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Make More Dollars With Every Sale
by Kathryn Lay

You’ve probably heard it before. Find ways to up your income on your writing pieces by providing photos, writing sidebars, and reusing research. It’s been said before because it’s true.

We writers put a lot of time into our writing; whether it’s in the research, preparation, thinking, planning, writing, and/or marketing. The more we can stretch what we’re doing the more all that time was worth our hard effort.

Yes, there are times when we dash off a piece of writing that actually works. I’ve had many personal essays that hit me suddenly; I sit down and write, edit the next day or later that day and know exactly where I want to send it. And boom, it sells the first time out. But more often it’s a lot of hard work.

A few of the ways I’ve made more money off of a sale:

  1. Changing slant. Almost every event in my life has been written down. Almost every one of them have been published in more than one way. With the adoption of our daughter I’ve written about the process, about her name being the same as the name we’d chosen years before, about the waiting, meeting the foster mother, preparing, ways people helped us and ways they hurt us, and so on. When going through cancer I wrote about losing my hair, about the many ways people helped us (as an essay and a how-to), miracles that happened during that time.

    When looking over your published pieces, try looking for ways to make a local piece fit nationally or a national sale be of interest to a local publication.

  2. Another way to change slant is by going from nonfiction to fiction. Years ago I wrote about an event where my husband and I picked up a family walking along the side of a highway and took them a little further on their journey to the town where a job waited. Later, I turned it into a fiction story for an adult religious publication. Even later I rewrote it for children from a child’s viewpoint in a story. I’ve taken events from our adoption and used them to write fiction. I’ve taken events from times with my daughter and written them as children’s short stories.

  3. Reusing research has often paid off. When writing a large article for Woman’s Day about safety issues, I spent a lot of time interviewing experts in many areas of safety. After the article was published, I took some of that research and got more specific. An article on weather safety for a childcare publication. An article on teaching kid’s to be safe kids for Kiwanis magazine. Don’t waste all the time you spent researching or interviewing for a piece. Look through that file of information and make a list of spin-offs. Perhaps someone you interviewed mentioned something in their personal life that was very interesting but had nothing to do with the article you were writing.

  4. Have you written a lot of pieces on one topic area? Perhaps it’s time to try putting them together as a book. Many of my articles on writing and lessons for writing classes became The Organized Writer Is a Selling Writer.

    A writer friend has had a religious column in her local newspaper for years. She’s done very well putting those as well as other articles published in magazines and anthologies into her own, self-published books. She sells them around town and to the many speaking engagements she is invited to. She has recently created a small newspaper given away in her town full of new and re-used articles, essays and more. Local ads have given her enough to publish plus make a profit.

  5. Of course reprints are one of the best ways to make more money off each of your published writing pieces. This may take some extra time searching for publications who buy reprints, but as you begin making a list of reprint markets, you may find many possibilities you hadn’t considered. Sunday school take-home papers buy a lot of material since they are weekly. Many anthologies will buy reprints (rarely in fiction).

Whether it’s adding photos or sidebars, selling reprints or reslants, reusing research and information, changing genre type or age of reader, or turning articles into books; there are lots of possible ways to make more money off your writing.

© Copyright 2009, Kathryn Lay

Kathryn Lay is the author of 26 books for children, over 2000 articles, essays and stories for children and adults and the book from AWOC.COM Publishing, The Organized Writer is a Selling Writer. Check out her website at www.kathrynlay.com and email through rlay15@aol.com

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