Writing for Online Communal Publishers

If you’re just getting started as a writer and want to get your feet wet with minimal cost, communal publishing can be the answer.

This is the first in a series of detail articles which look more closely at the various means of publishing your work as a writer. The kick-off article gave a long list of these methods with a brief overview of each.  Starting with this article we take a peek at the chapter in Writing for Profit or Pleasure: Where to Publish Your Work that covers each topic in great detail.

What is a Communal On-Line Publisher?

post-it notes, communal

Most communal online publishers operate like enormous blogs with thousands of users.  Non-members can read the articles and search by topic or author.  Most offer writers a free account and encourage you to write often.  The best of these offer community support through discussion forums where writers share tips and review one anothers’ work.  Some also offer writing contests.  Some of these even offer cash prizes, though most are for bragging rights; but bragging rights are good too! 

Using Communal Publishers for Self Promotion

One benefit of publishing your articles on a good communal site is that they get a lot of attention from search engines and your work will probably get indexed more quickly than if you wrote solely on your own blog.  Especially a brand new blog.

All of those listed below allow you to set up a personal profile page to tell your readers about yourself.  From this page most will allow you to link to personal blogs or web sites.  In this way, you can shunt traffic from these well indexed sites to your blog.  My personal experience has shown this to be ineffective in getting human readers, but search engines will find your new blog faster.

Most will allow links from your articles to outside articles, but prefer that these be resource links, not shameless self promotion, especially with Google’s new rules designed to penalize anything they consider to be an “article farm” used by the SEO gang to influence Google’s page ranking.

Communal Publishing and Blogging For Bucks

One common ploy to build traffic to your cash cow blog is to write one really good, complete article and post it on your blog, then write a series of shorter articles on the same topic, or one aspect of your topic, and post these articles on communal sites, linking them to your blog article as an outside resource.  But you must be careful not to duplicate the content.  The best communal sites have standards for post length and/or quality.  Very short posts or poorly written posts – stuffed with keywords – will be flagged for revision or removal if they are accepted at all.

Do this for each article you write and you build a snowflake structure of links leading back to your main blog.  Do it incorrectly and you will get your blog banned by Google for link abuse.

There are a few communal publishers that have no standards and are often used for this networking, back-linking purpose.  I have not listed those here as they are used more by those who push the envelope of blogging for bucks than those who are serious writers.

Communal Publishing and Serious Writers

If you are writing with an eye to becoming established as a writer, you can use communal on-line publishers to help get your name out there, but focus on those with strict quality standards.  Listing communities that allow anyone to post (most) anything on your ‘resume’ will not impress potential employers – in fact I have been turned down for work because I used some of the “open to anyone” publishers.

If you are a talented writer, having your work where the public will find it may catch the eye of a publisher and lead them back to you; probably not, but maybe.  In Hollywood, aspiring actresses work as waitress’ in coffee shops with the same hopes of catching a producer’s eye.  This is the same thing.

Communal Publishers and Writing for Pleasure

These sites are very good for fledgling writers who seek an audience and validation (ego stroking) and especially for those who are writing for pleasure.  Comments on your articles will rarely be of any critical or instructional value, but mutual admiration often flows freely and can be very encouraging.

There is no cost involved in writing for these communities and you don’t have to set up or maintain a blog; just write your articles and answer your fan mail (comments).  Of course, being ‘communal’, using it effectively means you are expected to be an active part of the community; investing some time and energy into conversation, reciprocation and participation.

Communal Publishers and Niche Bloggers

If you are a niche blogger but also want to write articles about things that don’t fit into your niche blog, publishing these off-topic articles on a communal site is a great alternative.  This helps to get your name “out there”, links from your profile page can speed search engine awareness of your blog, and may bring in some new readers.  And some extra pocket change.

Please note:

Writing for Profit or Pleasure: Where to Sell Your Work - book image1) In order to claim your share of AdSense advertising revenues you must have your own Google AdSense account.  This income is paid to you by Google not by the publisher – once you have met their criteria and if you don’t break their rules.

2) Unless otherwise noted, all of these publishers allow the author to retain ownership and copyright of their work.  Most expect exclusive use of your article, but should you choose to repurpose it, this is possible – although a little complicated in some cases.

Chapter 2 of my book; Writing for Profit or Pleasure; Where to Publish Your Work covers this topic and provides a list of the better on-line communities as well as listing their advantages and disadvantages.


2 thoughts on “Writing for Online Communal Publishers”

  1. I could have sworn that someone asked you this befroe, but I couldn’t find it in your tagged section so I’ll ask now– My question is in regards to finding and getting an agent. Generally what does one do to find an agent, get their attention and then figure out whether they’re reputable/come from a reputable organization or not. What is the difference between a reputable agent and a disreputable one? (I ask this because I’ve seen people mention “reputable agents” constantly, but it never comes with an explanation of what that means, really.) What is their purpose, anyway, asides from bringing your books to the publishers? Do they help at all with the content of your books, or is that strictly the job of the editor? Are they supposed to be a sort of… level 1 filter/editor that a writer needs to bypass befroe going near a publisher– sort of like a beta reader in the fanfic world?

    1. Hi Fabio! Technically an agent is your promotional guy, a gateway to the big name publishing houses. Some modern day agents have been taking on the role of editor as well, and will tackle the task of getting you set up with e-book publication if s/he feels that’s right for you.

      As to reputable: there are a lot of wolves in the field: those who claim to be an established agent and or editor but are in truth startups with little experience and few contacts. Check out my TOOLBOX page and note the SCAM BUSTERS listings and the Agent / Editor listings. If you have friends who are published authors, ask them who they use and if they’re happy with their choice. Go to writer’s guild meetings in your area and ask their advice. My book, Writing for Profit or Pleasure… (available from the BOOKS page) goes into great detail about how to find, evaluate and approach an agent.

      I hope that helps!

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