here, we talked about having a dream. It was a nice little dream, of you sitting on your couch in your jammies, tapping away on the keyboard and getting paid to do it.
I promised there was a way for you to achieve that dream, but I warned you that there was some work involved. You can find well-paid writing jobs on the Internet in three distinct areas:
● Serious, large-audience bloggers
● National-level industry websites
● Niche-topic magazines
Each of these venues need fresh, high-quality content to continue to attract readers. They are all looking for well-written posts or articles from people who have "expert" knowledge in a narrow topic area. With a bit of work, you can land these better-paying gigs. First, you'll want to decide upon your own best specialty.
Each of us knows something inside and out. Maybe you are the best gardener in your entire neighborhood. Perhaps you love woodworking--or know all about investing, car repairs, raising dogs, collecting stamps, taking cruises, or a thousand other "niche" topics. That's the key.
We've all heard the time-worn advice, "Write what you know." Let's amend that to, "Write what you love." Of course you can research to augment your own experience, but when you are passionate about a topic it shines like sunrise over Maui. Write about something that makes you glow inside, something you can speak knowledgeably about for hours, and that glow will infuse your efforts. That's the first step.
Next, you have to find a market.
I've written at great length about camping because I love it. The lure of the open road and finding new places. The scent of pine in the air. The crackle of an evening campfire. The time spent bonding with my kids, with the TV and laptop left behind. If I wanted to get paid to write about camping, I'd seek out national websites like Woodall's (a campground directory).
I could also run a group of keyword searches to find big bloggers, other industry websites, and outdoor-themed magazines. Many of these sites will be actively seeking great content. Some will pay a little, while other's might offer $1000 or more for an approved article. You have to hunt for the right opportunity. Then you have to Pitch.
Don't be afraid to Pitch.
It's not as scary as it sounds. Just as you would research agents to find the ones who might be interested in your next Historical Romance, you want to get to know your target market by doing some basic research. In the same way you would research a prospective employer before you applied for a job, you should approach a potential publisher with a clear understanding of their style and scope. Do your homework, and you're halfway to Published.
But before you put yourself out there, you should set yourself up for success. Every professional writing resource I've consulted offers the same basic advice. Let's call it the writers' version of Dress for Success:
● Have at least a one-page basic writer's website for yourself, with an author photo and biographical information--especially showing any credentials or specialized knowledge. Publishers want to know who you are.
● Develop a portfolio of on-topic writing samples. These could include blog posts on your own site, guest posts (free) on related websites, and image "clips" of any articles you've had printed in local publications (also often done for no pay). Feature only your very best work. Quality trumps quantity.
● Brush up on your grammar skills. Sites like Copyblogger offer wonderful articles with headlines like, "11 Compound Word Errors that Might Make You Look like a Numbskull". Read them, learn them, love them--they're addictive. And avoiding common grammar errors will make you look like a seasoned veteran.
How much can you earn if you try?
A lot more than "pennies"! I'm no expert, because I already have a full-time job, and I write for the love of it. But I have industry friends who are experts, and they do very well indeed. Would you like to make an extra $1000 a month? You can absolutely do that.
But you can make more than that. $3000 a month is a reasonable target, if you're willing to do this full time. Even $5000 a month is by no means out of reach. That's quit-your-day-job money, don't you think?
Since I'm not the expert, I'm going to point you toward two experienced writers who are.
● If you love the idea of blogging for pay, please consult the delightful Sophie Lizard, of Be a Freelance Blogger. She has a bit of a potty mouth, but she's a real pro and knows how to help you make money blogging.
● If you'd rather dive into writing freelance articles for industry sites and magazines, get to know Carol Tice, of Make a Living Writing. She's been there, done that, and has amazing resources to jump-start your writing journey.
By the way, those aren't Affiliate Links; I won't earn a penny if you click them. So why send you to either expert's site? Because I know them, and trust them both. You can learn from either writer for free, or pay them to give you in-depth help.
Which brings me to final point. It's an important one, too. NETWORK. Get to know other writers and site owners in your chosen field. Make friends without regard to reward. Join a writers' group or online forum. Comment on blog posts in your niche. Be courteous, interested, and helpful.
You can never have too many friends. And we all know about those "doors" that open, sometimes mysteriously so. Well, you'll have to knock on some doors. Meet some new people. Bring a cherry pie and a smile, and you'll be amazed at how welcoming strangers can be.
Who knows? Maybe a year from now, with some hard work and dedication, YOU can be the one opening your door to welcome a friend who's just beginning her writing journey. You'll smile warmly and say, "Let me help you learn how to make money from your writing. If I can do it, so can you."
Have you ever earned some cash for your writing? What did you learn about the business in the process? Who has taken time to help you along the way?
Jim still earns about $2 a month from his 80+ revenue-share articles posted on Helium.com. Much more valuable, however, are the friendships he made there.
Today, Jim and his writing friends engage in friendly cash-prize writing competitions on his website SoWrite.Us.com. He'd love to meet you there, and introduce you to the rest of