Making Money Writing

Photo of reporter’s notebook by grafixtek on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.

Yesterday, a friend contacted me on Facebook Messenger with a question.

My daughter is interested in trying to publish a book she’s working on. Short stories and poems. She asked if i knew anyone that did that and of course you popped in my head. If it’s not too personal, can you tell me if you make money doing that? And what the process to do so is?

The thing of it is, there’s no simple answer.

Can you make money writing? Yes and no, because it depends on what you want to write and how much you market yourself. As a preliminary, I told her this:

The short answer is that some types of writing can and do make money. I haven’t made much because marketing intimidates the hell out of me. Even the big names have to do self-promotion. As for how to do it, take a look at CreateSpace.com. They’re pretty easy to use. The way I do it with their self-guided process doesn’t cost anything unless I order books.

Yes, I know marketing shouldn’t intimidate me. That’s really not the point here. (Plus I’m working on that and getting better at it.)

One of the biggest things to remember is that writing is just the beginning of the work. How many revisions and edits you go through will vary from project to project. And then there’s the whole publishing process.

Now, like I said in my original answer to my friend, most of my stuff is published using CreateSpace, so I follow the process laid out in their self-guided system. I don’t talk to anyone in customer support, so it doesn’t cost me anything until I order books.

I almost said the work of marketing/self-promotion starts then, but, really, you need to be doing that all along. Be talking about it on your social media platform(s). I mainly use Twitter and Facebook, but I do occasionally post writing-related stuff, especially when I have a new book out, on LinkedIn. The more you talk about it, the more interest you generate, which will (hopefully) translate into sales down the road.

Take a lesson from me: Don’t be shy about marketing and self-promotion. Most of the big names even have to promote themselves. Except maybe Stephen King.

So, what makes the most money?

Mostly, nonfiction. Followed by romance. I did a Google search on the question “what kind of writing makes the most money?” Just click the link to see the search results.

The funny thing (to me) about the timing of this question is that I’ve been thinking about that. Making money writing.

A few years ago, I taught a class through the community education program at the local college. The name of it? “Make Money Writing.” In it, I talked mostly about writing for magazines, the query process, researching articles, finding other resources, etc. I’ve been thinking about moving that online, either as a video course or an email series.

Let me know if there’s any interest in that and which format would be best.

I promised my friend a list of resources. I’ve been thinking about how to narrow that down because I have enough that I could probably fill a book with just links. I’ve decided to just list the top 5. Links will open in a new window. If you have a pop-up blocker, hold the Ctrl key down when you click it so it will open.

Resources:
Writer’s Digest
CreateSpace
Purdue Online Writing Lab
Ralan (market listing)
Help a Reporter (more for nonfiction, though can be useful for fiction)

There are a lot more I could add, but the sheer mountain of information available just from these resources can be overwhelming enough.

By the way, in speaking of making money writing, the type of writing that traditionally makes the least amount of money?

Poetry.

However, with that said, if you’re just writing for the money, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

Happy creating.

Photo: What Is It?

I’m doing this a little bit different today. First I’ll tell you why. I am going to reach my word count goal (60,000 words) on RealmWalker tonight. I might even finish the story. I’m excited to get to it. Second, I want to see what you all think about this. I’m always posting pictures and telling you what it is. Now it’s your turn to tell ME what it is.

P.S. Please don’t look at the file properties and get the name of the photo because that’s cheating. lol

Happy creating.

Work Work Work

That sounds too much like the title of a song by Rihanna. I’m not stealing from her, I promise.

I was given orders to take it easy to let my back get well. So that’s what I’ve been doing. For most of the day, I’ve read, crocheted, watched videos, and rested. My mind kept working in the background.

I decided writing could be included in taking it easy, so I started working on RealmWalker earlier in the day than usual. I got to a pivotal scene, one the whole book has been building toward.

And I had to take a break.

I had to tell someone about that scene. My aunt who is reading what I have so far didn’t want such a big spoiler. (Honestly, I can’t blame her. I wouldn’t either.) So I told my mom.

Mom: No! You can’t do that!
Me: I have to! It’s the only way she gets what she needs.

And, yes, it worked. But it was a doozy. Then after dinner, I started on it again. She’s pulled through (as I knew would happen) and all is (almost) well and good.

I’m currently sitting at 58,302 words. My goal is 60,000. I’ll hit that tomorrow. (Or sooner if I work on it again tonight.) It will take a little more to finish telling the story, but I expect even that will be done by Monday.

Then the editing begins.

I don’t dread editing. I consider it to be part of the creative process. It’s necessary. It’s not always fun like the writing. (Let’s face it; even that’s not always fun.) But it is necessary.

Do you find yourself working/creating even on rest days?

Groups of Like-Minded Creatives

I have a question for you.

Do you belong to a group? Groups online, like on Facebook, are OK, but I mean in person. Are you a member of a group that meets regularly? Once a month? Every two weeks?

It doesn’t matter if the group is small or large, I think it’s important for creatives to belong to a group of like-minded people who engage in a similar or related pursuit.

For example, I belong to a knit/crochet group, a writers’ group, and a stamping group. Two meet once a month and the other meets twice a month. They’re all important for me.

A lot of creative work is done in solitude. Sometimes you need someone to talk to about similar issues. Other times you need someone you can brainstorm with to get out of the rut you’ve found yourself in. And even other times, you just need — or want — a friend who understands what you’re going through as a creative at the end of the day.

Groups can provide education, resources, and camaraderie, among other things. What groups do you belong to?

Happy creating.

A Tale of Two Shawls

Two shawls, one in jade green on top of one in gray and mint greenIt’s no secret I like yarn. (And beads, ink, paper, stationery, etc.)

I don’t usually have more than one crochet or knit project going at once, but, well… I do now. You can see part of both of them in the picture here. Here’s how they came about.

Yesterday, I had an appointment. I didn’t know how long (or even if) I would have to wait. I didn’t take anything to work on. That’s unusual for me. I bought some yarn (Lion Brand Mandala in Echo Caves) and a size J/10 5.75mm hook. (Now I have a spare J hook since I gave my other spare away.) I started what is known as the “Virus Shawl.” It works up fast and is pretty no matter what type or color of yarn you use. (Here’s a link to the pattern’s Ravelry page if you’re interested. It’s easier than it looks. The hardest part is counting to 10.)

Then today I got to go to a JoAnn’s Fabrics and Crafts (the closest one to me is at Sooner Mall in Norman, Oklahoma). I shopped there a little while my mom and brother were with my niece to get her eyes checked and get new glasses. I had taken my new project with us and worked on it on the way up, but I left it in the pickup (it wouldn’t fit in my purse). Instead of going out to the pickup to get it–you guessed it!–I bought yarn and a crochet hook. This time, the yarn was Lion Brand’s Shawl in a Cake in the color Jade Pool. I bought a size K/10.5 6.50mm hook (now I have a spare of that one, which I didn’t before).

With this yarn, I’m making a variation of this shawl. I’m using the same weight of yarn (3, light) but a different hook. The pattern calls for a size M/N, which I used in the first shawl, but I wanted to experiment with the different size this time around. This shawl also works up quickly.

Since I started the first shawl yesterday, I will finish it before I continue working on the second one. I love the colors of both of them. I find them soothing and inspiring at the same time. It’s interesting how it’s possible to create something from, basically, nothing in a relatively short period of time.

What are you currently working on? Do you have more than one project going at a time?

Happy creating!

Slowing Down

For the past week, I’ve had to slow down. I’ve had a “hitch in my get-along.” In other words, I’ve had a back ache. It started simply enough and I thought it would resolve on its own, but no such luck. I resorted to going to a chiropractor this morning and already feel so much better.

I’ve been hurtling headlong, making great progress on the novel I’m writing. I didn’t write that much less yesterday, but it has made me slow down in other areas.

Slowing down makes me pay more attention to what’s going on, both with myself and around me. Slowing down, even reluctantly, makes me refill my well whether I intended to or not.

I know it’s hard to do, but I recommend taking the time to slow down before you make yourself do it, whether through injury or illness.

It’s worth it.

Happy creating.

Photo Break

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is known as Little Switzerland and the Stair-Step Town, among other nicknames. Throughout the historic district, there are small parks and grottos with various flora and natural rock formations. This is just one of many.