ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Alternative Ways For Writers To Make Money

Updated on March 5, 2013

Just Selling Books?

Just selling books doesn't always cut it for all writers these days. Although piracy does not cut into people's income as much as people think, the expectation that entertainment should be free is a problem for fiction writers. Non-fiction writers have to compete with all of the web sites and article directories out there.

It's rare, these days, for a writer to make a living from selling books alone. Are there any alternatives to get paid for your hard work?

The answer is a definite yes.

Crowd funding and 'Ransom'

The most promising alternative is the ransom or 'crowd funding' model.

This model takes one of two forms.

In the first form, the writer or editor asks for enough money to cover the initial costs of the book and offers free copies to anyone who donates more than a certain amount. This is essentially another way of saying they won't publish the book unless they get enough pre-orders.

In the second form, the writer sets a much higher goal and, if the goal is achieved, gives the book away for free. In this case, a writer is deciding how much they want to be paid for the book and sacrificing the possibility of future royalties.

Crowd funding has become very popular in the RPG community, where publishers can often make much more money through the 'collect money then give it away' scheme than by selling the books.

Two sites, and offer a crowdfunding platform. Money is generally not taken until the end of the campaign and then only if the goal is met (in some cases, the project will go ahead in a smaller fashion if the goal is not met).

Advertising Funded

This is when a writer gives their work away through a web site, then sells ads on the site. Several companies allow you to do this, of which Google Adsense is the most popular. Some writers also have success selling advertisements directly themselves.

This model generally works better for non-fiction writers than fiction writers. Also, many of the advertising broker companies, including Google, do not allow sites containing 'adult material'. This is often defined as including anything that refers to GLBT issues as well as erotica, etc.

However, it can be a viable model for some writers and is, of course, the model used by Hubpages and other article directory sites.

Speaking Engagements

Writers can also sometimes get speaking or teaching engagements. Conventions will sometimes pay a writer's expenses if they're willing to give a seminar on writing and/or readings from their books. This is particularly common in speculative fiction and cons are often a good place to sell more books (although science fiction cons seldom have the money to pay expenses beyond free admission). Some gaming conventions allow writers to charge for seminars.

In general, it is easier for non-fiction writers to get speaking engagements (and some people start with the speaking engagements then realize they need to write the book). Getting speaking engagements can be tough, but many writers earn most of their income this way...and increase sales by bringing a box of books with them to the engagements. University English departments are a good target...although they may not pay the writer, they will generally let the writer at least plug their book, if not sell on site.

Some authors can also make money by doing spoken word performances - and not just those who are primarily poets, either.


Many writers find they can get extra income by teaching. If you have an MFA, you can get work as an adjunct at colleges...generally teaching remedial English (which there is a sadly high demand for). Some school districts are so desperate for substitutes that they'll take anyone with a bachelor's degree.

Another way of using your skills to teach is to do tutoring, either face to face or online. There's good money in helping kids with a specific academic problem, be it English or another subject you're good at.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)