How To Make Money From Writing Without A Publishing Deal *

17 December 2019

~ This post was written by a contributor ~

Creative writing is a long process, and it takes a lot of practice to hone your craft. You’ll sometimes hear about people that write a bestseller the first time they put pen to paper, but yeah, that’s not usually how it happens. The harsh truth is that most people don’t write a bestseller at all. If you’re writing because you think that you’re going to get rich, you’re going to be disappointed.

Sorry for the downer, there. Some people do, of course, get rich. But most writers don’t, and that’s fine... because that’s not why we do it. 

Of course, sadly, you do still need to pay the bills, and this is a real problem for a lot of aspiring writers. You have to put the work in first and then hope that somebody will share your creative vision and take a chance on you. But most people aren’t lucky enough to be able to work on a novel full time without finding some way to earn money. Often, the day job takes over and the writing falls by the wayside. Instead of being something that they work towards every day, it becomes something that they’ll do one day in the future, when they have more time. But we all know how that story ends. If you are serious about being a writer, you need to work at it. Publishers aren’t just going to knock on the door and offer to pay you while you finish your novel, so you will have to do it alongside whatever other work you do to earn money.

That becomes a lot easier if you can also get paid for your writing in some capacity. If you are earning a living from freelancing, you have a far more flexible schedule so it’s a lot easier to make progress with other creative writing projects. Working as a freelancer may be a little daunting at first but when you build up a good amount of work, you can actually earn a living from it. You will have more time to work on creative writing projects on the side and your writing skills will improve because you spend more time… well, writing! 

If you are looking for ways to earn money from writing and start your career as a freelancer, these are some of the best ways to do it… 

Starting A Blog.

Starting a blog (like this one) is always a good place to start because it benefits you in a few different ways. Firstly, if you spend some time building a following, you may be able to earn a side income from advertising and sponsored posts on your blog. Over time, if the site gets big enough, you could even earn a full time living from your blog!

It also helps you to showcase your writing. This is useful when you are trying to find other writing work because you can use the blog as a way to advertise your services. If you can demonstrate good writing ability on your blog, you are more likely to get paid writing work. It’s also a great place to post your creative writing projects and start to build a following as a creative writer as well. 

Starting a successful blog is harder than people think because there’s a lot of competition out there. This great guide on the 4 Steps To Starting Your Own Successful Blog has a lot of good information to help you get started. The most important thing that you need is a unique selling point. You need to offer something that no other blog does, which is harder than it sounds. It may be that you take a different stance on the topics that you write about, and your personality is very important. People will keep coming back to a blog because they like the writer, not just because of the content itself. So, make sure that your personality shines through in your writing and let your own style flow out. If you focus too much on following writing rules, your posts will not be unique and they won’t capture the attention of readers.

Editing Services.

Writers are often very secretive about their work. You don’t want to share your writing with anybody until you’re absolutely sure that it’s perfect. But actually, the best way to improve is to get other people to read and edit your work. This is one of the best things about studying on a creative writing course because you get regular feedback sessions with other writers. They will pick up on mistakes that you have missed, and help you to find direction when you hit a wall. 

Unfortunately, not everybody has the opportunity to take a creative writing course, which is why editing services are so useful. People are willing to pay good money for people to edit a draft of their novel or a short story, and if you have good creative writing skills, you can offer those services. The best place to start is on sites like Freelancer, Upwork, or Fiverr. You can set yourself up as an editor and then bid on jobs that people post. Most of these freelancing sites are based on ratings so when you first get started, you may have to do some jobs for a lower rate to build up a reputation. If you create some professional social media profiles for your editing service and try to connect with other writers, you should be able to find some work. Once you build a good reputation, you can charge a good rate for creative writing editing services and you can branch out into other areas as well. 

Self Publishing.

Self publishing is a bit of a contentious issue in the writing world. Some writers always self publish and they have a big enough following to actually sell a lot of books. But other writers insist that it’s pointless and you’re never going to build a readership that way because your book will just get lost amongst the thousands of other self published books that go up on there all the time. 

It’s true that a traditional publisher will be able to market the book more effectively and make it more likely to get read. But if you have been sending it out to publishers for years and nobody is interested, maybe you should consider self publishing because there are people that have found success with it. For example, The Martian by Andy Weir was initially self published. It was then picked up and made into a film and since then has been released by a publishing house as well. There are plenty of people out there that find success through self publishing and even if they don’t end up with a huge following, they still earn a decent living from their writing. If you spend some time posting excerpts on your blog and pushing your books on social media, you can start to build a following and make some more sales as long as you land on something good. There’s a lot of self published books out there so it’s important that you create interesting characters and come up with a new take on overused tropes. This is especially true if you are writing fantasy or YA fiction, because there is a lot of stuff out there. 

Trying to make a living as a creative writer is tough and you can’t just wait around until somebody hands you a publishing deal. But if you are proactive and you look into these alternative ways to make money, you can pay the bills while you work on your masterpiece! Best of luck to you all... 

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