How to make money as a writer
Can you make money writing? Here are 7 different ways of getting paid for creative writing.
Freelance magazine journalism
Ever read a magazine article on a topic close to your heart and thought ‘I know more than that writer?’ You don’t need to be a professional journalist to contribute freelance articles to publications. You can turn your specialism/hobby/all-consuming interest into a money-spinner by writing pieces for magazines. Niche titles are often happy to commission experts to write clear, knowledgeable features on specialist subjects.
Write content for blogs and websites
Everyone has an online presence and there’s money to be made in writing content. People Per Hour and Fiverr are two of the best-known sites where you can post a freelancer profile offering your services as a content writer. Be specific about the skills you have to offer, aware of the going rates for the kind of work you’re looking for and be realistic that it’s a highly competitive marketplace.
Enter writing competitions and win
You only have to check this website every week to see that the writing world is full of competitions with generous cash prizes. The yearly Writing Magazine competition guides feature half a million pounds in writing prizes. Someone has to win them and why shouldn’t it be you? You have to be in it to win it, though, so polish your best work, regard the entry fees as an investment, not just in the chance that you’ll win but in becoming a better, more fluent writer, and get your entries in. You can’t lose, either – if you enter all Writing Magazine's short story competitions in a year, for instance, you will have accomplished 24 new short stories in 12 months – a fantastic achievement (and enough for an anthology, which you could self publish). View the latest competitions here.
Write online articles
What Culture pays £30 for a published list. Cracked.com pays for humour articles. WOW! Women on Writing pays for pieces relating to writing and publishing. That’s just three. Whether it’s Vice, TechRadar or Buzzfeed, check out the guidelines on your chosen website – and bear in mind that although not all the top-tier sites are paying markets, getting your content there will do wonders for your profile and hopefully sales if, for instance, you’ve got a book out that relates to the content you’ve written.
Bear in mind too that magazine brands require a constant stream of content for their website and although online budgets are generally lower than print budgets, there may be a fee, particularly if your piece isn’t part of the promotional activity for a product of your own.
Self-publish your book
As an indie author, you can self-publish your book on Amazon and if you’re commercially minded and marketing-savvy, there’s a good chance of generating income from book sales. Successful self-published authors are usually prolific, write within commercial genres and are at home using social media to market their books. If you want ideas on how to be a successful self-published author, check out what worldwide bestseller Adam Croft had to say in an exclusive interview.
Earn cash for fillers and snippets
Some publications, especially chatty leisure titles such as Take a Break, Readers’ Digest and That’s Life but also the Guardian’s Family section, encourage reader contributions and pay small sums or offer prizes for letters and fillers: top tips, recipes, jokes, true-life tales and other snippets. Other publications may not offer cash, but have excellent prizes for star letters – Writing Magazine offers an invaluable Writers & Artists Yearbook.
Write a bestseller
OK, we admit this one isn’t guaranteed to work. And we’re well aware that there’s no formula for success, or we’d be following it ourselves. But why leave it to all those other authors? Why shouldn’t you, at least, have a go at writing a book that strikes a chord with a wide readership? Write the best book you can, get it out there, and see what happens. You might be the next James Patterson or JK Rowling. Most likely you won’t be, but you will be a writer who has completed a book and got it out into the world. Just don’t spend all your royalties at once. And keep in touch when you get famous – we ‘ll be thrilled to add you to our fabulous roster of Writing Magazine success stories.
Write the best book you can, get it out there, and see what happens.
Not all of these strategies will work for everyone, but choose the best options that suit you and your writing goals. And if you've enjoyed success and been paid for your writing using these ideas, let us know by emailing us today.
Inside the Writers' News section of Writing Magazine you'll find job opportunities every month with publishers looking for writers. Try a copy today to get started.