Make Money with Your Writing Today

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Did I get your attention with that title? I hope so! Chances are, there is money to be made, and it is probably sitting right on your hard drive.

Let me back up for a second. Yesterday I received a call from a publisher of a magazine I freelance for occasionally. She was putting together a co-op advertising page around summer camps, as this is the big time of the year where parents sign up for those. Depending on how many ads are sold, there may be extra room in the space for copy, and she would like to use some copy on the benefits of enrolling children in day camps. She thought of me, as I’ve written for local parenting magazines in the past and she figured I might have something in my reprint file they could use so they wouldn’t have to spend money hiring a freelancer to put together a full-length article they may not have enough room for.

“Sure,” I said. “I know I’ve written plenty of things like that in the past five years or so and will go home and check my files.”

The call couldn’t have come at a better time because my husband and I have been auditing our finances in the past few weeks and trying to put together a plan of action to start tackling some of our consumer debt. I began thinking about quick ways I could get  money for my writing—and fast. And I came up with more than I thought. Here are a few ideas:

Actively market reprint articles.
In the example above, I had a reprint article that I could cash in for around $50. No work is involved besides hunting the thing down on my computer. That is $50 I didn’t have before. Off the top of my head, I can think of four or five other articles I’ve written for different markets that would be great to pitch this time of year (travel articles, for example). If I put a short list along with brief summaries of the articles on my website and sent that out to a targeted list of parenting magazine editors searching for content right now, I could probably make an extra $200 in the next two months. Time to get to work!

Contests. A few months ago, I saw an upcoming contest in a writing trade magazine and decided to write two stories specifically to enter. The cost was $25 per entry, and I ended up placing in the contest with one of the stories, winning $500 cash in the process. (I also got some other goodies, including a gift certificate I can use for editing services!) So what took me four or five hours of work netted me $450 I didn’t even plan on coming in. Several years ago, I also won a magazine writing contest in this same magazine--and received $1,000 cash prize for an article I had already published. I know we all probably have essays and short stories we haven’t done anything with—I guarantee a quick search of writing contests will result in not only motivating you to either write something or submit an already polished piece without a home—what are you waiting for?

Consulting. Here, I’m talking about something specific like Fiverr, which bills itself as “providing services for the lean entrepreneur.” I have yet to sign up to provide a service but I’ve been scoping it out, trying to figure out what type of service I can offer that will pack the most punch. For me personally, I feel like I could do something like critiquing a query letter, writing a blog post or writing a press release fairly efficiently. Other services writers and editors offer include things like proofreading, writing web content, producing e-books, etc. The enticing thing about Fiverr is that you set the price and Fiverr pays you directly once you complete the service—no tracking down payment. I think I’m finally going to give it a shot and see what kind of extra income I can bring in.

What do you have on your hard drive that could earn you money right now? Have you ever provided services through a company like Fiverr, and how did it work for you? We’d love to hear your responses!

Photo by Jeanette Charlet Photography
Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor whose short story, “The Polaroid,” received first place honors in the Suspense/Thriller category of the 2017 Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards. Visit her website at


Angela Mackintosh said...

Great post, Renee! I need to get back into the freelancing mindset. I haven't done as much freelance writing in the past couple months. Maybe you could trade one of your local publishers a reprint article for an ad, and advertise your writing/editing services? It'd be a great way to advertise locally without putting any money out there.

I just checked out Fiverr and they've changed! They used to have everything sell for $5, and that didn't interest me. Now I see that people are setting their prices, which is great. I used to do a lot of freelancing online with sites like Moonlighting gigs, Guru, etc. I garnered interesting clients that way and worked on some really fun projects like designing book covers for a series of children's books. Another one to consider is Etsy. They have service providers now, and that site has great users/ small business owners and niche bloggers.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Reprints are just sitting there so way to go, Renee!

I had a writer/agent friend who worked with Fiverr and she eventually upped her price to make decent money. But then she switched to Udemy because it's a great teaching platform and she really liked it. Bet you could teach a class on blogging!

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