Does anyone have any experience writing for
September 28, 2010 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any experience writing for

A little background - I'm a voracious reader and I stumbled upon an application to write a book column for It wouldn't be my main source of income but I wouldn't be opposed to someday book reviewing being my main job. I just don't know about in general.

Does anyone have any experience or advice?
posted by AngryLlama to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I personally hate Examiner. com, and many other writers I know feel the same way. I feel that they take advantage of writers, and don't pay very well, and don't give very much exposure.

However, that said, there are instances where people have been able to use it to make a niche for themselves, just like everything else on the internet. I know the SF baseball Examiner, for example, is fully accredited media and can sit in the press box for A's and Giants games and has some respect from other media. In NY, the baseball Examiner is laughed at and has zero credibility and has no accreditation.

I didn't even know the Examiner had a book review column. I would be curious how many writers knew that, and how they felt about it. I am reasonably sure it ranks below some established book review blogs.

If you want to write about books, I would start my own site and sell ads on it. You then control everything about the experience, and keep all of the ad revenue.

I wouldn't give my work to
posted by micawber at 1:06 PM on September 28, 2010 [5 favorites]

I wouldn't give my work to

And for what they and most other content mills pay, that's what you do: GIVE your work to them. Avoid.
posted by scratch at 1:18 PM on September 28, 2010

I just favorited micawber's answer - I completely agree.

You might be interested in this thread on MediaBistro. It starts as a job posting from Examiner, but then a number of people post about their (mostly negative) experiences and opinions. If you search over there, there are more threads about Examiner and other content mills, all of which pretty much come to the same conclusion.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 1:27 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I looked into them when I ran across a job posting. What everyone else says.

At the time I crunched the numbers and figured it was better to get a HubPages account. At the risk of sounding like a shill (I'm not, I promise) you're still only earning a share of the ad revenue, but at least you retain full control and ownership of your content.
posted by ErikaB at 2:03 PM on September 28, 2010

They only give you a little money (pennies if you do an average amount of writing), but if you have the right kind of personality and also go into it casually/don't mind that they will own everything you write, I think it can be positive. You will need to make your own credibility: just having the name "Examiner" behind you won't do it. For the right person, it can be a vehicle.

It could also be helpful if you want a space to write and some accountability.

I signed up for an account last year and then stopped after realizing that I could be writing the same kinds of articles on my blog. However, I haven't written those kinds of articles on my blog -- hence the value of accountability. I also left because I couldn't stand the interface for publishing, but they have done a lot of work on it since, to judge by the numbers of emails I receive. They also have a surprisingly professional and attentive staff working behind the scenes; I was put in contact with both area and topic-specific editors.
posted by ramenopres at 2:19 PM on September 28, 2010

I did it for a little while. You won't make money, so if you are looking for income, look elsewhere. The only way that I got to the point to earn a payout was by recommending someone else who signed up as an Examiner. You get $50 for referrals, if they pan out.

I think it can be helpful for topics that aren't covered well in mainstream media (I wrote about the local roller derby scene, until we got a real sportswriter to take the beat), but in general, you'd probably be better off just starting a blog.

Also, there's little to no screening process. If you can write a complete sentence, you're in. Thus, it's not really much of a resume-builder, because this aspect is pretty common knowledge.
posted by Fuego at 4:06 PM on September 28, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your feedback, I won't be writing for the after hearing all these bad responses.
posted by AngryLlama at 6:54 AM on September 29, 2010

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