Writing is a rewarding endeavor for many and with it comes the need to publish. With the exponential growth of self-publishing, printing, blogs, and websites, publishing becomes as easy as pressing a button to launch written work into cyberspace. The internet makes it easier for writers to publish their work, yet it sometimes comes with a price.
Self-publishing, such as blogs and WordPress, can potentially harm a writer’s reputation. Other sites include clickbaits, or sites that use provocative headlines such as “21 Things You’ll Wish You Knew Before Going to High School” to draw traffic to the website. This traffic is mainly sought out in order to get readers to see ads that pay for the upkeep of the website rather than to read the actual articles.
These sites should not be confused with satirical publications, such as The Onion and Cracked, which write articles using humor and sarcasm to comment on the events in social and political news. In the case of satire, it is understood that the written work is not meant to be taken to heart and that the exaggeration is poking fun and promoting thought on the subject.
Clickbait sites are entertaining, especially if there is a cute animal video or GIF to go along with the article, but they can cause irreparable damage to a future career. One reason these sites are so dangerous is that there is no traditional vetting process a writer would find in a legitimate publication entity like The New York Times or Penguin Press.
Vetting is the editing and proofreading of a piece before it goes to press. Having a second, third, or even fourth pair of eyes is critical for any piece to flourish as it minimally allows for the identification of grammar mistakes and awkward phrasing. While most editing and proofreading is the writer’s responsibility, editors are an invaluable resource in the publishing industry. They ensure the polish of a piece and rid it of any distracting typos. Uploading a piece of work directly to an online interface eliminates this vetting, and editing rests solely on the writer. It creates a situation where a piece may not be fully developed or polished, resulting in sub-par quality.
Legitimate publications also have the prestige that newly created websites do not. Submitting work to a place that has a bad reputation, either concerning quality or subject matter, can harm a writer’s reputation. Every time a writer uploads to a “bad” site, he/she degrades his/her reputation as their name is now associated with a bad news site or a bad company. In an industry where reputation and credibility are the building blocks and currency, the better the reputation that is presented, the better the jobs that will be available.
Belonging to a bad publishing company also shows a lack of research and awareness of the current media population. In an industry where reputation is everything, the location of publication matters. It shows seriousness and dedication, as well as an awareness of the industry.