I’m a freelance writer and I make my living earning by writing for the World Wide Web. Here are my 10 tips for making money writing online:
The vastness of the internet can be frustrating at times, but for writers it can also mean that the next paying opportunity is hiding just around the next corner – or link as the case may be. If you’re interested in making money from web writing try out a tip or two and hopefully both your portfolio and pocketbook will profit.
1. Make Connections
There is an abundance of social media sites which can help you connect to other writers, editors, agents, publishers, even cover designers and proofreaders if you want to start building your networks. Twitter is just one option for joining conversations immediately, and plenty of paying markets are listing jobs and calls for submissions in their tweets as well. Get to know people, get to know what they need and you will benefit from your social networking by being the first to hear when jobs are posted or sought.
2. Research Paying Markets
Now that most publishers and paying markets (magazines, newspapers, etc) have websites, there’s no reason why you can’t research new markets even when you only have a few spare moments. Search for “submission guidelines” or “writers guidelines” to find out more about what a particular market wants. The Web is a huge place and there are many website owners who are not writers, but who need regular copy to keep their sites fresh and Google friendly. These websites owners search for writers through bulletin boards, forums, and sites like GumTree and Craigs List. Check out the writing.ie jobs board powered by Donanza for paying opportunities – keep looking and evaluating possible jobs. A job may only offers a few cents a word or a line, but it may turn out to be very lucrative if the employer needs 50 a day and it’s in an area you have expertise in.
3. Enter Contests and Competitions
From cash prizes to writing retreats, guest columns to free equipment or supplies, winning a writing contest or competition can translate to great earnings for writers. Just make sure you check the terms and conditions carefully so you know what will happen to your entries and who will ultimately keep copyright and control to your work. See Ivy Bannister’s article on short story writing to see how this worked for her.
4. Consider Blogging
Blogging can be a fun hobby, but it can also help you bring in some money by showcasing your work to potential editors and agents. If you decide to run ads (for example with AdSense) or affiliate programs (for example with Amazon Associates, Affiliate Window or Affiliate Future), or if you seek and accept sponsorship for particular posts, you can also get paid for every click an ad receives. You might also decide to blog for others for pay, such as in a position publicised at the ProBlogger Job Board.
5. Reestablish Business Contacts
Just as social networking sites will let you connect with new contacts, business networking sites like LinkedIn will let you re-connect with networks you already have in place. This makes a handy pool of past clients whom you can update on your new activities or just say hello too. You never know who might be interested in hiring a writer for a new project. Make sure you are clear in your profile that you are a freelancer for hire.
6. Master Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Websites use SEO to gain higher rankings in search results, so the better you can integrate keywords into online copy the more successful your online writing will be. This may become important if you intend to write for websites in the future and want to make sure that your writing is visible and accessible to new audiences, including future editors and agents. Do your research into SEO and it will pay off.
7. Set Up Google Alerts
Google Alertsare free and easy to establish – all you have to do is create an alert for a particular phrase (your byline, “writing competition”, “writing guidelines”, “essay anthology”, “epublisher”) and watch the results roll right in to your email inbox.
A variety of writers, editors, agents and publishers send out electronic newsletters packed full of information on contests, new markets, marketing tips, query hints and more. Get yourself on as many newsletter lists as possible, then just weed down to those you find most useful. You may even benefit in the form of free ebooks or other discounts when you become a subscriber. The Inkwell Newsletter is a free newsletter you won’t want to miss, right here on writing.ie the forum is packed full of writing and submission opportunities.
9. Forums and Groups
Writers forums and email groups or loops are exceptional resources for finding out what other working writers have to say on current issues and controversies, personal experiences, new markets and much more. Just make sure that everything you say is something you’d be okay with your mother – or editor! – reading since you never know who else is joining in the conversations. The writing.ie forum is a place publishing professionals will be dropping in to, so introduce yourself and start connecting with writers.
10. Scour Existing Resources
A variety of electronic resources already exist to help writers towards their next paying gig. Dutrope’s Digest, for example, offers fiction writers a handy publisher search engine showing who pays for what and how much; writing.ie have a new jobs board offering freelance work to writers here. Pages at sites like Writing.ie are regularly browsed by editors and agents. You’ll have only yourself to blame if you don’t take advantage!