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Make Money Writing Fiction Online

Updated on September 29, 2013

Online fiction writers often offer their work to the public for free. Some people are fine with it, as long as they get their writing and stories out. Others wish they were able to earn from it, so here are some ways to make money writing fiction online.

Online publishers want short fiction.

If you wish to make money writing fiction online, it's best to put your epic novel ideas aside and get ready for some short story action. In fact, many online fiction publications are in high need of flash fiction.

Flash fiction stories are less than 1,000 words long.

Characterized by a lack of exposition, flash fiction stories jump right into the middle of things from the very first sentence. Chances of such stories being accepted by online fiction publishers are higher than for longer works.

Look for professional markets first.

Even if you don't have much faith in your writing, it's best to start with online fiction markets that pay the best rates. Even if your story isn’t accepted, you’ll know you tried. Online and offline publications can be roughly divided into mainstream and genre fiction, each made up by dozens of genres and sub-genres. Before sending your story to a publisher, determine which genre it belongs to.

Earn $40 or more per 1,000 words.

While some fiction markets offer token payments of less than 1 cent per word, most publishers pay starting from 4 cents per word for works of fiction that manage to go through the editor. Besides, that's the best way to get your name on the radar.

All currently available publications, sorted by requirements, payment rates and response times, can be found on the online fiction market database Duotrope.

You can publish fiction yourself.

If your short stories aren’t accepted by any of the paying markets, it's no reason to give up on making money from writing fiction. Several self-published fiction authors have achieved success on their own, despite the difficulties that path can present. Before you decide between selling ebooks and earning money from ads, get familiar with your readers.

Know your audience.

Short stories won't earn you any money unless somebody reads them. Internet users tend to like shorter fiction, but there are those who prefer longer works too. Some readers are accustomed to buying fiction for their Kindle, but others will only read it for free.

Study the people who are interested in your work and learn which monetization strategy will suit your fiction best out of all possibilities. Find a comfortable niche and go with it.

Success is rare among self-published authors.

Successful authors make the industry seem like one big success story, but in reality, very few people make it past their first published book and those who do are often faced by even more disappointments on their way.

According to a recent article by Guardian, half of self-published writers earned less than $500 in 2011.

That's only $500 in a year.

Then again, most self-published authors probably do not exert the kind of effort that could ensure a long-term financial success of their endeavors, so these statistics are not unexpected and should not discourage aspiring fiction writers from trying to break into the business.

You need to find your motivation and focus on it.

Don't give up on writing.

Writing fiction is hard, self-published writers will have an even harder time doing it and achieving financial success by writing genre fiction will be the hardest. Always be prepared to make adjustments to your work, no matter how determined you were to do things your way.

Unless you know where you stand as a writer and who your readers are, the chances of your success in this business will remain slim. Embrace criticism with open heart, find your style and earn money writing fiction online.


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    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E. Franklin 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I've written a little fiction without ever getting serious about it. Your hub provides inspiration. If I keep reading things like this, maybe one day I will get serious!

    • ieschiefengineer profile image

      Satendra Kumar 3 years ago from India

      Very nice hub and very useful information. Thank you Andera for sharing


    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      Andera, thanks for the tip about Duotrope. I love to write short fiction, but I've been holding back stories because they don't seem to do well on HP. Voted up.

    • Kalmiya profile image

      Kalmiya 3 years ago from North America

      Thanks very much for this tip which I'm going to check out. As a self-published author (under Kristin Ravelle on Amazon), I find it's hard to get going unless you do a LOT of social networking. Hopefully Duotrope has some more options!

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you for this highly informative and helpful article on earning through fiction. I have yet to try flash fiction, but will certainly give it a go this time:)

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Andera... filled with great information... thanks for all the hard work you have put into this... well done... voted up.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I have submitted my stories in lots of online magazines,but have never found luck. I will surely check Duotrope.

      Thanks for this comprehensive article on fiction writing markets.

    • Chris Neal profile image

      Chris Neal 5 years ago from Fishers, IN

      Voted up, useful and interesting. Especially appreciate the heads-up on Duotrope.

      Thank you!

    • Jill C Peebles profile image

      Jill C Peebles 5 years ago from Lawrence, Kansas USA

      A very informative hub on writing fiction online and making money. I learned a lot, and I am glad to have found this hub!!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I found this hub very interesting and it is something I think I may look into. I just don't have the confidence yet. This did get me thinking about it.

      Voting this up.

    • Bcollins9 profile image

      Bcollins9 5 years ago from Texas

      I don't plan on being self published or to publish on the internet. Well not anything I expect to make me money. However it was an interesting read.

    • cherrycrime26 profile image

      January Moon 5 years ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

      Thanks for the info, wonderful Hub, I will be looking into things, voted up.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Great Hub with lots of useful information about publishing fiction. Will check out your link. Thanks.

    • BTACozyn profile image

      BTACozyn 5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Hi Andera, Nice article.

      I enjoy writing and just back into it.

      Thank you

    • slcockerham profile image

      slcockerham 5 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      Andera, Thanks for the great hub, good tip on Duotrope!

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Perfect timing, Andera. I've been waiting for a muse to get me to collect these ideas dancing freely in my head and make them into a story. Thanks for the information, and thanks for the follow.

    • jeanihess profile image

      jeanihess 5 years ago from Cape Town South Africa

      Interesting. I might try this:)

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 5 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      This is interesting. I have published fiction on Hubpages, and not made money. The idea of selling very short stories is quite appealing - thanks for the idea.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 5 years ago from SW England

      Interesting hub. Useful information and encouraging for those who want to try. voted up and useful. Thanks for the follow

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

      again Andera clear easy to follow.. you'd make it big in advertising..:) thanks for the tips Frank

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Danger, danger, Will Robinson! Self-publication equates to you paying the publisher! I have several trying to grab me through my initial ignornace. I don't know about you, but I want to be paid to publish, not the other way around! Do your research before you commit.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Self Publication sounds like an interesting concept. This hub is interesting as well. We always have so much to learn. Voted this up, interesting and useful.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Great information.. I love to write poems and fiction.. etc. so this is right up my line.. I will share this on Facebook..

      are you on Facebook?

      I am Deborah Brooks Langford

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Thank you so much for the information! I will have to look at Duotrope--

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Andera, thanks for sharing the information. I will look into duotrope as well. Voted up and sharing.

    • BTACozyn profile image

      BTACozyn 5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I would like to be a part of this as well.

      It's great using your imagination and letting everyone see your work, especially when they enjoy it.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      This was a first rate article I can't wait to check into this!

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

      ThoughtSandwiches 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada


      I would be thrilled at the prospect of actually making money on some of these scribbles of mine. Thanks for the heads-up on Duotrope...I'm going to check that out!


    • Tillie's Tales profile image

      Tillie's Tales 5 years ago from India

      This is useful information Andera, thanks.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Interesting info here. I will look at Duotrope for sure.

    • profile image

      ksinll 5 years ago

      Good topic and useful information.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Andera, I am so thankful you found me! As you know, I am now also a follower of yours.

      The information you provide in your hubs is vital to an internet freelance newbie such as myself. I will definitely look into Duotrope.

      What a gem you are! The timing in our connecting is amazing. You seem to have the guidance I need. I must have prayed in my sleep because I've been given a creative angel!