Do you love writing fiction? Many authors write short stories and novels for pleasure; fiction is a hobby. But what if you need to make money?
Several writers contacted me about this post, Writing Fiction For Profit: 4 Ways To Make Money From Your Creativity, in which I covered standard income-generating ideas. (Read the post for inspiration.)
They wanted more: unusual ideas for fiction.
Unusual ways to make money writing fiction: get creative
Let’s look at standard ways first.
In the first post, I suggested:
- Writing fiction for publishers;
- Ghostwriting fiction;
- Publishing short fiction: short stories and novellas;
- Producing serials.
Let’s look at some unusual ways to make money from fiction.
1. Write to sell: make money writing fiction for others to publish
When you’re ghostwriting, you write to order: someone commissions you—they pay you to write their ideas. (Usually—you may also be asked to develop ideas.)
You can also write to sell. This strategy works brilliantly for my writing students. I suggested it when one author told me: “I’ve got 12 romance novels, but they’re not selling without promotion. I don’t want to spend time and money marketing them. What can I do?”
This author was ready to launch a new mystery series. The first novel in the series was on Kindle pre-order. As soon as it launched, her next novel would go on pre-order—her aim was to publish four novels in the new series within three months.
She had no time to promote her romance novels; nor was she interested in writing romance again. I suggested that she sell those novels.
Within three weeks of offering the novels to her mailing list and on her website, she’d sold them all, releasing all rights in the novels to the purchasers.
If you decide to try this, how much money can you expect to make?
That depends on:
- The buyers: someone may be looking for the kinds of books you’re selling, often to rewrite and slot them into a series they’re publishing; and
- Whether you’re writing in a genre which is currently hot.
You can also consider your fiction as content, so that you can sell it.
2. Fiction as content for newsletters and blogs
Do you have a mailing list to help you to promote your fiction?
If you do, you know it’s a struggle to develop content. One author told me that if he wasn’t making so much money from his newsletter, he wouldn’t bother. “But a message to my list boosts all my rankings. I can’t give it up, but I don’t have time for it either.”
As you might imagine, authors with lists are always looking for content. If you can write short stories and novellas in popular genres like romance, fantasy, and mystery, you can sell your fiction to these authors.
Test the waters. If you’re in a writers’ group for a genre, ask whether anyone is looking for fiction they can buy for their newsletter.
3. Create bundles (yes, you can write specifically to create bundles)
One of my students tells me she makes more money writing fiction for her bundles than she does from her three novel series.
When I sent her an email message to ask how it works, she said: “I write short fiction—nothing over 5,000 words. For a while, I published the stories individually, then bundled them. Now I don’t bother—I write specifically for my themed bundles: Christmas stories, birthday romances, Halloween horror stories—whatever inspires me.”
If you enjoy writing short fiction, give bundling a try.
Your themes could include:
- Specific locations: urban or small town stories;
- Eras: Victorian or medieval fiction;
- Whatever inspires you… My student enjoys targeting holidays.
If you want to make money writing fiction, you can
Think outside the proverbial box. Write, and keep writing.
There’s never been a better time to make money from your words.
Want to make money writing fiction? Write, and get paid, with ghostwriting
Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.