How to Make Money Writing – 6 Secrets From Successful Freelance Writers

These freelance writing tips are from successful published authors, freelance writers, journalism professors and writing coaches. If you want to make money writing, just implement one secret a week…

This article has been updated and moved to: 6 Tips for Writing Articles That Editors Will Buy and Publish

1. Use odd numbers. “Early on I learned to always write in odd numbers of points — 1, 3, 5 or 7.  If there are 9, combine them into 3. Why? Because people can remember an odd number of points much easier than an even number of points. I’ve used this principle for articles, essays, white papers, ebooks and books.  It always works and gives a comfortable structure to a piece.” – Nancy Kirk, author, speaker, public relations consultant

2. Hustle, hustle, hustle! “My secret for making money writing isn’t a writing tip.  I was listening to Gary Vaynerchuk (internet and wine celeb) talk about how to build a brand online.  Ultimately, he boiled it down to one key element: hustle.  “Hustle your face off,” he said.  And that stuck with me into my writing. When writing, especially online for a blog, it’s easy to push off creating content.  A blog post can always wait until tomorrow…or the weekend…or next week.  The same goes for a book manuscript gathering dust in a desk drawer.  One of the toughest battles a writer faces is sitting down and writing, no excuses.  If you want to become a better writer, and if you want to gain recognition, you have to hustle every day and churn out content like it’s your job.” – Matthew Apsokardu

3. Start with the problem, right in your title (hook your readers). “Make sure your headline interrupts people and speaks to their needs, not yours.  Make a promise – engage them with a compelling, results-focused solution to their problem. Provide the proof – educate people on how you solve their problem, preferably with third-party testimonials. Offer a no-risk call to action – give them a simple step to take to move further along in the sales process.” – Bill Merrow, copywriter

4. Find your writing niche. “The best way to make money writing is to promote yourself as an expert in some area. Use your background to define yourself – if you were a nurse, use that to get health assignments. If you don’t have a background, develop a specialty. Start with a blog or providing free content to web sites to make a name for yourself in one area. Create a new focus within a subject area that will help define who you are. Write articles about this subject and try to sell a book. Soon you will become known as an expert in this area and people will not only give you work, but they will seek you out as a voice of experience on this topic.” – Brette Sember, prolific author and teacher

5. Write a great query letter. “It’s generally a bad idea to send a completed article to a magazine editor along with your query (I’m referring to non-fiction articles rather than essays, poetry or short stories). The reason is, every magazine has its own space requirements and tone, and editors generally like to be able to steer the story in those direction. If you send them a completed piece, chances are it won’t fit these criteria, and it’s easy for them to say no.” – Darrell Laurant, founder of The Writers’ Bridge

6. Build a strong writers’ network. “My best freelance writing tip is to go to writers’ conferences, go to writing events, get “juiced” about your topic, get out in the world and mingle with others who are faced with the same challenges. Meet and connect with people who can offer you inspiration (and vice verse) when you need it.”  – Penny C. Sansevieri, writers’ coach

If you have any thoughts or questions on how to make money writing, I welcome your comments below…

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6 thoughts on “How to Make Money Writing – 6 Secrets From Successful Freelance Writers”

  1. Hi Maija,

    It took me a few months, but I finally wrote an article about doing interviews!

    Here’s the link:

    10 Tips for Interviewing Sources for Articles

    All best,
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..10 Tips for Interviewing Sources for Articles =-.

  2. William Goldman (novelist and award-winning screenwriter of Harper, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Hot Rock, Marathon Man, All the President’s Men, A Bridge Too Far, The Princess Bride, Misery, and other films) summed up in his memoirs something about Hollywood that screenwriters should keep in mind: “Nobody knows anything.”

    I suspect that applies to other forms of writing, too. Moral of the story: study, learn and then have confidence in what you write because nobody knows anything!

  3. Here’s another freelance writing tip, from the author of five books and numerous articles:

    Recycle, recycle, recycle. Make your articles go farther by reworking them for different publications. For example, I wrote an article on swaddling twin babies for a national magazine for parents of twins. Then I cut down the article and removed the product reviews for an online column I write about twins and multiples. After that, I took out the “twins angle” and generalized the article to include all babies for publication in a pediatric newsletter. I even recorded a podcast about swaddling! With just a little bit of work, I was able to use the same research in four different ways.

    – Susan Heim