While it is often considered an “easy” job, being a writer takes a lot of patience and dedication. It is also very hit or miss on whether you can earn an income. You must have a lot of passion for your work, understand what you are writing, and know-how to get your work published in order to make a living.
The good news is that you can write in a variety of ways to earn, whether it be books, magazine articles, or content for websites. You can even earn from writing poetry.
If you are artistically inclined, you may be able to find work as an illustrator. Many books, particularly children’s books and textbooks, require illustrations. You will need to have good communication skills so that you can fully understand what the writer or publisher needs and the artistic ability to deliver the images.
When starting out, you may be able to find work on Fiverr or Upwork. Keep track of your sales and continually build your portfolio. You can also reach out to children’s publishers or companies that create textbooks. You will need to show several different examples of what you can do, but the pay can be quite lucrative if you land the right job.
3. Audiobook Narration
Listening to books rather than reading them has become increasingly popular over the years. As many people work full time as well as raise families, they often find little downtime to enjoy reading books the way that they once did. Fortunately, apps like Audible have made it easier than ever for people to find the books they wish to listen to while they transit to work or do chores around the house.
If you know you can read in a way where people will connect with the story or information through your voice, you may be able to get a job as a narrator. There are a few places you can try to find work, including ACX (Audible’s Creative exchange), Fiverr, Upwork, and Voices.com.
If you are fluent in at least two languages and would be happy translating work from one tongue to another, you can likely find translation work online. Not only can you find work on online job boards like Fiverr or Upwork, but you can also find work at many translation sites such as Bablecube or Ulatus.
Being multi-lingual is a great skill to have and it can open up several doors for at-home employment.
5. Proofreading/Copy Editing
You can earn money by proofreading or copy-editing other people’s work. If you want to eventually work toward becoming an editor (see below), proofreading or copy editing is a good place to start. You can often find work from both online and traditional publications of magazines and books.
In order to get a job as a proofreader, you will often need a professional copy editing certificate. Fortunately, you can earn these through online classes or at your local college or university. You typically just need to take one course to receive proper certification.
While home-editing jobs are not common, if you have a strong understanding of the literary world and a good eye for grammar, you may be able to find work as an editor. There are two options for finding work in this field: working for a traditional publisher or finding work yourself.
Looking for work through a traditional publisher may be tricky as so few jobs are available. Try looking for jobs at local publishers in your area or check out Bookjobs to see if you can find work through there. It will be easier to land a job at a smaller publisher if you are just starting out.
You can also market yourself as an editor through LinkedIn, Fiverr, Upwork, and other creative online marketplaces. While this will take considerable more work at the beginning, you may be able to build a lucrative business for yourself. Some editors also create YouTube channels or websites with educational content for writers to help find work from their viewers.
7. Literary Agent
If you are persuasive and good at networking, you may be able to become a literary agent. You will become the middleman between the writer and potential publishers by helping the author get their book published, then maintaining a good relationship between them and the publisher.
As many writers are natural introverts, it can be easier to find work than you may think. Many will need help contacting and networking with those who may stand between them and a published piece of work. You can often find work on Upwork.
If you have learned the ins and outs of the writing and editing industry, you may be interested in opening your own in-house publishing company. The good news is that you can outsource much of your printing, but you will need to have some start-up capital to commission your first edition.
You will either need to publish your own writing or find someone who wants to work with you to get your publishing house off the ground. Learn how to market the books to earn both you and your writers’ income. As you gain contact in the industry, you should be able to find more places to sell and continually grow your business over time. Publishing is a risky business, however, as many have printed books that are too hard to sell. Make sure to look at all of the risks before diving into the industry.
If you are good with people and understand either traditional or digital marketing (or both), you could get a job as a PR agent or a marketer. You can work with individual authors or with publishing houses to find work and to get books on shelves.
You can start off small by connecting local writers, publishers, and booksellers and slowly help people make connections. You can take a commission in sales from the opportunities you have helped each person make. Many writers are natural introverts and may struggle with being able to sell their books or set up book readings. You can help them with both.
10. Book Review
You can get paid to review books online on certain websites and forums. To write a good book review, you should keep in mind the genre of the book, its target audience, and know how much to reveal without giving away the plot or vital information.
There are several places you can find work as a book reviewer including Book Look Bloggers, Kirkus Media Reviews, Moody Press, and Online Book Club. The amount you can earn will vary on the platform, the length of the book, and how well you write each review.
11. Layout Design
If you have a keen eye for graphics or understand how to layout text on a page, you could get a job as a layout designer. You can layout the text of each page or focus on learning how to create stunning book covers that will capture a reader’s attention.
Create a portfolio either inventing your own titles or creating unique covers for titles already in existence. Try several different styles then promote yourself on Fiverr, LinkedIn, Upwork, and other sites. If you are just starting out, you could learn creative techniques from The Book Designer. You should also consider creating a website about your work to find clientele.
Reach out to local publishers or magazines to see if you can find layout or graphic design work with them. Smaller towns in your area may also need help with their publications.
12. Used Book Seller
Many people have found that they can earn extra income by purchasing used books and reselling them online. The key is to find books that are selling more online than they are at the thrift store, garage sale, or library sale that you are visiting.
While you can search for data by typing in the name of each book to see what it is going for used on Amazon, you can also use a barcode scanner like the EYOYO or the Alacrity scanners. There are several places online you can sell your used books and earn some relatively good side money.
It should be noted that many thrift stores have picked up on this “trick” so if you spend an hour in one without a good find, you may need to resort to other means of finding your used books.