How to Make Money as a Writer

In a perfect world, you’d wake up one morning and decide – heck, yes, I’m going to be a writer! You’d wake up, hit the keyboard, pour your heart out, and before you know it, your article has been published and landed you a few extra dollars. Maybe you’ll even become best friends with a famous writer, you’ll meet at a barbeque and hang out all the time, and you’ll even get to live in Paris for a while. Sweet dreams, right?

In the real world, things aren’t always so simple. You may have to struggle for years before you finally land your first freelance writing gig. Even then, the pay isn’t always great. But that’s only because even more competition than usual has cropped up in the form of online freelancing websites. So how can you, an average Jane or Joe, become a successful writer? Let’s take a look.

Decide Which Genre You’ll Focus On

Even before you start exploring the various ways you can make money as a writer, you need to decide which genre you’ll focus on. It’s a common mistake for aspiring writers to decide they want to write for commercial projects and then dive into the nearest available market – in this case, fiction. This is a mistake because it’s very unlikely you’ll ever be able to sell a novel to a publisher. So what you really need to do is find your voice and develop a niche.

For instance, if you love mysteries, then you should explore serial killers or other heinous crimes because they always make for great stories. But if you really want to become a successful writer, then you need to find a way to make your voice heard above the rest of the competition. One great way of doing this is through non-fiction.

Find Your Niche And Stick To It

When you have found your voice and developed your niche, you need to find a way of sticking to it. This isn’t always easy because sometimes it can be hard to know where your writing will land you – especially if you’ve been writing for commercial projects all your life and haven’t developed the knack of predicting what type of writing will sell and which won’t. But it’s important to remember that your writing will only be as good as you make it. So do your best to put yourself in the position of a commercial editor and consider which aspects of your work would make them choose you over the rest of the competition. In other words, find your strengths and magnify them.

Look For Partnerships

Another great way of making money as a writer is to explore partnerships. You’ll never get rich off your writing alone, and at times it can be quite difficult to earn a decent living from it. But if you’re looking for additional sources of income, then you should definitely consider creating and selling your own products – mainly, e-books. But instead of selling your books directly from your website, you can become an affiliate marketer for a company that sells physical products, such as kindle fire tablets or beach balls. Your job is to promote the product using words and pictures – in other words, the same techniques you’d use to market any product. So, in theory, at least – if you qualify for their program – you can make a few hundred dollars per month without any special training.

You’ll need to familiarize yourself with affiliate marketing – the technical side isn’t difficult, but the initial set-up can be a little overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before. However, one of the biggest downfalls of this particular route is that it is quite a temporary solution. If you want to make a living off of your writing, then you’ll eventually have to explore other options.

Try Your Hand At Being A Journalist

If you’ve followed this far, then you must be interested in trying your hand at being a journalist. In theory, this is a great way to make money as a writer – even though the pay is usually quite low. You won’t get rich, but you’ll be able to sustain yourself and maybe even make a little bit of extra cash. You’ll need to follow a certain structure which involves gathering information, reporting the news, and putting it into a tangible form, which can be sold to the public. Sounds easy enough? Well, probably not. Just like with any other profession, you’ll need to learn a lot of things as you go along. But you also need to consider that you’ll be working long hours for little pay, which means you’ll have to be more strategic with your time – namely, the time you spend searching for information and writing up the stories. For a newbie, it can be a lot of work, but the potential for financial gain is great – especially if you can land a few high-profile interviews.

Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

One final way of making money as a writer is through affiliate marketing. Essentially, you’ll need to create blogs, forums, and websites around a certain topic (hence the “affiliate marketing” part). When someone submits a product for review, you’ll get a commission for anything you promote, sell, or refer to during that particular blog post. Simply put, if someone clicks on a product mentioned in an article you’ve written, you’ll get a commission. Usually, you’ll get paid per click or per sale, depending on the type of product you’ve promoted. It’s a great way of earning passive income, and a lot of professionals earn a substantial living from it. You don’t necessarily need to have a blog to participate in affiliate marketing – although having one enhances your chances of securing lucrative partnerships, it isn’t required. You simply need to have a personal website or blog, or a website with a strong focus on a certain topic.

How To Make Money as a Writer Step-by-Step

Okay, now that you know the various ways you can make money as a writer, let’s explore how to make real money, not just a few dollars here and there. Below, you’ll find a few real money ideas that can help you get started on the right foot. Consider this your crash course in how to make money as a writer!

1. Start A Blog

The very first thing you should do to start making money as a writer is to start a blog. A blog is a type of website where you can post articles that are essentially advertisement free. Typically, the posts will be on a certain topic – something that you’re an expert in – and you’ll be referred to as an “expert” or “authority” on the topic. If you can get some high-profile publications to write guest posts for you, that’s great; however, even a single article can earn you a few dollars – if it’s on a popular topic and lots of people are searching for information on it. Remember, you’re competing for online real estate with all kinds of businesses and organizations, so the better your blog, the better your chances of being found when someone is looking for information on your niche.

2. Build A Track Record

Once you’ve started blogging, the next thing you need to do is build a track record. This simply means you’ll need to write and publish more and more articles, on a regular basis. The best way to do this is by submitting articles to online publications – whether they’re for-pay or for free – and building up an SEO profile. For an SEO profile, simply put a link to your website in your articles. You can also put keywords in your headings and subheadings, and make sure your posts are well-written and polished. Above all else, make sure your articles are something that people are genuinely interested in. If you can become a well-known authority in your niche, then you can really start gathering some great material for your blog, and start building up a reputation.

3. Start A Newsletter

Once you’ve got a nice little blog with a growing audience, you can move onto the next step – starting a newsletter. A newsletter is a type of blog post where you’ll typically find a few articles on a certain topic (usually a type of parenting, health, or lifestyle topic) with a few links to other websites and businesses. The articles in a newsletter will typically be promoted and linked to by a brand to build credibility and trust – meaning, you won’t necessarily have to pay for each article you publish. When someone subscribes to your newsletter, you’ll earn a few cents to a few dollars per article per month – depending on the type of product the reader is most interested in.