come close to spending it. I want to pay writers, but I don’t need the hassle. The bottom line is that I’d rather be writing than editing or managing writers.

In Can’t Get Published? Freelance Writers, Start Doing This…, I describe the top reasons I didn’t assign articles. Good info if you’re a writer who pitches article ideas to editors.

What do you think of why I stopped hiring writers for Quips and Tips? Got any tips or solutions for me?

xo


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20 thoughts on “Why I Stopped Hiring Bloggers to Write for Quips and Tips

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Thanks for your thoughts, LS! I’m glad you think $15 per post is reasonable…I was concerned that it was too little. I can’t believe you write blog posts for $5! Wow. Maybe I’m overpaying 🙂

  • L.S.

    I fully understand your reasons, and I respect them of course. As I told a blog owner – who pays me for articles – this morning, I find it ethically questionable when freelance writers put little or no effort in writing their own articles, making them just for the money, negligent toward their quality. I’m used to work hard even for $3 per article; I spend hours researching on a topic, sometimes days too if I have no deadline, and when I feel that a creative, potentially good idea crosses my mind I know that’s the right moment to write. I’m also open to editing my articles again and again if necessary: it’s good to learn. When the day comes for me to guest post on your blog, I hope you will be ‘harsh’ on me, asking for the edits. 🙂 I believe that’s the fun part, because it’s the moment in the whole process when I can really learn something new about writing.

    There is only ONE thing in your post I disagree with: why on Earth do you think $15 per post is a small amount of money?! O_O” As a blogger who writes for money often times a week, I can tell you that you’re wrong there… $15 per post is a lot of money. Most of them time I write 300-400 words long posts for $5 or less. I also write 4-5 articles a week for Italian geeky blogs that pay me no more that €1 per article (that’s less than $2). So, $15 definitely makes the difference for bloggers who want to earn some money writing.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Hi Sharon ~ thanks for the tips! I appreciate them. I think I need to think more strategically about hiring and paying bloggers…and your thoughts are helpful.

    Hi Smrithi ~ thanks for pointing out that change of perspective is okay when writing sarcasm. I keep forgetting that rules can be broken sometimes…

  • Smrithi

    ‘ Don’t switch perspective or point of view….In fact, I did it when I wrote “…I realize I only pay $15 per article…so what do I expect?…’

    Change of tack is allowed in case of sarcasm. Hence I assumed you were being sarcastic, until you pointed out that you weren’t! (I’d say ‘writer conscience’ would dictate that you give your best to every article that carries your name. I even proof-read my comments sometimes fore submitting!)

  • Sharon Hurley Hall

    Hi Laurie

    Perhaps a good approach, if you did want help with content, would be to assign specific topics to writers you know can handle the job. After your recent foray into hiring writers, you’ve probably got a feel for which writers are easiest to work with and can deliver something that you’ll want to publish. You could also streamline things so that you have deadlines at times that suit you, so you can batch process any editing and then go back to normal life for a while. Just a thought …

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    If I could afford to hire a managing editor, I would. That’s the perfect solution…but for the money 🙁

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for your comment — I’m glad to see I’m not alone.

    I think writers submit manuscripts, essays, articles, etc that they know don’t fit the editorial guidelines because they HOPE the editor will fall in love with the piece and publish it anyway! I’ve done that as a writer. As an editor, I now see that it’s not just pointless, it can harm your future relationship with that editor.

    I admire editors now more than ever…it’s a tough job! But, I learned alot of valuable lessons and am grateful for the experience.

    Cheers,
    Laurie

  • Alexandra Brown

    Hi Laurie,
    Sadly, I must say that I’m not surprised at this turn of focus for you. As an editor, you lay out your expectations and then expect to receive only that which meets your initial request.
    Unfortunately, there are too many writers who are more intent on the DREAM of selling their work than they are on ACTUALLY selling their work.
    Polish, style, and attention to detail are all that save a writer’s career.
    Having just carefully and conscientiously picked through a dozen manuscripts, the appropriateness and quality of many submissions still astound me when I am positive that I was clear about my expectations.
    I said, “No vampires or werewolves, please.”
    One out of twelve in the trash.
    I said, “…complete work unto itself. NO excerpts or shortened versions, no series.”
    Another one out of twelve.
    “…story must focus on a hero/heroine relationship.”
    Three more gone.
    “…polished and print-ready…”
    Minus two more – one of which was virtually UNreadable.
    That leaves five possibles. A very good day…
    But a LOT of wasted time that could be better spent editing/marketing/advertising/recruiting/etc.
    Those seven writers – who likely put a great deal of (but not quite enough) time and effort into their works – will receive a simple “Sorry, no can do.” rejection letter. And while I feel terrible at the thought of dashing hopes, I can only achieve success – for both myself AND my writers – by concentrating my efforts on those with whom I can work.
    I’ll say it again,
    Writers:

    Know the publication to which you are submitting.
    Follow the guidelines – to the letter.
    Polish, polish, polish!

    None of this guarantees publication. But all of this together guarantees consideration.

    Alex

  • Martin Wilson

    Laurie

    I absolutely understand your point of view. So few people are really prepared to work at the business end of their “creative” work; or even for job applications. My view is that there plenty of capable writers (and photographers) but they want to be “artists” and want to do as they wish, rather than what the market needs. Freelancing is first and foremost a business so it is essential to understand the market.

    Hopefully that creates opportunities for those that focus on the business aspects. Especially as I recently let my FW status on S101 lapse which gives me more time for freelance photography and writing. When freelancing in the past my aim was always to make the editor’s job as simple as possible whether at query or submission stage. It gave me a pretty good acceptance rate.

    Martin

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Delena ~ thanks, yes, it probably would help if I was more specific in my requests. That makes a lot of sense…I need to get more organized, I think.

    Uppal ~ sorry, our ships passed in the night. Maybe someday I’ll hire writers again…

    Patricia ~ yes, yes, and yes 🙂 That is, accepting articles on spec and/or unsolicited manuscripts is a great idea. I just felt bad about it, because I know how much work goes into an article (a good one, anyway), and I’d hate for writers to waste their time. But, an article can always be placed elsewhere…

    I particularly like your suggestion of guest posts, so I can avoid the hassle and time-waster of invoices. I think I’ll go that route. I’ll post an invitation for guest writers soon. Are you interested? 🙂

  • Patricia Farley

    Although I have not worked as an editor, your frustrations make intuitive sense to me. I have three solution ideas, which I will pose as questions:

    –Are you willing to consider unsolicited manuscripts? Doing so would bypass the query process.

    –Are you willing to have bloggers write on spec? Then, if the post fails to have the content, style, and mechanics that together meet your standards, the writer/blogger should expect, and accept, “No, thank you” in response.

    –Are you willing to work with bloggers for free? Then, the opportunity to post is about the writing, not the money. So, invoices cease to be a problem.

    Kind regards,
    Patricia Farley

  • UPPAL

    Hi Lauri,I am disappointed to read that you are going to stop hiring bloggers for writing for you.Actually I was hoping that in the near future I might get a chance for writing a little bit for you.

    The bloggers whose articles you edited so painstakingly must be blessing you in their hearts of hearts and will gain a lot when they see their articles in print in a new light.

    Undoubtedly editing somebody else’s writing is the toughtest job ever in terms of time spent and effort.I had experienced it myself being a former teacher for long.I am sure you would find a way out and still encourage fresh talent.

  • Delena Silverfox

    Hi Laurie,

    While the improvement to your writing skills is a definite bonus, I can see how it might not outweigh the headache.

    When it comes to posting the sort of content on your blog that you know your readers want to see, what a lot of bloggers do when they deal with (or invite) guest bloggers is simply tell them what they’d like to see. It can be something as simple as, “I’m going to be focusing on XYZ topic next month,” or more specific: “I need a post on 5 reasons why XYZ is better than 123. Can you do that?”

    Maybe, should you decide to go back to hiring writers (especially bloggers) that might help. Bloggers are used to receiving specific invitations for guest blogging, or at least know how it works. That might help filter out the ho-hums and the less-than-spectacular topics you were getting. Maybe. =)

    Delena

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Interesting email from a reader and professional writer who wrote a few articles for me:

    “I appreciate the kindness, Laurie, and I enjoyed it while it lasted. I certainly understand your reasons for the change–I had a suspicion the hassles of managing other writers would outweigh the advantages of having additional input.

    A friend of mine who recently retired as a senior writer for a Scripps newspaper had a similar experience. As you probably know, newspaper people generally follow one of two paths for advancement: they move up something that resembles a corporate food chain from reporter to copy editor to page editor to editor to editor-in-chief, etc. Or they move to bigger, higher-circulation (or higher prestige) papers for more money while doing the same basic job to a higher level of effectiveness. (Obviously, there are lots of nuances to these.) He had been an excellent reporter for the Knoxville News-Sentinel (a Scripps property) and accepted a job as editor of a smaller Scripps paper near Memphis. Though he did well, he hated it! He wanted to be writing.

    So even though it meant a pay cut, he came back to the News-Sentinel as a writer and honed his craft. The senior writer designation is a rare one among Scripps properties, a great compliment to his abilities, which eventually paid more than the editing job.”

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Aidy ~ I’m the same way – I’d never send an article to an editor without triple proofreading it! If I go back to hiring writers, I’ll let you know 🙂

    Susan – Yes, a steady contract would give me more reliable, consistent articles than a huge stable of writers who aren’t familiar with my requirements.

    Karen ~ It hadn’t occurred to me that bloggers who haven’t had experience as a freelance writers have a different perspective and skill set. That makes a lot of sense…and professional freelance writers wouldn’t want to work for what I can afford to pay. Thanks for your perspective!

  • Karen

    Totally understand your perspective on this one, but am shocked at your tales of woe. I went into blogging from freelance writing (rather than the other way round) so I had to learn to be professional early on. I forget that a lot of bloggers go into blogging from an interest in a certain topc rather than from a writing/editing background.

    Who on earth asks an editor how to create an invoice?I still remember researching how to write an invoice the first time an editor asked me for one. I was trying the ‘fake it ’til you make it’ approach and would never have admitted to the editor this was the first time I’d written for a publication professional enough to ask for an invoice!

    Good luck with future posts. Will keep reading.

  • susan

    Article service outsourcing can be an absolute pain, but I find someone on a steady contract tends to produce better quality content. Thats just my experience though.

  • AIDY

    As a freelancer myself, I honestly do not like to submit any article I am not confident with. I totally understand and agree with what you are saying. I have only just came across your site, looking for work. I read your prior blog post, when you were hiring writers. Alas, I have arrived too late. No worries! I have bookmarked your site as a vital resource. If you are ever looking to hire writers again, I am available!

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Also – I forgot to mention my other really important reason for not paying writers: I’m starting to write blog posts that answer readers’ specific questions, instead of creating blog posts that aren’t related to what my readers want or need.

    I guess I no longer want to create content for content’s sake!