fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

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Isabelnewth
Posts: 304
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:15 am

Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by Isabelnewth »

I think that WG for one has been here in better times. I have never known the Halcyon days that some people refer to: I have always had loads of rejections, quite often for matters of style, or rules which I don't agree are actually rules.

I do think there are too many of those 'matter of taste' rejections. I never had a brilliant rejection ratio, but recently it's got even worse. I haven't been approved for claiming articles etc, except for certain customer projects, so it's annoying when the score goes down. Actually I daren't look any more.

I didn't know until Eric replied recently on the forum that being on customer projects is different from 'approval' for this or that general category. I presume that a writer's rejection ratio plays a part in eligibility to claim those broad categories, but that market forces do too. Anyway, we ought to know and not have to guess!

For me, most of the problems here relate to two-way communication and clarity. The subjective rejections and their consequences are annoying as well, and I think they can be very unfair. But if the site rules were clear and communicated, and queries were answered, I wouldn't complain so much! I get the impression that there were clearer rules and better communication in the past.
weagle87
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:39 pm

Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by weagle87 »

Wow, I opened a can of worms. I was just looking for some advice.

Thanks, Eric, for clarifying which projects are sponsored by CC. That helps a lot. I won't feel so badly about not taking some of the ones that are underpriced if I don't feel like I'm letting a team down.

As far as the editors are concerned, I haven't experienced the rudeness that others mentioned. I did have more trouble on the political articles that I do on others. However, the batch that I just finished went right through. Perhaps I improved, but I'll bet that someone suggested to the editors that they use a gentler touch. Thank you.
Constant
Posts: 406
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:35 am

Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by Constant »

Thanks for clarifying everyone. I had a read through everyone's notes, and I think a lot of the concern still comes down to account suspensions. Please have a look over my note on that - https://www.constant-content.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=76930#p127054 At the end of the day, account suspensions for established writers are very rare and we want to avoid them wherever we can.

I read several comments discussing how difference in opinion over style could lead to rejections from the editors. I went direct to the source on this one, and our lead editor provided the following note:

Style actually means the particular dictates from a standard or authority--British vs. American, for example. Or Chicago style vs. APA style in academic writing. These are "styles" which dictate punctuation use, spelling, and other issues. Many writers think that how they choose to say something is "style," as in their personal style. Lack of conciseness, lack of clarity, awkward wording, problems with coherency, etc., are not issues of "style," except that any style guide worth its salt will say to keep writing clear, concise, natural-sounding, and coherent and may give examples for how to do that. Writers get professional comments for passages that need improvement.

Because we sell web content, we need content to be marketable, clear for a broad audience, concise, and just plain readable. That type of content is what brings readers back to the websites on which they appear. While a certain level of creativity can go into these articles, that creativity should be along the lines of the type of creativity found in journalistic writing rather than other types of writing. The best journalists find new ways of conveying an idea in the most effective and efficient way possible while providing substantial information.

If you're concerned about style, please check out the AP Stylebook for American style or the New Oxford Style Manual for British style, for example.



I do appreciate the comments that spoke to improvements on Constant Content. As Tster noted, we do now provide inline comments with editorial reviews. Editors also often make small corrections for writers, so we can avoid rejections. We're also planning to release several big improvements in the coming weeks that will help writers get more work and sell more content. I really do appreciate all the input everyone's provided and we are taking it to heart.

Eric
Isabelnewth
Posts: 304
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:15 am

Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by Isabelnewth »

It's true that if a writer uses clumsy or unclear wording, the eds have the job of pointing that out. But those judgments are subjective, and I think the complaint has been that they are sometimes too harsh. We have to accept editorial judgments, but it's wrong to suggest that these are black and white issues.
Tster
Posts: 48
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 6:16 am

Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by Tster »

Constant wrote:Thanks for clarifying everyone. I had a read through everyone's notes, and I think a lot of the concern still comes down to account suspensions. Please have a look over my note on that - https://www.constant-content.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=76930#p127054 At the end of the day, account suspensions for established writers are very rare and we want to avoid them wherever we can.

I read several comments discussing how difference in opinion over style could lead to rejections from the editors. I went direct to the source on this one, and our lead editor provided the following note:

Style actually means the particular dictates from a standard or authority--British vs. American, for example. Or Chicago style vs. APA style in academic writing. These are "styles" which dictate punctuation use, spelling, and other issues. Many writers think that how they choose to say something is "style," as in their personal style. Lack of conciseness, lack of clarity, awkward wording, problems with coherency, etc., are not issues of "style," except that any style guide worth its salt will say to keep writing clear, concise, natural-sounding, and coherent and may give examples for how to do that. Writers get professional comments for passages that need improvement.

Because we sell web content, we need content to be marketable, clear for a broad audience, concise, and just plain readable. That type of content is what brings readers back to the websites on which they appear. While a certain level of creativity can go into these articles, that creativity should be along the lines of the type of creativity found in journalistic writing rather than other types of writing. The best journalists find new ways of conveying an idea in the most effective and efficient way possible while providing substantial information.

If you're concerned about style, please check out the AP Stylebook for American style or the New Oxford Style Manual for British style, for example.



I do appreciate the comments that spoke to improvements on Constant Content. As Tster noted, we do now provide inline comments with editorial reviews. Editors also often make small corrections for writers, so we can avoid rejections. We're also planning to release several big improvements in the coming weeks that will help writers get more work and sell more content. I really do appreciate all the input everyone's provided and we are taking it to heart.

Eric


Interesting. I meant style more in the sense of the way the editor used that m-dash in his comment, or the way he began tne sentence after with 'of'.

Tster
ReneeF
Posts: 204
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:52 pm

Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by ReneeF »

Like when one editor wants you to use a double hyphen instead of a comma and when you do the next editor gets angry you used a double hyphen where you should have divided the same sentace with a comma.

The curtains were blue, like the turquoise waters of Greece, and framed the window in cheerfulness.

The curtains were blue--like the turquoise waters in Greece--and framed the water in cheerfulness.

And then you get a third request to change the very same sentence or the article is outright rejected.

This isnt a matter of poor grammar or punctuation skills, this is a personal peeve. It is frustrating to the writer and i think we all resubmit in hopes that an editor who agrees with it one way or the other will pick up our article and like it and if we do make changes, we all hope that same editor picks up the article so that we don't get a reject for changing it.

I've had one editor demand hyphenated words become compound words and when I change the specific requested words, the next editor will get angry that the compounded words should have been hyphenated.

At other times I use terminology that is found in my chosen industry and refers directly to certain programs or techniques. But I cant use the words of those programs or techniques and have to instead explain in 5 or ten words what I meant because it wasnt in the editors version if the dictionary. (Which usually gets me slapped with a comment about wordiness!) and they dont tell you nicely either. "This word BLAHBLAHBLAH isnt in MY dictionary, come back when you learn to spell or find different terms. This is not a real word." And if you send them a link to a medical or technical dictionary where the word is defined as a real word your article simply gets deleted and occasionally you get an actual note that you didn't make the requested changes or do not resubmit the article.

But mostly, instead of saying "Hey you missed a comma in paragraph three," you get a "There are too many errors." and your article is simply deleted off the queue.
Gail Kavanagh
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Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by Gail Kavanagh »

Agreed, Reneef, the glaring lack of consistency between editorial demands is the single most frustrating thing about submitting here. If that can be fixed, if editors can agree amongst themserlves not to let personal opinions about hyphens and so on cause a writer to have to submit and resubmit, removing a comma, then putting it back in, I may come back to CC and write here again. It is simply unprofessional to have to change something to please one editor, then have to change it back to please another. This stupid rivalry between editors has to stop, and an agreed standard implemented. We are not permitted to be quirky. Neither should the editors. Agree on a shared standard and then writers may feel less paranoid. You just never know which editor you are going to get - the hyphen hater, the comma nazi, or the one who arrogantly assumes that because they have never never encountered the specialist words used in certain areas, those words simply do not exist. It's exhausting to have to deal with this as well as squeeze oneself into the tight deadlines.

Eric, I apologise, I confused you with Ed in an earlier post. Oh, those were the days.
EFowler
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:24 am

Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by EFowler »

ReneeF wrote: "This word BLAHBLAHBLAH isnt in MY dictionary, come back when you learn to spell or find different terms. This is not a real word."


Yikes, please don't tell me that was a real comment you received Renee?? 'Come back when you learn to spell'??
ReneeF
Posts: 204
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:52 pm

Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by ReneeF »

EFowler wrote:
ReneeF wrote: "This word BLAHBLAHBLAH isnt in MY dictionary, come back when you learn to spell or find different terms. This is not a real word."


Yikes, please don't tell me that was a real comment you received Renee?? 'Come back when you learn to spell'??



Yes, more than once.
EFowler
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:24 am

Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by EFowler »

Oh no, that's really awful Renee! I appreciate that the editors might sometimes have a bad day, like all of us, but to make that sort of unprofessional comment is unacceptable in my book.
ReneeF
Posts: 204
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:52 pm

Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by ReneeF »

I just keep thinking that maybe the person had been up editing three days straight without food and their loved one died.. and they totally don't remember it.

that was a while back, but still. i was taken back by the comment.
Pellucidean
Posts: 86
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2014 5:17 pm

Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by Pellucidean »

I'm a new writer who has mostly had no trouble with the editors. (Except for one article which was outright rejected for not offering useful information or actionable content… which would've been fine, except I see articles published all the time that definitely aren't offering actionable content.)

I did, however, see some weird inconsistencies in hyphen usage. The first few articles I used only one hyphen, like so: - . That got not complaints, until one editor said I should use double hyphens: –– . Okay, that's totally fine, and that's what I've used ever since. The thing is, why weren't my first few articles stopped? There shouldn't be any disagreement among the editors over something so basic. If they aren't consistent in something that simple, no wonder there's little consistency in more subjective matters.
ReneeF
Posts: 204
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:52 pm

Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by ReneeF »

Pellucidean wrote:I'm a new writer who has mostly had no trouble with the editors. (Except for one article which was outright rejected for not offering useful information or actionable content… which would've been fine, except I see articles published all the time that definitely aren't offering actionable content.)

I did, however, see some weird inconsistencies in hyphen usage. The first few articles I used only one hyphen, like so: - . That got not complaints, until one editor said I should use double hyphens: –– . Okay, that's totally fine, and that's what I've used ever since. The thing is, why weren't my first few articles stopped? There shouldn't be any disagreement among the editors over something so basic. If they aren't consistent in something that simple, no wonder there's little consistency in more subjective matters.



I've had my share of articles rejected, in the past, for being "fluff" or having "no real content" and beign "unusable" funny thing is that most of my articles are based off old cleient requests I didnt submit to their order. Further, I HATE fluff pieces, I cant stand not to write in-depth about things, for me writing is a chance to learn something or express things I learned in new ways with new information, hence learning more. so it was a bit ironic.
remoteriverman
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:56 pm

Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by remoteriverman »

Firstly, thank you Eric for replying to these issues.

As you know, I started writing for CC last year and had a positive experience in my first few months on the site. I sold 80% of my articles, made about two grand in my first two months, and even wrote an eBook: ‘The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Making Money on Constant-Content.com’, which explained the steps I took to succeed so quickly, offered some tips for new writers, explained the site and its editorial process, and in general extolled the virtues of CC as a writing platform. I have since been told by many recent new CC writers that my eBook encouraged them to write here. So let me say, I have always been one of CC’s biggest fans from the outset.

What do CC writers mean by wishing things ‘were back the way they were’? Let me try to answer that.

The quality of requests on CC has, in my view, deteriorated markedly since the beginning of 2014. More alarmingly, the rates of pay have too. There seems to be a preponderance of 4-5 cent offers on CC this year – this has become the rule, rather than the exception. This is insultingly low, after CC’s cut is taken. And considering the editorial hoops that now have to be jumped through, this leaves a lot of good writers wondering if it’s worth the hassle any more.

I deal with a lot of businesses, Eric, and CC is far and away the absolute worst in communicating by email of any business I’ve ever encountered. Ever. Anywhere. You have writers who are making money for you (or trying to), and who just want someone – anyone – to respond to their questions, and they are met with (a) inadequate answers, (b) answers that come too late because it’s taken an unbelievable amount of time to get a response, or (c) no response at all – even after repeated emails. You say CC ‘aims’ to respond to emails within 24 hours. In practice, you do not. You don’t even come close. And that’s just unprofessional for any business.

Now, writers have complained about your editors since day one, and will continue to do so forever – that’s par for the course. Some writers just aren’t a ‘good fit’ for CC. But I think the level of frustration has become quite beyond what it was even a few months ago. I don’t know why this is, but it’s making it much harder for writers to write for your site now; it’s all becoming ridiculously too much. I haven’t had much trouble myself, but I do remember being so perplexed by what one editor was trying to convey about an article that it had a ‘last straw’ effect on my desire to continue contributing to the site. The editor feedback simply made no sense. I couldn't have fixed up the article if I wanted to. Writers don’t object to clear, concise, actionable editor feedback, but the inconsistencies among your editors have become glaring. Some might even use the word bizarre.

Writers are losing trust in CC to shoulder their side of the bargain properly, and are immensely frustrated by the ‘radio silence’ of email responses. They wish the pay for articles was going upward (or at least staying the same) instead of plummeting down, and can’t see any consistency in the current editor feedback process.

Your ‘point of difference’ as a writing site needs to be distinguished by an adherence to quality over quantity and a simple, straightforward, polite, helpful, professional editorial system that doesn’t frustrate, confuse and even scare writers. And if your current crop of requests nets writers 2-3 cents a word, how does this set you apart from common content mills? I think your problems in a nutshell are these: lower pay, abyssmal communication, more fluffy/esoteric/insultingly priced requests than ever before, editors who can’t be consistent, genuinely helpful or at times even basically polite, and a writing platform that seems to listen to its clients but not its writers.

I love the concept behind CC. I think it has the potential to be a great site. I’ve seen it work. But it’s slipping badly, Eric, and the people at CC seem to be oblivious to this. As you know, retaining your good, long-standing writers is more cost effective than ‘training up’ new ones. Your writers are increasingly disappointed – mainly because no one up there in Vancouver seems to be listening to them.

Eric, I want CC to succeed. I want you and everyone there to have a job they can be proud of. I want writers to feel that CC is a friendly, professional place that offers a genuine change from ‘content mill’ drudgery, pays them a reasonable amount, and doesn’t frustrate them beyond words with a close-to-broken editorial system.

In the past, I have written some very positive blog posts about ‘How to Succeed on CC’, and I still think the idea behind this platform is wonderful. It’s the current implementation that’s falling well short.
I would love to be able to recommend CC to new writers without reservation, and see them succeed on the site. But it’s getting harder to see the positives, Eric. Your site only succeeds if your writers succeed. But they’re losing faith in the CC brand, because it’s letting them down on too many different levels.

Cheers,
Kevin Casey
Judith
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Re: fairly priced spec vs. underpriced team: which is better

Post by Judith »

Kevin,

I rarely post on the forum, but I feel you have overlooked some very important elements of writing at CC.

Writers
Constant-Content does not determine article prices for writers. No writer is required to accept a low price for their articles, and the writer determines the article price for items in their catalog, There is no requirement to accept offers on your catalog articles. The choices the writers make determines the amount of money they make. No writer is required to submit to a public request if they feel it is priced to low. Buyers will learn to offer better payment if requests go unfilled.

Clients
Clients are allowed to make article requests and state what they are willing to pay. Complaining because the buyer doesn't offer a fair price is futile. CC does not control the offers made or require any writer to submit articles for low payment. If the price offered for an article is "insultingly low" writers can simply ignore it.

When the economy suffers, businesses cut back. Too many writers have sold their articles at $10.00 and even less just to make a sale. If any blame is to be placed for buyers seeking low priced articles, it should be on those who are willing to give their work away for pennies. When a client sees lots of article sales for $10, $12, and $15 for 500+ words, why should they not try to get a deal? If all writers priced their work by its actual value, there would not be so many complaints.
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