When people ask me what I do for a living, frankly I don’t know what to say.
I usually say, I’m self-employed. Or “I blog.” Or “I’m semi-retired.” And they’re all true.
In fact, so are these answers, and I’ve probably used them all over the years…
- I own a publishing company.
- I’m an affiliate marketer.
- I sell info-products (like on this page.)
- I’m a writer.
- I create and market ebooks.
- I build websites.
- I’m an online marketer.
- I’m a marketing consultant.
I could go on and on.
But the real truth is this… I write for a living. After all, that’s what’s at the core of all those answers.
The stuff I write takes on many forms, which earns me money in multiple ways.
And the funny thing is, I never took a “professional” writing course.
My writing is filled with grammatical errors, yet I make a nice living doing this.
Which leads me to believe that just about anyone can do this.
If you’re someone who wants to earn money writing, here are 13 top markets to explore, where you can turn your writing into cold hard cash. (My thanks go out to my colleagues Alice Seba and Ron Douglas of WriterHelpWanted who compiled this list and allowed me to republish it here.)
Market #1: Copywriting
Copywriting is the art of writing material that helps convert readers into customers. Copywriting can encompass everything from email messages to advertisements to online sales pages.
Any marketing material often entails some level of copywriting. You can do things like slogan writing, brochures, ad copy, sales letters, product descriptions and more.
Copywriters are in high demand and once you have a proven track record, you’ll have clients knocking on your door.
Tip – Track your results: Copywriting is a results driven business and your clients want to know you can get them more leads and customers. Keep a record of conversion rates and help your clients improve those rates as part of a value-added service.
Market #2: Biographies and Memoir Writing
Here’s a unique opportunity that allows you to help people tell their story. Many people want to publish a biography or memoir, but don’t have the writing skills to put it together. In fact, many famous biographies were not written by their “authors”. Instead, they are ghostwritten and that’s where your services come in. In some cases, you might even get credit as a co-author.
Tip – Make passive income: Instead of doing all the hard work of putting together a memoir or biography, teach people how to write their own, so they can do it themselves. You can create an information product about the process that you can sell repeatedly. Or once you’ve achieved success on your own, you can teach other aspiring memoir writers to break into the market.
Market #3: Blogging
You’re probably familiar with the concept of blogging. However, you might not know that many bloggers don’t actually write their own content. They hire someone to write it for them. Bloggers can make a great living working for a handful of chosen blogs. Some bloggers are ghostwriters, while others are “guest bloggers.”
Tip – Get ongoing work: Offer blogging services from your own website and set up a monthly subscription plan where you write a certain number of blog posts each week. Give your monthly subscribers a special retainer rate, so they are encouraged to keep their subscription active.
Market #4: Book Proposals
Writers who want their books to be published by a publishing company, need a book proposal. This proposal sells the idea of why the book should be published and includes an overview of the book, its market, and competition.
A book proposal is a specialized type of writing that needs to be detailed and persuasive. Proposals can be used for fiction and nonfiction work, so there are a variety of types of clients you can work with.
Tip – Focus on results: While not all of your clients will get book deals because of your work, the success rate you do achieve will be critical in growing your opportunities. Always follow up with your clients to find out how things went and use those success stories as case studies to showcase your expertise.
Market #5: Article Writing
As an article writer, you can write for offline publications and magazines, but you’ll probably find more opportunities online. There are so many publishers, small, medium and large, online that it’s relatively easy to find work if you look for it.
For example, lots of people earn regular income writing for Medium.com – on any topic imaginable. Just sign up and start submitting content. Then join their partner program and lock some of your articles.
Market #6: Creative Writing
If creative writing was one of your favorite subjects in school, you’ll be glad to know there are opportunities to make money doing it. The different types of opportunities are abundant.
You might ghostwrite fiction, do songwriting, write jokes and humor, poetry, greeting card messages, jingles and more.
Tip – Treat your creative writing pursuits like a business: You need to build your own audience by growing and marketing to your email list. These are fans you can contact directly about your works for sale and send other product recommendations where you earn a commission. Treat like you would any other business… just writing good content isn’t enough
Market #7: Ebooks
The ebook industry is thriving and there are many opportunities for writers. You can write for clients or for yourself. There are opportunities in fiction and non-fiction. The important thing is to find a niche for yourself.
Tip – Find a lucrative market of clients: Look for business owners who want to use a book as a marketing tool. For example, a professional coach can publish a book that they can use to build awareness for their services and establish credibility. When they are directly building your business from the content you write, they are willing to pay well to get that service done.
Market #8: Editors
With all the publishing being done these days, the opportunities for talented editors are abundant. In addition to traditional publishing, think about all the blogs, books, and newsletters people are publishing. If you’ve got an eye for making writing more succinct and clear, this could be an opportunity for you.
Tip – Hang out with writers: Many writers need editing services, so make sure they know who you are. Join online communities and groups. Attend local writing events to connect with them.
Market #9: Emails and Newsletters
Email is a very commercial medium that produces a high return on investment, so clients are often willing to pay well for you to write for them.
According to the Direct Marketing Association, email produces a return on investment (ROI) of nearly 4300% . That means, for every dollar they spend, they get $43.52 in return.
This is your opportunity to write for clients who want to generate income from their email marketing or to make money from your own email list in a niche of your choosing.
Tip: Create retainer packages for your clients: For email marketing campaigns to be effective, they have to be consistent. That means your clients need more and more emails written. If you can get your clients to sign up for a subscription for your services, you get ongoing work, they get more success and you don’t have to constantly hunt for new clients and work.
Market #10: Ghostwriting
Ghostwriting is actually a lot more common than the average person might think. A ghostwriter is someone who writes content for their client who then publishes the content under their own name as if they wrote it.
Many of the markets we’ve mentioned in this report can be done as a ghostwriter. Ghostwriters write anything from blog posts, to ebooks including fiction and nonfiction, screenplays, scripts, speeches, articles, stores, and more.
Tip – Listen to and Apply Feedback: Writing is such a personal thing and it’s easy to get defensive about our talents, but when you’re ghostwriting, you become irrelevant. Your job is to write what the client wants and conform to what they’re asking for. Of course, you can provide your professional advice if you think they’re moving in the wrong direction, but ultimately, it’s in their hands.
Market #11: Private Label Rights (PLR) Content
Private label rights (PLR) content is pre-written content such as articles, blog posts, ebooks, reports, and any type of content, which multiple people purchase the right to use as their own work.
Typically, the buyer is responsible for altering the content to make it their own, but they can put their name to it as the author. This differs from ghostwriting work where someone hires you to write on a specific subject and they pay you for exclusive rights to use that work. With plr, you sell the same content to multiple buyers over and over again.
Tip – plr Customers Keep Buying: plr is inexpensive for the individual buyer, so they keep buying more. If you keep coming up with great topics and offers, your customers will buy repeatedly. This is why memberships also do well for plr. Set up a subscription-based program. You deliver content every month and they pay you every month.
Market #12: Revenue Sharing Sites
With revenue sharing sites, you write an article on a particular topic or niche, depending on what the site wants you to do. Once your article is published on the site and people start reading it, you will earn a share of the advertising revenue generated by the readers when they click on an advertisement.
This is a useful way to break into and learn more about online writing as well as get work under your byline to help market yourself as a writer to the world.
Tip – Make passive income: The income you get from these sites can become passive if traffic continues to visit your older content. A natural progression from writing for other sites is to create your own site. Not only do you keep 100% of the revenue, you also build a valuable asset that can bring in additional money in other ways.
Market #13: Social Media Content Writer
Social media writing consists of writing blurbs to introduce memes, blog posts, contests and other content ultimately leading the customer toward the client’s websites or email lists. If you have the talent to make people want to “click” and read more, you can become an effective social media content writer.
Tip: Get Ongoing Work: Set up your own website and include social media management services. Some of your clients might just want you to write their content, but many others will want you to handle the posting and interaction on their various accounts. The more hands-free you can make this for your client, the more likely they’ll want to work with you on an ongoing basis.
That wraps it up for today. If you want to see 21 more markets where you can earn from your writing, I suggest you hop on over to WriterHelpWanted for the inside scoop – they’ll even hook you up with a writing job!