Thursday, January 22, 2009


I just submitted my first article to the Web site Suite101. I was only recently accepted to be a contributing author to the site. It has so far the looked to be one of the most promising I've encountered on the Web. Because the popularity of the article determines the amount authors are paid, there's no telling how much I'll actually make on this. My profile for this site can be viewed here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Textbroker tries to break my spirit

I once again experimented with an online word market and came away just as crushed as the last time. This time the Web site was called Textbroker and what a cruel mistress it was.
Textbroker is your marketplace for unique and exclusive written texts, created in accordance with customer specifications.
Before I could sign up to use their service I had to write an entry of at least 120 words. A list of five topics was given. I chose to write an "objective description of a country" of my choice. Here's what I wrote:
With no standing army to speak of, the Principality of Liechtenstein is a relatively defenseless country that covers slightly less land than Cleveland, Ohio. It is only one of two countries in the world, with Uzbekistan being the other, that is doubly landlocked. Though it is considered a micro state, it falls behind Vatican City, Monaco and San Marino in the race for smallest European country. With no significant natural resources to speak of, Liechtensteiners have followed the example set by British Territory the Cayman Islands and reformed their chilly country into a tax shelter. With their motto "For God, Prince and Fatherland" written in the official language of German, the country remains well-rooted in it's heritage stemming from "Der Vaterland."
When I checked my E-mail this morning I saw that my entry had been accepted. When I signed into my account I saw the following message:

Your current classification is 3 stars.
Good writers are evaluated with an average of 3 stars. Excellent writers receive an average of 4 stars. Only professional writers receive the maximum of 5 stars.
Nothing but love, I tell ya.
"But I'm ALREADY a professional writer," I said to the computer. "Who are you to judge me?"
The screen looked back at me in silence.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's hard out there...

I've been doing everything I can to get work and get my name out there since I decided to do this freelance thing for real. One thing I should have braced myself for was the onslaught of frightening writing opportunities available on the internet. I know that the Web is the next step (or to be more accurate the current step as well) in where my profession is going. As a result, I want to get the most out of this new medium.
This is how I found the Web site Scriptlance.
The idea behind this network is that people who need work on this site post a project and then let people bid on it. The problem with this is the fact that some people will always bid the absolute bare minimum of $10 for any project their give. And when I say any, I really mean it.

For example, here's one one such ad:
****1.00$ Per Article RE-write*******
***** Must be Able To Re write 10 min Per day****
- Articles must be rewritten perfectly in a new manner that doesn't looks like original and able to pass copyscape.
- articles to be rewritten will be provided by me.
- 400 to 450 words per articles.

The lowest bidder, who had a username with a lot of consonants in it, promised to only charge only $10 for the whole project, but that he would have it done immediately. Here's his/her short sales pitch:
"Sir, I am fresher here but i have the proficiency in doing your work perfectly as per you choice. i hope you may try me."

For something like three days I received an e-mail that compiled a list of about a dozen new entries every morning that looked almost identical to the scene described above. I decided that weeping in the fetal position after reading these dirt cheap assignments wasn't going to be thing to push my writing to next level, so I scrapped it. Onwards.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Welcome to the "This Burgess" blog.

Hello. My name is Rob Burgess. My blog, "This Burgess" will be a chronicling of my freelance writing career. Scary economic signs as of late in my current field have spurred my development of this venture. My goal is to be self-sufficient on freelance writing alone as soon as possible.

If you're wondering what the title of this blog is all about, the following is an entry on my work blog from about a year ago that should clear things up:

Ever since I started my career as a journalist I've receiving hate mail and I've always been supremely disappointed by the quality.
To my delight, I got the best piece of hate mail I've ever gotten on Monday. It was in response to my column on the HBO show "In Treatment.":

Ukiah, CA

You actually pay this Burgess to write this?

What I absolutely love about this is the phrase "this Burgess". It's like he's saying there's someone else that works here with the same last name that is doing excellent work, but I'm the black sheep sullying the Burgess name.