"Master Dayton" might be humorous, (I mean if Ph.Ds are called "Doctors," shouldn't MFAs be called "Masters?") but in all seriousness I have made a living freelance writing and after several years I have tons of information I want to share to help out my fellow writers, regardless of age, experience, goals, situation, or background. This blog isn't pretty-but it will help if real freelance writing information is what you want.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How I Turn Demand Studios Rejections Into Passive Cash

Rejected Demand Studios Articles Can Make a Mint if You Know What You're Doing

One of the most important aspects of creating a successful freelance writing career is knowing how to get the most out of your articles, and knowing how to ride through the rough spots. I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a fan of writing for Demand Studios as a way of supplementing a writing income, especially for beginners, part-timers, or college students. Even if you're not particularly skilled at typing or researching, you should be able to write at least one article an hour, which translates to $15 an hour at a minimum. If you're very good at quick research, typing, and writing to format, there's no reason you can't make a lot more. When I'm really distracted I make about $22.50 an hour. When I'm not distracted, I make $30-$40 an hour. If you're other option is unemployment, or if you're a college student saving up an emergency fund, that's not bad scratch.

But I'm not a sunshine pumper, either. I try to be as honest as I can about what a freelance writing career is like, and to give the pros and cons of various freelance writing resources that are available online. Because of that, I'll also fully admit that Demand Studios can be a complete and total pain in the ass. And by "can be" I mean "eventually will be." You can count on that just like death and taxes.

Normally revision requests from the copy editors are reasonable, and early on it's a little bit more of a headache as you learn the guidelines and nuances of each form. But sometimes there are just completely off the wall or unreasonable requests from the CE that make it abundantly clear that the article is no longer worth your time. For me, this falls into the 8%-11% range, depending on the month. That includes articles rejected after revision (>1% in my case) or articles where I abandon the rewrite because it's either impossible or not worth my time (7% all time, about 12% in recent months).

To give you an idea of what my overall stats for Demand Studios are:

Approved No Rewrites: 74%
Approved Rewrites: 18%
Abandoned Rewrites: 7%
Rejected Articles: 1%

And that's from over 700, almost 800, articles so it's a pretty solid base of comparison. So the question comes up, what do I do with the abandoned rewrites? I hate wasting time and research, and 65 articles adds up to quite a bit of writing and research that I'm not getting paid for. Rejected articles the text stays there for you to copy, but abandoned rewrites disappear, so make sure to copy and paste your text into a notepad or word file so you don't lose it. There are a few strategies you can use when dealing with an abandoned rewrite or rejected article:

  1. Throw a hissy fit, refuse to work anymore, and not make any money (not recommended).
  2. Just move on with life and forget about it (fully acceptable, but still wastes that time and effort you made on those articles)
  3. Use Demand Studios' keyword research on the article and take your information to your own blog, InfoBarel, Xomba, Squidoo lens, or HubPage. (CHA-CHING!)
The ONLY obligation you have as a writer based on the Demand Studios contract is to NOT use the EXACT title of the article. That's it. All that information and research belongs to you, so if you want the most out of your article rejections at Demand Studios, look at it as a chance to build up your passive income.

We can sit here and argue about how effective Demand Studios really is in finding profitable markets and doing keyword research and all that jazz, but the point is that DS is willing to pay $15 or more for these articles because they believe there is money to be made. So if they're not willing to pay you for your work, then you mine as well profit from it yourself!

Some recent examples for me:

Speargun Regulations becomes Speargun Fishing Regulations
Russian Restaurants Near Worchester, MA becomes Worchester MA Russian Restaurants
Flathead Catfish Fishing Tips becomes Flathead Catfish Tips or Tips for Flathead Catfish Fishing or Fishing Tips for Flathead Catfish

See the difference? This is all legal based on the agreement - just change the title of your article or HubPage to use the same keyword but a different order. Then you can expand on your article without having to worry about all the really annoying restrictions that DS puts on the articles and how sources have to be cited, and you can use that blog of the guy who has been a professional fill-in-the-blank for 20+ years as a source that you couldn't use for DS because it's a blog, and therefore unreliable as a source.

So write for Demand Studios, and make a lot of money doing it, but when a rejection comes along or you think a rewrite request just (for whatever reason, and there are many) just doesn't work, go over to HubPages, open an account if you don't already have one, and put your articles up there. Throw on some Amazon and eBay modules that can earn you affiliate commissions, add your AdSense code, and enjoy the extra passive income you can earn from all of these sources. If you don't want to put up a whole HubPage around a subject, consider editing the text to make a good InfoBarrel or Xomba article. Each of these still gives you the opportunity to make some AdSense income from your work, which is far better than just throwing that time away.

Personally, I make a HubPage out of most of these articles, as I find the topics are ones that a HubPage can rank well for, especially when I double the text, add some links, and set up a good hub around the topic. In fact, it's almost a guarantee that you will outrank whatever article they eventually approve on the topic, even if you do an absolute minimum of backlink and SEO work. This is why I don't let unreasonable rewrite requests from Demand Studios get me down anymore. If I receive one (especially when it's obvious I know 100x more on the topic than the CE calling me out), I simply go to HubPages, create a new hub, and then gather some basic backlinks later on when I'm working on building my passive income.

Some of those hubs have made a little bit of income for me, several have made nothing. And one or two have done very well and consistently bring in per month about the same amount that DS offered me upfront for those articles. Just like with any online venture, some work really well while others bomb completely. But at least this way my words don't disappear into oblivion and all that work goes unpaid. It's making the most out of a given situation, and even better in my case it means that 10% of my freelance writing time ends up becoming passive income work that will keep working for me long after the initial pages are up.

So for those of you writing for Demand Studios because you need the money, and who are frustrated by the rejections or the rewrite requests that are too ludicrous or time consuming to even consider, then build up your passive income. If you haven't been building any passive income before now (bad writer - hit yourself on the head with a newspaper), this is the perfect time to open an account on HubPages, get approved for Amazon affiliate, eBay affiliate, and Google AdSense, and start building passive income. Even if this wasn't your original intention, if you write 50 DS articles a week and abandon even 5% of the articles (way less than I abandon, btw, and I make what amounts to a full time living from DS) then after 50 weeks of writing over the year you would have 150 HubPages earning passive income for you. It doesn't take long for just a little bit of backlink work to turn that into an avalanche of passive income.

So that's my advice for you guys today. It's a great way to write for Demand Studios for freelance writing income now, for building passive income for the future, and to set yourself up in a way that the occasional rejection or really unreasonable rewrite request won't get you down - but can actually end up exciting you as it gives you yet another 300+ word head start on your next passive income page.

So keep writing, guys, and as always I look forward to hearing from you! Keep following the dream.


  1. This is great information. I should look into writing for Demand Studios since I didn't realize that they would pay $15 per article.

  2. Hey Kidgas,

    Not a problem. Glad you liked this freelance writing article - it's definitely one of my favorite strategies. Make sure you have really good writing samples when applying to DS, and while the copy editors can definitely be a pain in the butt sometimes, in my opinion the potential for making money and finding keywords you would never think of in a million years definitely makes Demand Studios a winner at this point. Thanks for the comment, and good luck with the app!

  3. Great article and strategy for building up passive income almost automatically. DS will reject some of your work for stupid reasons, which allows to to build a large passive income stream on autopilot with the rejections. I've recommended something similar with articles that sell on Constant Content for usage rights.

    I recommended this post (linked through my name)

  4. Hi Jade Dragon,

    I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that it took me 40+ abandoned rewrites before the obvious (this strategy) hit me, but sure enough it's amazing how often a HubPage by itself, or with only one or two links, will completely outrank everything else competing for the same keyword. Even if it's just $1-5 a month per new hub, that adds up quickly when you have 90 abandoned rewrites or rejections in a year. For those of us who have to balance freelance writing and passive income, this is a great way to kill two birds with one stone, since it's nearly impossible to get all the work done you want when doing both separate. That is a great article on your blog. I was about to do a CC update coming up, so I'll definitely include some links out your way.


  5. My issue with DS is 1) I can't cut my research/reference time down to under 30 minutes 2) It takes me 1-2 hours to write a title 3) I abandon about 20% of my titles because I can't make them fit the DS model (nearly always because of the perverse title structure). Moreover, I am so exhausted by this I have yet to do more than 2 a day, and take many days off entirely.

    This is after a 34 year career as a professional technical writer, too.

  6. Hi Mike,

    Sorry you're having these problems. Have you read "The 4 Hour Work Week?" There are some great bits of advice and information on how to re-train yourself to be very efficient at getting the bare bones done, which is what I suggest a DS article should be: bare bones and templated. As long as you have high speed Internet, there's no reason research should ever be more than 5 to 10 minutes. Internet writing is completely different from technical writing or other forms - you have to re-train yourself to but down the absolute bare bones, write quickly, and then just move on. Beyond that, I'm not sure what to tell you. I have no issue at all doing 2 $15 an hour, usually with 10-15 minutes to spare and know writers who do even more. If you can't do the speed writing, then DS is going to be a bad deal.

  7. I can sympathize with Mike as I'm in the same boat. I have MS and it takes me a bit longer to research, type and [sometimes] think. However, I found a way around that issue. I search out two or three similar titles from DS.

    Then I spend time on a Sunday evening seeking out 2-4 references from sources that DS has not blacklisted. That's the biggest stumbling block. The blacklist gets longer every time I consult it. However, whatever I find I use for information across the several titles I found.

    I find textbroker does not take as long because their requirements are for shorter articles. With a higher ranking, a writer could do more than 1 article in an hour. I am constantly amazed at writers - such as yourself - can turn out more than 1 DS $15 article in an hour!


  8. Yep, I'm in the same boat with DS - I have a journalism degree and average about 2 hours per article. I'm always amazed at the people who say they make $45/hour. How in the world can you do that?!? Just copying and pasting the text to submit an article takes 5 minutes per. I think the people making that kind of money on DS must have knowledge in a specific niche. I don't, therefore extensive research is usually required for each article. I'm still working on it, though, and slowly getting faster.

  9. I write for DS and I can't imagine writing less than 3-4 articles in 1 full hour of work. I always choose easier articles on subjects I am familiar with, however. I type pretty quickly, but not as fast as most professionals. Most of the articles I choose require no research or very little.