I Got Paid for Writing on the Internet

What would the internet do if everyone stopped giving away their work for free?

What would the internet do if everyone stopped giving away their work for free?


A while back, I decided to stop writing for free.

There were a number of factors that drove this decision:

  • I started working, off and on, with a labor law attorney and began thinking seriously about the relationship between capital (most likely, your boss, or your boss’s boss) and labor (most likely, you) for the first time since I dated that Marxist in college. The Marxist’s name was Paul and he quoted The Communist Manifesto and also introduced me to free internet porn.
  • I’ve long been troubled by the fact that so many creative people (and porn sites! but, um, this doesn’t bother me as much) give their work away for free on the internet.
  • I’ve been giving my work away for free on Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please.
  • I left this comment on the post It’s Not Personal, It’s the (Writing) Business on Barb Taub’s blog, barbtaub.

I agree 1000% with what you’ve written here, and I always argue (in vain) with people that giving your work away free does not lead to anyone ever paying for it. But the stark reality is this: their work isn’t good enough for someone to pay for.

  • I knew suspected my work might be good enough for someone to pay for.

All these thoughts were rolling through my head on one of the days I wasn’t trolling the internet for free porn when I came across the pop culture site whatculture!  Whatculture.com features articles about television, movies, music, sport (it’s a British site, so they call it “sport” as though there were only one, and if there were only one, they would probably want to call it “football” instead of “soccer”) and professional wrestling.  I ignored the professional wrestling stuff when I saw the “Compose An Article & Get Paid” in the upper right corner of my screen.

So I did compose an article and get paid (you can read about the process whereby you, too, can compose an article and get paid here).

And this is the article I wrote: Game of Thrones: Ten Things to Do While Waiting for Season Four.

Monopoly money

I have not quite three of these jingling in my pocket!


That article wound up getting around 7,000 pageviews which resulted in a payment of £2.89, which is $4.81 in real money.

As you can tell by the grin on my face, I’m absolutely thrilled that 7,000 nerds on the internet clicked on something I wrote, and the $4.81 (I’ll have to search under the cushions of my sofa to make up the difference for a Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks) is absolutely the sweetest bit of coin I’ve ever earned.



But don’t worry.  I’m not going to start charging you for reading Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please.

Royalty free stock photos including the images in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.

9 thoughts on “I Got Paid for Writing on the Internet

  1. barbtaub says:

    Thanks for the shout-out. And CONGRATS for getting paid. My first royalty check was for $19.93. Or, as that economist I sleep with wistfully pointed out, less than 1/3 of my hourly rate at my (thank god former) gainful employment. I didn’t want to cash it because I was just so excited that (a few) people liked my book enough to actually pay (a little) for it. I thought I might frame it and hang it above my desk. Then I thought WTF and I so cashed that sucker and put it onto my Starbucks card. And every single sip of those lattes was like getting paid all over again.

    Because you’re right about your work being good enough to be paid for. That article is fantastic and hilarious and absolutely terrific.

    Now, about those free internet porn sites…


    • Karen says:

      Hey Barb, thanks for the kind words. I think we most be addicts if the first thing we thought when we got paid was “What can I buy with this at Starbucks?”


  2. barbtaub says:

    Reblogged this on Barb Taub and commented:
    First. You have got to read Karen’s hilarious article for WhatCulture.com, Game of Thrones: Ten Things to Do While Waiting for Season Four. Then head over to her blog and laugh yourself sick.


  3. rossmurray1 says:

    I know your tongue is in cheek. I also know the grin is real. Anything more than free connotes value. It’s motivating and validating and those are awesome feelings. Congratulations.


  4. Me says:

    The fact is, most people who have a blog try to also show ads, and so get some money out of it… Obviously, the rest of us is either too lazy or too dumb to put that in practice 😉
    Congrats for your first check. Your mission: double it! 🙂


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