8 Ways to Make Money Online As a Writer

Here’s a quick roundup of ideas to get you thinking.

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*I will expand on each of these points in detail in separate posts or videos in the near future. Consider this a quick roundup of ideas to get you thinking about different possible income streams until I have some large blocks of time to research each one properly. Thanks and enjoy!

Looking for a few extra ways to boost your income so you aren’t relying on a single paycheck to support your writing? Here are a few common and often worthwhile possibilities.

1. Patreon. This service allows audience members to pledge monthly or project-by-project funds to the creators they want to support. In return, patrons typically receive exclusive perks such as free short stories or behind-the-scenes content.

2. Multiple clients. Before I landed my full-time writing job, I worked 50+ hours a week for a handful of long- and short-term clients. This not only helped me pay my student loans and grad school tuition, but also gave me the experience I needed to earn a more stable staff writing position.

3. Things that don’t involve writing. Play an instrument? Love to knit? Really good at taking pictures of cats? You’d be surprised how many random ways you can make money doing cool, creative things — even if they don’t involve writing specifically. A side hustle to support your dream isn’t the worst idea. Usually.

4. Blogging/Guest posting. Whether it’s through advertisements, stipends, sponsored posts, or some combination of methods, hosting a blog or guest posting on another blogger’s site can provide you with a small but steady stream of income. Chances are, that income will grow as your following does.

5. Selling products/services. If you’re an authority or expert on something, the internet gives you the power to create materials such as ebooks, courses, and coaching-style programs available to members of your audience. You can offer these things at a decent price for those who trust your expertise.

6. Selling short stories/poetry. There are a number of ways you can go about this. Just know that if you do sell a story to a literary magazine, for example, it typically becomes their property. You probably won’t be allowed to publish it anywhere else. You’ll have to decide if a one-time royalty is worth that tradeoff for you.

7. Self-publishing. You have to develop some decent marketing skills if you really want this one to pay off. (And … you know … write a really good book.) Self-publishing allows you to have more control over pricing, royalties, publishing schedules, and more.

8. Writing contests. Magazines, literary journals, and other organizations and publications often hold writing contests open to their readers and the public. Though many of these have entrance fees, their rewards — both monetary and otherwise — are often worth the effort. Even if you don’t win, it’s great experience.

Have any suggestions you’d like to add? Are there any points on this list you’re especially itching to learn more about? Let me know!


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.


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14 thoughts on “8 Ways to Make Money Online As a Writer

  1. This was another brilliant post full of great information! Thank you so much for sharing as I think you already know I want to find ways to make a little extra money doing what I love and enjoy!

  2. When it comes to blogging for others, if you’re already blogging for yourself on similar topics, how much is it okay to reuse?

    I know you shouldn’t be just re-posting old blog-posts, but I feel like I’ve covered a lot writing topics already. Is it okay to take an old post, update it and give it a fresh twist, then submit it as a guest post?

    1. I would try to make it as original as possible while making sure it fits with the blog’s style, etc. But I’ve found success starting with old headlines and doing my best to write something new based on the point I wanted to get across. It’s still coming from your brain, so there’s no harm in starting with something old and creating something new out of it. :)

  3. Whenever something is created for someone else, or sold to them, it’s important to take a careful look at the rights. Most of the contests and literary magazines I’ve seen purchase the rights exclusively for 1 year, thereafter the rights revert or become nonexclusive.

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