03 June 2022
Here are some of the best ways to earn extra cash as a writer
It’s the dream, isn’t it? Earning enough money from your writing not to have to do anything else. And it’s achievable. If you are able to tailor your writing skills to the requirements of a particular market, there is no reason you shouldn’t make a reasonable living as a self-employed writer.
So, check out these top ten ways that you can make money as a writer, then do your own research (a key skill for any professional writer!), and start making the approaches that could set you on the path to your dream job.
1) Freelance article writing
Every publication and its associated website need content. Why shouldn’t you write some of it? Target sites and publications that tie in with your areas of interest. See what kind of pieces they include, and then come up with a bunch of ideas that you could turn into confident, informed and engaging reads. Find out the right editor to approach and pitch your ideas.
2) Commercial content writer
If you’ve got good creative ideas and strong understanding of new trends in digital media and marketing, writing commercial content might be for you. It will be useful if you know and understand the tools to inform digital content strategy so you can create targeted content to promote brands and products.
3) Self-published author
Are you the kind of commercially savvy person that likes to take creative control over every aspect of your writing, including social media and marketing as well as editing and design? If you’re a commercial writer who enjoys building their own readership, the rewards of self-publishing can be very high, particularly if you write a series.
Working as a copywriter is described as being ‘a creative’ for a very good reason – not only will you turn in polished, accurate copy, but you’ll work on shaping the ideas, concepts and crucially, words, that hook products and brands into the public imagination. There are rewards for being a sharp-witted and versatile wordsmith with an eye on the prize if you can create the concepts, jingles, rhymes, slogans and more that make the general public want to part with their cash.
5) Specialise in a niche
Are you an expert in your field, whether it’s geopolitics or maximising storage space? Do you have in-depth knowledge about a particular topic? Could you turn your hobby, no matter how obscure, into something to write about? Particularly if you already have a strong follower platform, you can become the go-to writer on your subject, providing articles and even books to inform anyone who wants to know more about your subject.
If you’re a writer with experience and a publishing portfolio, why not pass on your knowledge in the form of writing classes, workshops and presentations? Although the prestigious teaching jobs on Creative Writing MAs are usually done by traditionally published authors of repute, at community and grassroots level there may well be paid work for local writers who can pass on their knowledge and inspire beginner and up-and-coming writing students.
7) Winning competitions
Making enough money from writing competitions to supplement your income may be the dream, but someone’s got to win all those writing prizes (£1.6 million in Writing Magazine’s most recent Competition Supplement!) and why shouldn’t it be you? At the very least, entering competitions means that you get into the habit of regularly writing, honing copy, submitting and quite possibly being rejected, all of which is brilliant groundwork for a career as a writer.
8) Editing, proofreading etc
If you have a fine eye for detail and a profound understanding of spelling, grammar and structure, and particularly if you have an editorial background, you could earn money as a freelance editor or proofreader (the two jobs are related, but not the same thing). It’s highly specialised and you’d be advised to have experience and a professional qualification, but there isn’t a manuscript in existence that isn’t improved by a good editor and proofreader.
9) Monetising your blog
If you write your own blog, it attracts a steady stream of traffic, and you have an email list, there are various ways you can make money from it. For instance, you can sell digital products such as pdfs and downloads as well as ebooks. You can gain income from advertising. You can use affiliate marketing. You can create paid membership schemes. You can sell online courses and podcasts and include sponsored posts. If you see your blog as a resource to be exploited for your own gain, it all mounts up.
10) Write a bestseller
We’d all like to do this – and it can happen! It might be that your work lands on the desk of the agent and/or publisher who can steer your writing to commercial success. It might be that you hit the bestseller charts on Amazon through your own efforts (and a bit of luck!) Whichever it is, if it’s your dream, put in the work and do everything you can to make it happen. At Writers Online we’ve seen many writers go from beginner to bestseller and we’re here to help you every step of the way!
Want to make money as a writer? Check out these top tips here!