Niuzly offers you the chance to earn money directly from your writing. But is it worth the time for an established writing professional?
One of the interesting things about my line of work is that I learn a lot about different startups and companies related to writing. There are plenty of places to look if you want to find paying freelance work. Often, though, you need to apply for these jobs. The fact that you can start writing for a content farm and get paid up front, plus enjoy residual income in the form of payment for pageviews, is one of the reasons that many writers just starting out turn to these sites.
Now, though, there is a new site aimed at helping writers earn money with their work. At the same time, the site allows readers to find what they want to read, and read only what's interesting to them, for a small fee. The site is called Niuzly, and it's billed as the iTunes of newspapers and magazines.
Here's how it works:
As you can see, this might be valuable for readers looking to only pay for content they want. They can buy articles to save for later, give to someone else to read, or to read immediately. For readers, the nice thing is that reading the articles is fairly straightforward and easy — and very inexpensive.
But you're reading this blog because you're a freelance writer. You want to know whether or not you can make money contributing articles to Niuzly. This is where things become a little tricky.
Writing for Niuzly
The theory behind Niuzly is that you can write a high-quality article, set a price for it, and then receive 80 percent of the revenue from readers, plus 50 percent of the ad revenue. You can find out more about the process on Niuzly's web site. One of the things I like about the site right now is that it's invitation only. You need to send links to your work, and wait for an invite. Niuzly wants to start off as a place that high quality articles can be found. They aren't just taking anyone like a traditional content farm, and you don't have to underbid yourself like you would on a freelance marketplace.
However, the difficulty with writing for Niuzly is that you need to produce the article, publish it, and then promote it heavily and encourage people to buy it. You don't earn any money if no one buys the article. I published an article on financial stages of marriage on the site. Originally, I priced it at 20 cents to read, but I have since dropped the price to five cents. I've promoted it a little bit, but social media promotion has never been an interest of mine. Two people have bought it, and my revenue from the article stands at 32 cents. I've made 52 cents so far this month from a single affiliate-related sale on Amazon via my political rant blog. You know, the one that no one reads.
I can see the potential for Niuzly. First of all, journalists and other writers can submit whatever they want. If you are interested in a particular story or angle, you can write about it without the need to run it by an editor. Plus, it publishes when you are ready for it to publish — no waiting on editorial calendars or content decisions. If you are willing to promote your articles heavily, and you price them right, you could potentially make a tidy sum.
But this is where I have a problem as a working writer with an established clientele and high-paying gigs: It's a lot of work for a fairly poor return.
That article I've earned 32 cents on so far? I've done similar work and earned between $250 and $500, depending on the detail involved and the complexity of the topic, and primary sources and research used. And I didn't have to put in the effort to promote it. Even though I haven't spent a lot of time promoting the Niuzly article, I've put more into it than I do other writing — and it's returned much, much less.
As a career writer (a content companion), it's hard for me not to get paid. It's difficult to get excited about putting work into a high quality article and then having to promote it heavily in order to drum up returns. Here is a screen grab of my potential total revenue, based on my social media presence, for an article that I charge five cents for:
As you can see, if 10 percent of my followers in each network purchase my article, I have the potential to earn $84. Now, if I charge more for the article, like 10, 20, or 30 cents, then my earnings would be potentially higher — but only if people were willing to buy the article. I might only see five percent of my audience willing to buy an article if I charged 20 cents for it. It's like setting freelance rates, only you're fiddling with it to see what your audience is willing to pay to read your stuff, rather than trying to raise your rates on clients.
And even $84 is much lower than my current fee for the type of article produced for Niuzly. I have a hard time getting excited about writing like that when I can get three times as much — money in the bank — by writing something for one of my high-paying clients. It's very mercenary, but it's also my reality. I've got a kid to feed and a mortgage to pay. This is my career, my job. And my family relies on my income.
Where I see the real potential is if Niuzly can drum up the readers to make this work. If enough people beyond your networks are on Niuzly, perusing the offerings and perhaps hitting on your work, there are possibilities. You might be able to gain new followers as Niuzly expands, and that can be one way to further build out your portfolio and raise your visibility. I can see this working well for someone starting out, and looking to write — just write. However, for an established professional, it might be a little more effort than you are willing to put in.
I like the concept, and in theory it's a great idea, especially for readers looking for a place to find different spins on things. I also really like how easy it is for you to create a publication, an online magazine of your own. But, as a professional writer looking to get paid, I have a hard time making the commitment of time and effort when the results are likely to be slow in coming — and when I can accomplish much the same thing by pouring myself into my own web properties.