Monday, June 30, 2008

Deflated

In my never-ending quest to find new writing opportunities, I signed up with Helium. In their own words, "Helium is home to thousands of writers who share their expert knowledge, insight and point of view on virtually any topic." I signed up because they have a page where magazines place "ads" for articles they want written on a variety of topics. Up until late last week, I've never seen anything on the list that I felt knowledgeable enough to write about.

On Friday, I found an ad for an "experience" article, and decided to submit. The parameters (write 200-250 words about the best intern experience you ever had in the media/entertainment industries) were somewhat vague, but I had an internship at Ohio Magazine in college, and that seemed to me to fit the bill.

A few hours later, I went back to the site and saw that my article was ranked first out of 2. Then I was first out of 5. Then fifth out of 19 . . . every time I looked the ranking was different. Curious, I went to their help section to learn about their rating system.

Turns out that the rating is done by other Helium members, not by the publishers (the rank does determine whether or not a publisher will look at your article, though). It also turns out that not all of the members who rated my article felt that magazine publishing falls within the media/entertainment industries, so I don't feel too bad about finishing tenth out of 21 and seeing that big red "Unpurchased" next to my article.

I'm curious if any other freelancers who might stumble across this post have used Helium before, and what their thoughts on the site might be. Anyone care to comment?

1 comment:

Lisa R. said...

I have not tried Helium yet, but I've been curious about it and was glad to find your post.

On the surface it sounds unlikely one would earn money this way, but with so many things changing in the media landscape now, I wouldn't discount it until I hear a bunch more people's experiences.

Then too one has to wonder, if other Helium users (presumably writers or at least intelligent folks) do not consider a magazine to be part of the media industry....

Sounds as if you still have at least the bones of a future piece about your internship experience - maybe for a venue targeted at college students.

Good luck.