A Friendly Chat with Kerryg


Kerryg on HubPages

HubPages boasts a wealth of stellar writers, and kerryg is one of them.  Active in the forums, innovative in her methodology, and responsible for a steady stream of well-written, interesting, diverse, and profitable hubs, kerryg has been one of my role models as I enter the community as a wide-eyed newbie.

Because kerryg is successful on so many points at HubPages, I hoped she would share some of her insights with us on the blog.  Thankfully, she agreed!  Check out our exchange below- perhaps you’ll be inspired to try out new topics, write your own hubography, or just be more patient as you work toward your first payout!

1. You write on an impressively wide range of topics. Do you do research when writing a hub, or are you already an expert in all these things?

Some of both. I have a pretty wide range of interests, so I tend to start off with at least some good general knowledge about most of the topics I write about. I might have to do some research to fill in the gaps or find some useful factoids to share, but that’s about it.

Other topics I don’t know much about and have to do a lot of research for. Many of those are things I’ve been learning about anyway for my own purposes and figure once I’ve done all that work, I may as well write a hub about it!

2. You’ve given more detailed information about your background, areas of expertise, and previous Hubs in your “hubography” to which you link from your profile page. I think that’s a fabulous thing to do, since it frees up space on your profile, thus making it easier to see your most recent hubs and the like. What gave you the idea to do it?

Actually, I got the idea from Squidoo. A bunch of lensmasters were creating special lenses for themselves that they called “lensographies.” I made myself a lensography, and liked the idea so much I decided to do the same at HubPages! Back when I first created my “hubography”, I only had about 20 hubs, so it was easy. Now I’ve got nearly 300, so I’ve ended up creating several more for the topics I write about most frequently, just to keep things a little more organized and manageable.

3. You mention in your hubography that you also have accounts with Squidoo and eHow- how do those sites compare with HubPages? Do you write different sorts of pieces for different sites?

Squidoo was actually the first online writing site I joined, so I still have a soft spot for it, but I’ve found that HubPages suits my style of writing better. Squidoo has so many cool modules, but 95% of the time, the only ones I end up using are the basic text, photo, video, rss, ebay, and amazon anyway, and I like the design of those capsules on HubPages better. These days I mostly use Squidoo for topics with a lot of multimedia, because the Squidoo photo and video modules do display multiple photos and videos a bit more efficiently than HubPages.

I know a few people who do really well on eHow and I experimented a bit with it last year, but discovered pretty quickly that the format didn’t suit me as well as HubPages. I haven’t even bothered to maintain my status there now that it’s been taken over by Demand Studios.

4. Some people join HubPages looking for revenue (via the affiliate programs), others come for recreation (via writing, the community, etc.). It seems difficult to strike a balance between these two things. How do you address the revenue vs. recreation issue?

It’s definitely an issue that’s caused some soul-searching over the years! When it comes down to it, I do regard writing for HubPages as a job, so earning revenue is important to me, but I’ve always enjoyed the recreational and community aspects of HubPages as well, and I think that it’s important to strike a balance between the two. Of course, different people find their own balance in different places!

In my own case, I’ve made occasional attempts to write more blatantly commercial hubs, but I’ve found that I burn out very quickly doing that and work best writing a mix of hubs that are intended to make money and hubs that are just for the fun of it. That way, when one of the “fun” hubs makes money, I can regard it as a nice bonus. 🙂

5. You publish high quality hubs very consistently- and yet you’re also a mother, online content writer, and part-time research assistant. How do you manage it all! Do you have a special block of time regularly set aside for writing?

Not really. I think one of the biggest advantages of writing for HubPages and similar sites is the flexibility. On days and weeks when I have a lot of outside commitments, I can set hub writing aside for awhile to focus on other things without having to worry about losing the income. On days when I have time and inspiration, I can whip up two or three good hubs to make up for lost time. I’m fortunate to be a fairly fast writer once my research is done and I’ve figured out what I want to say and how I want to say it.

6. What tips might you have for new Hubbers? Or for Hubbers in general?

When I’m in a hurry and impatient with my three year old, she looks me in the eye and says, “Mommy, patience is a virtue.” It’s what I tell her when she’s impatient!

We get so many new hubbers in the forums who have dived in full of enthusiasm and then look at their earnings after a week or a month and think, “Ten cents! That’s all?” Building up a decent income here on HubPages is absolutely possible, but it takes steady effort over months or even years. If you need money NOW, it’s not the best option, unless you already have a lot of experience writing for the web.

On the other hand, if you love writing anyway, HubPages is a great place to hang around while you’re building up your stream of income or simply finding your audience, if money isn’t your goal. There are all sorts of interesting people hanging around with knowledge and opinions about pretty much everything under the sun, and I’m regularly amazed at the sheer talent of some of the writers here. Reading hubs has made me laugh, cry, and everything in between, and I’ve learned all sorts of cool stuff, from how to shimmy like a belly dancer to how to make my own corned beef!

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To learn more about kerryg, check out her hubography.

To keep tabs on her hubbing, follow her!

Thanks kerryg!

Introducing the Map Capsule

The Map CapsuleExciting news!  Today, a new capsule has been added to the HubTool: the map capsule!  The map capsule will allow you to embed a map (or multiple maps) into your Hubs.  On your map, you can mark and describe multiple locations of interest.

The capsule itself has some really amazing features.  For example, you can choose how your map is initially presented to readers- either in map, terrain, or satellite form.  Readers can then switch settings up when visiting your Hub.  Viewers can also (depending on the location) can click to view your location in Google Street View, meaning that they can walk along the very streets that you describe in your Hub.  What’s more, readers can expand a drop-down set of directions to your listed locations via bicycle, walking, or driving.  Pretty nifty, no?

All sorts of Hubs can benefit from an added map capsule thanks to its versatility.  You can, for example…

  • Map out historical routes for past marches and wars
  • Design the perfect vacation route though a foreign country
  • Map bird migrations
  • Plot out an excellent hike
  • Direct readers to your favorite childhood hangouts
  • Map pub crawls
  • Map out excellent hotels
  • Design a lovely city tour
  • Cover a the best restaurants in your local neighborhood
  • Create a map of great resources for your kids
  • Augment your HubTrails creations

Honestly, the options for using it are endless!

To learn how to use the map capsule and all of its lovely features, visit the Learning Center and read our guide.  Then, take the capsule for a spin!  You can go back and improve your old Hubs by adding this capsule, and perhaps this new feature has inspired you to write something entirely new.

One final note: The map capsule was created by the brilliant Fawntia, who has utilized both her brilliance and endless patience (when dealing with our endless questions and development feedback) to create this fabulous tool.  Fawntia, in my opinion, deserves a ginormous round of applause- and once you start playing with the map capsule, I’m sure you’ll agree!

The “Dark & Stormy Night” Is Over

The first ever “Dark & Stormy Night” contest on HubPages is over, and we have a grand winner!  Congratulations to Teresa McGurk, who wowed us with this awesomely bad gem of sweet, sweet literary torture:

  • Years later—four, or maybe five, if not six or seven, but really, now that she thought about it carefully, no more than nine, or nine and a half, anyway—she would remember that day (however many years previously) as being the first (or if not the first, then nearly the first; perhaps it was the second) time she had ever known the silent pangs of envy—those creeping, soul-destroying, rampantly pernicious tendrils of despair—at knowing that she stood outside the plated palaces of all that she had longed for and had believed herself worthy of attaining, or, if not attaining, of having thrust upon her by an outward force of destined opulence and outright entitlement to majesty that she now realized was not to be, was never to be, could never have been, and all she could then envision for her future was the bleakest of attainments: the second-rate perch of a tawdry, failed presumptive; an armoire of the cast-off robes of superannuated ministration; and the mealy, dun-colored appurtenances of shadow-dwelling officiates in the sequestered gloom of servile, downward-gazing, lick-spittle lackeys who know nothing of the amenities, indulgences, and superfluities of success.

Could it get any better… ahem, worse… than that?  There are no prizes, other than the official title of the Best Worst Writer on HubPages, and this fabulous virtual trophy, forged by the contest’s host, lmmartin:

Dark & Stormy Night Trophy

To see Teresa’s moving acceptance speech, visit the Awards Ceremony hub, and be sure to offer her (as well as the other finalists) your congratulations.

With all the community support, it looks like we’ll be running a Dark & Stormy Night contest annually. So start practicing your awfullest, terriblest writings… if the competition is anything like this year, it’s going to be stiff!

HubPages’ Special Programs

As I am settling into the HubPages community, I find myself floored by its amazing special programs!

First I became acquainted with HubNuggets, which not only involves insanely hilarious weekly hubs but also fun voting and a chance for new Hubbers to step up and strut their stuff.  Then I discovered HubMob, helping Hubbers bust through writer’s block with new and exciting themes every week.  Next I came to meet the site’s wonderful HubGreeters, who make HubPages feel like a real, neighborly community, doing the online equivalent of bringing warm apple pie to new families on the block.

HubTrails blew my mind with the extent to which it has already mapped the world, and the HubChallengers out there inspire me in my own efforts to write and publish regularly. Continue reading

HubPages & Social Media

We have always encouraged you to share your hubs on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Digg (to improve page rank and increase readership), but HubPages itself has been a bit quiet on the social media front.

Not anymore!  We’re getting back on the social media horse and shall be giving you regular updates from Twitter and Facebook.  This means you can be the first to get updates on new contests, great hubs, and new site features.  It also means you won’t have to wander about aimlessly to find out what’s going on.  Huzzah!

If you’re on Facebook feel free to “like” our page, and follow us on Twitter.  I assure you, a hefty dose of fun awaits.

Also, keep in mind that we’ve updated our company profile on LinkedIn, and if you’d like to put that you’re a HubPages writer on your resume, by all means go ahead!  I’ve been reading some brilliant hubs lately- definitely material worth presenting to potential employers.

In the future, we hope to ramp up social media integration and efforts even more.  If you have any particular ideas you’d like to share with us- tips on how we could make things better or notes on certain features you’d like to see, let us know! We’re happy to hear from you.