write to write not to sell, and make a living at the same time - How ?

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  1. kiigeorge profile image60
    kiigeorgeposted 12 years ago

    If your inclined to write articles about what you want ..

    for the pleasure of writing,
    for the pleasure of learning as you write,
    for the pleasure of expressing yourself,
    for the pleasure of discovering as you write
    for the pleasure of developing your language
    for the pleasure of writing about, discussing and exploring ideas 
    for the pleasure of communicating through words, to an audience out  there somewhere ..

    rather than writing to sell -
    and absolutely no judgement implied in that .. there's nothing wrong with writing to sell ( ethically - that is ) but if your just coming from another place .. AND you still want to, need to, make a living from your writing,

    and by make a living i mean " enough to pay the bills, not just extra change to feed the cat "


    ( wish we had an italics option by the way )

    If anyone is actually doing this and would like to write a few words, i would love to read them, and is suspect there will be others who would like to as well. Or perhaps like me, you have a question or an experience to relate ? Maybe your someone who is not quite there yet, but is on the way and can offer some insights ? that would be great.

    And here's another possibility. maybe i'm on the wrong railway tracks altogether ? Maybe there's something i'm just not seeing? Maybe i have the wrong paradigm and you can offer a little insight that just shifts the goal posts ! Wow that would be something.

    Its important i think to keep asking questions and to keep seeking.

    Meanwhile, to get the ball rolling, i'm going to eye-pick a few relevant quotes on the subject, written by wiser more experienced heads than mine, and post them below. I really do think what they have to say, is worth noting and underlining again.

    They were not addressing me by the way, i was just there reading and learning.

    " your content may be hard-hitting but it's also topical.  You're up against news sites and financial sites with huge clout, whose sites have enormous credibility with Google.  So their results are always going to get presented to searchers long before yours.

    If you're always on the back pages of Google, you will never get much traffic.  And even if you did, what does someone want to buy if they're searching for articles on the Tea Party?  Nothing.  They're looking for opinion, so they have no motive to click on your ads "  Mariisa Wright

    " Content is king, but as others have pointed out, your content is just a little Post-it note in a mountain of paper.

    You seem to want to write about politics.  Given good writing, time and a little luck, you could be moderately successful at that.  But it will take many more hubs, much more time and - again - some luck.

    I have a niche site that is thirteen years old, has approximately 7,000 posts on it, gets a quarter million page views per month, mostly from Google and it earns about $1,000 a month from ads. 

    That's all.  It's a tough business.  Content is king, but the king doesn't always have a gold crown "  PCunix

    " Google has no way to asses quality content, so if you want to get all your traffic from them then quality content is not enough on its own - you also have to make it search engine optimized and it has to be on topics where you aren't competing directly with multi-billion pound media empires like Marissa says.

    But if you don't want to do that, then quality content can get traffic from other places, such as building up a readerships from hubbers and from social media sites.

    People are increasingly finding online content though friends rather than search engines, particularly certain types  of content such as news and politics related stuff. Maybe you should focus on this instead of google "  Kephrira

    Excellent stuff in my opinion .. and here's the link to that particular forum thread  http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/49235

  2. profile image0
    Website Examinerposted 12 years ago

    First of all, you have to be good enough to become a professional writer - i.e. making significant income by selling your work. Most professional writers, including many published book authors, choose to supplement their income by working as an editor, consultant, ghostwriter, and so on.

    1. kiigeorge profile image60
      kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      thanks for that Website Examiner , it's a good point " being good enough " for the market.

      but i'm hoping to find ways where control goes back into the writers, the artists, the individuals hands, not more of  the " gun  for Hire " scenario.

      Plus if you do the jobs you mention, your not really setting the agenda,  writing what you choose to write about.

      1. profile image0
        Website Examinerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Such ventures do exist, like co-op publishing ventures that usually require an investment from the authors.

        The professional writers I know who work this way are no less productive than their peers - they even find this kind of work rewarding. Assisting other writers may help you improve upon your skills.

        Finally, let me add that to make it in the business, one should set aside hours each day to query and submit manuscripts. Many aspiring pro-writers neglect doing this.

        1. kiigeorge profile image60
          kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          yes of course .. they might even have an interest in the content .. like any other employed work. cant imagine they would do it for long, if they had no interest.

          For example don't edit a fashion magazine, if  you have no interest in fashion.
          Well you wouldn't get the gig in the first place, anyways

  3. Dolores Monet profile image93
    Dolores Monetposted 12 years ago

    Writing what you like is fun. But if you actually want people to read what you write, whether it's a book or online articles, you have to write what people want to read. Expressing yourself is great, but if nobody reads it, you might as well just scribble away in a journal.

    1. kiigeorge profile image60
      kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      yes, youv'e got  to write with a market in mind. An active market . Travel for example. Can't be in a vacuum. So choose a market. Good

  4. relache profile image73
    relacheposted 12 years ago

    I write about whatever I feel like, mostly based on interests I have in my life or hobbies/things I do, without taking necessarily taking a sales angle, or doing much marketing, and it does pay the bills.  But I can't say why such a random method works for me and not for others. 

    Part of it probably stems from the fact I've had the benefit of a good education, having had to do a lot of writing stemming back to junior high school.  Part of it was a lot of jobs where I had the task of explaining how things work to others, or having to do customer service related to retail.  And part of it undoubtedly is connected to the fact that I live a simpler lifestyle and thus my financial needs are less than most.

    1. Pcunix profile image93
      Pcunixposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I have the advantage of being a high school dropout and, like you, we live a simpler life than most who surround us.

  5. profile image0
    Nelle Hoxieposted 12 years ago

    I don't believe that for 99.5% of people it is possible "to write to write not to sell and make a living at the same time."

    It's one of the cruel myths of the internet (along with passive income) that you can write about what you want, when you want to and make a living.

    I live in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country and have the expenses to match. It didn't start out that way, our flip-flop laid back lifestyle has been co-opted by the rich and famous. But like Relache I have a solid education and that's let me adapt.

    I have written tens of thousands of pages of web content, most of it not at Hubpages, interesting and entertaining doesn't pay the bills.

    1. kiigeorge profile image60
      kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      always love your realistic down to earth pull no punches approach Nelle.

      I actually don't mean writing that  "absolutely " does not have a selling element to it, i mean id like to avoid the kind of writing most of the time ( don't mind it some times )  where the emphasis is squarely on selling a product. Not that there's anything wrong with that, as i keep saying.

      this is also informative '" I have written tens of thousands of pages of web content, most of it not at Hubpages "

      and you mean literally tens of thousands of pages ?  i better get busy ! thanks for dropping by Nelle.

      1. Marisa Wright profile image89
        Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I never write with the emphasis squarely on selling a product.  Actually, I've done it on a couple of Hubs, but it's not my normal approach.  I write about the subject, then try to think what I can advertise that's directly related.  Then I may tweak a paragraph or two to refer to the ad. 

        I accept that won't make me money like Nelle or Misha.  I only make around $250 a month from my Hubs.  At the same time, if I was doing this full-time I would have a lot more Hubs, and the income would be more worthwhile.

        1. kiigeorge profile image60
          kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          thanks for sharing Marisa

          its always great when people add some figures, how may articles they write in week or whatever  ..

          thank you

          1. Marisa Wright profile image89
            Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Just for completeness, then - for my first couple of years on HubPages, I averaged about one Hub per fortnight.

            This year I took part in a 30 Day Challenge and the 60 Day Challenge, so for a couple of months I was writing one Hub a day.  That more than doubled my Hub total, but I haven't added many since.  Most of my current income comes from the older Hubs, not the recent ones.

            1. kiigeorge profile image60
              kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

              thanks Marisa
              the  30 day challenge is pretty informative. Ive been watching the videos. Bunch of clever Aussie guys who know their stuff well. Their solidly into the niche selling model of course.  Lots to learn from that.

              on this issue of volume, Nelle says
              "  I have written tens of thousands of pages of web content "

              Wow ! maybe that's ( partly ) what it takes to make a living from this gig - among other things.

              This is what i'm hoping to do - build a realistic idea of what's required, and then go about it strategically, relatively efficiently, with a strategy in mind, because time  IS  precious

              1. Marisa Wright profile image89
                Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

                That's why I'm so impressed that someone like Nelle, with so much experience, likes HubPages so much.

                1. kiigeorge profile image60
                  kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

                  yes but she also adds " most of is not on Hub pages "

                  maybe  that is changing ? Hubs is one part of the strategy, but becoming more important ?

                  Nelle ?

  6. Shadesbreath profile image81
    Shadesbreathposted 12 years ago

    You do have the option of italics.  It works like this, isn't that lovely and you can do bold as well, etc.  Click formatting tips for how when you are typing a response.

    1. kiigeorge profile image60
      kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      thanks Shadesbreath - will investigate

  7. Pcunix profile image93
    Pcunixposted 12 years ago

    I make my living doing what I want.  Part of that living (appx $1,000/ m) is from writing and I definitely write whatever I want.  My "secret" is massive volume and longetivity, nothing more.  I started writing on the Web  in 1991 and 7,000 or so posts later, I am still at it.   YMMV.

    1. kiigeorge profile image60
      kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for that PCunix -- 

      " massive volume and longevity "  Would you like to give a ball park on volume. How many articles are you writing daily or weekly for instance ?

      1. Pcunix profile image93
        Pcunixposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Roughly one per day.  Just look at the stats under peoples icons and divide the hubs by the time they have been here.

        Back at the main site, it is about 7,000 posts over 13 years.  Some of those are short, though, and a few thousand are not mine - it is probably about 5,000 that are mine.  So again, roughly one a day.

        I write every day except when I don't :-)  What I mean is that it is something I enjoy, but not a compulsion.  I can look back and find many months where I did maybe one post a week and others where I cranked out 50 or 60.  If I have nothing to say, that is what I say.

        1. kiigeorge profile image60
          kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          thanks PC  .. like it
          " I write every day except when I don't "

    2. Marisa Wright profile image89
      Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Pcunix, I think another of your secrets is that you happen to love writing about a topic that makes a reasonable niche. 

      Take Bgamall - he loves politics and current affairs.  But if he writes about that, he's always up against the newspapers, who are so much bigger and have so much better resources, so he will have to be spectacularly good at it to make any impact.

      Or consider Brie Hoffman, who loves to write about religion.  She may get readers, but is it a subject that will make money from advertising?  Is it a subject she can sell an ebook about? Probably not.

      I do think that's Relache's secret - she happens to love explaining things to people.  And she also happens to love writing about some hot topics like tattoos. Plus she's a good writer!

      1. kiigeorge profile image60
        kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        good point Marisa

  8. Fiction Teller profile image61
    Fiction Tellerposted 12 years ago


    I get what you're saying - sort of.  You're drawing a distinction between writing for love and writing to sell.

    But those aren't mutually exclusive.  I write hubs to sell, but for exactly those reasons you list - otherwise, I'd be doing something else.

    What I mean is, a writer can put all that desire to express himself and explore the language and ideas into writing about espresso machines.  He really can - especially if he's creative.

    Perhaps you could explore more creative ways to sell?  It doesn't have to be what you see every day.

    Is it a moral issue with you?  It is with a lot of folks.  There's no inherent virtue in writing purely for enjoyment or writing something esoteric, however.  Writing is only as good as its ability to communicate and move people.  Even when you sell, you can move people the way you want.  You don't have to sell something you don't believe in.

    And writing to sell isn't a cop-out - not unless you believe that earning money through work is a cop-out (and some admittedly do).  It's being a professional writer, or teaching yourself to be one.  Writing online to sell hones your skills enormously.  It forces you to explore the power of language and ruthlessly cut things that don't work.  It's incredibly challenging, largely because you're writing for both people and search engines.  Much easier to write just for people.  Easier still, but not nearly as rewarding, to write just for yourself.

    But if you're asking can entertainment-based writing rather than product-based writing be profitable online - yes.  Most definitely.  If you're asking how - I don't know.  Nobody's done it yet very well.  Lots have tried, but nobody's really come up with a business model, but it's only a matter of time. Once the technology is there - for example, the advertising infrastructure, or the ability to do micro-payments - it will happen.

    And who knows, you may be the first...!

    1. kiigeorge profile image60
      kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      very good Fiction Teller - thanks for all that

      loved the way you brought  in as a  little surprise, the " espresso machine "

      good point - writing for love and writing to sell are not mutually exclusive. Good to underline it.

      " Perhaps you could explore more creative ways to sell?  It doesn't have to be what you see every day "  is an intriguing idea - and could be what i'm looking for - would like to read more ideas about that, more concrete ideas.

      I started reading about the possibilities on the biz pages side of Facebook last night for example ( as opposed to the personal page side of it ) building yourself as a brand etc. Worth looking at and thinking about.

      No i don't have an issue with writing to sell. I thought i made that clear, and no, writing to sell is not a cop out, its called " making an honest living " as long as its ethical. Its just that personally i'd get much more out of  writing about audio books for instance, than writing about mens electric razors !  Espresso machines on the other hand, could be more romantic, than razors.

      Entertainment? well not only, but entertainment is fun. Travel would also be fun. Cool electronic gadgets would also be fun, and i think there ARE business models and business example out there. Plenty of them on successful blogs with readerships of 40,000 per month and much better, like 40, 000 per day for instance. The business model is simple. With readerships like that, you sell advertising space directly

      Would you like to expand on the micro payment idea and where you see that going, potentially? There are relative micro payments now through paypal and the like, but your talking about cents? right ? do you think the landscape will change radically through micro payments ? Im not sure.

      1. Fiction Teller profile image61
        Fiction Tellerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Hi kiigeorge,

        When I say entertainment-based writing, I don't mean writing about entertainment products - I mean writing that's meant to entertain instead of centering around a problem or product.  Fiction, or essays, or humor, or news, that kind of thing.

        You can write about gadgets and travel and books and stuff like that and make money.  What there's no current business model for is how to make money from digitally transmitted media meant purely to entertain - music, movies, stories, etc.  It's a problem the news media specifically is wrestling with right now, but it's all the same problem - how to make people pay for entertainment they can get for free.

        One potential of micro-payments is this: While your average person seeking entertainment online has trouble bringing himself to pay traditional prices for stuff he can get elsewhere for free, there's some reason to think he'd be willing to pay very small amounts - say, a nickel instead of ten dollars - to read, say, a novel - especially if he wanted to encourage the writer/artist to keep producing material.  Micro-payments make sense, as there's no need to pay for supplies or the large overhead costs of a producer/publisher - especially if you self-produce your own work, which is getting easier to do daily, it seems. 

        If there were the infrastructure to market your own work, and provide a trustworthy ratings system to a worldwide market, creative people could do very well with some entertainment-based writing.

        1. kiigeorge profile image60
          kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          thanks for clarifying that Fiction Teller ..
          i'll take that in before i give a response.

          So given your handle is " Fiction Teller"  .. your writing mostly fiction ? where can i read some ?  Be interested to read.

  9. profile image0
    Website Examinerposted 12 years ago

    Intelligent response, Fiction Teller.

  10. Pcunix profile image93
    Pcunixposted 12 years ago

    You may not realize this, but Adsense did not begin until 2003.  That is when I started with it.  The website was active since 1997. 

    My website posts were basically to attract potential customers.  Making money from ads was a surprise and a bonus.

    1. kiigeorge profile image60
      kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      did things change significantly because of adsense ? 50% ?  30% 70% ?

      1. Pcunix profile image93
        Pcunixposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Sorry, I do not understand the question.  Nothing changed except I was getting money from ads where before I was not.

        1. kiigeorge profile image60
          kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          thats the change .. was it a significant change for you PC ?

          1. Pcunix profile image93
            Pcunixposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Well, $1,000 a month is not insignificant, but until I started moving into retirement, it was not a large part of my income.  In the next decade, it will be more important to me.

            1. kiigeorge profile image60
              kiigeorgeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

              thanks for sharing PC .. have a great day

  11. Pcunix profile image93
    Pcunixposted 12 years ago

    I think the only way micropayments can work is if ISP's collect fees and pay them out much like radio stations pay for the music they play - the ISP pays for their customers access to content.

  12. Fiction Teller profile image61
    Fiction Tellerposted 12 years ago


    I don't write much fiction these days.  If you want to read something rather blah and depressing, though, read my one short story on this profile.  I'm very bad at artsy literary stuff. Better at genre stuff.  Not bad at all at kids' stuff.  But the live kid in my life precludes READING fiction, let alone the kind of attention span I need to do it, myself. smile


    You may be right.  Money's going more and more online, though.  Maybe the banks will all topple, and cash stops being used, leaving only PayPal or debit accounts, and we can all pay for everything digitally, and payments of a few pennies here and there won't be any big deal.  What the world will look like in twenty years boggles the mind.


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