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Make Money as a Writer by Diversifying Your Efforts
How Many Times Have I Heard This Question?
How do I make money as a writer?
I can tell you with no uncertainty that I would be rich if I received a dollar for every time I was asked that question. The problem with that question, however, is that there are too many correct answers.
Listen, this isn’t the old days. Back when I was a young whipper-snapper, a writer could only make money by copywriting, writing for mags or newspapers, or having a book published. Today there are infinitely more options to choose from for a writer, and that is exciting news.
Still, it is hard work, and it is especially difficult if you are just starting out on this journey.
I have written before about how to become a freelance writer, so I won’t beat a dead horse and cover that information again. I will just quickly summarize that being a freelance writer consists of declaring yourself to be a freelance writer, and then acting like one. Most definitely you need some writing skills, but you also need what I like to call stage presence.
You need to begin building your writing platform. You need to start compiling a body of written work. You need to start thinking and acting like a writer, and you need to treat writing like the business that it is. Once you have done those things, then you can start out in search of the big bucks….or at least enough little bucks to pay a few bills.
And that leads us to the purpose of this article, namely all of the different opportunities that are out there waiting for you, and why you should avail yourself of as many of those as possible.
The Writing Industry Is in a State of Fluctuation
Just ask any traditional publishing firm, or newspaper editor, and they will verify the truth in that sub-heading. The industry has even drastically changed since I began three years ago, and I would venture to guess there are more changes in store in the near future.
Traditional publishing is reeling from the effects of ebooks. Traditional newspapers are reeling from the effects of online newspapers. Even the content mills are having trouble determining whether to concentrate on keywords or content. Nobody is really sure which of these changes are long-term and which are short-term, and nobody for sure knows what new changes we will see in the coming years.
With that kind of uncertainty in the writing marketplace, I would submit to you that it might be a bit risky to put all of your eggs in one proverbial basket.
Your Options Are Many
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on all of your options. A short list of ways to make money as a writer would include:
- Content mills
- Publishing ebooks
- Traditional publishing
- Magazines hard copy
- Magazines online
- Newspapers hard copy
- Newspapers online
- Press releases
- Speech writing
- Business correspondence
- Website entries
- Grant writing
- Teach writing classes
And that is just scratching the surface. In each category there are thousands of people making a good income, and many more who at least make some income.
You might as well be one of them!
A Word of Warning
If you are waiting for someone to contact you and offer you money as a writer, you are in for a long, long wait.
None of this happens overnight, and none of it happens without your active participation.
If you truly want to make money as a writer, then the amount you make is up to you, and it will be determined by the amount of effort that you invest. I cannot understate that fact. Treat your writing business like a business, and invest your time and effort into your business.
A Simple Example of Diversification
I’m going to keep this very simple so that all will understand.
There are many online writing communities, like HubPages, that pay you money for writing articles on their sites. There are also advertisers who will pay you money to let them advertise on your blog.
Do both! Write for HubPages or a similar site, and start your own blog.
And then interact like crazy with other writers, and write excellent content.
That is Diversification 101.
About a year ago there was some uproar over Google, or some Panda, or whatever. The final outcome was that passive earnings dipped drastically on some sites like HubPages, and the uproar could be heard around the globe. When that happened my earnings as a writer, in fact, increased. How?
While, in fact, my earnings on HubPages did decrease, my earnings from other efforts increased, so my total earnings did increase and for me, the bottom line is all that I worry about.
The beauty of diversification is the protection it gives you against the vagaries of the marketplace. If one of your efforts suffers, there are other avenues to follow that will provide a buffer.
Now Let’s Advance to Diversification 201
Okay, you write for HubPages and you have your own money-making blog. Next let’s do blog posts for local businesses. Get out there and meet your local businessmen. Tell them what you can offer to them, and drum up some business. It may take some time, but eventually you will find someone who will pay you to either write copy for their business website or write their weekly blogs.
You have now graduated to Diversification 201.
Are you ready for Diversification 301?
Start sending out query letters with ideas to local newspapers and magazines. Establish a working rapport with local editors. Sooner or later it will pay off with a paying article, and once you have your foot in the door then life will become much “richer” for you.
You have now graduated from Diversification 301 and you are ready to move up the money ladder.
Does it all seem farfetched? Well it isn’t. That is exactly the path I took when I first started out.
Now toss in some ebooks and a couple traditionally published books, and suddenly you have money coming in from five, six or more sources.
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It Really Is That Simple and yet It Is Not
It is very easy for me to write these words, but it was not easy for me to live them. Starting out as a freelance writer is hard. Nobody knows you and you have to prove yourself. You are up against some seriously stiff competition, and many of those who are vying for the same jobs as you have some serious writing game. You are the rookie and they are the veterans, and if you are lucky you will get the dregs that the veterans don’t want to waste their time on…..but…..
If you are willing to put in the time and effort, there is money to be made. If you are willing to invest blood, sweat and tears, then there are rewards for you. Just make sure that you protect yourself from the uncertainty of an uncertain writing world by diversifying. Do what the pros do. You won’t be disappointed.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”