I have been researching self-publishing platforms, and also browsing one 'cut-above-the-others' site that isn't self-publishing in the classic sense. About.com. I spend lot of time on the internet, and long ago reached the conclusion that About.com is more credible than, say, Ehow. There is a reason. Freelancing for About.com is a job, and there is a stringent application process. The process is a bit like a reality show... Every week, they vote someone else off the island.
Actually, you apply to be a guide in some particular area of expertise -- one that is currently on the block and accepting applications. About.com selects some potentially qualified applicants and guides them in setting up a pseudo-site; over a period of weeks, all the selected applicants write their assigned articles and blog posts. At the end of that training-and-trial period, About.com selects the best site.
I've had mixed feelings about even applying at this juncture in my life. About.com writers make a fair size upfront commitment. For me, it's not just a matter of not wanting to put too much on my writer's plate. There are some situations in my life that make me feel fragile -- and, as I hinted in a previous post, my monotropic mind refuses to see career as a true motivator. I do take all forms of commitment seriously, though, and give a lot of thought to contingencies before I engage in commitment-making.
One of the 'expertise areas' in which applicants are currently sought: Seattle/Tacoma... A bit of temptation, that! Hmm, not sure if I'll send a writing sample and application, or continue to concentrate my 'offsite' writing at Squidoo, a site I do indeed like, that I give to as I see fit... If one wants their Squidoo webpages to rise in the ranks, it's not just a matter of content, or even giving links to friends or posting them on blogs. One can also choose to be active on the Squidoo site itself: visiting other people's webpages to leave comments, announcing their own new pages on the forums. It's something I have yet to do. I do see that a 'Squidoo Fairy' has visited one of my lenses -- one of the three that I set up has moved out of the unranked category. Five little stars twinkle out.