How much is time worth? How much should we be willing to sell our time for? When faced with a choice, is it better to make not very much money doing something you love, or to have the grit and determination to hold out for a reasonable exchange of cash for talent?

I am an author. I write. I write mostly non-fiction, but I have also written fiction. I have over a dozen short stories published (in charity books, but still) and I have an unpolished novel sitting here on my computer.

Station Shorts by MWC writers where I have several short stories

I have blogs. I have Little Bits of History on the other side of this Word Press blog, and I have this. I have had other blogs in the past. Some of my writing is more inspired but it is readable, either way.

I also write an article once a week at Really Good Quotes. I started out writing my history pieces there and somehow got bumped up the page to writing the lead.

I’ve had a short story published at Short Story Library dot com. And I’ve had a true story published at Milspeak dot com.

I love to write. I am grateful that there are people who are willing to trade a few minutes of their precious time in order to read what I have written. I find it amazing, knowing how pressed for time we all are.

I have been writing for Examiner dot com for over a year. I faithfully put up one essay per day, never missing a single day for over a year. Even when on vacation, I managed to find internet connections allowing me to upload my articles. I have planned in advance so when I was going to be busy, I would also have content available, ready to post.

A friend from my writer’s forum suggested this to me. I gladly took the bait, thinking I would like to be paid. For while I do write for a variety of places, no one ever pays me.

When I started writing for them, Examiner was quite a bit smaller than they are now. One would think that as they grew in size and scale, things would improve. One would think that and one would be wrong.

When I first started writing, there were a number of ads on each page because that is how the internet works. Free content has to be paid for in some fashion. The ads are what pays for space in the lands of 1s and 0s. The ads have gotten steadily more annoying.

Most of us hate popup ads so much, we install special widgets to keep them from popping up or under. Because this is a known annoyance, one would think that companies who need people to choose their webpage over all the bazillions of other webpages out there would choose to not have popups. Again, you might think that, but you would be wrong.

Examiner loves popups. Every day, the first time you go to Examiner, you get a popup. Usually it is Netflix (which I just saw has a great reputation for customer service, so why they need to piss me off on a daily basis is beyond me).

Since this is a known irritant, Examiner went on to incorporate some other annoying ad things. Today, I got blaring music when I first opened the page. Some days, they have the horrible, nasty, loathsome thing that takes over your screen and grays it out while the ad forces you to … well, it forces me to shut the tab. I will not be bothered with these things. I leave the site rather than suffer someone hijacking my computer. So, of course, Examiner also uses that.

They want – no insist – I do all the marketing. They expect me to drive people to my page because I’m such a brilliant author, people will come from far and wide to be annoyed and put up with crap I personally hate. I tried to leave a comment about this at the Facebook fan page and they deleted it. If it isn’t fawning praise, it doesn’t stay.

All this was bad enough. I went to the website which has a forum for Examiners (those of us who write for Examiner). And I noticed something else. People were talking about page pays. When I started out, I got “about” a penny a hit. Actually, it was $0.98 per view. A while ago, the reporting page was redesigned. I can see how much I’m paid per day, but the figures are now below my screen unless I scroll. I have to admit, I don’t scroll.

Today, as I was complaining about the ever increasing annoyance of the ads, others were complaining about the ever decreased amount paid for page views. So, I scrolled. I see that yesterday I was paid the whopping sum of $0.612 per page view. This is so ridiculously low as to be breath-taking. It is also something not done in the rest of the business world. You don’t just lower people’s payrates without notification.

We aren’t supposed to air our dirty laundry in public because how would Examiner ever rope any unsuspecting dolts into writing for them if we actually knew how little they paid prior to getting the stars in our eyes.

I guess if I was able to drive thousands to my page, it would still be worth it. There is one guy who is a Fark person who gets his links greenlit there on a regular basis. Great if you can manage it, but that’s more marketing than I’m willing to do – and since I write about historical things, no one would care about it over at Fark.

So, I have to decide if it is degrading to write, to edit, to find copyright enabled pictures, appropriate video, and deal with their archaic publishing tools in order to make so little money. I believe I deserve better. I feel less used when I intentionally give my writing away for free. And I know my friends, who sometimes take the time to read what I’ve written, are far less annoyed since I do not take their computers hostage before permitting them to read my brilliant prose.