I’ve worked in online publishing for long enough to both appreciate its benefits and loathe its drawbacks. I’m grateful for it — it’s because of it that I can afford to eat and work on my own projects outside normal business hours. I’d recommend the industry to anyone who wants to be a writer.
But there is nothing about it that’s “easier” than more traditional methods like working for a newspaper or selling a book with the help of a literary agent. Self-publishing, freelance writing, and the like are so common now that the same problems arise on the internet — and some unique ones, too.
1. Sometimes it feels like if you don’t stay “relevant” on social media, no one will buy/read your stuff.
2. It often prioritizes quantity over quality.
3. You don’t have to be good at writing to make money writing … which isn’t always fair for people who are good at writing.
4. People without degrees sometimes miss out, and people with degrees sometimes feel like they wasted their time.
5. It creates the false belief that “anyone can do it” but doesn’t tell you how to do the work to make it happen.
6. Ads. Ads. So many ads. People hate ads, yet they don’t want to pay money to read an article.
7. There are a lot of people who don’t want to pay writers what they’re worth — or anything at all.
8. Readers also take free content for granted and aren’t readily willing to pay creators for their hard work.
9. So sometimes writers resort to cheap methods to get clicks (think “clickbait”).
10. It’s oversaturated. Everyone is trying to do the exact same thing you are at the exact same time.
11. And many writing jobs are given to those willing or able to work for less than the average U.S. minimum wage.
12. There aren’t online support groups for struggling writers … or are there? ;)
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.