Last week I opened up about the realities of running a small entertainment website. This week, with all the cards on the table, I send out an open invitation to anyone who’s ever wanted to write about and find an audience for spooky subjects.
But, before anyone jumps in head-first, let’s make sure you’re not making a deal with the devil. I’ve dealt with this and so have many others, possibly you as well. The story goes like this:
“I can’t pay you anything right now, but I want you to start doing X for me, and my idea is so brilliant, you’ll one day be making tons of money!“
In other words, work for me for free for a slim chance in hell of one day maybe making some money. And to add insult to injury, they often act like they’re doing you a favor.
A little background on the evolution of HL. I created the site back in 2009, purely for fun, purely for the purpose of having a place where I could blog about Halloween and horror stuff. For the first 4 years, that’s all HL was, my personal blog. At that point, I was doing okay money-wise and had some extra income. I decided I wanted to bring on and pay other writers to liven up the place.
For the next 3 years, we had a blast and readership grew quite a bit. At no point was any of this ever about making money. I certainly tried to make money and continue to try, but that was only ever for the purpose of trying to help run the show. There was never really any strong belief that we’d ever make a profit and that brings us to today, where the likeliness of making money is bleaker than ever and I also don’t personally have any money that I can afford to pour into the project any longer either.
Unlike most fucking assholes out there who are trying to take advantage of your time and talent and sell you snake oil, I’ll tell you this: HL doesn’t make any money; HL will never make any money; you will never make any money writing for HL. Unless something drastic happens, those days are gone. I want nothing more than to pay writers to write for HL, and anyone who ever writes for HL or any publication for that matter, even those just starting out, deserve to get paid.
With all that out of the way, if you still want to write for HL, you always could have. But, honestly, I never understood why anyone would give away free content to other websites when they could just start their own and begin making a name for themselves, maybe even make a little money. It’s so easy and cheap to start your own website these days, truly, anyone can do it. If you’re flat broke, start on WordPress.com, which is completely free. Then, later on, if you have the time and money, you could always move your content over to a proper website.
You’re still here? You’re still interested in writing for HL for no pay? Listen, I’d love that in the sense that I think the next evolution of HL could be a community platform for anyone to write. That does sound cool to me. But, I can’t pretend that there’s nothing in it for me or that I’m doing you some big, altruistic favor. You writing on HL benefits me, the readers, and the brand as a whole.
But if you think there’s enough in it for you, if you want to write on HL for the joy of it or for practice or to promote yourself as a writer, or all of the above, awesome! You’re very welcome to join. As long as you’re promoting yourself, trying to gain readers, promote the shit out of yourself my friend.
PS: It turns out that HL is a great learning ground and stepping stone for new writers to hone their craft. A couple writers have even moved on to writing for Bloody Disgusting, who generally like to see an established portfolio first before they’ll hire you full-time. So, HL provides the perfect opportunity for writers to gain that experience.
Not a Good Fit
If you’re getting paid by a third-party for the specific purpose of promoting a link or promoting your own products for SEO/marketing reasons, this isn’t for you. See here instead. If you’re looking to just re-publish work you’ve already published elsewhere instead of creating original and unique content for the HL readers, this isn’t for you. See here instead.
How to Get Started
You don’t need to show me a portfolio of your writing or run potential headlines by me or any of that nonsense. Who the fuck am I? Everyone is welcome and so long as your writing is relevant enough to the theme of HL (Halloween, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, just plain weird), write whatever you like, however you like, whenever you like, and as frequently as you like. Find your voice.
Start by registering and submitting some guest posts. If you enjoy it and feel like you’re getting enough out of it, keep doing it. If you become a clear regular, I may bump up your account privileges to an official HL author, where you’ll be listed on the About page and have more direct access, capabilities, and the ability to publish and edit your writing freely anytime you like.
You don’t need my permission or invitation to get started. You were always welcome, you may just not have known it. But, if you’d feel better reaching out to me one-on-one first anyway, you can either email me or hop on community chat and DM me (username: @black).
But, again, like a broken record, only do this if you’re doing it for you. Write for yourself. Use HL as your platform. Then take the readers and run.
PS: If you’re liking my idea about you starting your own blog instead, I’m happy to share any recommendations and tips for getting started in that direction in the comments below.
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