Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dear Textbroker, Love Mr. Jefferson

With a completed novel under my belt and a 12 month goal to send it to every freaking literary agent on my list (there's about 200 there so far; s'gonna take awhile), it was time to sit down and figure out how I was going to make money in the meantime.

Now, last year, I was all gung-ho about Elance. I'd bopped my rating up to #128 out of 120,000 writers on that freelance community. Something bad is happening over there, though. The Elance job postings are being FLOODED with people who want to pay peanuts for work. I'm talking less than a penny per word. LESS THAN A PENNY? Are you kidding me? (Pictured, below: Travis trying to balance the budget)

So, I started piddling around on Textbroker again. Any of you who read my past posts know that I was seriously anti-Textbroker about a year ago. This year, though, I realized that at the very least Textbroker is offering a healthy portion of jobs that pay higher than a penny per word. I decided to give it a shot again. Knock knock. Who's there? Travis. Travis who? Yeah, I know, I've been gone awhile Textbroker. Just open the dang door.

So far, so good with the whole Textbroker thing. I'm consistently given a four star rating for my articles, which means that I have access to a bunch of articles that pay over one cent per word. Great, right? Well, yes, it is great. HOWEVER.

I keep glancing at those tantalizing 5-star articles that I can't access. Those 5-star articles pay a whopping five cents per word. Which means I can make more than three times as much writing those as I could writing the 4-star articles. Here's the problem. The only way to get access to those 5-star articles is to write 4-star articles at a 5-star level. Then, Textbroker staff will rate my articles, and after five in a row, I'm bumped up to level 5.

But hold on just a red hot second. How am I supposed to spend the appropriate amount of time and energy to write at a level 5 when I'm still only getting paid at level 4. Let me clarify this. I am fully capable of spending an hour on a 500 word article. I can do the research. I can sew together genius sentences into a high quality creation. But, I'm not going to do that on an article that only pays me $7. No, for a $7 article, I'm going to spend a maximum of 15 minutes. That's the only way I can justify the low cost of the article.

Textbroker, how am I supposed to move up in the world? If you were to give me an article topic and say, "Show us what you can do with this?" I would astound, surprise and gratify. Instead, you're telling me, "Spend valuable time writing at a level for which you won't get paid."
Again I say, "How am I supposed to move up in the world?" Is anybody else feeling this pain? Anybody else wondering how they can get a 5-star rating without spending way too much time on an article that only pays 4 stars' worth? I'm just a man trying to sing The Jeffersons' theme song.