Article by LA Buroker
We writers are an interesting bunch: we love writing and we want to make a living from our writing, but we don't actually want to sell our work.
The idea of querying agents, editors, or publishers is dreaded. And how not? The industry is such that even already published authors receive more rejections than acceptances. If you're trying to break in... well, it's worse.
There are so many people competing for attention, that chances are we'll just receive a boiler plate rejection letter that hasn't even been signed. Did the person at the other end even read past the first sentence of our work?
And even if your book is picked up, gone are the days when the publishing houses could afford to handle all the marketing and turn you into an overnight bestseller. Chances are you'll be on your own when it comes to selling your book to readers--and your paltry royalty percentage doesn't go up even though you're responsible for the brunt of the work.
Even writers who want to freelance are having a hard time finding work in this economy. When businesses have to cut costs, they go back to doing work in-house instead of outsourcing.
And what if you're just an introvert at heart, and you're not comfortable trying to sell your work or your services to people? Selling has always seemed tailor made for the extravert, the person who thrives on interactions with other people, but the truth is selling is something most of us are uncomfortable with.
Selling may be an integral part (many will argue it's the most important part) of a business, but it's hard to visualize your writing--your art--as a business sometimes.
What if there were a way you could make a living from your writing without having to "sell" your work?
Up until the Internet, you didn't have much choice. Today, though, there's another paradigm.
You can write for yourself, publish your work to the web on your own website or blog, and take in money by displaying ads next to your writing. You don't have to sell anything.
In fact, thanks to programs such as Chitika and Google Adsense, you don't even have to interact with anyone (though you may enjoy growing a community around your work and interacting with those folks). Everything is automated. You copy and paste a snippet of code onto your website, and the ads display automatically. You never have to deal with merchants or customers or clients or sell your work to anyone. If you're an introvert at heart, then it's the dream job.
Now, lest I give you the idea that it's easy to start making money this way, I will tell you that there's a bit more to it than simply sticking your work up on the web.
You need to learn how to choose a subject matter, or niche, that has the potential to be profitable (think information rather than entertainment), and you need to learn how to attract visitors to your site, because the amount you can earn is tied to the number of people who come and read your writing. The more popular your site becomes, the more you can make.
Making money this way also takes time. It takes time to build up a body of work online (the more pages you have up, the more opportunity you have to earn more of those advertising dollars), and it takes time for people to start finding your site through the search engines. It takes time to get links to your site, which help you get noticed. It takes time to learn what works, what types of topics and articles make a lot of money and which don't.
At the end of the day, however, you don't have to sell an editor or publisher or even a single reader on the idea of buying your book or article. It's entirely possible to make money--and even make a living (as I do)--by keeping all the rights to your work and publishing it online on your own sites.
If you're looking for a way to make a living from your writing without selling anything, then this model is worth the time and learning curve to master.
On my Writing for Your Wealth blog, I teach the ins and outs of choosing a niche, getting people to your site, and turning it into an asset that pays you again and again. If you find this idea appealing, come by and read more!
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