Most writers never get rich.
You know that. I know that. Everybody knows that.
But is it possible to make a nice little sidehustle income? Get paid to write from time to time?
In this post, you will learn exactly how to make money writing 2020. Different strategies, how-to-Do-It, everything you need.
Let’s start by talking about what’s possible (and what’s not).
The Truth about How to Make Money From Writing
Writing for a living offers a ton of advantages – you get to choose when & where you work, & with whom.
No wonder this promise of creative & personal freedom attracts so many people.
But the truth is that most of them do not want to think about the practicalities of becoming a full-time freelance writer.
They do not want to think about the uncertainty, the rejection, the self-doubt.
They do not want to think about all the small, unglamorous tasks that make life as a writer possible.
Deep down they fear their perfect dream will tarnish if they drag it down to earth. So it just hangs there in a shiny bubble, waiting for the day it miraculously comes true.
But let’s be honest — it just won’t happen. Or do you really think someone will approach you one day & say:
“Hey there. I heard from someone that you were thinking of writing something, someday, and I have love to pay you to see where that someday could lead.”
Of course not, but without a concrete strategy, that is what it would take to make your distant dream a reality.
Experience shows that vague plans fail. Grounding your dreams in reality is what makes them happen. Even if it means thinking about the things you did rather not consider.
It’s not enough to say you want to make a living as a writer; you need to know how. You need a concrete plan to bridge the gap from where you are now to where you want to be.
And the more realistic your plan, the better. Do not the farm on a path that only a small handful of super talented (or incredibly lucky) outliers have followed. Choose one that’s worked for lots of people.
1). Make Money by Creating Collateral for Content-Hungry Businesses
In the last five years, content marketing — this concept of creating valuable content to attract customers and build credibility and trust — has undoubtedly gone mainstream.
The result? More and more businesses are getting into the content game. Some have a clear strategy, while others are just jumping on the bandwagon & hoping it pays off down the line.
This has created a market for smart-writers who can write for a specific audience. These content-hungry businesses need articles, white-papers, case studies — the list goes on. & they fully expect to pay for them.
Breaking into this market can be tough without a few contacts to get you started, but it is not impossible.
Initially, you may need to jostle for attention with thousands of other eager freelancers vying for freelance writing jobs on marketplaces like Upwork.com.
But with patience and hard work you can establish a track record of successful projects and break away from the low-earning masses.
However, this route requires a writing portfolio of content-related skills — not just an understanding of the target niche, but of marketing fundamentals and SEO too. In other words, you’ll need more than a laptop and a passion for writing to impress this crowd — you’ll need to persuade clients that you understand the bigger picture.
One smart way to differentiate yourself is to build your own platform, using blogging and guest blogging to demonstrate the expertise you hope to harness for others.
2). Become a copywriter
If you’ve already been looking into different types of writing jobs, you’ve no doubt come across adverts for Copywriting roles – this is more of a long-term career option rather than a quick way to make money.
Glassdoor says that the average salary of copywriters is around £27,000 (around £10k less than technical writers).
But, you won’t be alone in wondering what copywriters actually do…
what is Copywriting ?
A key part of copywriting is creating written content for a business, both for online & offline resources, that reflects the brand’s identity.
As a copywriter, you could be writing content that will be seen by customers, clients or even other staff members within the company – regardless of who reads the content, the voice of your brand will run throughout it.
When you’re writing content that will be seen by customers, this is known as business-to-consumer copywriting (or B2C). And, when you’re writing for a target audience of other companies, this is called business-to-business copywriting.
As an example of Copywriting, next time you order something from ASOS, have a look at the tone of writing in their product descriptions, confirmation emails and newsletters. You’ll notice that it’s fun, informal and focused on a young audience.
Or, as another example, the dating app Bumble has a really strong brand identity running throughout their adverts, notifications, emails and blog posts – it’s focused on being witty, empowering and positive. Again, copywriters play a massive role in this.
It’s quite a skill to adapt your usual style of writing to take on a business’s individual voice, but it’s something you can develop with practice.
To prepare for copywriting roles, try to gain as much experience as you can, contributing to a number of publications with a range of audiences. Tailor the tone and arguments within your writing to suit each outlet, and develop a portfolio that’s as diverse and versatile as possible.
3). Get Paid to Write Articles for Blogs, Magazines, and Journals
Despite talk of global “content fatigue,” major publications — both on & offline — must keep publishing content or die.
That means popular WordPress blogs, magazines & journals remain hungry for quality content writing — and many are willing to pay for it too. You will need to hustle to find the best opportunities, understanding that success won’t happen overnight, but freelancing for these publications is still a smart way to make money online as a writer.
Let’s start with the blogs.
Although writing articles for popular blogs (a.k.a. guest blogging) is still typically unpaid, with most new writers trading their content for exposure (via a byline or author bio), numerous exceptions still exist.
Guest posts can also lead to other paid work. Take this blog as an example: we have approached several guest writers to create content for our paid courses, and paid them several thousand dollars for their work.
And what about the world of print? Is that still a viable way to make a living as a writer in this day and age of online everything?
Traditional publishing has had a rough ride, but many consumer magazines are still going strong, & many of these publications still pay well for feature articles. Of course, you can not expect to land a lucrative opportunity right away — you will need to climb the ladder via smaller, local publications, building your credibility as you go.
Likewise, trade journals crave quality articles within their narrow topic area & many are waking up to the more conversational, engaging-writing style that writing for the web demands. Also, talented bloggers with proven specialist knowledge can often skip the ladder-climbing and break in with the right pitch.
In general, the secret to making this model work is being tenacious about chasing down opportunities — whether it’s ghostwriting or regular freelance writing work — and being efficient with your writing once you land them.
The people who follow this model successfully are like writing machines — they crank out quality content quickly and do not allow themselves to get bogged down in any one project.
4). Make money as a ghostwriter
A lot of people have great writing skills, but do not really fancy the public attention that writing can bring. If that’s you, ghostwriting could be ideal.
As a ghostwriter, you would be working with others to help them write texts (e.g. books or speeches), but you wouldn’t be publicly credited as the author.
It’s difficult to say what salary you could expect to receive as a ghostwriter as it depends heavily on the industry you work in and the clients you write for. But, for big, high-profile writing projects, it could be pretty lucrative.
As with technical writing, you’ll need a fair amount of writing experience to start ghostwriting full-time. It’s important to work on developing a strong portfolio to boost your writing credentials.
It’ll take time, but you could eventually be working with celebrities or politicians, making a living from doing what you love – writing.
In need of a portfolio site? You can start a website in just 20 minutes.
5). Write a book
As a massive goal for pretty much every aspiring writer, writing a book is definitely not the quickest way to make money on this list, and nor is it the simplest. But, it is very possible (and perhaps not quite as difficult as you might think).
There are so many different things you could write a book about. You could write a fictional novel, or collate a series of poems or short stories as a book, or even write something non-fiction, like an advice guide for students, based on your own uni experiences.
You may want to go down the route of finding a writing agent and getting a publishing deal, but this isn’t the only way to make money from a book.
eBooks are very straightforward to self-publish, and can see you earning a nice passive income from relatively little effort (besides actually writing and finishing the book, obviously). We recommend it as a way to publish a book and start earning cash from sales pretty quickly.
Unsure how to get started? We’ve got guides to writing and publishing an eBook and the best eBook publishing platforms, as well as tips on how to make money from your eBooks.
You’ll be able to call yourself an official, published author in no time.
6). Get Paid to Write by Becoming a Best-Selling Kindle Author
What about making it big as an author? Could that be your best route to a life of freedom as a full-time writer?
Well, it’s certainly more realistic than it used to be. Ten years ago, writing a best-selling book was a distant dream for most writers & self-publishing on Kindle was often dismissed as a vanity exercise.
But today, thanks largely to Amazon and Kindle, the self-published book market is gigantic and making money from writing books is far more achievable.
Enter, the authorpreneur — the author with an entrepreneurial brain.
Of course, more achievable does not mean easy. If you have visions of publishing one book and retiring on the profits, you will be sorely disappointed.
To succeed, you need to be commercially minded and target an established market with proven demand from readers. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow your passion but be prepared to validate it first.
You’ll need to be persistent and prolific too — chances are you’ll publish several books before gaining any traction, and you’ll need sales from multiple titles to approach anything resembling a full-time income.
However, according to a report earlier this year from Author Earnings, 1,600 indie authors are earning $25K or above from Amazon book sales, and 1,000 published their first book three years ago or less.
But should you write nonfiction or fiction? Nonfiction is the most natural fit for the average blogger, and if you’re blogging in a popular niche, the chances are that books covering similar topics will also be popular.
If you want to find success as a self-non-fiction author, check out Steve Scott. Even though he’s recently switched his attentions to a regular podcast on self-publishing, his old site still has a ton of useful information.
Fiction writing is arguably tougher (and requires a rather different set of skills), but there’s no denying that your earning potential if you do hit it big, is much larger. And it’s no coincidence that the most famous self-publishing successes are all fiction titles.
For inspiration and direction visit The Creative Penn. Joanna Penn is a prolific fiction (and non-fiction) author and her site is rich with information about making it as a fiction writer.
But in either-case, you need to be led by the market for topic (and genre) selection. And you need to be prepared to write multiple books before seeing any real results.
1 major advantage of this route is that you continue to earn-money from your back catalog, sometimes far into the future. Once you start to make a basic living from your writing, additional title only build your income further.
The secret to making authorpreneurship work for you? Build an email list. Your existing fans are the perfected audience for your next-book.
7). Business Writer
As the term indicates, business writers create articles that are relevant to a particular industry. They will analyse business trends in the sector, study company performances, demand for products and future projections from various sources to write articles.
Business articles are used by newspapers, business magazines and websites, industry groups, lobbies and other trade organizations. A business writer is commissioned by companies and organizations for short term project.
Part time or freelance business writers can make up to $75 per hour.
8). Get Paid to Write Erotic Stories
Do you know there is very huge demand for erotica on internet & hundreds of authors are already making big bucks writing erotic stories?
There are many ways you can make money writing erotic stories like creating your own blog (very little competition), write for other blogs or companies or write and sell your own books on Amazon & other popular platforms.
9). Build a Niche Blog and Promote Third Party Products
I will be honest — building a popular blog is tough. Really tough.
And once you’ve scaled your blog beyond a certain point, you might be surprised how little time you actually spend doing the thing you love — writing.
So if your dream is to build a six-figure blog, you’d better be as excited about the prospect of running a business as you are about writing your next post. (In fact, if you’re making six figures, writing is one of the things you should probably outsource.)
But there is a path to making money from a blog where you still spend a good proportion of your time writing. And it starts with picking a blog niche where a large, passionate audience already exists Or — this is crucial — where you can find successful products from trusted names to sell.
Promoting affiliate products is a much smarter way to start earning money from a blog than creating your own products. With an affiliate product, someone else has already done the hard work of validating the market, building the products, and enhancing it based on customer feedback. Someone else gets to handle the presales inquiries, payments, refunds, and product support.
Many affiliate products pay high commissions too — 50 percent or even more — because the incremental production cost of digital products is essentially nothing.
The secret is finding the right products — ones that you can stake your reputation on. Pat Flynn is the undisputed king of passive income, earned (mostly) from sales of affiliate products.
Ideally, you will know what products you will sell even before starting your blog because then you’re growing an audience that perfectly matches your offer.
Of course, you still have to do all the stuff that makes a blog successful — publishing great content, building your email list, reaching out to influencers, etc. — but writing remains a big part of the equation, i.e., creating the stellar content that brings people to your site.
Once you’re in a groove, you can think about adding your own products to the mix, using your writing skills & topic knowledge to deliver a specific result that readers are willing to pay for.
But when you’re starting a blog, promoting affiliate products is the most realistic, & least risky, way to make a living from writing.
10). Start a Blog and Make Money Writing
I recommend every writer to start his or her own blog even if you do not want to make money writing from your blog. A blog can showcase your talent through the content you will publish on your blog.
Creating a Blog is EASY!
If you believe me… it’s so easy that it’ll hardly take 15 minutes to make a blog from scratch…
So, If you want to start your own BLOG then read this guide which will help you create 1 FAST…
An article written for others will earn you only one-time income, but an article written for your OWN BLOG can make you a life-time income.
and… that’s why blogging can make you lots of money.
There are many ways you can make money from your blog. One of the easiest ways is by placing AdSense ads on your blog.
Another popular method is affiliate marketing. You can promote different products related to the topic you are writing on your blog & make money from each sale that happens through your blog.
It’s Time to Choose Your Path and Finally Make Money Writing
Just stop for a moment and ask yourself:
“Am I sabotaging my writing dream by refusing to get real about the how?”
Because you know what… I’m tired of seeing talented writers stuck in lives they don’t love.
So the dreaming stops here — it’s time to decide once and for all.
Are you truly serious about writing for a living, or is it just an idle fantasy to cheer you up when your regular, fulltime job gets you down?
If you are serious, then decide: which of these nine paths above will you follow? Writing articles for money as a content writer? Content marketing? Becoming an authorpreneur? Copywriting? Or starting a niche blog? Write a ebook.
If none of them feels like an exact fit, don’t worry, that’s normal. Pick whichever one’s the closest and try it on for size. Any discomfort is just the price of getting real.
Got one? Excellent.
Let’s turn your perfect dream into an imperfect reality — one where you’re making enough money as a writer to support yourself, and then some…
Just picture the faces of your family and friends when they find out. 🙂