Ways to make money as a writer

There are many, many ways that you can make money as a writer outside of creating a best selling novel. It’s rare, but some authors such Stephen King and J.K. Rowling become billionaires, but most authors do not make that much. In fact, many authors only make a small, secondary income with their writing.

There are several ways to make some money with your craft, but most of them are not highly creative by nature. In fact, finding a staff writing job in which you get paid to write whatever you want is something of a unicorn in the writing world. Only the elite get such staff positions and even then, there are restrictions.

Now, if you are not one of those elite, well established writers, we’ve got some ideas for where to start:

Websites:

  1. Outsource.com is a great place to do some writing. You can freelance your work there, but it requires you to have a few references.
  2. Fiverr.com is also a great place to get started, but it does not pay a lot. If you are going to use Fiverr, make sure you try to upsale-that is, add on items of value for extra charge-as much as possible. Otherwise, you may not make much money.
  3. Freelance.com is a newer website that is free to join. At the time of the writing of this blog, I am not sure how much traffic you will get from using it but it is free to join.

Blogging:

  1. You can try to start a blog with your own content and build it via social media. Once you have built it up a bit, you can start using Google adwords to get money by customers clicking through to your website. It’s an easy way to build passive income.

Submissions:

  1. About.com takes submissions for new content for articles every so often. They tend to use the same writers, but it’s not unusual for them to hire new ones.
  2. Magazines, newspapers and bylines will often pay for articles, but not well at first. If you are an unknown, they will often try to get you to either pay them or to do it for “Exposure”. Do NOT give your work out for exposure. You worked hard for this. Don’t give it away for free. 90% of the time the exposure you get is so limited that you’re actually losing out by doing so.
  3. Contests can occur at any time of the year and can be for any amount of money. There are several major contests depending on your genre. You’ll have to google the terms “writing contests”, “juried writing contest” and “free writing contest” in order to find local and national contests that you would be interested in.

Publications Houses:

These are difficult and hard to get into. You may be rejected many, many times before you get a yes. J.K Rowling was reportedly told no more than ten times before Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was published. Stephen King was rejected for many years before Carrie ever saw a bookstand. Be prepared to get no after no.

Self Publication:

With the advent of e-readers, there is a huge market in self publication. You will have to take on the cost of what you publish yourself, with your own advertising (or you can hire an ad company), but since you are putting all the work into one single electronic file, the overhead on this is minimum. Check out Amazon’s e-publishing forums for more information on how to do this.

and finally,

Selling Content

Recently, I found myself out of a day job and needed some money. I did a quick search on line and found five websites for local businesses that had almost no content on their webpages. Now, in order to rank your webpage for SEO, you have to have some content.

I contacted the webmaster for each page and offered them a package deal to write and submit content to them to use on their webpage with a one time fee. One of these sites was for an above ground storm shelter. You can click on the link to see an example of what it looks like when you add content to a page. (It basically looks like a magazine spread.) If you know something more about website design, you can actually promote yourself as a full service designer using platforms like weebly, wordpress, wix, etc. Jobs like this will pay upwards of $5,000 if you’re good at it.

If you come across (or know of) more ways for someone to make money writing, please let us know! Email us at info@draftnewt.org with your tips on how to make money with you craft.

The Rise of the Pulp Novel

In the early 1930’s, there was significant unrest in the United States due to the fall of the stock market, the Dust Bowl, the lasting effects of World War I and the Industrial Revolution. Things were unsettled and unhappy.

Any time there is a great period of social unrest, you will see a corresponding rise of art and literature as the people seek to find an escape from their every day life. In the 1930’s, this meant Comic Books. Comic books were a quick, cheap way to distract from the ongoing problems facing the country.

During Victorian times, there was a surge of interest in reading as the general population became more literate. When this happened, the newspapers competed for sales by publishing serial stories-one installation a week. (Coincidentally, this is where the format for our Television programming originated.) These series were called “Pulps”, as they were printed on cheap newspaper pulp that often came from recycled newspapers and other paper goods, as thick, high grade paper was expensive and time consuming to make.

Pulps began using cartoons and illustrations to help draw in readers and as time went on, those evolved into comedy strips. They had many names at the time, due to the competition between papers-funny pages, comedy pages, comic strips and comedy inserts.

Comic Books were quick, cheap, easy to read stories about heroes and fantastic situations. Early stories centered around heroic males such as Robin Hood, clowns or average kids. Later on, the idea of the Superhero became mainstream, a shift towards these sorts of stories became prevalent.  The prints were made on cheap newspaper, with a dot printing technique that allowed for quick, easy color but without the expense of mixing the colors before they got to press.

By 1940, the comic book industry had become a major cash cow for the book printing industry, but there was a call for deeper, more involved story lines. Print Houses responded by publishing cheap, quick novels with formulaic story lines and two dimensional characters.

By 1970, the new genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy had taken a huge chunk of the market. Pioneers of these two genres wrote fantastical stories, with strange, convoluted plots. Emphasis was placed on the setting, often at the expense of the writing or character development. Many older, classical authors found this genre to be too loose and trashy, often citing the poor use of grammar or even the basic rules of story development as a reason to dislike them. However, they remained popular and by the mid 1980’s, these novels accounted for a full 1/3 of all book sales in the US.

 

On Narratives:

There are many ways to write narratives, almost as many ways as there are writers. Narratives are personal, point of view essays from the perspective of the author.

Narratives can be written in several ways:

  1. A diary or serial entry-fictional or otherwise
  2. A short story in 2nd or third person
  3. A first person, non fiction essay
  4. An autobiography
  5. An editorial
  6. As poetry

Narratives can be written in first, second or third person, be stylized or structured, lyrical or technical. They are most often found in blogs, magazine articles or short stories. It is rare to see one as a full length book, but they do exist. One example of this is Lolita, by Nabokov.

Lolita is a fictional narrative in which the main character, Humbert Humbert, becomes obsessed with 12 year old Doloros-whom he calls Lolita. Most of the action takes place in Humbert’s head as fantasies and memories, in past tense.

Another example of this sort of narrative is The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In The Great Gatsby, the novel is narrated by Nick Carraway. Nick is our sort of go-between and translator for this rich, lavish lifestyle that most of us never have any part of.

A third example of this would be Dracula, by Bram Stoker. Stoker used a fractured, frantic sort of narrative that left much to the imagination for each reader. Stoker made excellent use of diary entries and narratives to further the sense of dramatic mystery in his story.

The narrative is a powerful tool and, if used right, can help submerse the reader. It was most commonly used before 1960, in which the pulp novel revolutionized the book industry by using making use of a quick, easy 3rd person perspective during the rise of science fiction, romance and fantasy novels. These books were not meant to be a personal story, but rather a sort of quick, easily produced, easily read story that is quickly consumed by the public, without concern for lasting impact.