I made the mistake of putting several of my articles up on a Free Ezine Article site. The idea was that other websites would use my work (and my bio) and then link back to our site.
I also made the mistake of Google Alerting myself if anyone used my work. I could discover this through the keywords Amy Allen Clark, MomAdvice, Mom Advice, or Amy Clark.
This is what I have discovered through making these two mistakes:
Mistake #1- Letting Others Use Your Work
This first mistake was a biggie- letting other sites use my work. Now if the sites were comparable to my site or were even slightly decent, then I would not have a problem with my article being posted there. The unfortunate thing though is that these sites that used my work suck- and I mean, suck. I went on this really awful cult-like site and found my, “Decorating On a Shoestring Budget” article. This made me so sad because the site was actually called, “How to Tell A Great Story.” Now I am not saying that this article is not great, but come ON! Do you actually think that my greatest story ever told was how to decorate your house? Then, the more depressing part was that it looked like I had submitted that article to them because they had a link that said, “Tell Your Greatest Story Ever Told.” Not only are they using my article, but now they are making it look like the only stories that I have to share are on how candles create the right mood in every room.
The other part to the mistake is when someone uses your work and then doesn’t give you credit for your work. You can imagine how thrilled I am when someone uses my work (the whole purpose being to get someone to come on our website) and then doesn’t include my bio.
Mistake #2- Google Alerting
I don’t know if you know this or not, but the internet is actually not anonymous. When people write things like, “Your writing sucks,” I am going to find out. I am going to find out and then I am going to type your name, city, and state into Switchboard.com and then I am going to print out a little map that says exactly where you are (I will have trouble locating you, please read past blogs for more info), and then I am going to tell you that YOU suck and not me. No one actually wrote that my writing sucked, but someone did get my blood boiling.
You see, I wrote this lovely little article that was called, “Happy Mother’s Day.” The article was all about saluting other mothers and all that they do. I thought it was quite touching and received good feedback from it and it was in a magazine publication (not worth mentioning, but heck it was in print!) This site used this article and then had a little place for people to leave their comments. Do you think that I remembered the comments where people said that it made them cry, that they were so touched by what I had to say, or begged for more of these types of articles…..no. I remembered this old lady who wrote something like this…
“This is a nice article, but I have to wonder what a mother of only one child who is only a year old could be offering any advice on. If you want advice, I can give advice on motherhood because I have bounced babies on my pregnant belly and am now raising my grandchild.
I do like her ideas though and I think I will use that one for my son. Thank you so much for sharing your work. If anyone woud like advice though you can email me at email@example.com.”
Wow, so she criticized my work, told me that I didn’t know anything because I only had one child, and then told me she would use my ideas. Really, it was quite touching!
Yes, I saw all of the nice things people had wrote, but that one comment stuck out in my mind. It stuck out in my mind because…
1. Sharing your work is personal. It is hard to share your life and your writing with other people. You open yourself up for a lot of criticism, I realize this, but sometimes it is hard to hear that your writing is not that great.
2. I have found that writers are the meanest people to each other. I mean that in all honesty. I went on a writer’s board, hoping to get some ideas, and I saw that this poor woman had posted on their message board and got a spanking from every writer on there. She asked about getting published and instead of sharing some invaluable information with a novice writer, they went into criticizing her post. Her commas were in the wrong place, she didn’t use the correct preposition, her spelling was a disgrace….how was she EVER going to get published if she couldn’t even write a correct sentence. I quickly logged off and became a lurker on the board- I even feared that my login name was incorrect and I obsessed that I had not capitalized my name just so I could post.
3. I do only have one child and he is only two- so I’m not a mom? Am I missing that star-quality that would define me as a mother. I thought if I stayed up all night with a crying baby, wiped his behind every single day, and rocked him to sleep at night that maybe, just maybe, I might be called a mom.
4. Don’t get me started on the one child thing because that REALLY burns me up, given our current circumstances.
I have now asked Google to only email me positive feedback. Comments on how my hair was perfectly highlighted in my author photo, that my writing is delightful, that my wit blows people’s minds….this type of thing will be sent to my inbox. Things about how many children I have, how I am not a mom, and how I am too young to offer advice on frugal living…this will be automatically moved to my Spam file.
I guess what I am trying to say is, the internet is not anonymous. There is a writer on the other end of this blog- thankyouverymuch.! And she is a mom and she offers advice. I do not offer advice on how to parent your child (read past posts if you need a glimpse into why this is), but on living on a budget, organzing, and working at home….just a few of the topics that I think I am qualified in writing on.
I am now looking for firstname.lastname@example.org- she better be ready for a non-momma’s wrath….