Over on How to Draw Camels, 100% of profits are now going towards social enterprises in West Africa. Originally, it was 50%. I planned on using half the money to assist with travel expenses. But it wasn’t like I was raking in cash selling camel drawing ebooks, and now I am making enough money elsewhere. Most of my income is from freelance writing. I am not going to be rich anytime soon, but it is more than adequate for my upcoming travel plans.
Travel Writing for Online Magazines and Websites
These typically pay $25-30 an article. The format varies: narratives, tips, city guides, stuff to see, etc. Matador and The Expeditioner are two prominent sites that pay for travel writing. For more, I recommend signing up with MatadorU’s email list and downloading one of their free reports. MatadorU is an online “new media” school for travel writers and photographers. It looks cool, but I’m not ready to part with $300 for it. In any case, you can get their email list (tips on travel writing) for free along with a list of 15 websites that pay for travel writing and photography.
I have also been approached by people who visit this blog, mostly to write West Africa content. It helps if you have a specific knowledge that is not widely shared. A story about museums in Western Europe will be a hard sell. If the destination is not unique, find a unique angle.
Demand Studios pays $15-18 for 300-400 articles. You submit a writing a sample and bio and once you are approved you can search for titles. Sounds nice, right? Pick a title and get started. This quickly lost its appeal when I realized almost all of the titles were completely bizarre and/or insane. For example: “How to Change the Rack and Pinion Steering on a 1994 Dodge Ram.” What?
Demand Studios produces content for sites like eHow.com and their titles are generated by what people are searching for in Google and other search engines. A lot of the easy titles have already been claimed. I sent them an email letting them know that I could actually contribute to the site if I could access travel related titles. A week later I became a travel contributor. It’s still in the beta stage and they are limiting the number of writers, but if you sign up for Demand Studios and want to do travel writing, send them an email and let them know where your skills lie.
Many of the titles are still bizarre. I wrote an article called “How to Swim with the Dolphins at Epcot.” I have never swam with the dolphins at Epcot. I went to the Epcot website, read about the dolphin exhibit, and then wrote the article. It took me twenty minutes and I was paid $18. There are also a number of more reasonable titles like “Things to do in ____________” or “How to get a Visa to ___________.” After you submit an article, an editor reviews it and sends it back if corrections are needed. They send payments via PayPal on Tuesday and Friday of each week.
I don’t plan on writing for Demand Studios on a long-term basis, but right now it’s an easy way to make money while I work on other things and get ready for my trip.
Other Freelance Writing Websites
I don’t use Textbroker, but it is another option for freelance writing. They pay 1-5 cents/word depending on the quality of your writing. From what I understand, the assignments often involve very specific instructions. Elance is another site for freelance work. The amount of pay depends on the job. Anyone use either of these?
Revenue Sharing Sites
Write an article. Website puts advertisements in the article. You share the revenue from the ads. This could be 50/50 (as it is at Hubpages) or more (Infobarrel gives you 70% of ad revenue). To actually make money on these sites you need to write a lot of articles and they need to be about topics that people are looking for on search engines. I like the idea of these sites, but they have not been a priority because they take time (and a lot of writing) before you can make enough money to make it worth it. Squidoo is another revenue sharing site. Anyone have success with these?
Freelance Writing for Newspapers and Magazines
I have been pitching a number of newspapers and magazines in the last two weeks. I would love to have a semi-regular assignment with which I could write about this upcoming trip. A few conversations have been promising, but nothing guaranteed yet. I will let you know what happens.
There are a lot of other options for freelance writing beyond travel writing and what I have mentioned here. Let me know if you have experience with any of the above or if you do any kind of freelance writing yourself.
Cote d’Ivoire Update
Gbagbo has been captured. This is a big deal. Right now, many in Abidjan are celebrating. But Cote d’Ivoire’s future is still murky. Elizabeth Dickinson has a good summary of events here. I wrote about many of the challenges in this post.
I thought Ouattara’s speech the other day was excellent. He said that he was going to restart the economy and restore basic services, but most importantly, he said that those who committed acts of violence towards civilians would be brought to justice, including his own forces.
The latest report from Human Rights Watch implicates Ouattara’s forces in much of the violence that took place in Western Cote d’Ivoire (report here). Villages were burnt to the ground, people were executed in front of their families, women were raped. There are reports that the region remains insecure. Tens of thousands have fled to Liberia.
In time, we will see whether Ouattara’s actions reflect his words. Even with tremendous leadership, the road to reconciliation and peace will be long. Hopefully, it starts today.
Music: Tiken Jah Facoly – Ma Cote d’Ivoire