Before we get started, I'm teaching a blurb writing class in August. This is the method I used to query with a 50% full request rate and snag an agent and editor. You can sign up here.
I hear it all the time. Writers frustrated they work so hard and never make any money. I did a happy dance because I broke even last year. I even had a profit--four digits if you count what comes after the decimals. So how do you write and eat at the same time?
Believe it or not, there are a few ways.
Consider a day job that involves a lot of writing. Since writing comes naturally to you, it probably won't be as taxing as other days jobs and you may actually enjoy it. A couple of good contenders are technical writing/technical communications and marketing writing. Technical writers usually write procedural manuals for companies, though they are often responsible for other office communications as well. This field pays really well,but can be hard to break into. If you have an English degree you're trying to put to use, this may be the way to go. You'll need a degree and a writing portfolio. Since it is so hard to break into, some recommend rewriting a current manual to have a writing sample. Marketing writing allows more room for creativity, but doesn't always pay as much, though it often involves something everyone here knows well--blogging. And the writing samples you need to get this kind of gig you may already have.
But nonfiction might be where it's at! Why? Because nonfiction usually works a little differently than fiction. You approach a publication with an idea and they tell you if they want you to write it or not. You don't write 60,000 words and then not sell it. You write a pitch and move forward from there, and these publications often pay fairly well, at least in comparison to fiction. They also have quicker response times probably because they are dealing only with a proposal. So think about what you do at your day job, or what you did before you started writing and look for publications in that area of expertise. Then come up with something that might be interesting for you because it will probably be interesting for others in that field as well.(Stay at home moms, you can do this too. Parenting magazines!)
Short Fiction Pays More. Yeah. That doesn't make sense, does it? You have to think about the genre you're writing in and what publications are available in that genre, but this is sometimes true. I write romance and the only print venue I know of paying for short fiction is Woman's World but for 800 words which is barely a cute meet they often pay out like $800. I have not got an advance on a novel that amounted to that. And if you're churning out 2000 words/day for a novel how long will it really take you to write 800 words? (Longer than you think, because cramming a beginning, middle and some kind of end into that is not easy, but still). No where near as long as a novel.
Come back Wednesday! I'm going to be talking about how to write a nonfiction query.