Extra Income through Writing

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Izurich, Jan 28, 2016.

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  1. Sooo, I wasn't sure where should I put this, Counseling or General Chatting. In the end, I decided for the latter, but Staffs (and CVs) please feel free to move the thread where it really belongs.

    Without further ado, today's topic is about:
    Gaining Money Through Writing

    So Iwakuans, I want to hear your suggestions and comments on how should we use our Writing experiences (Fiction, Non-fiction, blogging, etc) to make extra money?

    Of course, some suggestions will be obvious such as Writing Novels, but I want to hear other ways to make use of my writing experiences, a couple of extra bucks wouldn't hurt, especially if I can get it done in my free time (I work full time btw).

    Thank you for your attention, hope to see some responses! Stay awesome, guys and gals.
  2. The last guy who looked like he was making money from his writing got banned for it.
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  3. Pretty sure you can be an editor. Something about being paid by how many words your reviewing.

    Short stories? Articles? Journalism (yuck)?

    Novels take a load of time and dedication. Unless you've some mystical talent to pump out good books it's likely the most difficult route. In my sick-in-bed-on-drugs-at-the-moment opinion.
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  4. I'm going to be a dick and tell you to keep writing on the side as a hobby. There's a reason English degrees are considered financial death sentences.

    If you have the talent or niche and make it so your work can be found, you can gradually grow into venues that will allow you to make money by writing. Just don't count on any form of reliable income until you get there, because until then you'll need another job. This goes for writing stories, blogs, etcetera. You don't sign a paper and show up for a monthly paycheck. Unless you want to try your hand at journalism but that's not something you can randomly pick up on your own.
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  5. Sad to say it, but I have to agree with Kestrel in that it's hard as hell to live off of pen and paper. If you've already got a full time job, there's an extremely low chance (read: there's a chance) that you can get anything worthwhile out of it besides winning a writing competition every now and then for an amazing $100 prize (read: maybe a month of gas).

    If you've got a charismatic writing style, advertisement or blogging is a pretty solid avenue.
    In advertisement, you can use your way with words to help sell a product; all those ads on T.V? Someone's job is to write that stuff.
    Blogging is extremely hit-and-miss, but it's possible. If you've got what people want when it comes to content, you can rack up quite a cult following. After that, all y'gotta do is sell out and start advertising stuff on your blog or start an artist welfare inclusive Patreon.

    If you're good with loremaking and creativity, storyboarding and art direction may work best.
    There will always be media outlets where writers are needed, but it's a full time gig and they expect professional loyalty. The avenue's pretty slim in that regard, but you could probably make it if you really wanted to.

    If you're like me, and usually end up writing a legal document in casual conversation, go into law.

    Scratch that, law is hell, never go into law.
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  6. As just some side cash?

    1. Blogs with a big following
    2. Journalism... But prepare to sell your soul
    3. Proof-Read/Edit for people, assignments, RP posts etc.
    4. In rare cases for Roleplaying something that most people don't touch
    5. Script Writing (though this one may be more obvious like writing books)
    6. Any field that requires a college/university education :P
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  7. Putting all your eggs in the writing basket is a huge risk as kestrel said. I make some sid emoney of my writing, basicly proofreading and setting up drafts for customer letters and what not. And that is "Boring" writing i do aside from my 8 hours a day job. I also helped write two adventure modules for a swedish Pen And Paper company, a gig I got fairly recently and suddenly. But that's prolly because I am active and vocal part of a small, dedicated fan base and I been slumming with some of the guys at the company who happen to like my writing.

    This is also one of the reasons you'll see a lot of author debut their first big book around 35+. Experience makes it easier to expand and draw inspiration. And if your dedicated, you likely have a million and one failed drafts and ideas under your belt at that time. If you wanna make money of writing, prepare to write, write, write, write and then write some more. Just write at any chance you get, read, write, read, repeat. And don't expect to live off it in any big degree until you gotten enough experience. Maintain discipline, get up earlier if you have to, just so you can get some extra practice in.
    #7 Hellis, Jan 28, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
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  8. Well, it's by no means fun or glamorous, but there are some websites out there that will pay you to write things (might be a sort of review of a product, might be a purely factual piece about something, it varies) for search engine optimization purposes. The pay usually isn't great unless you're doing jobs that you can crank out really quickly, but it's better than nothing. The few I've heard of (though never got around to using) are Textbroker and WriterAccess, so give those a look.
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  9. Also this. I totally forgot these existed. Again, GRIIIIIND.
  10. Asmo wrote a book and presumably sold it a few times, but let's be honest, LOTS OF PEOPLE are writing books. Very few will finish them, fewer still will reap any profit. Like Kestrel said, there's a reason English Degrees are financial death sentences; it's the reason I'm pursuing a Book Publishing career via degrees in other things; I can get JOBS in other things.

    But you asked for options and I've got a few I didn't see mentioned or really expanded on, so here we go:

    If you are in school, see if your student newspaper is hiring
    they may require you to be enrolled in journalism or at least english, but they may let you work as a copyeditor or contributor for something relevant to your field of study if you aren't. You can also submit comics and design things like crosswords.
    Perks: Publishing Experience, mock work experience, awesome people
    Downsides: really low wage, limited creative freedom

    As Gwazi said, you'll need a big following. Here's some tips and strategies:
    • Find a substantial demographic and see what it wants, and what is available to satisfy those wants. Fill any gap you might find, but first make sure it's a gap and not something people simply don't want. Emphasize in your blog that you have something the others do not.
    • Advertise, advertise, advertise. Blogger allows you to collect some modest income by allowing corporate ads on your page; kiss your soul goodbye and do it. Set up an account for your blog under its own email on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, everything. Send messages on a regular schedule on all of them and ALWAYS link to the blog page.
    • Keep a hit counter once you've got a respectable number. Popularity breeds itself.
    • Keep your blog on topic and stick to what other people aren't doing
    • Present things in a creative and new way; read widely in the genre and see what's been done before, what gets good responses and what doesn't
    • Read widely on the techniques of a blog; format, reader habits, etc.
    • Advertise more
    • Be professional
    Perks: Publishing experience, relatively enjoyable, creative freedom
    Downsides: it's entirely possible you can do all the above and be very good at it and never earn a penny.

    If you're drawn to what I like to call the backstage of the writing world (the author and their creation being on the main stage in the spotlight), you could try to make a few pennies editing. For simplicity I'm going to assume copy-editing (although there are many jobs that fit under the description of 'editor')
    • set up a website (or even a paid shop here on the forums) and be fucking professional about it.
    • Advertise, advertise, advertise. See the blog point
    • Be very timely and friendly, make authors feel good about their work, you're here to help not bring them down
    • Be open to all manner of written word, but be careful around academic papers.
    • Remember that you're not here to criticize their ideas. Keep yourself concerned with the English errors like sentence structure and grammar.
    Perks: Professional experience, learning experience
    Downsides: loss of faith in humanity, lots of boring jobs and terrible ideas

    Social Media
    Offer to help older small businesses with their social media. People will literally pay a company (even a home based private one, though you will need a business licence which you should google local specifics for) to get them online and handle their tweets, Facebook page, hashtags, web design, and more. And yeah, this is totally a writing job. A lot of thought and expertise needs to go into professional communications, and they are looking for a professional service, so be a fucking professional about it. Have a website and business cards, dress nicely, address your clients as sir or ma'am unless they tell you otherwise.
    Perks: professional experience, publishing experience, networking, relatively enjoyable
    Downsides: Low pay, short-term employment if they watch you for a while and then figure they can do it themselves (they may crawl back later), large time commitment, cost of business licence, cards etc.

    Basically put yourself out there and think of writing beyond the context of fiction.

    Oh, and some of these COST money, but help you EARN side money in the long term, so I'd prefer to call them INVESTMENTS:

    A class on Social Media
    Seriously, even if you grew up with it, there are tips and tricks and stuff you don't know about using social media professionally.

    A class on Advertising
    Seriously, we live in a world thoroughly saturated in advertising. If you want to make a living producing ANYTHING, whether it's writing or toasters, then you need to learn how to harness this power.

    Get involved with local and online groups
    Find social circles of writers, editors, publishers, and generally communication professionals. Make friends and stay in touch; this is called Networking and it pays for itself. Also it keeps you in the loop when it comes to contests and other opportunities. Your local library is a good place to start looking.

    Always be Learning
    Read widely on the subject of composition, creativity and inspiration, Editing, and the writing industry. There is always always more to learn.

    Always be Writing
    Always. I don't care if it's an In-Character Twitter account or roleplays on here or your novel or your fan fiction or your rants about animal cruelty; always be practicing your composition and editing skills. Write widely in a range of styles and formats and apply the lessons you learn.

    Oh, and some other writing jobs besides Novelist are:

    This is my crack, sorry xD You can be a proofreader, copy editor, development editor, commission editor, there are so many jobs on the editorial side, get ye to google!

    Maybe you don't want to really write all day every day yourself so much as be involved with it; you could work for a publishing house as a publisher or literary agent and get the next JK Rowling onto the shelves!

    Go to J-school and learn the specifics of newswriting, but you don't have to go into a news career. National Geographic, Otaku USA, Buzzfeed and Huffington Post all employ Journalists.

    Spin Doctor
    AKA the PR Guy/girl! You would write press releases and speeches and such for influential figures to make sure people don't hate them. Cost: your soul, possibly also your firstborn.

    Are you good at convincing people and getting people invested in stuff? You could totally write for advertising companies, dude.

    Web Design
    People will literally pay you to build a website for their businesses. Booyah.

    @Izurich I edited a lot but don't want to comment again to spam your topic so I'm tagging you aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    #10 Minibit, Jan 28, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
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  11. Apparently, writing really weird and niche erotica is quite lucrative if you're able to pump out an obscene volume of novels.

    And I do mean weird in the sense of shit like romancing goddamn dinosaurs.
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    Sorry for the caps but I am an acting student and am having to write a full length feature and it is not the same as writing a novel. There is a process and you have to get special software etc. It is soul crushing.
  13. You have to go to J-school for it!

    It surprises me how many people don't realize that journalists need specialized education for it...

    Oh and I was thinking about this more so I edited my first post. A lot.
    #13 Minibit, Jan 28, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  14. Heeey, thank you for the answers everyone! :D

    As a note, this is just a thing I've been musing, see if I can get some extra cash during my free time, I am not planning to be a writer full-time (for now, things can change ofc).

    I will try some of your suggestions, but even if they don't work out, I'll always have dear Iwaku to unleash my writing passions. ;)

    Much love,
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  15. The hordes of Weebs on the internet have ruined "j-" as a prefix for anything because apparently that always has to mean Japan and I've been conditioned to expect it, those special little snowturds.


    Tangent over. I just wanted to point out it took me a few seconds longer than I should have to realize you meant journalism and the Internet is a dark, terrible place that touches you in all the wrong places.
  16. Another venue for writing is Technical Writing, Copywriting, Grant Writing and Free-lance Writing. (I suggest finding some classes on these subjects first before pursuing them though!)

    There are actually a pretty decent amount of opportunities in technical writing. However, you have to have an openness to learn the ins and outs of what you are writing about. Having a background in a science, even as a minor or simply a few extra classes, can be a great help, while other companies are willing to train you in it if they like you enough! I hate when people say English Majors are financial death sentences. There are ways to write for a living besides just journalism or novel writing. You simply have to keep your mind open and be willing to prove why great writing (communication skills) are extremely valuable for companies.

    Copywriting is also really interesting! A lot of companies these days are doing online advertising as well as print advertising. I know when I was job searching I found out that Wayfair was opening up locations and seeking copywriting interns as well as entry level positions. Even museums, zoos and aquariums sometimes seek writers for new brochures, advertising, grant and proposal writing and so on. This also includes social media writing! A lot of businesses are looking for new ways to advertise, and being familiar with social media and writing is a plus!

    Free-lance Writing kind of coincides with blogging these days. However, if you search for the right sources some companies pay by word or by article writing about specific subjects, objects, food, places etc etc.

    If there is a will, there is a way! c:
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  18. I follow this tumblr that shares a bunch of freelance opportunities, if that's the kind of thing you're interested in.
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  19. Yep. Actually, erotica is far and away one of the most lucrative genres. It's as simple as having a decent editor, a decent cover, and a solid niche. Not necessarily romancing dinosaurs. I know some people who earn money exclusively on the genre of male homosexual slavery erotica(they earn enough to be a writer full-time). I know another who does a similar amount of success in the niche of hetero hypnosis/mind control erotica. Depending on your niche, a decent cover and basic editing to your story will blow your competition out of the water.

    I will note that it isn't all that an obscene amount of writing as one may think. Although you'll be expected to publish multiple times a year for a while, the average erotica novel is significantly shorter than other genres (think like 30-40k words or less). Also, as you get a following, they will likely be loyal to your niche and so you can expect a solid number of sales per release. Furthermore, as new people discover your work, you will continue to be paid for previously published work over time.

    If you're doing creative writing on the side, consider short story magazines. There are literary magazines for every genre out there and every "style". They usually either pay token or per word, and continued publishing successes makes it easier to be published in more magazines as word gets around. You may even be able to sell your story several times if you become well-known enough. Please note that professional pay is at least 5 cents a word and the maximum will usually be from 5k to 10k words long, with the sweet spot around 2.5k-3.5k words long so a professional payment will be getting $125 for a 2.5k story and $175 for a 3.5k story at the minimum professional rate. However, I've seen payments as high as 8 cents a word or a token payment of ~$200.

    Non-pro pay I've seen can range from the lows of $10 per story to as high as $100-150 per story, as well as rates of 1-3 cents per word.

    Literary magazines also host contests pretty regularly, with plenty payments available in that front as well.

    All you need to do is write the short story, edit what you can, format it right and then hit up literary magazines. I'd recommend checking out duotrope if you have the money to pay for a subscription to look for magazines. If not, I would greatly recommend checking out the Submissions Grinder for similar purposes.
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  20. It sounds like you actually have experience getting paid for writing, or know somebody who does. Either way, I find it astonishing some people are capable of publishing multiple titles, regardless of length, in a year. It's also worth noting some famous authors like HP Lovecraft pretty much launched their careers writing for literary magazines, and a lot of Lovecraft's works were turned down. In a way, that's encouraging; one of the grand daddies of horror didn't always succeed, so it pays off to keep trying in the long run.
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