ECP a.k.a. ShamanicShift (ecp_writes) wrote,
ECP a.k.a. ShamanicShift

Suite101 and Demand Studios: Two experiments end...No, they pause

Updated, November 10, 2010:

I reactivated my Suite101 account on August 10. On August 17, the site published various changes. The two biggest: Any voice is acceptable now, and, for Contributing Writers, there is no longer a quota of ten articles per month.

Also, writers can contribute news articles within any of the category sections after reading and agreeing to a page of news article guidelines.

Of course, most section editors have posted their own guidelines and requirements in the writers forum and many of those appear to contradict the revised submission guidelines. 

I have several drafts ready, but I am re-reading all the instructions before I publish. 

In September, 2009, I applied eagerly for freelance writing gigs at Suite101 and Demand Studios. I was thrilled to be accepted by both almost immediately.

I sold several articles to DS and published two articles on Suite101.

It's been a while since I have thought of claiming any titles at DS, although I am still an approved writer there. I am listed at DS under a pseudonym, because errors might get edited into articles once DS owns them. I might go back and grab a few jobs someday.

Who knows if I will suddenly need cash-flow and remember that DS pays up front (via PayPal) twice a week (as well as through revenue share assignments)? There is no minimum number of articles to turn in to stay on their list.

However, this week, with only two articles published on Suite101 after a generous deadline extension in effect, I requested that my contract (to publish at least ten articles every three months as a contributing writer) be terminated. I could not get comfortable at Suite101 and blocked up. I have not figured out why yet.

Suite101 and Demand Studios both are OK to great online writing gigs for many freelancers, but -- for reasons I may never trouble myself to understand -- I have been unable to get myself to produce a significant amount of content for either one of them.

Demand Studios

I became enthused over Demand Studios while perusing FreelanceWritingGigs, a site of freelance gig-inspirations that has partnered with DS.

After glimpsing the inside of DS, I found the detailed Wired article on DS definitive. Unlike many over at DS, I did not read this investigative review as derogatory and was surprised to discover it was received that way.

For favorable reports about DS from freelance writers, read on, here and here, where I was convinced to apply.

DS has been overhauling its system for years, but I arrived during an extra-tumultuous spell. The style guides were revised, then revised again. Twice, articles vanished when I attempted to save a draft.

On one occasion I was shocked to find an article submitted for review as I attempted to save the draft. That one was finished enough to be approved without a rewrite request.

In the DS forum I read scary stories about glitches, absurd and/or rejected re-write requests and unanswered appeals. I chose  to let the couple of re-write requests I received lapse and publish those gems elsewhere. I had decided not to expend any more than one hour per piece, for those low but handy upfront payments.

The modest payments, from $3 (for 50 word tips) to $15.00 (for articles) were OK by me, as long as I stayed within the space-time boundaries I set. After all, freelance writing in meat space requires meetings, travel and other 3-D expenses, which cut into the higher rates I get, considerably.

Right before I backed away, DS began rolling out a new image gallery feature and requiring its use instead of uploads. From brand-newness it had too many bugs in it to be useful, but it must be working much better by now.

I have found the DS community to be highly helpful and supportive.

It was the bugs and glitches in the DS platform that drove me to call it quits for a while, though long-term DS writers were vouching in forum discussions that things would surely improve and get better than ever. I do believe them, so I will probably check back, later. 

To be continued...


What was it at Suite101 that turned me off?

The blogger whose Suite101 review put a notion in my brain to sign up seems to have gone inactive there as well.

"Turned off" applies only to my writing. I have nothing unfavorable to report about Suite101, nor have I been able to  turn up many complaints through web searching.

I did find the Suite101 section and subsection tree a bit tangled and confused from overlapping. I was surprised – not pleasantly – to find that the subsection entitled Shamanism is listed under Mind & Soul > Paganism/Wicca at the discordianism subdomain.

Outdoor and Recreation, focused on activities, still overlaps with the destination focused Travel section. In the forum, many of the section editors have posted particular preferences or peeves, but the Travel editor's list was the only simple, clearly titled, easy to remember example I had found before I took my leave. Her section specific guidelines encouraged and welcomed, and read like a pep talk.

The one copy editor who gave me feedback was nothing more or less than polite. Someone from the main editorial team answered my questions about policies and procedures within a day.

Also, Suite101 Admin informed me I can email a request to be reinstated if and when I hack through the block I was experiencing there.

Though I am not writing for Suite101 now, my articles, profile and membership remain. I continue to earn (Google Adsense) revenue sharing payments from them, though it will take quite a while to reach the $10.00 minimum payout, with so few articles.

While active on Suite101 I published only two articles: The Question of Shamanism Certification and The University of California-Davis Arboretum.

To be continued...
Tags: demand media, demand studios, suite101, suite101 changes, writers block

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