Making Money as a Writer

Unless your name is Grisham or Steele or Rowling, you may not be making much, if any, money writing books. Authors must be prolific, and have excellent marketing skills or someone to do that for them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make money as a writer.

Freelance writers who write newspaper and magazine articles can develop a nice income by treating their writing as a full-time job. You must constantly be putting out queries, doing interviews, and writing articles. I have been a freelance writer, and although I didn’t work at it full-time, I managed to bring in extra money to contribute to the household income.

My money-making “job” now is mainly freelance editing. Again, I’m not working at it full-time, as I’m still trying to be an author as well. Editing takes knowledge and experience and a certain skill. Not everyone can jump into this field. It also takes time to build a clientele. I worked at acquiring clients for several years before they started coming to me. I love this work, and I love helping other writers improve their manuscripts.

Another thing I do to earn extra “pin money” is teach classes in beginning fiction and memoir writing. After I took a university course in fiction writing, I wanted to share what I had learned with my fellow writers in my community. So, with great trepidation and my heart pounding like a drum, I put a notice in the newspaper, sent e-mails to all my writing acquaintances and started a class. I had ten students in that first eight-week session, and about half of them followed me through that year and the next.I found I also loved doing these classes and sharing what I know with others.

I remember there was a book out a number of years ago titled Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow. I’ve found that is true. But it takes patience and perseverance. It doesn’t happen overnight.

What do you do to earn money writing?

A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in Northwest Washington. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, has recently won the national WILLA Award. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and is working on the next books in her “Dare to Dream” series.     


Magdalena Ball said...

Heidi, you're very right in pointing out that often the money isn't in the creative work itself (the novels for example) but the work that follows. Art rarely pays, but it provides legitimacy that will attract work. Teaching and editing are natural flow-ons from writing.

Heidiwriter said...

Thanks, Maggie. I'm looking forward to any other ways writers make money to support their "habit."

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

This is a fun topic. Many poets, literary writers, etc. support their habits by teaching or speaking or both. Of course, I think having a book to sell at the back of the room or the college bookstores helps support teaching and speaking. It's a fine circle of love. (-:
know. Ha!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Excited about how much the new edition of the Frugal Book Promoter (expanded! updated!) can help writers with the tried and true and the new media, too. Now a USA Book News award-winner in its own right ( it the original edition was also a Reader Views winner and an Irwin Award winner..

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