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Helium Publishing shut-down FAQs

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NOTICE: The Helium Publishing 360 sites will be available on a read-only basis effective May 21, 2014 and will continue to be available on a read-only basis until December 15, 2014. During this period, if you have an existing Account, you will continue to have access to your Account and accrue potential Minimum Amount Threshold, but you will not be able to add more articles to the Helium Publishing 360 sites or create a new Account. If you have attained the Minimum Payout Threshold, which currently is set at $25.00, we strongly encourage you to withdraw your Minimum Amount Threshold because the Helium Publishing 360 sites will terminate on December 15, 2014 and you will no longer have access to your Account. 

 

Why are the Helium Publishing 360 sites shutting down?

Changing market conditions and the proliferation of competitive publishing outlets and free blogging tools, as well as declining usage and revenue, were all contributing factors. After careful consideration it was determined that the existing business model cannot be sustained.

 

What dates impact me?

 

May 21, 2014

  • the Helium Publishing 360 sites will become “read only” and no article changes or revisions will be possible
  • no new work can be completed or created in the Helium Network dashboard
  • new member registration for Helium Publishing 360 sites will cease

 

December 15, 2014

  • advertising revenue share will cease
  • you will no longer be able to access your Account
  • all 27 of the Helium Publishing 360 sites will shut down and your articles will not be available via the microsites
  • access to the Helium Network dashboard to retrieve your Helium Publishing articles, message others, and request payment will terminate

 

What if I do nothing?

You can choose to do nothing –e.g., not retrieve or remove your articles or request payment. Your articles will remain in read-only mode on the Helium Publishing 360 site(s) until December 15, 2014 and on that date advertising revenue will end.

 

Which Web browser should I use to access the Helium Network dashboard?

You MUST use one of these approved browsers:

  • Firefox (preferred)
  • Google Chrome
  • Internet Explorer (IE7 and IE8 are not supported)
  • Safari or Windows 8 are not supported

 

Who can I contact if I have questions?

You are welcome to address questions and concerns to help@heliumnetwork.com or on Helium’s discussion forums.

Articles

 

What happens to assignments that I accepted or any articles that are still in the workflow?

All in-process work (such as seeding topics, projects, writing, editing, fact checking or plagiarism checking articles) will cease on May 21, 2014. Note: Unfinished or in-process work will not be credited.

 

How long will I be able to log in to the Helium Network dashboard?

Access to the Helium Network dashboard will continue through December 15, 2014. You will only be able to download your own articles and view and request amounts accrued at or above the $25 Minimum Amount Threshold.

 

What will happen to my articles?

Your articles will remain accessible in the Helium Network dashboard through December 15, 2014. After that time your articles will no longer be searchable or viewable on the Helium Publishing 360 sites. We recommend that you make copies of your articles in the coming months.

 

Can I retrieve/download my articles?

Yes. Beginning May 21, you can retrieve any or all of your articles through the Helium Network dashboard by selecting your articles individually (not in bulk) via the Ranks, Rates and Views screen. Step-by-step instructions for downloading your articles can be found in Announcements and in the Helium discussion forum.

 

Are there any costs to retrieve/download my articles?

No.

 

Can I delete articles that I wrote?

Yes. Beginning May 21, you can select and remove your articles, individually (not in bulk) via the Ranks, Rates and Views screen. This action will only remove the article(s) from the public Helium Publishing 360 site(s). You will not accrue ad revenue credits for any removed articles. Step-by-step instructions for removing your articles can be found in Announcements and in the Helium discussion forum.

 

Can I still rate articles?

No. After May 21, 2014 you will no longer be able to rate articles.

 

If I already have rating stars on May 21, 2014 will they count toward my Minimum Amount Threshold?

Yes. Any rating stars you have as of May 21, 2014 will remain.

 

Who owns the copyright to my articles?

You own the copyright to your articles.

 

What about Helium’s exclusivity terms (“Grant of License”)?

Effective May 21, 2014, you are released from exclusivity and can republish your articles elsewhere.

Payments

 

Will I accrue credits for editing, fact checking or topic seeding assignments I accepted but was unable to complete?

No.

 

How can I claim my Minimum Amount Threshold?

You can view and request amounts at or over $25 in the same way you usually do. Your tax ID and a valid PayPal account are required to process and receive payment.

 

Is there a payment request cutoff date?

Yes. The Minimum Threshold Amounts must be requested by December 15, 2014. Note that all advertising revenue share ends on December 15, 2014.

 

I haven’t logged in to Helium in months is my Account gone?

No. You can still request payment if your Account has reached the Minimum Amount Threshold of $25.00.

 

What happens if my final payment is not processed properly?

Contact help@heliumnetwork.com if you have any problems with your final payment. Be sure to reference your email address (or PayPal email address, if appropriate), pen name, full name and amount of the final payment.

 

Community

Will the Helium discussion boards, blog and social media sites close down too?

The blog and discussion boards will remain open and accessible through 2014. Helium’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest sites will close down in mid May 2014.

 

How long will the Help Desk and the help@heliumnetwork.com email be available?

Help will be provided through 2014.

Ramona Taylor on getting your screenplay produced

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The challenge for every screenwriter is getting their work recognized and translated into some cinematic form. Tens of thousands of films are produced each year and at the heart of each of these cinematic works is a screenplay. Still, a majority of screenwriters struggle with getting their works produced. Many times the issue is not whether a story is good, but more whether the story can be made and by whom it will be made.

The screenwriter’s reality is that their screenplay is just words on a page until his or her writing becomes a produced film. Given the advent of DSLR cameras, growing numbers of film schools, and so many hungry actors, screenwriters are in the good position to have their works produced; however, because of these same factors, chances are that a screenwriter will have to create their own opportunities to get their work translated into a film. And knowing how to seize these reel opportunities may require a bit of work.

One of the first things a screenwriter needs to realize is that Hollywood is not the only spot that makes films. Each state has a hub of film activity. Once you locate that center of films for your area, check film hotlines and notices for opportunities for screenwriters.

Many film school students, business people, musicians, and independent directors seek out screenwriters to capture their ideas into a written form. This is one of the more popular, and expedient, ways for writers to get their work produced. Requests for everything from music video concepts, short films, educational videos and even features can be found through local film office sites, film job boards, and even Craigslist postings.

Another production avenue for screenwriters includes getting connected to a production group. There are a number of small to medium-sized independent production companies. And, these companies are always looking for their next big project. Some have clients who want to invest in films and others have budgets set aside for film projects. These companies will post on various local and national sites, such as mandy.com or International Screenwriters Association listings for writing jobs/gigs. These listings explain timeframes for the production of projects.

Still, writers have an additional way to get their work produced through some screenwriting contests. Sites such as MovieBytes often list contests that promise or provide film production as a prize. These contests include, but are not limited to, YouPix.org, Fresh Voices Original Screenplay Competition, and BIFF Screenplay to Production.

For those screenwriters who also want to be filmmakers, still, another production option is available. The screenwriter can actually film his or her own scripts, teleplays, and screenplays. Film festivals and television channels are filled of films and shows produced by screenwriters. Often, producing one’s own work, a writer can hire crew or rely on willing and devoted friends. In addition, an adequate camera and video editing software is all that is needed after that.

Regardless of the avenue, one of the greatest feelings for a screenwriter is to get their written work on television, computer or film screen. And, time from writing to finished film can be as quick as a few hours to several months.  With the possibility of having film students, independent directors, businesses and friends helping the writer, getting a screenplay produced has become easier through technology and writers are not prejudiced by living outside of California or not being directly connected to the larger film industry.

Ramona Taylor is a professional journalist and a produced screenwriter.

Video post: SEO 101

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This week, we have a very special guest blog post; we’ll be taking a virtual tour with Matt Regan on a beginner’s basics to SEO.

If you’re writing online, you’ve almost definitely heard of the term SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is the process of influencing where a certain web page comes up in search engine results. But knowing what SEO is and knowing how to use it to benefit your webpage are two very different things.

Let’s face it: When you search a topic online, you’re much more likely to click on one of the first several search results than you are to scour through the tens of hundreds of pages. But how exactly do those top results earn those rankings? Check out the video below to learn more!

 

 

 

Helpful links to learn more about SEO:

Google’s “How Search Works”

The Beginner’s Guide to SEO

What Is SEO?

Video created and hosted by Matt Regan.
Information by Trice Atkinson.

Doreen Martel on transitioning from a full-time job to freelance writing

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If you’re considering making a transition from a full-time job to freelancing, there are some things that you need to make sure you understand before you get started. Too often, people give up a secure position (albeit one they hate) and rush blindly into freelancing. This is especially true for freelance writers, as many feel there are unlimited opportunities available to them. While there are potentially hundreds of options to get started as a freelance writer, one of the major hurdles you will have to overcome is competition.

Competition from all parts of the globe

Many people think they are always competing with their peers. While you may compete at a local job with people who have exactly the same skills and potentially the same earnings goals you do, this is not true for freelancers. In fact, freelance writers in particular are going to compete with people with similar skills, lesser skills and those who have better skills. Experience will also be a factor as some freelance writers will have completed a host of writing courses, English courses and journalism courses. However, this competition and the varying degrees of experience should not discourage you from your goal.

Making the right moves at the right time

Before you consider leaving your current job and beginning as a freelance writer, there are some things you will need to do to get started. Many of these can be done without interfering with your current employment. They include:

  • Set up social media profiles.  As a freelance writer, you will have to learn a great deal of marketing fairly quickly. This means you have to have something to market. Begin by setting up great profiles at various social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. To set them up use these basic guidelines:

LinkedIn – Set up your profile using a professional picture and write up an introduction using second or third person. This should be your primary “go to” profile for professional contacts.
Twitter – Use Twitter to promote your online portfolio and your work that will be earning revenue share.
Facebook – Set up a Facebook page that includes a link to your LinkedIn profile, your blog and your portfolio.

  • Develop a portfolio. Clients and potential clients are not simply going to drop out of the sky and hire you just because you post profiles. Set up a profile by partnering with sites that offer revenue share such as Helium. Follow all writing guidelines and focus on topics that you feel will best reflect your abilities as a writer. Keep in mind there is a long-term benefit associated with this as well, since you can earn revenue share indefinitely.
  • Start a blog. You probably figure if you are working on developing a portfolio that setting up a blog simply means more free writing. To some degree, this is true, but there are hundreds of advertising programs where you can earn money on your blog as well. Take advantage of these programs when you create your blog.
  • Use your social media accounts. Once your portfolio is ready and your blog is set up, begin promoting your work on your social media accounts. Keep in mind that your goal is to attract clients; make sure your work is error-free and that you are not simply promoting for the sake of promoting.

Patience is often more than a virtue

Perhaps the one thing that you will have to become accustomed to is waiting. You will send proposals and wait. You will send links to potential clients and wait. You may bid on writing assignment on a freelance site and wait. Unfortunately, this is simply the nature of freelance writing.

Prepare for the unexpected

There are many things you should keep in mind when you decide to transition to freelance. Don’t forget to consider:

  • You pay your own taxes. If you make more than $600 you will get a 1099 form but for amounts less than that you have to keep track
  • You no longer have easy access to insurance. Take this into consideration when you decide to leave your job.
  • There are no guarantees; freelancing is taking a risk. Earnings are not guaranteed from day to day, week to week, month to month or even year to year. Be prepared for dry spells!
  • Daycare may still be needed. If you are a young parent considering saving money on daycare expenses, you may find you cannot write with a toddler running around all day. This may mean you are still spending money on daycare.

Whether you are writing because you love to write or you are simply looking for a way out of a job you hate, freelancing can be a great option. It is important to keep in mind that freelancing means you are suddenly a business owner with all the responsibilities that go along with it. Freelancing can offer great rewards, but it also involves a substantial amount of risk. Make sure you know what you are getting into and make sure you are fully prepared to get started.

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Doreen Martel manages Helium’s Jobs & Careers channel. You can find out more about Doreen by visiting her Helium profile, her blog, Freelancing and More, or her Google + page.

 

Helium Writing Highlights 4/18/2013

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It’s that time of week again– time for us to feature some fabulous Helium writers and to exhibit some of their strongest pieces. Check them out! If you know someone who deserves to be featured in Helium’s weekly writing highlights, email social media associate Emily Royalty at emily.d.royalty@rrd.com.

Title: How “Togather” helps first time authors publicize themselves

Author: Penne Cole

Channel: Marketing & Selling Writing

“Togather helps first time authors publish and promote themselves because anyone, from first time self-published authors to established heavyweights, can sign up and create an event. As long as there is enough interest, your event is a go. Helpfully, the site tells authors exactly how many books to bring to an event. This is especially useful for self-published authors as the prints are, in a sense, pre-paid.

While the site sounds promising, it does have a few drawbacks. For one, users must have a valid American zip code so the site is restricted to the U.S. For another, crowdfunding models depend heavily on network effects, meaning that the more users, both authors and readers, sign up, the better it will perform. Because the site is still in beta mode, there are few users, and even fewer events. However, the news isn’t all bad; Mashable states that Togather was one of the finalists at the SXSW Accelerator and the Huge Labs, an incubator attached to digital agency Huge, is investing in the company.”

 

Title: How writers replenish their souls

Author: M. J. Joachim

Channel: Thoughts on Writing

“It can be said that true writers are abstract thinkers.  They are the artists of the literary world, and they see things in ways that most people will never fully understand.  Verbally, many of them are challenged.  For it is only when they sit at their keyboards, after some enticing adventure, that they will clearly be able to reveal the tantalizing sensations taking place in their hearts.

Then, through their works, you will see colors that never existed before, and cannot be adequately described in polite and pleasant conversation.  For it is through adventure, solitude, and marveling at creation unveiling itself around them, that writers are able to inhale the essence of all that is and ever will be.  These are the things writers thrive on never knowing when the opportunity presented, will become the word that needs to be expressed for all to read.”

 

Title: How to upgrade the RAM on your computer

Author: Greg Schwartz

Channel: Computer Maintenance

“Now that you know how much RAM your computer currently has, it’s time to find out the maximum amount of RAM the processor can handle. There are several programs online that can tell you this information, or you can visit your PC manufacturer’s website and find the specifications for your computer. An easy way to find out this information is to go to Crucial.com, a company that sells RAM (among other things). From their website you can run a free memory scanner, which will tell you how much memory your computer currently has (this number should match the number you found) and how much more RAM you can install. For most computers, it will show how much of a jump in performance you should expect by maxing out the RAM. The program will also tell you what KIND of RAM you need, which is handy information to have.

In the old days of PC computers, RAM came in a wide variety of flavors. You had EDO RAM, FPO RAM, registered RAM, parity RAM, and a whole host of other technologies. Nowadays, most PCs running some version of Windows use DDR SDRAM (or DDR2 SDRAM), and typically the only variations are in size and speed. RAM speed is usually expressed as a number preceded by “PC,” such as PC2700 or PC5300. Your computer has a minimum speed of RAM that it can run effectively; anything faster will work fine, it will just be run at the lower speed.”

Title: Getting started with investing

Author: John McDevitt

Channel: Investing Basics

“Sign up with your employer sponsored retirement plan. You may not be thinking of retirement now, but money invested early in your career will compound into some pretty impressive figures by the time you are ready for retirement. You can save on taxes at the same time. Always a good idea when investing.

Once your high interest debts are cleared, you have a cash reserve and you’ve begun saving for retirement, you can turn your attention to additional investments. Mutual funds are a good place to get started. Look for the highly rated funds. Check the Morningstar ratings and pick from the four or five star funds. When you’re just starting out you can afford more risk (and the promise of higher rewards) than when you’re closing in on retirement when asset preservation is most important. Choose a fund that matches your goals. With so many good ones out there, a nice match is easy enough to find.”

 

Title: Best places to visit in London

Author: Peggy Tee

Channel: United Kingdom Destinations

“London is a maze of old, wriggling streets and crooked corners; it is a sprawling city filled with long histories and grand buildings. This is what attracts the hordes of tourists that stream in every year. They snap pictures of Buckingham Palace, wander along the river Thames, throng the British Museum and the National Gallery, check off their Top Ten Attractions lists.

But what about the hidden places of London? These are to be found in narrow alleyways and down cellar steps into low lit bars – virtually impossible to discover if you are a first time visitor. The city is a grand old dame and she does not give up her secrets easily.”