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Make More Money Writing
by Shaunna Privratsky

What keeps you going as a writer? Is it the thrill of acceptances or the pride in your latest manuscript? I suspect that part of the desire comes from good old-fashioned green. Doing what you love and earning a living is a driving force in many writers’ careers. Earning a few cents per word or a tidy sum for a short story is a powerful motivation.

How do you stay focused on your writing while chasing the almighty dollar? We must become aggressive marketers, ceaseless promoters and constantly produce to make a decent living.

One way to make real money writing is to go after the higher paying markets. Remember one of the basic rules of freelancing: you’ll never get an acceptance if you don’t submit. When you are researching for potential markets, don’t concentrate only on the dollar signs, but be aware of them. Just think: $1 or more per word!

Generally speaking, the higher the pay, the more competition you face. Don’t let a little competition faze you. Here is a short list of steps to take to ensure your manuscript goes to the top of the heap.

1. Research, research, research. The more you know about the market you’re trying to crack, the better. Writer’s Market is a great research tool and even shows the percentage of freelance content. The higher the percentage, the better chance you have.

2. Check the archives and current topics. Your idea is dead in the water if it has already been covered. For national magazines, check the direct competition as well. Like all markets, the editors want fresh topics and material.

3. Think like an editor. Lead-time is usually six to eight months ahead of publication. So if you want to pitch an idea about holiday decorating, you better send it by July. Likewise, a summer topic should be sent while you’re shivering and cuddling by the fireplace.

4. Get the right editor the first time. Check the current masthead or call and pinpoint the correct contact person. You can check online, on newsstands or the library for a current issue. Some websites have different content and different staffing than the print version, however, so double-check your facts before sending it to the wrong person. Doing your homework can pay off big with just one acceptance.

5. Send only your best, every time. That means no typos, common usage errors or poorly constructed articles. Your writing represents you so don’t be sloppy, lazy or ill prepared.

The short story market is similar, although not quite as lucrative. Even the “professional” rates of $.03 a word and up are much less than article rates. The payment could be in the prestige. If you’ve always wanted to publish your fiction, use the same rules to really stand out in the sea of submissions.

Another way to earn big bucks is volume. The more acceptances you earn, the more money you make. So if you average five paid assignments a month, strive for ten to double your income. Build your sales volume by submitting more. It only takes five $20 acceptances to earn $100.

You can also branch out into the business side of writing. Become a copyeditor for some ready cash or a screenwriter for some serious dough. Turn your expertise into a hot-selling book. Take your promotional “tour” on the road and earn money doing speaking engagements. There are a hundred and one different ways to make money writing. Find one or more that appeals to you.

So, would you ever quit your day job and become a full time writer? Many do and enjoy very successful careers. You must decide if you’re dedicated enough to make more money writing.

© Copyright 2008, Shaunna Privratsky

Shaunna Privratsky writes fulltime from North Dakota, in between shoveling snow. Please visit The Writer Within at http://shaunna67.tripod.com. We are looking for new writers and we are a paying market.

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