TOS for Pay to Publish

Edited by Martha Jette

Feb. 19, 2014

Regarding: Conversation between Kevin Leland and Mark Lovelace, when Mark suggested contributing some money towards getting the stories published, and mentioned that some others may be willing as well.

Hi Mark!

Yes I do have a Paypal account! Would you be willing to invest in this project? I do not want to seem like I am panhandling. However, investing just a little could mean a lot to the future of BCG and Sea Stories.

I apologize for the long winded response here but I want to be accurate about expectations before I accept money from you or anyone else. Feel free to pass this message along to anyone else you know who might be interested. With your permission, only when you think it is a good idea, I will publish this to go with the original manifesto.

I think this is a really good investment… otherwise, I would not have spent money already to put my name on it. There are other ‘instant gratification’ options but I chose this instead and have already put many hours of my time into it. I can also understand how this could be viewed as a ‘weird’ investment. Let me explain, and this will be a kind of  ‘prospectus’ so we have a mutual understanding before you and I, or anyone else who is willing, trades money, labor and invest in this endeavor.

The reason I spend 15 hours a day glued to my laptop working on publishing content is because that time is worth, on average, $20 to $40 per hour. Worth it? Definitely! I have been at it for six years now and have invested thousands of hours. But there is a caveat that explains why, if I earn $20 to $40 per hour, working 15 hours per day – do I still qualify for food stamps!

Much of that time was wasted when I first started, because I got wrapped up in a content production ‘Ponzi scheme.’ The owner of (now took advantage of me and about seven other original contributors that helped him launch his site, which became very successful. He then cut us all out of it. I mention this only because I learned some hard lessons from this. Those lessons now guide me and in turn, anyone else who is willing to get into the content production business with us to ensure that they do not waste time, effort and money.

I would like to note another scam that I am careful to prevent. Online ‘work at home’ content producers are known for working just about for free for others. They are a talented, hard working bunch but many have no idea what harm they cause the industry and even themselves when they work for $2 per hour (thinking ‘something is better than nothing’ and ‘a bird in the hand, etc…’ ). On top of that, these people acquire no ‘dibs’ on future revenue that the content they produce generates.

It is against the principles by which we run our co-op website, Bangari Content Gallery, to pay anyone chump-change especially if, as often is the case, we receive quality work in return that we make a greater profit from. It is also important for us to ensure that each author is credited for his or her work with an appropriate byline. Note the ‘Freelancer’s Union’ logo in our right column.

I realize that my picture comes up next to a lot of  ‘Sea Stories’ written by someone else. (I am working to fix that problem) This only happens because I publish them. It is necessary to work about three hours for each author to make sure their name and profile picture comes up with their story. This only needs to be done once, and also requires the help of the author. However, once it is done, it will work for everything that author publishes online, even if it is published on another site. It will also correct for the articles already published.

It must be noted that even if people start dropping money into my Paypal account to have their rough drafts edited and published, I in turn must pay out that money to ‘work-at-home’ editors (or accept some for my own editing work). And I do not attempt to get the most bang for our buck. I refuse to pay anyone (or work for myself) less than a living wage for this effort and talent. A living wage is $15 per hour. I believe this, along with a national labor movement that I support.

However, that wage is for able-bodied individuals working outside the home who have to keep up a vehicle, gas, license, etc. for their commute. For work-at-home labor, I find that $10 per hour is a fair living wage, as many of these folks are retired, physically disabled or are at home caring of children and do not have to pay out those kinds of expenses. They are usually able to enjoy a more flexible work schedule as well.

So now for the ‘rubs’ to investing money, time and effort into content production:

1) A piece of content amounts to $30 in currency (or 2 to 3 hours of labor) and will in fact, usually return that initial investment, plus more! However, it comes back at about $1 per month for 30 plus months.

a) Some content like ‘cheat codes’ on new video games or exposѐs on new Internet scams make their money back quickly and sometimes ‘virally.’ However, when a trend ends, these types of content get ‘zero’ traffic, forever after.

b) Our ‘Sea Stories’ content and most of the articles we publish at BCG have an infinite shelf life. In fact, this is the best content we have ever published on BCG for numerous reasons. Like no other content we have published, these articles gets that ‘flash in the pan’ wave of traffic in the neighborhood of 1,000+ views when first published, as long as they are also promoted properly. Then they typically receive five to 10 views per day afterward. I expect that like other ‘long shelf-life’ content that I have published, as it ‘seasons,’ those daily pageviews will double or quadruple after a year or two.

c) There is no formula to it really. If there was, there would be many millionaires in this business. Even so, there are some fairly steady odds on whether a piece of content could go viral. If it does, it means the article would get millions of views in just a few weeks. Unfortunately, this only happens to one out of thousands of pieces of ‘qualified’ content. However, when it does – at the $1 to $1.50 per 1,000 views we offer the author – it can mean $2,000 to $5,000 for that person!

d) We edit, add images, tag, categorize, publish and promote all content on BCG in a way that it is at least ‘qualified’ to go viral. There is some content that goes viral that is NOT monetized. That is the equivalent of giving away a winning scratch ticket! We make sure you do not give away your potential earnings/winnings.

2) That ‘rate of return’ can vary quite a lot and depends on how it is ‘monetized.’ This is accomplished by advertising on the website where it is published. Advertising is another very ‘flukey’ practice in content publishing. It is also complicated, because there are many ways to do it. Too much advertising and you scare away your audience. Too little and you turn away not only the audience but also contributors, because the site does not look professional or successful, as you give up revenue you could have had. Not all advertising is annoying. Some is useful, and some even entertaining.

Based on $1 per 1,000 views: Content on BCG (and other user content generated websites) usually averages 100 hits per day for the first 10 days ($1). Then the hits usually drop to about five to 10 per day for the rest of the year ($1.50 to $3). Then they tend to jump to 20 views per day for the second year ($7.50). After that, they either peter out, hold steady or even double or triple in daily views in the following years.

How they are linked and promoted makes it or breaks it for the long term, as does good or bad luck. But as you can see from real-life examples, there is a chance you could lose 2/3rds of your investment if it peters out after a year. It is still more likely that you will break even in about three years. After that, it’s all profit! Maybe nothing to retire on but with 30 articles out there, each earning around $15 per year, that’s $500 a year. More money than you make watching TV!

3) Anyone who contributes to the Sea Stories on Bangari Content Gallery will be set up with:

a) an editing folder on Google Drive.

b) an author title on BCG.

c) an author profile page on BCG.

d) access to analytics on the entire site.

e) access to all content.

When I am not editing, publishing or writing and promoting my own Sea Stories content, or other content for the web, I am definitely not slacking off! I must spend time on all of the maintenance and tracking, as well as setting up the tracking and accounting systems. I also spend time registering and setting up the contributors so they all get what I outlined above in a-e. As well, I have to set aside time toward advertising and promotion. Phew!

So I want to thank you, Mark, for offering some money that will allow me to acquire more help so we can all get our stories published sooner rather than later and start to enjoy the results without a long wait.

4) This is a list of jobs and tasks descriptions with an (accurate as I can be) explanation of the cost /value of this work.

a) Contributor: This is everyone who contributes a rough draft, ready for editing and publishing, and then posts and promotes the finished product.  *It should take about 30 minutes to construct a (500 word) rough draft and work with the editor to finish it. ($5)

b) Publisher: (that’s me, Kevin) BCG is and always has been a co-op. Just because I am the only publisher right now, it does not mean that I exclusively own the web site. It also does not mean that I exclusively own the content published on this site. It belongs to everyone who contributes to it. Decisions about how we operate, and share revenue and benefits are made democratically. Martha Jette, one of the BCG co-op originals, and myself, do a lot of work on ‘Sea Stories’ (and for BCG) for which we do not charge money.  We do that in trade for an ‘advertising stake’ in Bangari Content Gallery. She promotes her published books. I promote (although I am not ready to post the ad yet) ‘Lobsta Mobsta,’ my seafood/catering business. We are always adjusting the value of that ‘advertising,’ as the amount of traffic that comes to the site directly affects it. I manage advertising, accounting and membership to the co-op. There can be more publishers in the future handling different sections.

c) Chief Editor: (That’s Martha and sometimes me.) We take rough drafts (even from each other) and fix punctuation, grammar, syntax, and sometimes, especially for stories with low word count, conduct research to create an interesting and well thought out article. We also add images and tags, etc., and prepare the content to ‘go live.’ Martha is a published author with several books available and is always willing to advise first-time author’s, who wish to publish a print and/or digital book. We both also offer ‘writing and grammar’ tips free of charge…and sometimes, in exchange for insults! However, it is part of the work an editor does, while working closely with the story-tellers.

‘Story telling’ and ‘writing’ are, of course, two different things. Many of the ‘Sea Story’ tellers are great at telling these stories but need some light to heavy editing. That is what makes this idea so original! I do not know of any other site that has this kind of collaboration happening. I am very excited about it! The only drawback is that we can quickly bottleneck because it can take up to two hours to turn a story from a rough draft to a published piece. Then the accounting and administration work comes afterwards. So Mark, your offer, especially if others chip in too, will unstop the jam and get us on a nice publishing flow.

**It should take about 30 minutes to edit a rough draft, assuming that the editor has more than one paragraph to work with, which would mean time added for research and writing fresh copy.

***It should take about 30 minutes to add images, links, categorize and make ready to go live. More when those images need to be constructed.

d) Assistant Editor: This person copies the rough drafts and images off the Group sites and places them in a folder with the appropriate author’s name. They also prepare the content for editing, including doing a preliminary edit. As well, Assistant Editors correspond with contributors to ensure they have the files shared, and answer editor questions. They also ‘QA’ published stories to make sure all of the links work properly. Lastly, they input the status of the content, populating the spreadsheet that tracks the process, including page views and payments.

**It takes about 2 minutes per rough-draft story to copy off of the Group site, and create and share docs and folders.

***It takes about 3 minutes per piece to enter it into the tracking spreadsheet.

****It takes about 3 minutes to ‘QA’ the published stories, and make a report to the Chief Editor with regard to problems.

*****Misc. correspondence and preliminary editing help is probably an average of 5 minutes per piece of content.

This shows that about 1.25 hours goes into a piece of content to take it from a rough draft posted on the Group page, and then get it published and ready to be shared – and earn income.

All of this information in a nutshell means that for $12.50 per story, we are able to get your rough draft published –and on it’s way to earning you  $1.50 per 1,000 page views. This detailed data is based on about six years in the business and is accurate to the best of my knowledge (as it stands now and bearing in mind that things can change quickly and often in this industry). You can then do your own math to decide how to proceed in getting your stories published.

We will still edit and publish some rough drafts without charging the contributors, because we get some benefit from publishing, such as promoting our own business. However, if we can inject a little more money into this, we can get a good momentum going, which is bound to have a positive overall effect on Bangari Content Gallery and Sea Stories.

Do not forget that even though this message is ‘all about the money,’ our ultimate goal is to publish our personal history that isn’t in the history books, for posterity and our own enjoyment. We hope to promote the ‘at sea’ lifestyle for future generations of ‘Sea Story’ tellers, and have some fun doing it, even as we earn a little money for our efforts.


SEA STORIES FINISHED 2014-01-20_1240Sea Stories Manifesto January 24, 2014 Here are all the details you need if you would like to contribute to our brand new and fast growing community of “Old Salts.” We are telling tales of adventure and fun sailing the … Continue reading →


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