Let’s face it. If you’re a new author or one who has not yet sold a million copies, you are not earning much through royalties. However, there are other ways that you can supplement your income using your writing talent and experience. Below are some suggestions. Once you determine what you’d like to try, you should speak with those already offering these services or research current rates so you can set your pricing. In some cases, such as with writing contests and speaking engagements, the payment is already specified in the rules or contract.
1. Editing/Proofreading/formatting Manuscripts – This falls under the category of Author Services. Most authors acquire experience editing and proofreading their own manuscripts. Some take courses and also know how to lay out eBooks. Fees for these services vary depending on whether one offers basic editing for spelling, grammar, punctuation or developmental editing which includes reviewing and revising structures and plots. You can do this as a part-time freelancer and/or seek employment from a publishing company. If you are detail-oriented, enjoy reading books, and have extra time (something most writers especially those with day jobs may not have much of), you might considering earning a few bucks this way. Associations you might consider checking out include the Editorial Freelancer’s Association: http://www.the-efa.org/, American Copy Editor’s Society: http://www.copydesk.org/ and the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors: http://naiwe.com/.
2. Producing Book Trailers – If you’re knowledgeable about computer video software and have some talent for movie-making and a good visual eye, you could try creating book trailers for authors.
3. Designing Graphics for bookmarks, business cards, teasers, Book Covers, etc. – If you are artistic and familiar with programs such as PhotoShop, Canva.com, and other graphic programs, you could try your hand at designing promotional material for authors.
4. Writing Queries, Synopsis, and Blurbs. If you have more of a way with words than with art, you might give writing submission material for authors a go.
5. Speaking Engagements at libraries, bookstores, community centers – If you are comfortable with public speaking, you could give author talks about your books and/or publishing. I’ve done several talks about my books at nearby libraries. Although most of these speeches last between an hour or two, preparation time is necessary. As you gain more confidence and stack up more engagements, you can also join a speaker’s bureau to get more work. Payment for talks vary. Some venues will allow you to sell your books but will not pay you for the talk. Others will do the opposite. Some will do both. You need to inquire before you sign the contract. Here’s an article about ways to locate speaking opportunities: http://famousinyourfield.com/17-ways-to-find-speaking-opportunities/
6. Teaching Classes & Webinars – If you are an expert at a subject or are knowledgeable about specific areas of writing, you might want to apply to teach a continuing education class at your local school or college. If you have experience with video conferencing, you might consider putting together a webinar. I am applying to teach a course on Indie Publishing at my local high school this fall.
7. Entering Writing Contests for Prize Money – Although there are often fees involved in writing contests that offer prizes, if they are within your budget, you could try entering them. Just make sure they are legitimate. If they consider your work for publication even if you don’t win, more the better.
8. Freelance Writing for Magazines, eZines, Newspapers, blogs, etc. – Don’t limit yourself to novel writing. If you can write short, non-fiction pieces for print or digital publications, you can make some money. It will usually be a flat rate; but if you only sell first rights, you will be able to publish the article again if you want. Along with making a little cash, freelance writing also helps promote your fiction works.
9. Designing Websites – If you are both artistic and technical, you might consider earning some extra money helping authors create attractive and functional websites.
10. Arranging Blog Tours – If you are savvy with social media and have a lot of connections, you could start up a blog tour company.
11. Assisting Authors as PA’s – Authors looking for more time to be able to write often seek personal assistants to aid them in their social media updates and other writing-related tasks.
12. Ghost Writing – There are doctors and other professionals who would like to write a book but don’t have the time or the talent. They hire people to do it for them and usually pay well. The only drawback is that your name will not be credited on the book. It’s not for everyone, but some authors do well with it.
These are only a few of the opportunities for authors to earn extra income. If you know of any others, please comment on this post.