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The most frustratingly difficult question asked by new writers is simply, “How do I get paid for my writing?” It’s easy to actually write; many of us spend hours every day doing just that; but the truth for the majority of writers is that their words will never make it beyond the documents file on their computer. If they dare to send their hard work out to publishers, they run the risk of seeing their efforts consigned to the virtual dustbin along with the majority of manuscripts, short stories and poems that are sent hopefully by their authors.

The avenues that are available to freelance writers are becoming clogged with traffic; it’s hard to get even a glance these days, but there are still some available routes if you’re willing to put the hard work in.

BLOGGING  This is probably the most effective way to build an audience and a fan base, which you will need if you want to make money. There are definitely two routes you will need to follow: one is to concentrate on affiliate marketing; the other is to build an email list.

Selling other people’s products is big business, and with sites like CJ Affiliate and Clickbank, you can easily find products relevant to your market to promote. CJ requires some assessment by the advertisers so you are not automatically guaranteed to be accepted by some programs. Clickbank has thousands of software affiliate programs and there are few restrictions to advertising them on your website.

Generally, the Amazon affiliate program is a good starting point but the rewards aren’t really that great unless you have a huge audience and loads of unique visitors every day. The same is true of eBay and even Adsense, although they are all worth testing on your site to see if you get decent results.

Placing an opt-in form on your website is the best way to build an email list of subscribers with the specific goal of directly selling products to your list. Your products can be courses, eBooks or even physical products, but you can only sell products related to your subject as that would be the reason people signed up in the first place. Try selling them something unrelated to your subject and they will quickly unsubscribe. You need to offer something of value that your audience will be happy to pay for. For example, if you have a site about dog training, you could offer an eBook or put together a video course which walks someone through the basics of dog training.

Generally, you will need to offer something in return for a subscribers email address, such as a free short PDF book, a regular newsletter or access to a members only Facebook group. This will encourage visitors to your site to sign up and become loyal followers rather than just one time visitors. This is a vital step in building your list. You will need an email service for your subscriber list as you will need to be sending out your free material the minute someone signs up. Mailchimp and Aweber offer a limited free service but you might want to consider upgrading to a paid service as this offers much more of a professional look.

EBOOKS   Self-published eBooks have to be included here, although results could be disappointing for the amount of work you put in, unless of course, you are writing the next huge ‘How To’  best seller. Again, it is important to have as many subscribers on your email list as possible as this is the best way to sell your product. The subscribers you have will be people who love your website and want to be kept informed; that’s why they would have signed up in the first place. Selling direct to people who have already got a proven interest in your subject is so much more successful than just sticking a link on Facebook groups. Using Facebook ads is a good way to target people who have an interest in your subject, but accurate estimates about click-throughs tend to be one click per thousand views, and that doesn’t guarantee that the click-through will even buy your book.

The sheer amount of time each book could take to write is generally fairly prohibitive, but there are courses such as this one from ebook writer and internet marketer extraordinaire Stefan Pylarinos,  24 Hour Book – How To Write A Book In Less Than 24 Hours  which can help with producing more books and therefore increasing your web visibility. If you want to write eBooks but tend to labour over them for months, this course could definitely help your productivity.

If you have a list of subscribers who follow your blog posts and interact with you regularly, getting an email from you offering your eBook to them, with the Amazon link already embedded for them to click, is going to be an enticing offer for people who already know you and trust you when it comes to the subject matter they are interested in.

COURSES  These are a good way to sell your authority on the subject you have chosen. Udemy is probably one of the biggest sites on the web and as long as you can put together a good, well presented course, you shouldn’t have too much trouble selling your knowledge. Again, the bigger your email list, the better chance you have of selling directly to them. The chances of your course being found through a Google search are slim; this is true of blogs and books also. It’s probably annoying that I keep banging on about email lists, but it’s a proven method and still leads the field in being the number one way to sell your products.

You don’t need any specialist equipment to put together a course but you do have to reach a certain standard of quality otherwise nobody will buy. Obviously the course should be connected to your website topic as you are then assured an audience which is interested in your chosen subject.

For each of these income streams, you are going to need to think like a businessperson. It’s not artistic to think business when all you want to do is create, but you need to adopt the business mindset or you will fail to sell your creative products. It is a simple equation: writers write; businesspeople sell. You need to do both.


Writerpreneur Magazine has been created by author and journalist Ruth Newman to guide, encourage, inform and inspire you on your self-publishing adventures.