Is it really possible to make money writing and how easy is it to do? For some, it seems to be a breeze. For many others, not at all.
Here are some common ways to make money writing and what you can expect to earn.
I also want to share with you a lesser discussed way that will make you good money and which many writers either don’t know about or ignore.
Writing Is One of My Passions
When I left school, all I wanted to do was write or be an actor. I followed neither as a career path, mostly because I was unsure about how good I would be at either and I didn’t fancy the idea of starving to death.
My urge to write never left me. Over the years I had some minor publishing successes, contributing to educational books, and placing feature articles and short stories with print magazines.
Back then it still wasn’t enough to convince me to write for a living. No doubt my drawer of rejection slips for two novels I sent to publishers didn’t help my self-confidence either.
I never gave up my dream though and today writing is a big part of what I do.
Different Ways to Make Money Writing
There are many ways to earn money writing but do they pay enough? Well, what’s enough? Are you simply looking to make a little extra cash or do you want to write full time?
If the latter, do you want to make a good living or just survive? How much would you need for either?
Many writer jobs require specific qualifications and experience. Being employed means you’ll earn a salary. This is a safe way to ensure you can pay your bills which is a big advantage.
Like any job, you are working for someone else with all the disadvantages that come with this. Essentially you have no freedom.
The best way to find writer jobs is to search for these using online employment websites. According to payscale.com, the annual median salary for a copywriter in the US is $47K.
It’s also possible to write and earn money without being employed which means more freedom and control over what you write and earn.
Become an Author
You can either follow the traditional route where a publisher buys your books or you can self-publish on a platform like Amazon.
There are authors earning good money following either of these routes. But there are a lot more authors earning very little or in some cases nothing at all.
Regardless of which way you go, your success will depend on whether there is a demand for what you have written, how good a writer you are and how effectively your books are marketed.
Traditional publishers only accept books they are sure they will be able to sell. Usually, they will market your books on your behalf although these days many publishers expect you to play a part in the marketing mix.
Consequently, it’s not usually easy to have your manuscript accepted by publishers. Even many famous authors first had their work rejected.
According to an article published by The Telegraph in the UK in 2013, JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by twelve publishers before it was picked up by Bloomsbury. The series went on to sell more than 450 million copies worldwide and the rest is history.
Obviously, it’s possible to make money via traditional publishing but a lot will depend on your talent, tenacity and getting your work in front of the right eyes.
These days it’s easy to self-publish a book but there’s no guarantee you will make any money. The same principles apply. Is it well-written? Is there a demand for what you have written? How effective are you at marketing your own books?
I self-published my first book on Amazon in July 2016.
My goal was to learn the process of self-publishing so I joined the Self Publishing School to educate myself. It is by far one of the best training and support programs for new and even existing authors.
For their free mini course which will show you how to write, publish and market your first book, click HERE
In the first six months, I earned approximately US $700. This is hardly enough to live on but not too bad considering many self-published authors earn less than US$20 a year.
This is a book that regularly reaches bestseller status on Amazon. But don’t be fooled, this simply means the book gets to number one in one of my categories, not that I’m necessarily making millions.
Is it possible to earn more? Yes, some authors are, because they have written good books that are very in demand and they have learned how to market their books effectively.
I chose to write about a topic I know a lot about but it’s a niche subject so I knew it was only ever going to have limited audience appeal.
For most authors, it takes a lot of time and dedication to become financially successful. The question is what are you going to do to put food on the table while you’re doing this?
Become a Freelance Writer
Freelance writers sell their work or services by the hour or job, rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.
Your writing may involve any of the following – blog posts, articles, copywriting, press releases, short stories, ghostwriting, non-fiction e-books, white papers, technical writing, case studies, and grant writing.
Your clients could be magazines, other businesses or individuals who require you to write for them. Theoretically one of the advantages of being a freelance writer is that you are free to pick and choose what you write about and for whom.
In reality freelance writers often struggle to make a living which means they are forced to take any job they can find. Many end up writing for what is known as content mills.
These are companies that use hefty numbers of freelance writers to generate large amounts of content for clients at discounted prices. The problem with this is that writers are paid very poorly.
Carol Tice is a successful freelance writer. Her website, makealivingwriting.com is dedicated to helping writers grow their income. She is particularly anti-content mills and with good reason. In an article on her blog, The Reality of Writing for Content Mills – 14 Writer’s True Stories, she uncovers how some writers have earned as little as US$10 – US$20 per written article.
In addition freelance, writers often use job boards and sites like Upwork or Fiverr to find work where rates are also very low.
It doesn’t have to be like this. There are ways to source clients who will pay you what you are worth as a writer. The best way to learn about these is from freelance writers who are being successful in this way and earning good money.
One such writer is Gina Horkey. She regularly earns in excess of $5000 a month. I completed my training with her which gave me the best foundational knowledge about how to find the top paying jobs as a freelancer. You can sign up for her free five lesson email course HERE which has helped countless people break into freelance writing the right way.
One of the disadvantages of being a freelance writer, in my opinion, is that unless you find recurring work from high paying clients, you are endlessly having to pitch for work which means selling your services to those who are looking for writers.
Having to constantly secure work can be highly stressful when you have bills to pay. It’s no wonder so many writers end up at content mills.
Create Your Own Authority Website
In my experience, one of the best ways to make money writing is to create your own website business. I was working as a freelance writer when I met someone who showed me how to do this and I’ve not looked back.
Basically, you set up a website about any subject you are passionate about. This can be about an interest or hobby of yours or it can even draw on your existing or past career knowledge.
For instance, if you were a teacher you might consider setting up a site about how to manage specific children’s behavior issues.
Or you might be an avid fitness fanatic in which case you could create a site about a fitness related topic.
You then write content for your site that people want to read. You learn how to monetize your site and you earn money when people buy products and services related to your subject.
Why I believe this is such a perfect income avenue for writers:
- You get to write about what interests YOU.
- At the same time as practising your writing, you also learn how to write articles in such a way that they are found by readers hungry to read what you have to say. This is an invaluable skill to have and one that freelance writers are often required to demonstrate to potential clients.
- You are writing the kind of articles you would as a freelancer, except this way YOU own the article and can receive the ongoing income as a result. Unlike as a freelancer where you get paid only once for your hard work. Once published on your site, your information is there making money for you 24/7.
- You don’t even have to be a very good writer to earn money in this way. You do have to know how to write articles in a certain way though and how to monetize your site effectively.
- It’s a scalable business. Once you know how to do this with one website you can create as many websites as you choose, each one earning you money.
- It’s an effective way to earn money writing while you work on some other writing projects like your bestselling novel to come.
The very best place to learn about how to set this type of business up is at Wealthy Affiliate, where you can start at no cost. Not only do you get fantastic training but they also give you two free websites and most importantly, 24/7 support for when you get stuck.
In conclusion, there are many ways to make money writing. Most of these require time and dedication. By far one of the easier ways is to create your own website business. Diversifying how you make money writing makes sense so that you are never just reliant on one source of income.
Want to know how to get started with setting up your own website business? Read my article called Get Started
If you have any questions or comments about how to make money writing please leave them below. I’d love to help you if you have a question and get your feedback.
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