For most of us, it’s tough to make a living writing fiction. Even if you make it, there’s a good chance getting there will be a long slow process.
In the meantime, here are some sites I’ve found that offer training, job boards, or other financial opportunities for writers. Some of the links (#5 and #6) are affiliate links, which means I get a small portion of the sale, like a referral fee. It doesn’t affect your cost at all, but in those cases, I’ll always include a non-affiliate alternative for those who are uncomfortable with the idea. Of course, I appreciate your using the one that puts a few pennies in my pocket, but if you don’t, that’s okay. I’ll never even know.
Money for Writers
This is a free subscription site that periodically sends out freelance writing opportunities. It may be a list of trade publications that pay $500, a list of fantasy & sf sites that pay for short stories,or a list of Chicken Soup for the Soul deadlines. Or any number of other freelance markets. Since it’s free, you can’t go wrong with it, but I suggest steering clear of the occasional list of content mills that comes through.
If you subscribe to this site, blog owner Bamidele Onibalusi will periodically send you lists of freelance writing markets and articles about freelancing. He does have a book for sale and a membership site, but there’s no pressure at all to do anything, just a lot of great content. He has a free list of blogs that pay, which you get when you subscribe (at no charge) to his email list.
Exactly what it sounds like: a place to find out about contests, grants, and markets. It offers three free newsletters and inexpensive e-books for writers. The site is run by C. Hope Clark, author of The Shy Writer.
Dean Wesley Smith and his wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, both write prolifically and under multiple pen names. Their website is full of valuable information, and they offer a series of live and online workshops that I’d love to take, even though it could take a few years to get through them. Many are craft-related, but there are also some about making a living at this crazy business (like Making a Living with Your Writing and Discoverability). Smith’s series of blog posts (now books) on Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing has a lot of good information in it as well, and their anthology magazine, Fiction River, is consistently good. I take some of what he says with a grain of salt, though. He espouses the “write fast and publish it” school of thought. It works for him because he’s a long-time pro and has learned how to edit as he goes through a process he calls cycling. In my opinion, the years he spent revising his stories and honing is craft gave him the tools he needs to write fast and well. For newer writers or for those (like me) whose early drafts need a lot of revision, this can be deadly. Know your process.
I joined Carole Tice’s Freelance Writers Den more than a year ago and have never regretted it. The Den is a membership-based community of writers where, for $25 a month, you get unlimited access to boot camps and courses on things like building an author website, approaching clients, finding high-paying clients, writing query letters, and more. Some of the boot camps I’ve taken include writing newsletters, writing case studies, and writing effective copy.
The training alone is worth the monthly fee. But in addition to the training, there’s a forum where you can ask questions of Carol and the other den members, a resource library, and a job board with all the junk offers already sifted out. Sadly, the Den is only open at certain times of the year, but they do have a waiting list, so if you’re interested and they’re closed, you can get on the list.
There’s no obligation, so if you do decide to try the membership and decide it’s not for you, you can unsubscribe any time you like.
If you’d like to learn more about the Den, click on the banner for the affiliate link:
For the non-affiliate link, go to https://freelancewritersden.com.
Carol also has a helpful blog called Make a Living Writing. If you follow the blog and later decide to join the den, I sure would appreciate it if you’d come back and click through from here.
I’ve been a member of Wealthy Affiliate since June 2016. It’s hands-down the most comprehensive training site for anyone considering creating a blog or website monetized by affiliate links. The training is extremely thorough, and there’s a supportive community.
The idea is that you choose a niche to write about. It should be something you’re interested in and have plenty to say about, something you could write articles about indefinitely. Pretty much anything could be a lucrative niche, though some (e.g., care of pet rats) have a smaller audience than others (e.g., health and nutrition) and might take longer to build traffic. On the other hand, a smaller niche can work out better because there’s less competition.
You use your writing about that niche to attract readers and establish your expertise. Over time, you can offer, through reviews or other content, some related products you think your audience would like. When they click the link to the product and buy it, you get a commission. In some cases, you get a commission on everything they buy there in the next 24 hours or longer.
There two levels of membership at Wealthy Affiliate, Starter and Premium. The Starter level is free.
When you create a no-risk account on Wealthy Affiliate, you start with the free trial. It gives you access to the 10-lesson introductory course, unlimited support from the site creators (and me, if you sign up through the affiliate link) for 7 days, and free hosting of two websites.
They’re [yoursite].siterubix.com sites, so they’re not quite as professional-looking as having your own domains, but you can still achieve success with them, just like you can with a wordpress.com site. They’re free forever, as long as you’re a member at the starter level.
Once the 7-day trial is over, you lose the community support, but you keep your free websites and access to the 10 introductory lessons. You can stay at this forever-free level as long as you want to. (You can also apply the lessons to a website you host elsewhere, if you prefer or if you already have one with your own domain name.)
They do send you information about upgrading, but it’s not a hard sell, and it’s not required. You get enough at the free level to create a successful affiliate marketing site, but since you only have 7 days of full support from the creators, you have to figure out some things for yourself. But since it’s free, you don’t have anything to lose. What I would advise would be throwing yourself all-in for those first seven days and gleaning every bit of information from it you can. Then you’ll know whether you want to stay at free for a while or move up to Premium.
If you decide to move to the Premium level, your first month is $19. After that, it’s $49 a month (or, if you pay it all at once, $359 a year). When you move up to Premium, you get access to ALL the training. I’m talking about a ton of it: how to choose a niche, set up a site, write good content, drive traffic, and find and apply for appropriate affiliate programs. It even includes the technical how-tos, which are the hardest for me.
The concepts easily translate to marketing your own products and services online rather than affiliate products. You also get up to 50 websites hosted on their site for no additional cost, and you can buy your own domain name for less than it would cost you elsewhere. I think it’s about $14. All this comes with the support of an entire community who will answer your questions, give feedback on your site, and more.
For me, going Premium is well worth it, but you want to make sure before you upgrade, because once you’ve upgraded to Premium, you can’t go back to the free level.
This is not a get-rich quick scheme. It takes time and work to start making a comfortable living. Some people even realize they’ve chosen the wrong niche and start over with a new site. So there are challenges, but also an unlimited potential for success.
If you think it sounds like an interesting idea and you’d like to see what it’s all about, try out the free level and be really active during the ten-day trial to take advantage of the ability to ask questions. The affiliate link is here. Or you can click on this banner:
If you’d prefer not to use an affiliate link, the non-affiliate link is here. If you use this one and decide to join, I won’t have any way of knowing, so if you have questions for me about the program, you’ll have to contact me here.
If you still have questions, you can check out this Q&A post and, if you don’t find your answers there, you can ask me in the comments.