Can you make a nice side hustle income from writing fiction? Yes. Writing fiction for a living offers you a ton of benefits – you can choose when and where you want to work and whom you want to work for.
There is now a huge demand for fiction from authors. You can also compete with big publishers. The writing field has been leveled for publishers and authors now that most books are now published in ebooks and can be purchased online.
No matter what happens globally, even in a pandemic, content must be published, especially online. So, writers have plentiful opportunities for making money doing what they know how to do best.
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How Do You Make Money Writing Fiction?
If you feel you are a talented or skilled writer and it’s time to make money with your skills and talent, this guide will teach you how to earn a living writing fiction.
Your chances of earning good money if you have published only a single novel are small. You can’t even compare yourself with an author who has written over ten books.
Anybody can write a novel, but let us face it, how many first-time novelists produced the perfect book? Their first work was probably not that good, even though they worked with one or two developmental editors.
The art of writing a great story is something that demands so much intentional practice as well as study to master. Even the best writers today didn’t start as the best.
The only way you can write a great book is to write as many as possible. You can also practice rewriting the same book many times and get feedback from good editors and writers.
Use that time to learn how you can become a better writer. Also, realize that you will grow as a writer when you practice a lot, and you are on your way to being one of the best writers.
Read more materials:
If you are asking yourself, “How do I find more material to write?” The answer is “Read more.” Every writer should be a serious reader. You have to read and study those who have been writing before you to learn from them.
If you don’t read other people’s works, you will only find yourself constantly reinventing the wheel and discovering insights by yourself – things that you should have learned by reading, studying, and learning how to be a better writer.
Every great artist studied others before them. You can’t be a great creative artist by isolating yourself. You will do better by surrounding yourself with other great fiction writers, and the easiest way is to read their stories.
If you take time to study great writers and read their books, you will most likely learn the skills that will help your work stand out, and you will get the recognition you want.
Write More Novels (Instead of Short Fiction or Novellas):
Authors who have single-title novellas usually sell very few copies of their book, even when they have heavy marketing support. For most of them, it’s not worth spending their money to market a short story.
The max realistic price point for a self-published short fiction or novella is a few dollars, and even with that, your work is still competing with long books written by authors with massive backlists at the same price as an eBook.
Nearly all novellas sell for 99 cents, and a lot of them are even offered for free so that new readers can buy other books by the author. It is not easy to earn a living from writing a novella.
Even though you can get paid to write short stories, making real money as a writer comes from publishing a novel people love to read, especially a series of novels. The key is to have many novels in a series or a similar genre.
If you write many novels in a series, those who love one of them will buy the rest. Consider your novellas as a gravy on the side. Short stories are not real money-makers.
If you are yet to write a story that’s longer than 50,000 words, you should start planning to do that now. Book readers are more likely to purchase novels instead of short stories.
You may need to practice character development, plot and create the kind of story people will love. You can also try writing several short stories and novellas and see which one attracts more buyers.
If you find out that readers love one of your short works, in particular, you will have to start writing full-length novels or series of books based on the characters in your readers’ favorite book.
As a writer, you should try different things and see what works best for you. Your readers will let you know what they like with their credit cards. If one sells ten or more times more than the others, find out why. You have your bestseller.
Do not try to turn the books that sold poorly into your bestsellers. Focus on your bestseller and write books you know your readers will be willing to spend their money and time on.
Also, if you write only long books and have ever written a novella or short story before, you can try the latter. You probably write too much description and long-winded prose. Try to write something short and see how it goes.
Do more writing than editing:
You shouldn’t spend the vast majority of your writing time editing your works. If you are a perfectionist, there are high chances of you getting stuck in editing, and this can kill your career.
You have to constantly produce new material if you want to grow as a writer. While editing is important, you don’t want to be an author who works on a single story for years with nothing to show for all the hard work.
Write! You don’t have to worry whether your work is good or not. Start editing and revising once you have done your first draft. After doing the self-editing, you can send it to beta readers or a professional editor for a professional edit.
What’s Ghostwriting, And What Do You Need To Be a Ghost Fiction Writer?
Ghostwriting means writing for publishers and allowing them to take credit for your work. You will be paid to do this. Once the publisher has paid you, the work belongs to them.
If you want to make money from ghostwriting fiction, you need to be;
To be successful in the ghostwriting field, you need to be:
A fast writer:
You must be a very fast writer because the ghostwriting fiction field is a competitive one. The rates are usually lower than that of magazine articles or even business Copywriting.
Due to the low rate, if you plan to make real money from ghostwriting, you’ll need to write stories at speed.
Open to working with your clients’ ideas:
Your client from the bidding sites will most likely give you a story idea, and all you have to do is flesh it out. Even though you can inject your ideas, you are not allowed to be precious about them. Your client has an ultimate say over the project.
Able to write in different genres and voices:
Your client can ask you to pen a same-sex romance or a hard-boiled detective story. Either way, the voice and the structure you use should reflect the conventions of the genre your client wants you to write in.
Happy for your client to take credit:
As a ghostwriter, you will most likely not get a mention when your client publishes the novel or short story. So, if the story turns out to be a bestseller, well, you’ve been paid, so your clients receive all the accolades.
Where You Can Get Writing Jobs
If you are wondering how and where you can get clients to write for and get paid, here are the best ways to make money writing for people;
Bidding sites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr allow writers and other creatives to make money. Sign up and start bidding for projects.
Look for projects under “fiction,” “creative writing,” and “story writing,” and bid for projects that interest you.
You can also search online to find fiction jobs available. Just type keywords like “fiction writer needed” into Google, and discover opportunities that are waiting for you.
You have to get creative with your search terms. Try more keywords to discover hidden opportunities for fiction writers.
What If I Don’t Want To Write For Other People
Well, you have a few options. If you want to write novels, get an agent to help you submit your work to publishers. You can also choose to bypass that option and self-publish.
More writers are beginning to choose to self-publish because of the independence it gives them. It also offers them far higher royalties (up to 70%).
If you are writing short stories, you can benefit from self-publishing, but it is better to make a series of your works before publishing. You can also submit to magazines and literary journals.
One good thing about self-publishing is that many literary journals now publish online, and you can submit your work by email.