Where can you publish your stories for free?
"Now that I am retired I have plenty of time and would like to write. But where to get them published is my dilemma", told a friend of mine. That set me to pen this article.
Senior citizens are honing their writing skills by contributing letters to the Editors of newspapers, their own blogs or messages posted in discussion groups. Apart from these there specialized Citizen Journalist (CJ) sites and websites where the budding writer may try his luck. Let us look into these resources in some detail now. We shall limit our discussion to sites of relevance to senior citizens only.
Why do you publish? You have some urge to share some information. You have a view point to offer and get others' opinion on the same. You need some recognition and appreciation about your writing skills. You love to create a set of regular readers for your contributions. You want to exhibit your writing skills, sense of humor, to show the world how well-read or well-informed you are etc.
The first option that will strike anyone is to create your own blog. Sign up for some blog space in Google, Rediff, Sify or similar sites. There are plenty of them. Create your own blog and add content of your own. But here the catch is to make readers come to visit your blog regularly. This is a difficult task to most of us and this is where we often fail. You just can not attract visitors!
Alternately you may join or subscribe to some Yahoo Group or Forum which is devoted to your interest. You can send messages or posts as often as you want. They may be of any length or multimedia too. Numbers of members, level of moderation, level of discussions etc determine whether you may continue in such a group. For instance, if you want to write about retired people the Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sss-global is excellent. They have 500+ members where every member is a retired employee and daily exchange of messages is about 35. Very active group rated 7th by Yahoo among some 1150 similar such groups catering to Elder's interests.
You can sign up as a citizen journalist in some CJ sites like: http://www.merinews.com/ http://www.cplash.com/ or http://content.msn.co.in/ The MSN site insists that the contribution is fresh and original – that it is sent for the first time only to MSN site and not reproduced (even if it is your own) from elsewhere. Merinews provides substantial high quality editorial help and screening / filtering. In Merinews value addition is made by adding suitable images. Cplash accepts whatever you write as it is – you need to take total responsibility for you publish. All CJ sites provide statistics about comments, hits (number of views), email alerts etc. They also mention latest blog posts under different headings n the home page. When a reader is reading a story, details of similar stories on the same topic or other stories by the same author are mentioned in Boxes. They also provide additional encouragement to contributors by forming CJ Club where networking becomes very effective.
Blog space is available in sites exclusively dealing with senior citizens activities also.
While most sites allow the entire content to be readable by everyone and restrict posting articles or comments only to registered users, verdurez is highly restrictive. Only members can read or post content, be it comments or blog posts or discussions in forums. Therefore, while trying to maintain a high level of quality of discussions and posts, they are limiting the exposure to the contributions to the minimum. This, in my view is a dis-incentive to blog posters.
As a simplistic way of comparison I published a short story entitled "Why not special quota for Senior Citizens in Trains?" in my own blog http://vyasa-kaaranam-ketkadey.blogspot.com/, and also it in cplash, merinews, sss-global discussion list, verdurez etc. I got sixteen comments in sss-global (distributed to more than 500 people), 45+ views & one comment in cplash, no info on views nor comments in Verdurez. Merinews generated within a day about 190 views and two comments.
I have not tried MSN or RREWA yet. You may try them and give your feedback.