Mark Jenner is a forensic accountant and expert witness in fraud matters. He has been writing for many years and currently publishes novels.
The Basic Problem
Many people want to write for a living. They see it as a way to escape the mundane employment they are currently saddled with, or have a vision of a glamorous retirement sitting on a veranda by the sea churning out bestsellers! The reality is that earning money from writing is hard. Those that start young, reading English in higher education and working part time during vacations for local newspapers or bookshops will have an advantage, but are still likely to find the career path rocky and uncertain.
This article is aimed at those people who enjoy writing from time to time, have published the odd article in their hobby magazine or maintain a blog of sorts. The next move is to find a way of writing that earns an income. It would be wrong to suggest there are easy ways to do this. The average career writer earns something in the region of $15,000 per annum, and most need to supplement their income with other jobs. This article is an observation of ways in which it is possible to add writing to your income portfolio such that over time, it may become a material part of your income stream.
Not Many Can Write A Million Selling Novel That Stands The Test Of Time
Blockbuster Novelist Or Pulitzer Winner?
There are many different ways that you can earn a living from writing. I actually write reports for a living, but these are only seen by a handful of people. If you are thinking about commercial writing, to earn money, then the ways in which you can do this include:
- Writing a novel
- Writing a non fiction book
- Writing a short story
- Writing a magazine article
- Writing a blog article
- Writing content for others
- Writing news stories
In order to get started, I will look at article writing. These can be published in magazines, on the Internet, in club circulars and a host of other places.
Article writing is a good place to start, as a finished piece of work need only be a few hundred words - rather like a Hub!
A Hub is a piece of writing that can make you an income from the advertisements that are being hosted alongside your work. However, I am concentrating on commercial writing in this Hub, that is writing something that you sell in its own right.
Therefore, I will consider a one to two thousand word article that might span a couple of pages in a glossy magazine, more depending on the photographs and advertisements that may be placed alongside the article.
Adding photographs to your article submissions is an optional step. However, editors seem to love good content that is accompanied by high quality and relevant photographs. In my view, this is a technique that vastly improves your chances of getting published.
If you own a moderately good quality camera, and lets face it most people have a ton of megapixels to hand in their smart phones these days, start using it more often. Very often taking photographs is a great way of generating new ideas for articles. For example, if you are visiting an exhibition of local art and see a stand selling sculptures made out of plastic drinking cups then consider an article that combines this interesting artist with conservation issues such as recycling old plastic items. Pictures of the sculptures would enhance your article no end.
Please remember that if you are using pictures then you must ensure you follow a number of fairly simple rules:
- Unless you are buying the photos with appropriate permissions from the seller, ensure they have been taken by you!
- Obtain the permission of any recognizable subjects in you photos - this is polite practice though is strictly not necessary for editorial publications.
- Make sure your photos do not contain any recognizable trade marks etc.
If the editor likes your article they will likely advise you about any photographs that they are unable to use and may even ask you if there are any others that they can have to choose from. They know what will enhance their copy in the best way so it is best to offer several varied shots with you article.
Writing A Non Fiction Book
If you have a profession or skill, it is natural to write a book about what this entails. However, many of us want to write about subjects that are remote to the humdrum work place that might be driving us to write in the first place!
This is where the article writing helps. If you have tested the water by writing an article or two, and managed to get published, then the next step could be to write a series of articles that could be edited into a full length book in the future.
Thoughts For The Future
A workable game plan has three steps:
- Get an article published
- Write a series of articles - hopefully one or two get published
- Combine the series of articles into a book, adding introductory and concluding chapters
Finding the ideas is personal, and not something that can be taught or even suggested easily. Once you get into the swing of writing, ideas may start to emerge. It is a good idea to:
- Keep a notebook handy - I sometimes wake up with an idea!
- Browse the magazine shelves in your local store - these are your market and even those you don't normally buy may give you interesting ideas.
- Either read...or write. Don't waste your time with too much TV!