You mean, you make so much money from freelance writing?”
“How? Who pays hundreds of dollars for publishable essays, stories and poetry?”
“Investors do pay for these services.” At this point, I am scratching my head and thinking about all the jobs one can get with creative writing.
“Seriously, where do you find these people?”
Every successful freelance writer has held a similar conversation with a budding writer who is still trying to learn the ropes of freelance writing.
Before I ventured into writing for a living, I asked these questions too. How do freelance writers get paid? I was ready to type out as many original texts as a client could pay for. All I wanted were guidelines, a list of paying markets, and free online courses (because of course, courses and certifications increase a professionals chance at success.) With a lot of research, determination and hard work, I earned my first $1000 from writing full-time.
You don’t have to settle for a life of poverty. It is possible to do what you love and still earn a ton of cash. Before I outline and enumerate the ways every serious scribbler can make a living from writing online in the 21st century, I would like to list the mistakes to avoid. Below are the three most common ways that seldom (or never) fetch creative writers any money.
Money-Making Strategies That No Longer Work For Writers
1. Launching A Site That Is Heavily Dependent On The Text Link Or Banner Adverts
Don’t be fooled by the many glittering banner ads flashing on millionaire bloggers’ site. Banner or text links ads seldom rake in any cash for the popular bloggers. Yes.
Believe it or not, advertisers insist on paying click. Other investors won’t pay any more than $10 – $20 per thousand visitors. This means you can only earn between $.01 – $.02 every time the post is viewed.
You’ll need to get a huge amount to traffic to make a substantial income from your banner ads. If your site attracts so many visitors perhaps, you should be selling your own goods and services. You’ll definitely make more money than you would earn from displaying ads. This is one reason you need to choose a niche for yourself and work hard to build a large social media following. Be an expert in something and make sure your blog focuses on that.
2. Traditional publishing (Relying Solely On Book Sales, Prize Awards and Royalties)
Most writers start out with Chimamanda Adichie- envy or J.K. Rowling-envy (psychologists have diagnosed this disease in many writers). Imagine that manuscript getting the attention of one of the Big 5 publishers, a six-figure advance and a movie deal. You’ll never be poor in your life.
You might be right. But what if things work out differently and your manuscript becomes part of the 99% that doesn’t sell more than 1000 copies? How will you pay your bills then? Am I saying you should throw away your manuscript or delete it from your PC? No.
Don’t jettison your dream of becoming a renowned writer just because the royalties may never amount to much. You have to adopt a different mindset. The business of writing is a large and complicated one. Publishing a book is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end. This means that publishing will open up other money-making avenues available to writers which brings me to my new subheading
Top 3 Easy Ways To Earn A Living From Writing
1. Teach Online or Offline Courses Or Both
One of the main reasons why talented writers get MFAs or PhDs is so that they can increase their options.
Teaching courses or workshops is one easy way to do this. Many writers say they hate teaching. If you’re one of them, then move on to the next point. If you have no qualms with teaching, read on.
Many big writers on the continent are making their names as writing coaches. You could make a living by providing webinars, offline workshops and ebooks for budding writers. If you have a website, you could offer critiquing and editing services for a fee.
Consider how much you will make if 10 students signed up for a 4-week online course? Let’s say you charged $100 per student, you’ll make $1000 at the end of the month. As the classes become more popular, you could charge more and handle larger classes.
2. Join A Freelance Hiring Platform
You’ve never heard of these online platforms for freelancers? Gosh, where have you been?
Several online hiring sites have created a safe platform for clients and freelancers. The most popular of these include Upwork (Formerly known as Elance and Jolance), Fiverr, Freelancer.com, Problogger and so on. Thousands of freelance writers get jobs to write web content, sponsored posts and even novels for clients from all over the world. Scriptwriters, songwriters and playwrights also get hired on these platforms too.
Most of these sites insist on approving the profiles of only qualified writers. This means you’ll have to prove that you’re worth your salt. It wouldn’t hurt to take a few free online writing courses or workshops so that you can present your certification as proof that you can write high premium articles.
Check out these platforms. You’ll probably get more amazing gigs than you ever imagined possible.
3. Send Out Entries To Writing Contests and Calls For Submissions
There are hundreds of thousands of creative writing competitions, scholarships, grants and paying opportunities for writers. All you have to do is send the editors a well-written submission.
There are very many legitimate free-to-enter online contests. Start with Creative Writing News’ free-to-enter opportunities for writers and you’ll get updates whenever there is a new call for submission. Most contests award writers a ton of money and you’ll never know when you’ll get lucky.
Plus, if you don’t enter the lottery, how can you win?
The internet has changed things. The idea of poverty-stricken writers gnashing their teeth on bug-ridden beds is a thing of the past.
With the aforementioned ideas, you can start getting a few jobs. Don’t be scared. We all had to start somewhere. Be willing to make your mistakes and learn from them. But don’t forget to read voraciously. Reading is the only way to build your writing skills.
Finally, treat your writing career seriously. If you treat it as a hobby, it will pay like one.
Please tell us how you earned your first substantial sum from writing in the comments section.