How to Make More Money as a Freelance Writer

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Let’s be honest for a minute here—we all want to see our byline attached to feature-length articles in magazines, newspapers, and blogs, etc. But sometimes the cash flow of a freelance writer can move in the wrong direction. When that happens, it may be time to tap into your work experience and see how the skills you utilize as a writer can also earn you a paycheck. Here are a few ways I’ve filled in the gaps over the years:

Fact-checking. Tap into the relationships you’ve built with editors. There is one local magazine I’ve worked with in various capacities. I’ve written articles, edited, proofread, and worked as the calendar editor, all at different times. They recently contacted me because they needed an extra set of eyes during the copy editing process. I check each piece of content before it is flowed into the layout for AP Style, consistency, typos, etc. This magazine also publishes several annual publications (such as travel or education guides), which are typically chock full of short articles, stock photography and resource listings. This is where you come in. There is usually one person in charge of updating all the resource listings and other repeating information in the publication, and freelancers are perfect for this. Keep an eye on the various guides your clients publish and go ahead express interest at least six months ahead of time. It can provide steady work and larger paychecks than merely writing feature articles.

Calendars. Smaller magazines and newspapers have also been known to farm out calendar listing duties. I’ve done this in the past, and while it wasn’t as creative as some of the assignments I normally work on, it allowed me to work remotely and provided a monthly check I could count on. Take a look at some of your favorite local publications and you’ll find that most of them include a calendar of some sort. It’s worth contacting the editor to let them know you’d be happy to help them with that portion of the magazine if they ever get short-handed.

Public Relations and Marketing. My position as a blog tour manager requires some writing and editing, but it also involves networking, public relations, and thinking outside of the box, a skill set that can be found in the most successful and prolific freelance writers. There are writers who specialize in writing bios for small business owners, and I once had the director of a preschool pay me $200 to write a short advertorial about her school that she could send out to the local media outlets. Browse through the portfolios of a few freelance writers you trust in order to brainstorm and get ideas of other ways you can expand your own services.

While these types of jobs aren’t glamorous by any stretch of the imagination and probably won’t pay as much as an article in a national consumer magazine, they can provide monthly contracts or assignments that can help keep your writing cash flow in the right direction with prompt payment terms. And by showing your clients that you’re not afraid to take on the occasional grunt work and do it well, they’ll most likely show their appreciation by throwing a few extra writing assignments your way.

What are some ways you've earned extra income freelancing?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and blog tour manager for WOW! Women on Writing who isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves for her regular clients. Visit her website at


Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--I have no advice on ways to freelance. I'm too tired after teaching all day to summon up the energy to really venture out of my box.

However, it sounds like you're quite successful at it. (Is that a photo of YOUR den? It's quite lovely.)

Margo Dill said...

Teaching classes for the local adult education programs is also great! I also write press releases and have done social media for clients. I will basically do anything that creates an income! LOL

Renee Roberson said...

Sioux--Thank you. This is a photo of my den, but my desk absolutely does not look like that right now :-)

Margo--You should write a post about social media management as an income stream!

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