How to Make Money Writing?

How to Make Money Writing

I love writing and the idea that I can be writing for money defied credulity at first. I knew there were professional journalists, and there were authors on wide variety of topics, both fiction and non-fiction, but surely they had that little something that I didn’t have!

Perhaps you have had the same thought.

I am here to not only tell you that it is possible to make money writing, but I will also show you how to make money writing.

So grab a coffee or two and let’s dig in.

Writing for Passive Income

Picture your idyllic life. You wake up lazily in the morning after getting all of your 40 winks. You then proceed to the little coffee nook in your kitchen and brew your morning cup. As you sip your coffee, you review what is important to you in your day today – perhaps you need to catch up with a friend, or plan for your next trip with the family, or whatever. You have finally managed to slow down your day enough that you can stop to smell the coffee and ruminate.

Later you will ride your bike to the local coffee shop and write for a few hours. On your way back you pick up the mail and there are a few checks waiting for you for your earlier written work. Things you wrote in the past now earn you a good income today without you having to do much more. You make a note to deposit them tomorrow.

All this is possible because you listened to your calling and started writing. The money follows, if you have the passion and you keep on going.

The Chicken and Egg Problem of Writing

Your writing will do well if you have an audience ready to consume it. However, you won’t have an audience until you write. The first few pieces you write will barely be read. It is very easy to get discouraged at this stage and give up.

I wrote a post on building business momentum sometime ago. The premise applies to writing. Accept that the beginiing will be slow, and it will often feel like you are not making a ripple in the universe, but if you persist, very soon you will have 1 reader, then 2, then 100 and later 1000s. A persistent and consistent effort, sustained for a long time, will build your audience and generate the momentum for you.

Give a small river a million years and it will carve out the Grand Canyon.

How to Make Money Writing?

Every Writer Needs the Following 4 Things to Succeed

  1. An Audience
  2. A Platform
  3. Something to Say, and,
  4. A Way to Monetize their Work

The goal is to figure out what you want to say, find a platform that will allow you to get your message across to the audience you need, and then find the audience that want to read what you have to say and are willing to pay you for your message. You make it easy for your audience to pay you. There are many ways, and we will discuss a few.

Once you have this structure set, the income will become more and more passive. Until this happens, though, you need to put in a lot of elbow grease. You have to work hard to become an overnight success, and this is just as true in writing as it is in other parts of your life.

1. Building an Audience

I considered putting the platform before the audience but the truth today is that your audience lives on multiple platforms. You will have to embrace multiple platforms to find your audience, and then coalesce them together at the primary platform that you choose.

For example, if you write about home improvement, a good part of your target audience is on Facebook and Pinterest. If you write about writing, then you need to expose your content to Medium as this is where many writers congregate. You may also wish to write in a print magazine or journal if that is where your target audience lives. These however are all rented platforms. They serves as a conduit to reach your audience but ultimately you will have to bring your audience over to your owned platforms.


Because if you hitch your wagon to a third party platform, your future income lives or dies based on the whims of the third party.

This can be expedient and perhaps a useful diversified in your writing portfolio, but you are almost always better off owning your platform.

2. Your Owned Platform

This can be your own blog or a book that you write. For some, it could be a ghost writing service. Some of you may be writing a novel. For many others, you write research that you are able to command a good price for others to consume.

Either way, once you have an audience that you are able to bring to your owned platform, you want to retain this audience (as you work on bringing new audience from elsewhere, thereby growing your total audience over time). Without a good system to increasae retention, you will always be trying to fill a leaky bucket.

You need to give a reason for people to keep coming back. You also need to keep yourself top of the mind so your readers keep coming back.

Having something to say (#3) creates a reason for your readers to come back. You can communicate your ideas with your readers and create a loyal following by consistently sending them your writings. The best way to do this is via a professional email service such as aweber.

Such email services can help you build automation in your communication protocol. You can send various messages to your readers to inspire them to take the actions that you want. Monetization opportunities need to be presented to your readers before they can take action, so a good email system is critical.

3. Have Something to Say

You are passionate about something – say it. Look at the topics in your specific area of interest from many different angles. Consider posing uncomfortable questions and answering them with unconventional answers. When you put enthusiasm behind what you say, people notice.

Be original. If you say the same things that others say, there is no reason for readers to stick around and listen to you. Obviously, not everyone can or wants to break new ground, but you certainly can infuse your personality in your writing. There is only one you, and people want to listen to you, so give them you.

Many new writers worry endlessly about what to write. It is easy to run out of topics or not be able to think of something worthwhile to say. I have realized that the act of writing itself inspires new ideas. So when you are running low on ideas, just write and a few good topics will show up.

And what if what you write is not good?

You of course know that you do not have to publish everything you write. But I do recommend that you publish a good chunk of your writing. Putting yourself out there in the lime light is the best way to improve.

4. Monetize Your Work in Any of these Ways

A book can be sold and you earn royalties. It is easy and quick today to create a book and publish it on Amazon for Kindle and print on demand.

An ebook can be sold on your own website and you can keep the entire earnings. You can sell your ebook and take payment through Paypal or Gumroad. The advantage of this is that you can still retain the buyer in your audience and perhaps offer them more products or services in the future.

You can freelance for other websites or publications and earn a per article or per word fee. Medium lets you write articles and pays you by the engagement or reads your article generates. Other freelance jobs pay you by the word or by the article. You could also pitch your article to more reputed publications, both online and print, and get paid for your content.

You can offer copywriting services to businesses and ecommerce websites to help them earn higher profits, and charge for it. If you are good, you may be able to negotiate a royalty component in your fee. This will keep earning for you as long as your copy keeps earning for your client.

Or you can write to attract bigger audiences to who you recommend other people’s products or services. Affiliate marketing can create true passive income if you choose your affiliate products well. A subscription based product is likely to offer a recurring affiliate commission. This can help build a recurring and predictable passive income stream. If this appeals to you, consider a affiliate network like FlexOffers that lets you sign up with any of the many 1000s of brands they work with.

This is My Project to Make Money Writing

I write at Value Stock Guide and that generates an income through membership and ebook sales. I publish some of my writing on Medium and that generates an income that is very correlated to the amount of publishing I do on that platform. This site (Arohan) is my project where I write to make money from other channels such as affiliate products.

This blog is a new project and the momentum has not yet kicked in. If you follow me now, you are truly at the ground level, and you will have the opportunity to observe how this site grows in popularity and starts streaming cash flow. I will share my lessons along the way.

Shailesh Kumar

I am an author, investor and entrepreneur. I have published several investment books and founded Value Stock Guide. I have been featured in NY Times, Forbes, CNBC and other places around the web. I grew up in India and attended the Indian Institute of Technology where I studied Electrical Engineering. Later I completed my MBA from University of Michigan Business School. I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan with my beautiful wife and two great children. Our orange tabby cat rounds off our family. I love to read, write, run, hike, backpack, play, travel and help others be awesome.