Online Opportunities Abound for Creative Writers
Where can a creative writer make money on-line?
That depends upon your interests, the topics you write about and your skill as a writer. Be realistic when you assess your best options. By specializing in a few topics, you can create a following among readers and can provide articles that impress editors.
As with any other field of endeavor, it takes diligence. Decide how many hours a day you are going to put into writing, editing, searching for jobs or publications and sending out submissions. Then do it. Stephen King calls this "butt glue," as in sitting in your chair and working hard.
Once you've defined your interests and put together a package extolling your virtues, begin your search.
1) Use a search engine to find sites or publications that match your area of expertise or interest. That will be different for each person. With any luck, you'll find too many sites to visit. Make the effort anyway. Visit ten or twenty a day. If you seem to share their vision, send your email package, but only include the parts they ask for under their submission guidelines. Too much information is a waste of an editor's time. The worst that will happen is that you won't receive a reply, or you will be turned down. That's okay. It helps you rule that site out.
2) Don't ignore sites that aren't advertising for writers because every site has to be written by someone. Some of my best gigs have been writing for businesses that are aimed at my field of expertise rather than publications that cater to the same field. Catalog writing is lucrative too, but you have to know their products.
3) Consider offbeat venues. Greeting card companies need writers as do a wealth of others who sell words to the public. I used to write for a company that bought short shorts to record for their phone subscribers. Subscribers could listen to my fiction while they were in line, on the subway or wherever they spent idle time. A coffee company bought short shorts to feature on their coffee cans. The possibilities are endless if you are willing to be creative in where you want to sell your writing.
4) Join a discussion list or forum with job opportunities for writers. I prefer email lists because the information comes to me, and I don't waste time. My favorite lists are:
Paying Writer Jobs
Work For Writers
I'm not interested in a lot of the jobs listed, but I've received a lot of money by responding to interesting posts on these lists. I'm sure there are other discussion lists and forums that will provide the same function. Look for them on the sites you like to visit.
5) Check out anthologies. Anthologies are popular and only require a short essay. Every editor provides the theme of the anthology and the word length. It's up to you to get creative within their parameters. Keep in mind that the time between acceptance and payment can be quite a while because most anthologies don't pay until the book is actually published.
6) Scan the help wanted ads. Even if you don't want a steady job, you can find places to publish by keeping an eye out for ads for editorial jobs. I've found magazines in my areas of interests by reading the help wanted ads. I didn't apply for the jobs, but I did send in submissions after reviewing their editorial needs.
7) Look for a writer who needs help meeting her deadlines. Sometimes a writer gets swamped under with work. The worst thing for a writer to do is miss their deadline, so it makes sense to hire an assistant to get the work out. Sometimes these jobs are only temporary. Other times they are long term. Either way, it's money in the bank and a good job reference.
8) Consider contests. Take a chance on yourself by entering your best work. You might not win, but if you do, the prize money is yours and you retain the copyright so you can still sell the piece elsewhere.
9) Look for content rich sites that rely upon writers to attract viewers. Associated Content, About.com and Examiner come to mind. There are others. Authors on the discussion lists in #4 can usually give advice on how to get accepted and whether the site is worth the effort.
10) Create your own blog. While this doesn't directly put money into your pocket at first, attracting a following will. The more hits and followers you acquire, the easier it will be to get paying gigs. Make sure your blog is about the topics you want to write about. You'll be building a public portfolio and can even use the same material by rewriting it for a different venue.
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