On some forums the other day there was a broo-haha about it being impossible to make money by writing for Demand Studios. Since DS is one of my go-to sites in-between bigger jobs, of course I disagreed. I was told that my posts helped several new writers, so I'll post them here.
On using your real name instead of a pen name:
I have been with DS since 2007 and my name has been on all of my articles. I have yet to see an article where your byline isn't used. I use my real name because I often get choice assignments that I want my real name on.
Like a while back I did two articles for Real Beauty online, which is a Hearst publication. Hearst is the publisher of huge magazines such as Redbook and Marie Clare. I also do a lot of work for Modern Mom, which are good clips that have helped me to get work.
To get choice work keep an eye on the Special Assignments section of the forums and apply for anything that strikes your fancy. Typically, they choose writers that have a lot of experience in the area and have a history of producing quality work. Once you get in good with them they will offer you special assignments that aren't offered on the Special Assignment forum. These assignments pay MUCH more than the regular DS articles.
On using Demand Studios articles as clips and dealing with "those crazy copy editors:
DS is fine for your portfolio as long as you don't use DS sites like eHow. If you use their clients it's all good. Also, just a note, you don't have to use every site you write for on your portfolio. Pick and choose the plums. I have been a freelance writer for more than 11 years and make enough to take care of my family, since my husband is currently unemployed. I have never had a client tell me, "Hey, I googled your name and found out you worked for Demand Studios. I'm not going to be able to use you." In fact, I have gotten several jobs because of work that people have seen on eHow and other DS sites.
To use DS you really need to understand how to streamline your process. For example, don't wade through the titles. Type in keywords for subjects you like to write about. For example, I like to type in "art," "drawing," "watercolor," "photograph"...you get the idea. Only type in one keyword at a time, scan over the results, choose your articles, rinse, repeat. I do this for about 10 min. a day and I stay well supplied with articles.
Another tip: When you get a rewrite, consider if it will take you longer than five min. to correct. If it will or if you don't understand the directions, let the sucker expire and post it on Suite or eHow. Don't waste time with contacting the Help Desk or visiting the forum. It's not worth the aggravation or time. Just let rewrites roll right off your back and chalk it up to a new CE that doesn't know what they're doing.
If you (you is general, I'm not singling anyone out) want to be a writer, your going to have learn to deal with editors that make you want to scream. It's part of the business and you're not going to be able to escape them no matter where you write or how much money you write for. I used to get butt hurt about every little thing my print editor said, then I realized hey, I have two options. I can ignore what they say and move on, make the changes and make money. Boom. I like money. I don't take it personally. I don't let it bother me.