1. KickMe
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    KickMe New Member

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    Making money

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by KickMe, Mar 29, 2008.

    Hi

    I was wondering if there was a style or genre that has the possibility to earn me money straight away? When I was a kid my English teacher told me to write short stories for magazines. Does anybody else have any experience?

    I have absolutely no preference (at the moment!) as to which genre or style I want to go in. Kids books, poems, women's magazines, all that sort of stuff. As long as they give you money for your stuff (if it's good enough).

    I have nothing written yet, but I'm willing to go at it if somebody says "yeah, the money's all in Sci-Fi" or "fantasy" or "romance" or "Such-and-such pays £10 for each poem published".

    Not saying I'm brilliant or anything, but I'd like to have a go at writing for money, so if anybody has any ideas for where I should start, I would be really grateful.

    Cheers

    Karl :)
     
  2. InPieces
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    InPieces Senior Member

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    Pretty much, if you're good at writing, ANYTHING will pay. But the catch is, you have to be good. Poetry is normally the lowest paying, unless you are utterly brilliant, and you publish a full anthology of you work that sells millions of copies. Short stories are fiarly good paying. Novels and children's book can actually become a main income-supplier, GIVEN that your good enough to get in with a good publisher.

    All in all, the catch is, you have to be good. And even then, unless you're one of the lucky ones (ie. JK Rowling), you're probably gonna start getting published for free or with very low pay to get a name for yourself. Everyone has to start somewhere :)

    Good luck.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The only quick money I know of in writing comes from writing out resumes and submitting them to prospective employers. They generally prefer to see nonfiction.

    As a means of earning money, I would think that writing is one of the more difficult ones to break into. It seems better for those twisted souls who will write and write, compulsively, and are lucky enough to discover that people find their writing entertaining or enlightening enough to lay down good money to read it.
     
  4. KickMe
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    KickMe New Member

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    Hey, InPieces

    Thanks for getting back to me. So I'm not going to go for poems, but short stories seems to be where the money is. Are there short stories magazines or publishers I can target?

    I know I'll have to make a bit of a name for myself, on top of being a good writer (or at the least better than some of the travesties I've paid good money to read!), but I'd rather plough into something that might have a chance of paying me or developing me rather than spend a year hungry at the word processor with the outside chance of making millions :)

    Who should I write a story for? Should it be a magazine or comic or something like that? My mum used to get women's mags that had big star-stamps with "we pay £50 for each story" and stuff like that. Honestly, some of those stories were dire. My problem is I just don't have a clue what to go for, really.

    I like to think that I could turn my hand to anything, but I'd like to prove that to myself with something that could land a cheque or two. I don't think I'm brilliant, just willing to learn...

    Thanks

    Karl
     
  5. KickMe
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    KickMe New Member

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    Cogito, so true :)

    However, I already have a "day-job", making coffee. I am already a twisted compulsive creator. I write songs. Not amazing, but it feeds the tapeworm of expression anyway. I have a myspace and everything!

    No, writing is something I've always burned for, and thought I'd get into once I got too tired for jumping about my living room with a guitar, but just recently, having extra time on my hands and not enough money has brought this to the surface again. No longer can I sit on the buttocks of hope. I must stand upon the feet of er, actually getting stuck in...

    So if you know of any journals or anything that buys short stories, I'd like to know. I want to read them and see if I can do better

    Thanks

    Karl
     
  6. InPieces
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    InPieces Senior Member

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    To be honest, my anwser to your question is quite the opposite of what you're proposing. Don't write a story or piece thinking "I'm writing it as a romance piece for sappy-such-and-such magazine, and i will live up to those standards". Write a piece, THEN decide where you should send it. There are thousands, if not millions of publishing places that look at work in various types of genres. If you're writing a piece specifically for a publishing house/magazine, it seems to me like you're limiting the creative process. Besides, in the end, if it doesn't get published in that desired magazine / publishing house, you might have wasting all that time tuning your work to a specific standard.

    My advice: Write first, then find a publisher who fits YOU, don't try to fit the publisher. Also, if you're going down the path of short stories, i suggest ezines or even print magazines. If you're really daring, try a contest. If you win, normally money comes there.

    Also, pick a genre and read up on it. The more you analyse that genre, the better you will be able to understand its flow and process.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    karl...
    fiction is not the 'quickest' to get into on a pro level, or the 'best paid'... what best fits those parameters is articles for major magazines, that pay in the hundreds to thousands for a good piece... but to get to that level, you not only have to be a much better writer than 99% of all who are starting out as you are, but must also be incredibly patient/persevering and lucky... and it will still probably take years to get there, even if you have the talent and skills needed...

    short stories are not big money makers... writing whatever they need for private clients is a much more sure way to make money [i've done it and was paid up to $150/hr], but it also takes a lot of talent, hard work, patience and chutzpah to get the clients, along with taking some seed money to advertise your services...

    the bottom line is:
    if you are so keen on making money over all else, don't get into writing, get a job!
     
  8. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Amen to mammamaia!

    I make a one-bedroom apartment, one car living with writing -- romance novels, magazine and newspaper articles, newsletters for apartments complexes/homeowner and condo associations, press releases, ad copy, some erotica, and anything else someone will pay me to write. Then in my "spare time", I work on my non-romance novel and nip at my agents heels to sell the first non-genre novel she's shopping around.

    Just don't ask me how long I lived on ramen noodles to get to this point.

    Best of luck to you,
    Rose
     
  9. AWR
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    AWR Member

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    And it seems to me that most mainstream publishers want proof of ability before they will even consider your work. This means submitting your work wherever you can, whether you are paid for it or not, so you can build your publishing history.

    My advice is to write because you love it and support your habit, er hobby, with a job (if it is writing related - more power to you).
     
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Short stories, can pay anything from zero (for non-paying markets) up to " pro-rates" which is 5 to 6 cents a word up thru 25. Some markets pay flat rates, not based on word-length, for $150 to $500--with a few paying a bit more--per piece of fiction (that tells you how many you would have to successfully write/sell each month to survive off of writing short fiction).

    The pro market is very competitive (the best markets get 1000+ submissions a month), for maybe open 10-12 slots. Even the semi-pro markets are competitive, as are the top quality token or non-paying markets. Plus, the turn around for submissions can be quite slow--think months, before acceptance (if the work gets accepted), then add time for the piece to reach publication...sometimes a year or more. Payment, may be upon acceptance or upon publication. One can always make some money off of reprints, but that is not as lucrative. Still, the piece has been written, so the much of the work (besides locating other markets and the submission process) has already been done. Reprints, of course, would depend on the contract/agreement signed with the original publisher (anthology, magazine, ezine, etc.).

    Novels take longer to write, but the upside potential for revenue is higher. More marketing time is involved (that with short fiction), and the odds of making a living right off are quite slim (even getting published is difficult), and even upon acceptance of a novel (getting an agent and/or finding a publisher after the writing, editing and revision process) it will take 9 months or more for a piece to make it to print. Building an audience/fan base is needed. Authors who have novels that have earned out their advance, and are collecting royalties on the of published titles still in print, while writing/publishing new works is how most novelists who live off of their fiction do it. My understanding is that Romance novels are one of the markets (at least in the USA) that continue to do well and even have a growing readership. Others are holding their own, or even slipping some, but the best novelists in each genre still make good money.

    Some would argue that self-publishing is the way to go to make a living. I can't really speak to that.

    As was indicated above, nonfiction is often the fastest and a very productive way to make income (articles, technical writing for companies, contract work, etc), if you're very good at it. If you have special skills or knowledge, there is the non-fiction book market. And I agree that poetry would be one of the more difficult ways to earn a living through writing.

    Expect stiff competition in all areas/markets. In addition to having the skills and talent, possessing confidence and willingness to do what it takes and not give up is key.

    Good luck.

    Terry
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that second sentence is not really true, since they'll base their interest or non-interest on your query letter, in which you first lay out your idea for the book and where any mention of your 'history' comes after that... the 'proof of your ability' is in the first part, not the second... if they like your concept and the way you wrote the letter, they'll consider going further and asking to see the ms or sample chapters... if they don't, then no matter how many other things you list as having been 'published' you're not going to get any further with them...

    and, on the opposite end of things, if they like your idea and are impressed by the way you wrote the letter, it won't matter if you've never been published... they're not going to be buying your old stuff, only what you're offering in the query...

    finally, having a long list of freebies won't help you a bit... it won't be considered a 'publishing' history by most, if not all, in the 'paying' publishing industry...

    that said, the more work you submit and get accepted, the more you'll be practicing and hopefully, perfecting your skills, so you'll have a better chance of writing something that's marketable and turning out an effective query letter...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  12. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    The only "quick money" you can make in writing, from my experience, is freelance writing. Typically this involves someone hiring you to write non-fiction articles. I've done a bit of this myself, but it doesn't typically pay well.

    Making money from fiction is very difficult.
     

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