Monthly Archives: August 2011

Possible resource: Contently

Apparently, there are a number of sites popping up that are trying to be more classy content suppliers — in other words, they buy and sell content, but say that they maintain both a certain level of quality and a certain pay scale for their writers.

I just found out about one of these called Contently. According to the website:

Content farms are ruining the Internet. Contently is fighting back. We believe the future of the Internet is shareable content that builds engagement — not garbage that tricks search robots — so we’re helping businesses publish content that matters.

I couldn’t immediately find any information about its rates without applying for membership, but its Terms of Service seem reasonable. So it could be a decent resource for writers looking for freelance gigs.

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Resource: FeaturesExec Media Database

I tend to think of freelance writers as journalists, feature writers or content writers for Web sites, but there are a number of other professions in which writers can either freelance or find full-time jobs. Public relations are one of them, and I shouldn't neglect resources for PR professionals/freelancers, since it can be a great way to support yourself while working on that novel.

The reason I thought of this is because I came across a site called FeaturesExec.com, which is a resource site for public relations workers. It has some information available for public consumption, and it looks like it could be a useful source of information — I was immediately caught by an interview that they have with??Carly Fields, managing editor of the Shipping Network. I've always found interviews with editors useful as a freelance editor; I imagine that freelance PR workers would find these useful as well.

I don't know how much it costs to get a subscription to FeaturesExec; the site gives you a phone number to call (which is unfortunately; I always like having information front and center), but if you're in PR and are looking for a source of info, this may be one to check out.

FeaturesExec Media Database | PR software, journalist contacts, editorial forward features

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Writers’ US settlement with publishers thrown out | Reuters

If you were one of the authors involved in this class-action case, you may have a little longer to wait before getting anything out of it. (I’m wondering how/if this is going to affect the Google class-action suit…)

A federal appeals court voideda class-action settlement in a case brought by freelancewriters who accused publishers of reprinting their works inonline databases without permission.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said thesettlement, calling for payments of as much as $18 million, wasunfair because it shortchanged authors who did not registercopyrights in their works. These authors represented more than99 percent of the claims covered by the 2005 settlement.

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Design association calls Huffington Post contest unethical for seeking free logos | Poynter.

The Poynter site (which I recommend as a great source of media news) offers the latest news of something-for-nothing: The Huffington Post, which made its own news when it was recently bought by AOL — an event which angered many of those who blogged for it without pay — is now looking for free designs as well. It has instituted a contest where it is asking for designs for a new politics logo. The winner gets — recognition. 

According to the Poynter article:

The executive director of professional design association AIGA, which has more than 20,000 members, says the Huffington Post’s contest for a new politics logo is unethical.

Unfortunately, the word ‘recognition,’ otherwise a rather pleasant and useful word, is not coming to mean, at least for freelancers, ‘work for free.’  There are a lot of up-and-coming freelancers out there who, hungry for work and needing a portfolio, are willing to take these jobs. At some point (like the bloggers at HuffPo), they’ll probably realize that it’s time to actually get paid for their work — however, there’ll be others waiting in the wings to take their place. 

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And from this week’s bad advice department…

A blog entry at Forbes has caught the attention — and the ire — of several of my colleagues at the Internet Press Guild (IPG), a group of technology writers, most of whom go back a ways. Susannah Breslin, who writes under the name “Pink Slipped” (cute), apparently got the following question from a reader: “Is it possible…for freelancers to really be friends?” Her answer? No.

Warriors don’t befriend enemies on the battlefield, do they? And that’s what the work landscape is like these days: a battlefield. The goal is to bludgeon as many other people with a flail as possible. Does this sound like friendship to you?

The comments section immediately draw several ascerbic — but reasonably polite — responses. Most were to the effect that successful freelancers aren’t trampling over their competitors, but helping each other to find work by passing on info on available gigs, offering advice and info when needed, and in other ways helping friends so that friends will help them. Especially because, these days, you need all the help you can get — and the freelancer you help today could be an editor looking to hire some writers tomorrow.

All I can say is — what they said. I’ve had colleagues whom I’ve hired, and who have hired me, and who have helped me in various ways, through the years. If you want to succeed as a freelancer, the way to do it is to do your best to be a good citizen in the world of independent workers. Step on others and they’ll only wait for a chance to step on you. Besides, when things go wrong, it’s great to have friends who understand what you’re bitching about.

 

 

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