So many people say that you can’t make money writing. As a full-time writer myself, I’m happy to tell you that this just isn’t true. However, it’s definitely not easy. You’re going to have to work very hard, and unless you land a multi-million-dollar book deal, complete with movie and merchandising contracts, you’ll have to live with the fact that writing just doesn’t pay as well as investment banking. That said, if you love to write, it’s still possible to make a living by doing it. Be warned: the road ahead is long and strenuous, but here are six ways for writers to make money.
1. Write for a blog
You may be able to make money by starting your own blog. Some bloggers make money by advertising products, while others sell merchandise. If you’re good at writing and networking, you may be able to do very well for yourself. Teach yourself SEO to maximize the amount of traffic your blog receives. Alternatively, you can work for a company that already has a well-established blog.
If you’re looking to write academically, you’ll need to get a teaching job at a community college or university. This is especially true if you’re a creative writer. Almost all professional poets and storytellers are also full-time teachers. Even America’s poet laureate, Natasha Tretheway, teaches at Emory University. Teaching is hard work, but it’s extremely rewarding if you like to write and you like to work with people.
3. Sell your work
Don’t wait for people to find you. Put yourself out there by publishing your work and hawking it at local craft fairs. You can also self-publish your work as an e-book and sell it on Amazon.com. Check out their website to learn more about the ways to self publish.
4. Get an agent
If you’re looking to sell your work to a publisher, an agent will help you market yourself. Agents also have industry connections, which means they can jump through all the necessary hoops to get your manuscript to the right person.
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5. Enter contests
Try submitting your work to a contest. You might not get any money, or you might win $1,000! Poets & Writers magazine maintains an excellent database of writing contests, grants and awards. Some contents require a small entry fee, but many are completely free. Some will even let you submit your work online.
6. Become a freelancer
It’s possible to make a living as a freelance writer, but no one gets there overnight. It takes a long time to build up a sizable client base, but this gets easier after you establish yourself as an industry expert. If you’re just starting out, think of freelance writing as a great way to earn extra money by writing in your spare time. See what opportunities exist at your current company, or get involved with a local publication. Your church or school newspaper counts! Alternatively, websites like Demand Media Studios and Suite101 will pay you a small amount of money to write articles on topics listed in a database. You won’t get rich quick, but you’ll at least get your name out there and build a portfolio.