Sunday, February 21, 2010

Taking My Advice on AC Upfronts:

An Honest Warning

Here's my confession:  I haven't submitted an article to Associated Content for upfront pay consideration, since April 20, 2009. That's the same month I signed up. It's not intentional and I didn't even realize it until tonight. Now it's majorly bothering me.

I'm not counting anything claimed through the Assignment Desk or anything submitted through the News Desk - when they offered a flat upfront rate. News no longer pays for unrequested submissions.

I have a small love affair with the Assignment Desk, because the requested articles are often on topics I'm thinking about at the moment or have experience with. That makes them quick to write and a fast output can be a blessing to a freelance writer trying to pay the bills.

Also a big fan of publishing through News. The page view love is awesome - and page views = $. And money is part of the reason I do this whole freelancer thing. There is also the benefit of writing about events that I'm searching to satisfy my own curiosity about.

Why does this matter? Every so often, someone will ask what is the best way to submit articles on Associated Content. The advice I give (and other AC Contributors) is to try a variety of options. Try Display Only for content not eligible for upfront pay (poetry, video game reviews) or something time sensitive (news, television reviews). Any news accepted through the News Desk can benefit by going on Google News. Assignments are great, if you're out of topic ideas.

Submitting for non-exclusive upfronts is often the best solution. If your topic isn't going to garner tens of thousands of views in the first week, then there isn't much harm letting it sit in the queue. In my experience, hot news stories are the only ones that take off that quick. In that case it should probably be published through news or put up DO.

If your article is turned down and misses out on a thousand views, you're only out $1.50 to $2.00 (depending on clout level). If you receive an upfront offer equal to that, you haven't lost anything. An offer more than $2.00 means that you are ahead!

See that? I'm pretty opinionated about/in favor of a submission option that I haven't tried in over nine months. Even realizing that, I still think my arguments are sound. As a freelance writer, especially an online freelance writer, your income will often be made up of small payments. Hopefully they are more than a few bucks, but it seems like bad business to turn down money for something you intend to publish anyways. Especially if it turns out your the quality of writer they will gladly pay higher upfronts to.

The conspiracy theorist in me is also whispering that sites will stop paying for content they can get for free. Just a thought.

Oh, and my point? I'm going to submit some articles for upfront this week. It's long past time I do.

Photo credit: hattie mahatma / flickr.com

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