I’m retired, my age is 69, and I don’t want to wait 5 or 6 years “to make it big,” if that ever happens, as an author but still would like to make some money from writing. This article is the result of a lot of research I did about what writers write since I like writing and thought I could make some money doing some of these to supplement my retirement income, but my biggest decision was what exactly should I write?
Writing Articles For My Own Niche Website
This is my favorite option and is currently how I make money with my writing, so it naturally comes first on my list. Technically what I have is a blog, but since a blog is really a form of a website, I’ll refer to it as a website in my article.
The concept of a niche blog is really pretty simple and not that hard to implement if you like writing and don’t mind doing some website work with no actual coding involved. With a niche website you find a topic that interests you, like a hobby, and write articles about it. The nice thing about this option is that you can work at your own pace with no demanding schedule to meet. It can also turn a favorite hobby into a money maker. What better way to make money than to do something you enjoy and then write about it?
You’ll also need a website to publish your articles on. I like WordPress as a content and website platform. It’s free, used by almost half the websites on the Internet, and there is no coding required. I use Ezoic (these following three links links will take you off this website) as my ad agency, Bluehost as my hosting company and I am a member of Income School’s Project 24 program, which is the only program I’ve ever found that works when it comes to getting good rankings and traffic from Google, without doing things like begging someone to link to your website (backlinking).
I also have a web page that talks a little bit more in detail about those 3 options.
Copywriting is another big area for writers and one I explored extensively before deciding it wasn’t (I actually invested money in a couple of courses) for me although you can make good money doing it. Basically, copywriting is creating content for a company to help them sell their products or services.
You could start out working for an advertising agency as a Freelancer but probably will end up working directly for them if they like your work. This type of copywriting is the stuff you see in magazines and on TV but it’s tough to land a job doing this and, as I said earlier, you’ll probably end up having to work for an ad agency and will no longer be a freelancer.
Another method is to be a true freelancer and copywrite whatever you want for whomever you want. You can do this type of copywriting on the Internet and make good money at it. Freelance copywriting has all the benefits of any other writing job, you can work from home with very flexible hours. As a Freelancer you don’t need a website, but you’ll be lightyears ahead if you do. Not only can you just direct someone to your website to view samples of your work instead of submitting samples via email or snail mail, you can also get free, organic traffic from Google if you rank well.
Self-Publish A Book
Another option I seriously considered was self-publishing a book on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), and I still might try it someday. Joining is free. It’s a very attractive option because you can make up to 70% in royalty fees and your book can be available for sale in as quickly as a day, plus you set the price. No trying to gain an agent’s attention with those long wait times in-between for a traditional book. It sometimes takes as long as 5 years to get a book into print following the traditional path, and that’s assuming your novel or short story gets accepted, with KDP you can publish a book and start selling it in 24 hours.
Amazon also offers Kindle Select, which is another free option. With Kindle Select your book is included in the Kindle Unlimited library. I was a member of Kindle Unlimited (this link will take you to the Amazon website) for a long time and, at the price of $9.99 per month, it was worth it to me since that gave me the option of reading as many books as I wanted. I figured as long as I read at least two books a month that it would pay for itself.
Anyway, I finally opted for the website path, but this was a close second in my choices. My main problem was that I didn’t have a story ready to publish, plus I thought creating a website would be more fun. It just boiled down to my personal preferences.
Freelancing as a writer is another way to earn money. You don’t need to leave home to do it and there are no hours to keep but you will have deadlines to meet, and you will need to be self-motivated. Once again, if starting out on your own, you’ll be better off with an online presence, like a website or Facebook page. I’ve used a lot of website hosts and software, but by far the best one I’ve used is WordPress for website creation and Bluehost (this link will take you to the Bluehost website) as my webhosting company. Once you’re online you can start networking and check job postings and direct them to your site to view samples of your work or try to gain some free traffic from Google and let business come to you. To be honest, I would use a two-pronged approach and try both.
The best source I’ve found to learn the technique of getting good, free traffic from Google is Income School’s Project 24 (this link will take you to their website) . Although it’s geared toward websites making money mainly through ads and affiliate sales, the methods they teach to get good rankings on Google are invaluable and will work well for any type of site, including a Freelancer’s website. I tried many services, both paid and free, and this is the only one that I’ve seen any results from, plus I’ve made some money, something I never did with any of the other programs.
Write Technical Documentation Like Manuals and Reports
Something I did as a Quality Engineer before retiring was write a lot of technical documentation that was used to present things like reports and provide training. There is a market for that skill as a writer today. If you can write good instructions, like to work on brochures, write handbooks or even write press releases this is worth taking a look at. Writing technical documentation is a little more formal than everyday writing but if you have even average skills as a writer this won’t be a problem. I enjoyed it when I did it but decided I wanted to try something different.
Write a Novel or Short Story
That’s what most of us think of when we consider writing for a living or for making money. Not only is it harder to write a novel than you might think (I tried it) but it also takes a long time to start from an idea to getting the book published. This can a couple of years or up to five years or more, depending on how often you work on it. It’s a very long, tedious process, and one that very few writers achieve (making a full time living that is). It’s hard to get exact figures but the odds of making a full-time living from writing novels and short stories seems to be a lot less than 1%.
Self-publishing, which I mentioned previously, is one way to shorten that time and get some quick sales but the odds of making a full-time living are still stacked highly against you.
Content Writer for A Niche
If you’re an expert at something and don’t want the hassle of running a website why not write about it and get paid by selling it to someone else? It can be almost anything, from gaming (my website is an example of that) to pets to electronics. If you’re like me and plan to buy something online, I research it first. And who writes that content? Writers like you and me. You can get paid for writing articles like this from businesses if you don’t want to go through the trouble of creating your own website. Just search the Internet for jobs and submit samples of your work.
Since I run a blog (website) I’m on the other side of this. I’m currently not outsourcing anything, but I know what the typical payouts are, at least for a website like mine. Most websites like mine will want a 2,000-word minimum article, and usually more. A decent 2,500-word article will average around 4 hours to write if you include research time, less if you know the topic well. Publishers will typically pay anywhere from 2 cents per word to 5 cents per word. If I were looking for someone, I would start out at 3 cents per word and increase the amount if I liked the writer’s work or if the article did well.
Starting at 3 cents per word would pay $75 for the article, 5 cents per word would pay $125. If you worked with someone who eventually ends up paying you 5 cents per word and you know the topic really well you could probably trim the writing and research time down to around 3 hours per 2,500-word article, which calculates out to 41.67 cents per hour for a 2,500-word article. For this option you don’t need a website, just a couple of good clients, but be prepared to submit samples of your work.
Below is a table I created to give you an idea of how much you can make from writing articles for small to medium sized websites.
|Word Count||$0.02 per word||0.03 per word||0.04 per word||0.05 per word|
|2000 word count||$40.00||$60.00||$80.00||$100.00|
|1500 word count||$30.00||$45.00||$60.00||$75.00|
|2500 word count||$50.00||$75.00||$100.00||$125.00|
|3000 word count||$60.00||$90.00||$120.00||$150.00|
|3500 word count||$70.00||$105.00||$140.00||$175.00|
Create Sales Pages for Websites
Again, I’m on the other side of this. I’ve seen ads on the Internet that advertise payment as high as $3,000 per page but that price is well out of reach for a small to medium sized website like mine and for most others as well.
As the owner of a smaller website, I’d be willing to pay for good content for a sales page and I would create the actual page myself using that content. I would be willing to pay around $200 for a great article. If it took someone 4 hours to create that copy it would be $50 per hour, not too bad for 4 hours of work. This rate would attract mostly beginners but if you’re looking to get established and want to make some money, you’ll probably need to start out small with a small website like mine. It’s not that we’re cheap or not serious, it’s a simple law of economics, we can’t afford to shell out $2,000 or $3,000 for a sales page, at least not until we get better established.
Writing white papers for businesses is an idea worth trying if you like research and more a formalized, objective style of writing. It takes a lot of cooperation between you and the business you’re writing for but it’s another good avenue to make some money at as a writer.
When writing a white paper, you need to keep in mind who you’re writing to (audience) and what they expect to get from it. Generally, a white paper has a title page, table of contents, problem statement, proposed solution and a conclusion along with other things, and its designed to persuade an individual over to your point of view. White papers are typically anywhere from 6 to 14 pages long.