Making Money Writing

Photo of reporter’s notebook by grafixtek on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.

Yesterday, a friend contacted me on Facebook Messenger with a question.

My daughter is interested in trying to publish a book she’s working on. Short stories and poems. She asked if i knew anyone that did that and of course you popped in my head. If it’s not too personal, can you tell me if you make money doing that? And what the process to do so is?

The thing of it is, there’s no simple answer.

Can you make money writing? Yes and no, because it depends on what you want to write and how much you market yourself. As a preliminary, I told her this:

The short answer is that some types of writing can and do make money. I haven’t made much because marketing intimidates the hell out of me. Even the big names have to do self-promotion. As for how to do it, take a look at CreateSpace.com. They’re pretty easy to use. The way I do it with their self-guided process doesn’t cost anything unless I order books.

Yes, I know marketing shouldn’t intimidate me. That’s really not the point here. (Plus I’m working on that and getting better at it.)

One of the biggest things to remember is that writing is just the beginning of the work. How many revisions and edits you go through will vary from project to project. And then there’s the whole publishing process.

Now, like I said in my original answer to my friend, most of my stuff is published using CreateSpace, so I follow the process laid out in their self-guided system. I don’t talk to anyone in customer support, so it doesn’t cost me anything until I order books.

I almost said the work of marketing/self-promotion starts then, but, really, you need to be doing that all along. Be talking about it on your social media platform(s). I mainly use Twitter and Facebook, but I do occasionally post writing-related stuff, especially when I have a new book out, on LinkedIn. The more you talk about it, the more interest you generate, which will (hopefully) translate into sales down the road.

Take a lesson from me: Don’t be shy about marketing and self-promotion. Most of the big names even have to promote themselves. Except maybe Stephen King.

So, what makes the most money?

Mostly, nonfiction. Followed by romance. I did a Google search on the question “what kind of writing makes the most money?” Just click the link to see the search results.

The funny thing (to me) about the timing of this question is that I’ve been thinking about that. Making money writing.

A few years ago, I taught a class through the community education program at the local college. The name of it? “Make Money Writing.” In it, I talked mostly about writing for magazines, the query process, researching articles, finding other resources, etc. I’ve been thinking about moving that online, either as a video course or an email series.

Let me know if there’s any interest in that and which format would be best.

I promised my friend a list of resources. I’ve been thinking about how to narrow that down because I have enough that I could probably fill a book with just links. I’ve decided to just list the top 5. Links will open in a new window. If you have a pop-up blocker, hold the Ctrl key down when you click it so it will open.

Resources:
Writer’s Digest
CreateSpace
Purdue Online Writing Lab
Ralan (market listing)
Help a Reporter (more for nonfiction, though can be useful for fiction)

There are a lot more I could add, but the sheer mountain of information available just from these resources can be overwhelming enough.

By the way, in speaking of making money writing, the type of writing that traditionally makes the least amount of money?

Poetry.

However, with that said, if you’re just writing for the money, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

Happy creating.

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Work Work Work

That sounds too much like the title of a song by Rihanna. I’m not stealing from her, I promise.

I was given orders to take it easy to let my back get well. So that’s what I’ve been doing. For most of the day, I’ve read, crocheted, watched videos, and rested. My mind kept working in the background.

I decided writing could be included in taking it easy, so I started working on RealmWalker earlier in the day than usual. I got to a pivotal scene, one the whole book has been building toward.

And I had to take a break.

I had to tell someone about that scene. My aunt who is reading what I have so far didn’t want such a big spoiler. (Honestly, I can’t blame her. I wouldn’t either.) So I told my mom.

Mom: No! You can’t do that!
Me: I have to! It’s the only way she gets what she needs.

And, yes, it worked. But it was a doozy. Then after dinner, I started on it again. She’s pulled through (as I knew would happen) and all is (almost) well and good.

I’m currently sitting at 58,302 words. My goal is 60,000. I’ll hit that tomorrow. (Or sooner if I work on it again tonight.) It will take a little more to finish telling the story, but I expect even that will be done by Monday.

Then the editing begins.

I don’t dread editing. I consider it to be part of the creative process. It’s necessary. It’s not always fun like the writing. (Let’s face it; even that’s not always fun.) But it is necessary.

Do you find yourself working/creating even on rest days?

Slowing Down

For the past week, I’ve had to slow down. I’ve had a “hitch in my get-along.” In other words, I’ve had a back ache. It started simply enough and I thought it would resolve on its own, but no such luck. I resorted to going to a chiropractor this morning and already feel so much better.

I’ve been hurtling headlong, making great progress on the novel I’m writing. I didn’t write that much less yesterday, but it has made me slow down in other areas.

Slowing down makes me pay more attention to what’s going on, both with myself and around me. Slowing down, even reluctantly, makes me refill my well whether I intended to or not.

I know it’s hard to do, but I recommend taking the time to slow down before you make yourself do it, whether through injury or illness.

It’s worth it.

Happy creating.

Formal Photography

Today I got to exercise a different creative art. Photography.

My oldest niece is a high school junior. Tonight is Prom. After she and her boyfriend got all dolled up, we took their pictures.

Telling people how to pose has never been my strong suit. I let other people do that with only making a couple suggestions myself. I don’t have permission to use photos of her or her boyfriend, so I’m only sharing a photo of her prom corsage sitting in its plastic box.

It’s been a while since I’ve shot formal portraits. Come to think of it, this might actually be the first. Well, for a formal dance, that is. Later on, if I get permission to share some of the other photos, I hope to be able to share some of my favorites. I’m particularly happy with one of her looking out a window.

Photography stretches my creativity in different ways than writing does. That’s a good thing. We (I) need to stretch our creativity in different ways so that we don’t get in a rut. Practicing more than one creative outlet is a good way to be sure we stay in touch with our creativity and sometimes refill our well in the process.

What are you doing to stretch? Where do you need more practice?

Happy creating!

Season 2 of Wandering on the Creative Path is Here!

I decided to open season 2 of the Wandering on the Creative Path podcast talking about Journal Your Way to Creativity.

How’s that for some blatant self-promotion?

You can hear it here:

Let me know what you think about it.

While you’re at it, also please answer something else for me: Do you like audio/video embedded in the blog posts or should I just keep it to straight text with supplemental images?

Front cover of the book, Journal Your Way to Creativity, by Jen Nipps

Print: $6.99
Kindle: $3.99

Happy creating!

Ouch

I often talk about if it’s possible to create when you’re ill. I never mentioned if you’re injured. As much as creating while you’re ill depends on what the problem is, that’s even truer with an injury.

If you stand while you work, a bad leg or back might keep you from it for a while. If you have a bad hand, that could eliminate a lot too.

Today I have basically three of those things going on. I have a bad leg, which is getting better; a bad wrist, which either improves or worsens depending on the weather; and a back ache. I bent over wrong earlier and felt a twinge. I debated on if I felt like I could get anything done or if I needed to call it a night already and put my heating pad to use.

I’m using a back support and sitting to write. I thought I would give it a go and see how it works out. So far, so good. As long as that continues, I’ll get to work on RealmWalker. (I’m pretty much at the halfway point, as far as word count goes.)

The wood door is closed (the front door), so the wind won’t be banging the storm door every time I get in the groove of writing, so that won’t bother me.

My excuses are vanishing one by one.

As long as my ouchies stay low, I’m good to go. Are you?

Happy creating.

Motivational Ideas

Since I mentioned the difficulty I was having with “just not feeling it” yesterday, I thought I would share a few motivational ideas with you.

Once I got started, I wrote about 1,400 words. I credit it to a couple things.
1. BICHOK – Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.
2. Productivity music. I mentioned Evan Carmichael’s YouTube channel yesterday, but he has a couple music playlists: #EntVibes and Productive Music for Work. I listen to them both frequently. Neither one is better than the other, in my experience.

Something else that helps, but I (admittedly) don’t do very often is going for a walk. It doesn’t have to be very far, but be safe.

Doodle/draw/sketch. It doesn’t matter what you want to call it.

Watch the sunrise or sunset.

Take the cliched advice to stop and smell the roses (or whatever flower you prefer).

Sometimes it doesn’t really matter what we do as long as we do something. We can only do so much before we have to do some self-care and refill our well. With as much as I talk about the importance of creativity in everyday life, I don’t often remind you that it’s not an unending supply. You have to do things to refill your well. These are just a few.

Happy creating.