Most writers don’t think of themselves as businesspeople. They are focused on their craft, and rightfully so. Whether they’re writing a fantasy novel, a how-to guide, or a series of short stories, most authors are focused on producing the best work possible for their audiences.
That being said, writers need to eat, and thus they need to earn as much income as possible from their writing. While most authors assume that the best way to make more money is to write another book or article, I have found that there are lots of strategies for leveraging the work you have already done in order to earn far more income without writing another book.
In this article, I’m going to show you five additional ways to earn income from your writing by leveraging your current body of work:
1. Use Every Medium
The simplest strategy for earning more from your current body of work is to ensure that you are selling your work across every possible medium. This means selling your writing as e-books, printed books, and audiobooks on every platform that is available to you.
Of course, if you have a traditionally published book, your ability to sell across different mediums and platforms will be restricted by your publishing agreement. However, if you are self-published, you can use online tools to quickly and effectively prepare your work for sale on multiple platforms in short order.
2. Launch a Podcast
Podcasts are currently one of the most popular methods for consuming content, and your experience as an author puts you in a great position to launch one this year.
If you are a non-fiction author, you can launch a podcast in your area of expertise to teach, educate, and inform. If you are a fiction author, you can launch a podcast to tell stories and entertain your audience.
In either case, you don’t need to do all the work: you can bring guests on for most or all of your episodes to help keep the conversation going.
The way to make money with a podcast is by selling advertising. Once you start producing episodes and building an audience, you’ll be able to sign with an advertising platform or to reach out to sponsors directly to sell advertising space on your show.
3. Build an Online Course
Another great way to generate additional income is to build an online course. This is particularly well-suited to non-fiction authors, but some fiction authors can use it as well to teach their unique spin on the writing craft.
Many authors in niches as diverse as arts and crafts, business, finance, parenting, and other areas have successfully created online courses that sell for anywhere from $20 to $250 or more per attendee.
Building an online course is easy, thanks to technology. Platforms such as Teachable and Udemy make creating, posting, and selling an online course quick and simple. If you’d like to learn more about how to use this strategy, be sure to readHow to Create a Bestselling Online Course.
4. Sell Related Products
Have you ever considered selling real-world (non-digital) products related to your writing? For fiction authors, this strategy could be as simple as selling hats or t-shirts branded with your book’s title, characters, or catchphrases.
Authors of “how to” books and articles, on the other hand, can create products that help their readers accomplish the goals and projects laid out in their writings.
For example, a cookbook author could create a line of high-end knives or cookware. A business author could create an exclusive business wall calendar with quotes from her book.
The author of a book on coaching youth baseball could create a branded batting gloves or practice baseballs that help coaches implement the tips laid out in his coaching guide.
5. Create a Paid Newsletter
Another way for authors to create additional income is to create a paid newsletter on a platform such as Substack. This will require the author to commit to writing on a regular (usually weekly) basis, but the length of the newsletters you send out will generally be much, much shorter and quicker to produce than your normal short stories or books.
Paid newsletters can be used by authors in any niche (including both non-fiction and fiction writers).
Best of all, if you outline your newsletter topics ahead of time, you can arrange it so that after a year of producing weekly newsletters, you can compile the newsletters into one mid-sized book that is ready to sell.
Think Like a Businessperson!
It can be hard to make a good living as a writer, but it doesn’t need to be. My number one piece of advice for you is to think like a businessperson – you’ve got a great product to sell, which is your knowledge and creativity, packaged into your writing.
Now, think about how to leverage your writing and your unique skills to create value in other ways and across different platforms. In under a year, you can use some of the strategies above to create growing and sustainable income streams that will allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labor like never before.
Joe Garecht is the founder ofGo Beyond Clients, where he helps freelancers build more income. He is a serial entrepreneur and freelance writer who has authored several books on non-profit fundraising and running for political office.