"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: 5 Easy Ways to Make Money Writing

Thursday, June 27, 2013

5 Easy Ways to Make Money Writing

Dear Fellow Writer,
Of all the social media sites, my favorite would have to be Google+. 

It's the one I look forward to opening these days. I'm not quite sure what it is that makes it different - but it seems fresh and full of inspired people interacting with conviction and integrity.

And when you spend a lot of time online, as I do, that's refreshing! 

BTW: I started my new author blog - and your response has been very encouraging! Go here to see: http://robparnell.blogspot.com

Write From The Start

5 Easy Ways to Make Money Writing

Rob Parnell
writing for profit
Here are the five main writing related activities you can make money from relatively quickly:

          1. Editing
          2. Proofing
          3. Rewriting
          4. Ghosting
          5. Mentoring

And the good news is that the demand for this kind of work is huge - and growing. At any one time there are thousands of writers out there wanting to get published - and they all know one thing: that their manuscripts must be polished and error free - even if they're publishing themselves, or through Kindle, or through a local printer.

In any one week I turn down this work pretty much every day. But I know that if I needed to keep myself afloat financially, then I could always engage in this kind of work.

How To Get Easy Writing Work

You need only advertise yourself as an editing service. Either through your local writers' group, a writer's newsletter, or even online through Facebook or your website or blog. You don't need any flash or expensive graphics. Just a typed notice in your writers' center, for instance, or a post on your blog. Trust me, requests for this service will start pouring in to your in box.

Do you need samples of your work? Not usually - but if you do have a 1000 word story or article that is edited perfectly, you can always use this as an example of your work. Many writers won't even ask to see it.

When people inquire after your service, ask for a look at the work they want edited. Get them to email it over. Take a look at it and decide what it needs: a simple proof, a thorough edit or perhaps more: suggestions for improvement or a rewrite. Let the client know what you think needs doing and tell them what it will cost.

I think it's a good idea to suggest three options: each differently priced. Then you let the client decide which service they want.

What to charge? It's really up to you. An hourly rate of between $20 and $50 is common. Or a price per word - say $5 per 100 or 1000 words. It's your call.

But there is one rule you need to stick to - it will save you a lot of heartache and will get rid of all the major time wasters. And that rule is you don't start work on a project without an upfront part payment.

Usually between a fifth and a quarter of the final fee. You need to insist on this for a couple of important reasons.

One, you'd be amazed how many people 'commission' writers to edit their work with absolutely no intention of paying. I don't know why this is. I think it's because they undervalue what a writer can do. Plus, they want the option to say they're weren't impressed with what you did after you've done it. Getting people to part-pay upfront seems to zap most of these time wasters - and freebie hunters - and also establishes a more professional relationship from the start.

Two, in the corporate world, not everyone who 'commissions' a writer has the authority to spend money on the company's behalf. This happens a lot. You get an employee who thinks she might look good to her boss if she gets a report, for instance, edited into something polished. She might promise, in good faith, that you'll get paid on completion. But nine times out of ten you'll find that your payment can only be authorized by someone further up the corporate ladder who, without all the proper paperwork in place, won't/can't sanction payment.    

And of course, you should never start working on a gig until you get the part payment. Not one word. Never work for free or on approval. It's better not to get gigs at all than work for nothing upfront. As Tom Cruise shouts in that movie: "Show me the money!"

Think of it this way. Fifty people may express an interest in you editing their work. You might think this is good. You might think the world is your oyster - and you get excited by what you can do with all these projects. But only one of those people will give you a part payment up front. Only this person is a real client. The rest are, in effect, time wasters. Don't feel bad about rejecting those who won't pay upfront - because these are more than likely going to be the ones who would never have paid you anyway!

You've lost nothing by refusing to work until you see a part payment. Plus, you get a lot more respect when someone is paying you. Funny how that works.

And rest assured - you don't need to worry about whether you're good enough to edit other people's work. If you're taking one of my courses, you're already good enough. Why? Because 99% of the time, the people who think they need editors, really do need editors. Plus, often what most writers really need is fresh eyes - and someone to catch their typos.

If it so happens that you receive a manuscript from someone that really doesn't need editing, then tell them that. Or, if the writer's manuscript needs a lot of work to fix punctuation and grammar problems, let them know that too. And price your job according to how long you think it may take you.

Other Writing Jobs

Until you have more experience, it's probably best to stick to the five basic writing jobs mentioned above. Other, more specialized activities like book doctoring (where you pull apart a book's structure and suggest ways to heighten the impact of the story or a non fiction text etc) are better left to long time professionals. You can of course charge a lot more money for services like these but writers will want to see 'evidence' that your advice is solid and commercially successful.

These days there are many new authors putting their work up online - and often the first criticism they receive is that their work needs a good edit. These are the people most in need of your services. So if you can find a way to tap into this market, you could be working for a living, profitably, in no time at all.

There's no doubt that the more work you do for writers, the quicker the word spreads about your services - and the more work you'll be offered. Just remember not to commit yourself to any project without seeing some of the money first - and you'll be fine.

Whatever you do, don't ever pay for writing opportunities, don't promise to pay finder's fees to agents, friends or middlemen, and never work on the understanding you'll receive royalties if and when the book gets published. 
My experience is that this last option will be offered to you frequently. And my earnest advice is: Don't get suckered in because it almost never pans out.

Besides, the publishing industry doesn't work this way.

Freelancers should get paid first - always.

Keep Writing!
 rob at home


"The tale is often wiser than the teller." Susan Fletcher

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