Writing Fiction For Profit: 4 Ways To Make Money From Your Creativity

Are you writing fiction? Many freelance writers write novels and short fiction as a side hustle, with varying degrees of success.

Ghostwriting may be the easiest way make an income from your fiction as a side hustle—you simply write. Someone else publishes and markets the material.

I’ve ghostwritten both fiction and nonfiction for many years, originally for traditional publishers, simply because I enjoy fiction and writing. Recently a blog reader asked me about the best ways of writing fiction for profit.

Firstly, let’s think about whether fiction can be profitable.

Can writing fiction be profitable?

Each November, many hundreds of thousands of authors participate in NaNoWriMo. Some authors have used it to launch great careers, but for most participants it’s a fun hobby.

Making the leap from hobbyist to professional author is a challenge. However, if you’re already earning an income as a professional writer, whether it’s as a copywriter, blogger, business writer, or as an author, you can write fiction and self-publish it profitably.

Let’s look at some fun and profitable ways of writing fiction for profit.

1. Big publishing: writing fiction for traditional and new publishers

Today, there are few traditional publishers remaining. Starting in the 1990s, the larger publishers gobbled up the smaller houses. Finally, a few were left: the “big six.” Now, the Big Six has become the Big Four. To approach any of the large houses, you need a literary agent.

However, there’s another choice: Amazon.

Amazon is a giant company, supporting millions of businesses globally. Its reach is appealing for marketers. Once self-publishing took off, Amazon paid attention and launched its own publishing imprints. You can approach Amazon directly, if you’d like a contract from them.

The major benefit of an Amazon contract is—Amazon itself. Amazon knows publishing, and how to sell books profitably.

2. Ghostwriting: writing fiction for others (you sell your rights)

I enjoy ghostwriting. Most ghostwriters write nonfiction, but writing fiction is profitable. Check out my fiction ghostwriting program.

If you don’t mind seeing your fiction published under someone else’s name, ghostwriting may be perfect for you.

3. Profitable short fiction: short stories, novellas, and serials

Do you enjoy writing short stories?

If you look on the freelance marketplaces, you’ll often find buyers looking for short story writers. It’s profitable. Some of the buyers publish the stories themselves. However, you’ll also find authors looking for stories they can send to their mailing list subscribers.

There’s a knack to writing short stories which sell. Most important, you need to know what a genre’s readers want from their fiction.

4. Serial fiction: write bite-sized, addictive fiction—it’s fun

Serial fiction can be profitable too—check out my popular program.

Unlike regular fiction, serials are published as “to be continued” episodes. So, rather than writing a complete story, as you would when writing a novel or novella, you write in episodes.

Your episodes can be anywhere from a couple of thousand words to 10,000 words; you can publish five episodes or many more. Much depends on the genre, the type of story, and your own inclinations. Check out my program; it covers both writing and marketing serial fiction.

When you’re writing fiction, be patient, and keep writing

Over the years, I’ve noticed that fiction authors are impatient. That’s completely understandable, but please be aware that impatience can damage your sales.

Here’s why. There’s a LOT of fiction available, much of it free to read. When readers approach your fiction, they’re considering the time element, even over the price. It takes time to download and read anything. Readers want to know that an author is reliable. The easiest way to show this is to have other material available.

So, when you’re writing fiction for profit, keep writing—once something sells, whether the buyer is a reader, a publishing house, or a ghostwriting client, they want more of your writing.


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