The failed writer is a trope many know well. By now, most people are aware that becoming a successful writer is not easy. However, it’s becoming increasingly easier to make money through writing thanks to the internet. And, not many people understand how writers make money.
You don’t need to be a famous author to earn a living writing. That’s one avenue, yes, but there are plenty of ways to make money as a writer. In fact, as a writer, it’s good to diversify your income.
Before you begin diving into these different streams of income, it’s important you decide what you want to do as a writer. What is your goal? Do you want to be a published author? Are you interested in writing content for others?
Where you want your writing career to go influences the steps you should take to get there and the revenue streams you should focus on in the meantime.
Once you know where you’re headed, it’s time to look at how writers make money.
One of the most common ways of how writers make money is through freelance writing.
Freelance writing requires no qualifications (though they are a plus and will help), and can be started as soon as you’re ready.
When talking about freelance writing, most people mean content writing, though there are other forms of freelancing.
Content writers get paid to create blog posts, news articles, etc. for clients. As a content writer, you are normally paid per word (ex. 20 cents/word) and must have the ability to draw readers in.
Freelance writing can also include technical and copywriting, which I will cover in the next section.
Technical Writing & Copywriting
Technical writing is a great way to earn an income as a writer, though it is more strict in what’s allowed and may require some qualifications. As a technical writer, you write manuals, troubleshooting guides, legal documents, and similar work.
Just as technical writing sounds, creativity is pretty limited, and your work must be flawless. If you enjoy the creativity writing offers, this is not one for you.
If you do enjoy technical writing, it can be quite lucrative. It’s one of the more stable writing jobs and is often in high demand. If you have the qualifications, it’s worth trying.
Copywriting, on the other hand, is a more creative field. Copywriters are responsible for product descriptions and anything related to marketing. As a copywriter, you’re responsible for reeling people in and making the products pop.
Creativity is more accepted in copywriting—actually, creativity is quite necessary. If you don’t care for writing long bodies of work, but still enjoy being creative, copywriting might be for you.
Both technical and copywriting tend to fall in the freelancing category. There are salaried positions available, but they are far between. The best way to earn money in these industries is through freelancing.
Blogging & Social Media
Because of the rise of social media writers are now able to build their careers and their following more easily.
Creating an online presence as a writer is critical to your success. The more of a following you build, the more readers you’ll have and the more clients you’ll reach.
If you’d like to learn more about how writers make money and growing a brand as a writer, you can check out this post.
Either by starting a blog or through social media, you can build your portfolio and begin to sell your work as a writer. You’ll also be able to earn a passive income through ad revenue or affiliates.
Blogging is an excellent way to build your portfolio as a writer and also can lead to big opportunities. And, you can use social media to expand your audience.
How writers make money through blogging and social media include:
- Ad Revenue
- Affiliate Income
- Selling Your Work
Novel & Published Writing
Being a published author is what many writers strive for. However, this can be difficult to achieve and requires a lot of hard work and patience.
This is why growing a following and online presence is so crucial. The more of an audience you acquire, the easier it will be to find an agent and a publicist.
Self-publishing is another option but requires a lot of work. You will be responsible for the costs associated with publishing, and also the marketing. If you don’t promote your work well, no one will see it, and therefore, no one will buy it.
Luckily online publishers like Amazon Publishing, Smashwords, and Apple Books offer an easier way to self-publish. There’s little cost with no physical product being made, and they have large audiences that can stumble upon your work.
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