Is it easy to be a writer? The money factor and where Publish0x is right.

Is it easy to be a writer? The money factor and where Publish0x is right.

By ProngsDark | Alexandru Balan | 28 Jun 2020



There have been numerous articles that are aimed at teaching you how to be a writer, a publisher, a blogger on different platforms like Publish0x or Hive or Medium, etc. Most of those articles make very good points and give useful advice on how to start writing, how to find interesting subjects to write about and how to improve your writing style to make it easier to get your point across. There are, however, not as many people writing about the hard work they put in their articles, the hours spent researching a topic, writing about it, editing, and proofing their article. All this time adds up and at the end of the day, you realize that it's a much tougher job than some make it seem.

The work behind each article

I don't want to shatter your dreams by writing this piece, but I think that every aspiring publisher on this or other platforms, should know that in order to get successful you have to put some work in your writing, sometimes a lot more work than you think. Sometimes an author forgets how much he's working to get an article out, I see this with a lot of great people I follow. Their writing is amazing and, being an author myself, I can feel all the hours they spent creating a top-quality article and I'm thinking "They make it seem much easier than it is".

Some history about me

I know all this because I've been there. This isn't the first time I had a blog, I was writing reviews about Linux stuff in 2012 on Medium, I was one of the first people who joined. I've seen the rise and downfall of that platform as more and more paywalls were implemented. As I understand, some authors left because they were constantly investing more money in the platform than the platform offered back.

I've seen all these as a reader though. As a writer, I was done much earlier. There was no engagement on Medium in the beginning and my guess is there isn't much now as well if you're an unknown writer. I was receiving some "claps", but that felt just like social media. I wasn't receiving any feedback from readers and that killed all the magic for me. I write articles with the hope that I'm helping you somehow and to have conversations with you, to read your take on different topics. So, I reached a dead-end pretty fast. Years later I logged back in my Medium account and discovered I had 2 unread comments.

I also had other blogs, not about technology, but those died down even quicker. The reason was the same, no feedback. About two years ago I made a plan to start writing again, create a new blog. I ended up making three of them one after the other as they all failed to attract any attention.


The research work

Sometimes you can write articles on topics that you know with a high level of confidence. I call them, easy articles. They usually involve minimal research since you already know a lot about the topic.

Other articles that involve minimal research are those that express opinions, the ones that look just like this article you are reading right now. I'm doing little to no research writing this. Usually, this type of article takes a little less time to write.

However, you can't go on forever writing only about things you're familiar with. At some point, you'll experience burnout because unless you're covering the news, you'll eventually run out of stuff to write about if you don't learn anything new in the meantime a.k.a. doing research.

Taking a look at my articles, the practical ones take the most time to research. Articles like the one in which I present you some bits of code and teach you how to create things can take from a couple of hours to a couple of days, because I first need to code, debug and only then present you the final product. In the case of this particular article Create your own blog with Svelte and host it for free, I also had to learn how to use Svelte at a good enough level so I can create the whole project. It took 2 days to make the project and 5 to 7 hours to write the article.

The writing work

After getting your research in order and you feel like you're ready to write the article you'll often find out that it takes longer than planned. There are millions of ideas floating in your head that express the same thing and you have to pick one that's just right. Then in the middle of a half-page paragraph, you just forget what you wanted to say so you delete everything.

If you blogged before, then you might be familiar with the scenario above. If you want to maximize user retention then you're in an even bigger mess since you want your article to have the perfect size as most readers get bored after a couple of minutes. I know I get bored, it's hard to come up with engaging content. However I don't shy away from long articles, I don't feel like splitting articles just because it might get people bored. If a series makes sense, I'll do one, otherwise, everything is in one neat long article.

For those that are like me and don't speak English natively, you'll also find yourself spending more time in front of the keyboard trying to find your words, trying to make yourself sound more natural for the readers. Bad English is very offputting to a lot of people, so I tend to take my time when writing an article, reading my text, again and again, trying to figure out the best wording. No, just taking every Grammarly advice won't work!


Proofreading work

Well, with the aforementioned service, Grammarly, you might find some of the more obvious mistakes that you make and correct them, but I've seen it and other similar tools fail sometimes and overall they won't make your writing more appealing to the reader as they don't help you with your style.

More often than not, you'll have to read your article multiple times to make sure it's the best version possible.

Images and thumbnail

People often overlook this part of article writing, but having a high-quality thumbnail will help you with discoverability. People are more likely to click on your article if it has a nice thumbnail. 

Images in your articles are another very important part of writing articles. They help the readers remain engaged with your content and are an important visual aid to get your point across. They don't say that "a picture is worth a thousand words" for nothing, right? Curating the right pictures can take some time since you have to make sure that the owner of the picture allows you to use it for commercial purposes.

I usually create my own thumbnails with the help of Undraw and it takes 30 minutes on average.

You have to love it

If you read the little history part you might have guessed that blogging is a passion of mine and it's been for quite some time now. Maybe I've got this from my grandfather. He was a writer, he wrote fiction, but from time to time he'd publish short stories in a literary magazine. I remember liking those a lot when I was little. He would cut them out from the magazine and place them in a notebook where he kept them all, he wouldn't keep the whole magazine around forever. That was like blogging in a way, just that now you can write on-demand. You are not bound by the publishing timeline of a magazine or newspaper.

If you don't find joy in writing and you're aiming only for monetary gains you'll burn out eventually, just like a job that brings you no happiness. Writing articles becomes just another task on your to-do list, just another deadline pressuring you. You have to make sure that you understand the work behind writing and you have to love it all if you want to be in this for the long run. 


Publish0x is the perfect platform for writers

I can't remember how I first came across Publish0x, but I was very skeptical of it. I joined as a reader almost 5 months ago, when Hydro was still around and that Bounty0x thing I never got. Some of you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. Soon after joining the platform, I applied to be an author promising that I would write about Linux and here I am posting coding tutorials and rambling.

I've been writing constantly ever since and there wasn't an article, not even my first one when I had 0 followers, to which someone didn't provide feedback. I was able to have conversations with my readers only hours after posting my first article, that's when I knew Publish0x was going to be a whole different story.

The money factor

The "like" system doesn't work for most people when it comes to blogging. Working so much to get some likes and no comments is rightfully seen as a loss of time. But money is different. Most people that tip you won't comment on your posts, but somehow this form of feedback is more valuable to the writer than the simple like. Money is tangible, even if it's digital money, it's still there waiting to be withdrawn, it has potential. The like has no potential.

The money you can make from Publish0x is not much, so it's not the quantity that matters. My most tipped article just recently passed the $10 mark, but the one right before is still at $0.06. I've been more encouraged to write after the Kotlin article exploded, but I would have continued nonetheless because I was feeling that people were valuing my content. 

The money mixed with the people commenting on my every article keeps me going, making me want to become better at writing, finding new topics to bring in front of everybody.

Don't do this with only money in mind, it'll come on its own. Nowadays most of my articles easily get $1 or more and more than 1000 views. But you have to do this work because you like it. People have some sort of internal detector and they're able to tell if you're fake, if you're doing it just for the sake of money and they won't like it because it's not a lot of money in the first place. The money strategy thought out by the Publish0x team was pure genius and in my opinion, it did what it was supposed to do, incentivize the creators and the readers. It's not like you can quit your day job and be a full-time Publish0x creator, but when you come home tired and see that there are people out there finding value in your work and giving value back (not likes) you are motivated to create and not abandon this productive hobby for some cheap entertainment as I did.

Actually, strike that, forget what I said, if you're like @SkinnerCrypto you might get rich. But only with a lot of work, that man is the perfect example that working your ass off pays well.


In the end, what I want you to get from this article, if you want to be an author, acknowledge the work that you'll have to put in this hobby, ask yourself if you'd love doing this for a long time, and have a lot of fun. Enjoy the conversations, enjoy the tips, stay honest to yourself and your readers.

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Happily married to a wonderful woman. Linux enthusiast, software developer and hacker of all things.

Alexandru Balan
Alexandru Balan

An offtopic blog where I post things unrelated to Linux or Programming. Opinions, discoveries, life updates. Sometimes not family-friendly.

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