There are many ways to make money as a writer. This article will focus primarily on independent, self-employed, internet-based writing. Basically, what we’re talking about here is making some money blogging and self-publishing books at vendors like Amazon and Lulu.
First, decide how serious you are about this. Making a little extra sauce on the side is extremely easy to do. I kinda feel sorry for those who have the ability to write but aren’t making any money for it. The giant ATM is out there, and it accepts words. Pulling a few hundred dollars a month in as a writer is something that any writer can achieve in just a few months of effort. For that, all you have to do is self-publish a very short book or two with a professional company like Archangel Ink.
But to really do well, enough to quit doing whatever it is you do for money currently, it does take quite a bit of steady dedication. Most of this steady effort and dedication should be done to develop your online presence. Online presence and an audience both at your website and in social media, is a powerful driver of the sales of your books, as well as the sale of affiliate products, advertising space, and more as discussed in How to Make Money Blogging.
The result of all this dedication should be:
- Web traffic, popularity, subscribers, and good contacts
- Lots of books, articles, and social media posts
Volume is huge in today’s internet self-publishing Wild West. Write lots of articles and there are lots of opportunities to hook an interested reader that will start following your work regularly. It’s also an opportunity to show up in search engines and get traffic every day from all over the world through Bing, Google, and others. In each of these articles you can promote your books, capture readers, and also sell other products and services as an affiliate as described towards the end of THIS ARTICLE.
Volume is also key with book writing. Books don’t need to be 500-page tomes in the modern self-publishing era. In fact, you would likely make a lot more money by breaking that 500-pager into 10 50-pagers, releasing a fresh volume every 3 months over the span of 2 1/2 years. With an internet buy, a book looks like a book if it has a cover and a description. Thickness doesn’t matter much. And you can price a 50-pager a lot cheaper than the rest of the competition and shine.
Plus, new stuff is key if you are building up a web presence and following on the side. I have put 15 different books on Amazon to date representing 5 years of steady work. The average book I’ve written is only about 70 pages in a word document, or roughly 35,000 words. The more I’ve learned about Amazon the shorter my books have gotten!
Writing several has also enabled me to put bundles together for sale on my site, fetching $59.95 for the whole collection, which I’ve sold nearly a thousand of. And, in accumulating an audience with the 700 posts and 15 books I’ve written (by the way, I started 7 years ago so that’s about two short articles a week and two short books a year – totally manageable), I also have a steady stream of people that come to me for paid consultations.
Putting out a bunch of content and being persistent has also landed me more than ten online interviews/podcasts, more than a dozen guest post opportunities, participation in online events where I’ve made thousands of dollars, and a few major public speaking events as well (where I sold hardcopies of my books and t-shirts at a booth at one conference). Writing isn’t just “write this and here’s a paycheck” anymore. Writing, for me, has led to about 25 total revenue streams with more coming in the future, none of which is hard, or complicated, to achieve.
You just have to like writing and do a lot of it. The hardest part is getting started. Oh, you worried you’re not good enough? If you write 700 articles and 15 books, you’ll get good at it (and fast). Quality isn’t even a concern. It’s only a concern for those who don’t write and try to nail it before they’ve really laid the groundwork mastering their craft.
How long will it take and how much money will you make? I consider $2,000/month to be a base survival salary and anything over 6 figures annually to be royally “making it.” If you give it your best shot, it shouldn’t take more than two years to achieve a base survival salary writing, and no more than 5 years to really “make it.” I was a slow learner. It took me 7! Looking back at all the mistakes I made, it was like I was trying NOT to make it haha.
That’s all from me on this topic. For more information on making money as a writer, and to help you avoid some rookie mistakes, consider working with my partner Rob and I at Archangel Ink to get off on the right foot. Listen to our welcome video HERE and fill out the Contact Us form to get started.
Matt Stone is a successful self-published author of more than 15 books and co-founder of Archangel Ink. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time helping independent authors distribute, market, and successfully sell their books.