After a year and a quarter as a Textbroker writer, I’ve finally decided to call it quits. Lest you think the following is tantamount to a child saying “Fine, you don’t like me I’m leaving,” rest assured it’s not. In writing, as in life, and as it should be in any facet of life, I like to work where I’m respected. Not glorified or puffed up – I appreciate harsh criticism if it’s valid, and I think some of my best work has come from being critiqued and learning from it – but respected as a human being. You should, too. I also think you should work for people who are capable of putting logic, reason, and all the pieces of a puzzle together before arbitrarily making decisions that affect your life.
Admittedly I’ve used less and less of Textbroker in the last few months, and have pretty much resorted to doing my team orders – because I like the team, the leader, and the fast payment – and a few simple things here and there. I’ve gotten to a point in my writing career, however, where I’m starting to realize that even if journalism isn’t your thing and you don’t want to write for corporate clients, there are better options than Textbroker.
I hadn’t ever thought about closing my account before because I figured it did me some good to have it open. I can make some quick cash here and there, as I need it, and if I’m in a pinch I can do a few articles for clients I know pay quickly and that’s that.
However, Textbroker recently showed itself to be just another content mill.
I’ve been writing for Textbroker for a year and a quarter and, to date, have written over 460 articles for them.
That’s quite a bit of money in their pocket. Sure, I made some money, too, but I think if someone told me the only place I could work from was Textbroker I’d be back in a corporate office faster than I care to think about because, for the work involved in writing a decent article, the pay is just not there. Quick cash, sure. Your entire living? Not by a long shot.
Every once in awhile they get around to rating your work and grading you, essentially. The score they give you depends on whether you stay at your current “level” or not. I’ve been a level 4 – where most of the work is – for the last year and a quarter.
I received some written evaluations from Textbroker on a few of my articles. Absolutely insane. I’m all for learning from mistakes and getting critiqued. But between the reviews I got I received competing viewpoints on where my commas should go, something about parenthetical statements that I don’t even understand the point of, and some other fairly arbitrary and subjective viewpoints and critiques. Apparently the rules of grammar on Textbroker change depending on who’s grading you.
Not only that, but the grammar rules they laid out go against pretty much everything I’ve been taught (recently) from other writing outlets and professionals in the field. So essentially you’ll get downgraded for doing it right.
What’s more, they actually gave me a level 3 rating (lower than I was rated where there are almost never writing assignments) on several articles that the client not only rated me an “excellent” on, but made comments stating how happy he was with my work.
Textbroker’s clients are happy so let’s downgrade the author who wrote the work the made the Level 4 client happy?
In any case, I am now a level 3 writer. It’s not even because the majority of my recently “graded” work was a level 3. Most of it was a level 4 still. But Textbroker gives you your rating based on the last three or four items graded.
Simply put, had they been reviewed in a different order I would still be a Level 4.
They don’t take the average of all of your work. Nope. They take the average of the last three or four items reviewed. Meaning it’s basically up to luck and in what order they review your work that depends on how each article affects you.
Right now I currently have a team still open with orders that are pretty simple to do, get approved quickly, and are kind of “do at night while Dateline is on” kind of articles. Template, same thing over and over with different information, etc.
Like I said above, I like the client and the team. Not usually a great reason to stick around for less than excellent pay, but it’s something I do in my free time – so it’s essentially free money.
But after that, I’ll be shutting down my account.
I’m starting to understand in my writing journey why people say that using places like Textbroker as a “starting point” is a waste of time and pointless – because one day you realize what I just realized – that they don’t really care about you and you could have been doing far better elsewhere.
Between the recent Yahoo! Voices shutdown and this arbitrary blow from Textbroker – on articles that made the client happy – I’m really thinking that my writing career will once again be changing into something different.
I consider this a good thing. This blog is not really meant to be me telling you what to do. I know a lot of people have told me they’ve received good advice here, and I’m happy for that. But this blog is more about my freelance journey, what I’ve learned, and passing it onto you so you can either enjoy it or try it out. Not all of my followers are writers. Some are people who want to find out what I do. Others just think it’s amusing. Whatever the reason, my only goal is to document my journey through the freelance world.
I think it’s interesting to look back and see how it has changed so far, and look forward to see what it will become.
Recently I’ve started writing fiction. Like….a lot of fiction. And I’ve never been a big fiction writer before, so this is new for me. I’ve always had a lot of ideas for fiction stories and books, but never followed through on them in lieu of non-fiction work.
I realized recently that you can submit fiction to magazines and contests and be paid for it just like you can submit journalistic articles.
I love writing non-fiction. I hate writing journalistic-type articles. I don’t have anything against them as a reader, they’re just not my cup of tea as a writer.
Realizing that there are outlets for pretty much anything I want to write about and create has been really liberating for me.
It means taking chances. It means crossing my fingers and praying a little harder sometimes. It means cutting back on spending until I get a monthly check instead of a weekly check. It takes different financial planning strategies. And it takes a lot of courage, because I like things that are guaranteed. I don’t like putting things out there without the knowledge that I’ll receive a return.
But then it hit me….if I live my life that way, I’ll have one guarantee…that nothing will ever get published (because I’ll never submit it or write it), that my career will never grow (because I’ll be doing the same thing I’m doing now over and over), and that I’ll wind up technically freelancing but feeling like I have a corporate job that happens to be at my house.
That’s not what I got into this for.
So….this is jump-in-with-both-feet-in-the-deep-end time.
I think sometimes when doors shut in our life it’s for a reason. For me, I feel like God’s trying to show me where to go by putting blockers up where I don’t belong. Whatever you think the reason is in your life is up to you. But I do think that everything happens for a reason, so instead of getting mad or firing back – even if I’m a little disappointed at the lack of logic and consideration behind it – I’m going to take it as a good sign that better things are ahead and I simply am not meant to spend time on this anymore.
That’s my two cents. 🙂 I hope you’re all having a great week writing, and I have more coming up for you later on in the week!
‘Til next time…happy writing!