Monday, August 20, 2012

FAQ: What are some good websites to self-publish my work?

Aspiring writers have asked me how they can get their work published, and they often express frustration with obtaining their first job. Many outlets such as newspapers and magazines will not hire newbie scribes for paid gigs, and if a writer is new, then how can they create a body of published work to get noticed and become "experienced"? It sounds like a circular problem, but luckily, with the internet, writers can bypass the old school gatekeepers and make a name for themselves by self-publishing.

Below is a list of self-publishing options:

1. Blog!  Blogging through sites such as Blogspot, Tumblr, or Wordpress is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get one's writing out there, and blogging has evolved from the "Here's what I ate today"-diary stuff to a more sophisticated approach of sharing a writer's knowledge on a particular subject. Nowadays, blogs that share unique, fresh content can create a substantial readership base, and this can lead to making money through advertisements. For instance, a popular home decor site could become sponsored by Home Depot or a cooking blog can become sponsored by Whole Foods. The key to having a blog is to have a theme/topic and stick with it. 

2. Examiner.com I previously wrote a Online Dating Column for Examiner.com, and what I liked about the website's format was that: 1) It paid by how many unique readers read my articles 2) It was an established user-content-generated website with millions of readers 3) I was my own editor and could come up with my own ideas and publish at my own pace 4) Examiner was a legitimate online news brand that allowed me to gain access to interview people and attend events as press. When I was a writer for Examiner, I had a thousand readers a month, which at the time I did not think was very much. However, I had a thousand readers of a niche market, and I don't think I would have gotten that exposure if I did not write for this site.

3. Createspace/Amazon's Kindle Direct For those who have prose to share, one of the best and biggest self-publishing companies is Createspace, which is an Amazon affiliate. I used Createspace to self-publish my books  and I had a very positive experience with the service. (See my article about self-publishing: Should I self-publish my fiction?) Through Createspace, one can make professional books that will be sold through Createspace, Amazon, and various other sites, and unlike other presses, books are only printed when one is purchased, which makes it a low/no cost option for the author. After a person sets up a book through Createspace, he is given the option to create a Kindle version. A person also can skip the printed books and only do an e-edition of his work.

4. EZArticles This site is similar to Examiner. Its focus is user-generated content, it has millions of readers, and it allows a writer to upload well-written, original articles. However, unlike Examiner, a writer's work is reviewed by two editors before it is allowed onto the site, and unlike Examiner, writers can use pen names. I have not had personal experience with this website. However, I am impressed by the articles I have found here, and I noticed that EZArticles often pop up in my Google searches, so the SEO is very well-done.

5. Scripted.com If a writer knows he has the expertise to write quality online content but perhaps does not want to deal with self-publishing websites that pay only if readers click on his work, then Scripted.com is an option. This site pays writers per written item (ranges from $49-150/per item), and writers can apply for jobs writing tweets, blog posts, press releases, Facebook posts, etc in a variety of subjects. Writers must submit samples to be approved to submit for certain topics. For instance, if a writer is an expert on healthcare, he submits a healthcare article. Once approved, he is only allowed to apply for healthcare-related writing jobs through the site.

What do you think of the list? Are there any that I have missed? What has your experience been with any of the aforementioned sites?

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