As of late, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about making money as a writer, becoming a better writer, keeping up motivation as a writer and so forth.
I even saw someone who shared a story saying, “there are only three ways you can make money in writing.”
Really? That’s interesting because I’m certain I’ve been able to create an independent income from writing in more than just three ways.
Broadly speaking, he might be right. But on a granular level, there are more opportunities than you might even realize.
1. Revenue Sharing
Revenue share sites like InfoBarrel don’t get talked about as much anymore. Medium and News Break are far more in vogue.
But these types of sites are still out there. Hubpages is the perfect example.
I wrote 71 some odd articles on InfoBarrel. I never made much on the site – you would need a lot of eyeballs on your articles to make anything (how’s that any different for Medium?). Still, I got something from my effort.
I started ghostwriting in 2013. At first, it was just short form blog posts for architecture firms and merchandise suppliers. It didn’t amount to much.
Before I knew it, I was ghostwriting for Entrepreneur and HuffPost contributors. I even got requests to write long form Neil Patel style digital marketing guides.
As I write this, I have a contract shaping up for a 70,000+ word book.
No, you don’t get credit for your ghostwriting efforts, you can’t reveal your working relationships, and it doesn’t help you build your own stature, authority, or following. But ghostwriting can be quite lucrative.
3. Staff Writing
I have been a staff writer of Music Industry How To since 2015 (you can even see my face on the homepage).
It’s funny, because Music Industry How To ranks for a ton of broad keywords, so when musicians are searching for something online, there’s a good chance they’re reading one of my articles.
My own business, Music Entrepreneur HQ, ranks for a lot of long-tail keywords, so if they aren’t reading my works on Music Industry How To, there’s still a good chance they’re reading my works on Music Entrepreneur HQ.
I was also recently added as a writer on MIDINation.
4. Guest Posting
Writing for various entrepreneurs and companies was reasonably lucrative. That is, until I found out just how much they were willing to pay for ghostwritten or staff-written guest posts.
One of the reasons I was able to start working completely from home in 2016 was because I had so many guest posting assignments lined up.
Backlinks are still quite important to SEO, and the reality is entrepreneurs or businesses can either spend countless hours on outreach or pay good money to have someone write a quality guest post and pitch it for them.
There have also been times when I’ve literally been paid for writing guest posts for other musician service providers. That was a nice surprise.
I have seen other Medium writers say copywriting is where the money is at, and they aren’t wrong.
When I have made an income from copywriting, though, it has usually been part of a bundle deal (e.g., setting up a landing page along with relevant copy).
I still think there’s quite a bit of opportunity in copywriting, though I suspect GPT-3 powered sites and apps could make human copywriters obsolete. Long-from sales pages also aren't all the rage they used to be.
At times, I have also written emails for clients (again, usually as part of a bundle deal for web design or something along those lines).
You’ve got to keep in mind, a lot of people don’t want to get too technically involved in building landing pages or sales funnels, let alone writing the emails to go with it. There’s a significant opportunity here.
If you’re lazy, you could even use a tool like Funnel Scripts to generate the copy and edit at your leisure.
At times, I have experimented with placing ads on my own blogs, and this has generated some revenue over the years.
This has the potential to be higher reward than revenue sharing sites but getting traffic to your own blogs can be a challenge. So, you’ve got to weigh your options.
8. Affiliate Marketing
Writing about products, reviewing them, comparing them, and so on, all offer valuable opportunities for you to create an income as an affiliate.
I wouldn’t say I’ve made it as an affiliate marketer over the years, but I have easily made four-figures from my efforts, with potential for significantly more.
My first online product was an audio course I published in 2014, but I have also been writing and publishing eBooks since around the same time.
My most recent eBook is The Renegade Musician, and it contains an important and timely message on artist empowerment (I wrote it in three days).
10. Kindles & Paperbacks
I put Kindles and paperbacks as their own category.
An eBook should be concise and value-packed – helping the reader get quick wins and not forcing them through walls of text just to find the information they’re looking for.
A book, on the other hand? Well, that’s another story. Because someone who takes the time to read walls of text and is willing to sit with ideas for longer, ultimately become your best clients.
I have five books. My latest is The Music Entrepreneur Code.
“Hold the phone – are you talking about text-based courses?”
Nope. I‘m talking about video courses. But how does that work?
Well, although I have not done this for every course I’ve ever made, there are courses I scripted out in their entirety before ever presenting them.
So far as I’m concerned, that’s another source of income from writing.
Obviously, I have made some money on Medium, and over the years, it has added up to at least three figures.
Currently, I make enough money for a few fancy fruity iced teas per month. But hey, I like iced tea.
Yeah, Medium hasn’t been a big source of income for me so far. That’s okay – I’m writing more and enjoying the journey. See where it takes me.
13. News Break
The early days of News Break were quite promising, since you could get paid per submission. Sadly, that's no longer the case, and now you just get paid for views. I made a few hundred dollars from News Break.
This is outside the box thinking.
But over the years, my songs have earned me thousands of dollars – from streaming, sales, royalties, live performances, and more.
There’s the technical, musical, and performance aspect of music, obviously, but you can’t forget the writing part.
Is the Music Industry a Lucrative One?
Having read this story, you may have come to the end of it wondering to yourself, “should I get into the music industry?”
The reality is that I’m probably one of the lucky few who makes a steady income in the music business as an independent writer, educator, coach, producer, composer, and artist.
It’s not a big industry and I have either personally met or have interviewed most of the personalities in the same space.
Don’t get into it unless you have an undying, fiery passion for it. You could get paid much more as a medical, political, or legal writer.
I’m Sorry – What is it That You do, Again?
So, you might have seen mention of sales funnels, websites, email marketing and so forth and wondered to yourself, “what does this guy do anyway?”
I think of myself as a multimedia or new media designer.
I create content, make websites, design graphics, produce music and podcasts, edit videos, coach and train musicians and creatives, build communities, and more.
I’ve shared 14 ways here, but honestly, I’ve probably forgotten some of the other ways I’ve created an income as a writer.
All you need to do to come up with new ways of creating an income is to think a little outside the box. There’s more opportunity out there than you might think.
And just writing pieces like this can sometimes catch someone’s attention (I almost ended up as a whitepaper writer for a well-known content management system because of a piece I had written on the topic).
Have fun exploring the possibilities.