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88 Money-Making Writing Jobs



Writers today are no longer just working on books and newspapers. Businesses, advertisers, and hundreds of other outlets are desperate for people who can craft effective messages and persuade people with their words. A strong writer can make $50 to $200 per hour, or even more... if you know where to find the work.

Robert Bly is a professional writer who makes more than $600,000 per year from ...

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88 Money-Making Writing Jobs

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Writers today are no longer just working on books and newspapers. Businesses, advertisers, and hundreds of other outlets are desperate for people who can craft effective messages and persuade people with their words. A strong writer can make $50 to $200 per hour, or even more... if you know where to find the work.

Robert Bly is a professional writer who makes more than $600,000 per year from his writing. Now, he's ready to share his secrets. 88 Money-Making Writing Jobs presents the best outlets writers can find to turn their words into profit (including many that few people think to seek out).

  • Along with an overview of each job, you'll discover:
  • A breakdown of what it typically pays
  • The nuts and bolts of what you'll write
  • What it takes to work in the field
  • How to get started
  • Resources for finding the work

For anyone serious about a career as a writer, this guide offers the best information on how to make incredible money in ways that are fun, challenging, and make the most of your writing talents.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402215070
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/2009
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 988,961
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Bly has been a professional writer since 1979 and a full-time freelance writer since 1982. He earns more than $600,000 a year from his writing and is a self-made multimillionaire.

Bob is the author of more than seventy books, including several popular volumes on writing. These include Careers for Writers (McGraw-Hill/VGM), Secrets of a Freelance Writer (Henry Holt), The Copywriter's Handbook (Henry Holt), The Elements of Technical Writing (Allyn & Bacon), and The Elements of Business Writing (Allyn & Bacon).

McGraw-Hill calls Bob Bly "America's top copywriter." His copywriting clients include AT&T, IBM, Kiplinger, Boardroom, and Swiss Bank. He has published more than one-hundred articles in Amtrak Express, Cosmopolitan, Writer's Digest, and many other publications.

Bob writes monthly columns for DM News, the weekly newspaper of the direct marketing industry, and Early to Rise, a daily e-newsletter on business success. He publishes a monthly e-zine on writing, copywriting, and marketing with more than fi fty-thousand subscribers.

Bob has given lectures on writing, publishing, and freelancing to numerous groups, including American Writers & Artists Inc., National Speakers Association, Learning Annex, Newsletter Publishers Association, and American Society of Journalists and Authors.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 40: Greeting Cards

The next time you walk down the greeting card aisle at a grocery store, you might be seeing more than just paper. You could be seeing dollar bills. In a single year, more than seven billion greetings cards will be sent in the United States alone. Those cards generate more than $7.5 billion dollars in retail sales. About one-third of all greeting cards are written by freelance writers. However, few writers take the time to explore this potentially lucrative market, so the possibility of breaking into the card writing scene is encouraging.

What It Pays
A greeting card may not pay as much as a magazine or newspaper article, but most greeting card companies pay a fl at fee of $25 - $200 for a single card. The few companies that pay their writers royalties offer about 2 - 10% of the wholesale price. Expect to receive $35 - $50 per card. Once you establish yourself as a successful greeting card writer, you can command more money.

Nuts and Bolts
Don't be fooled with misconceptions about the greeting card industry. You may have already picked up a card and declared, "I could write this," but greeting card writing is more diffi cult than it appears. A typical card runs between two and ten lines. But those few lines are a concise masterpiece. A writer should understand the importance of voice before submitting any work.

Every greeting card must accomplish two main goals: grab the attention of the buyer in 1.5 seconds and perfectly convey the emotion of the sender. You must produce a strong me-to-you connection between the sender of the card and the receiver.

If a direct, personal message is not included, the sender will never buy your card. If the wording is too vague and doesn't use enough personal pronouns, the receiver will not feel special. In either case, your card has failed in its purpose.

Remember, there is one more person involved in this intimate exchange: you. Think of yourself as merely the silent messenger. Cards are not meant to display your phenomenal command of the English language or force your worldview on others. Just deliver the message intended, whether wishing for a quick recovery from an illness or sharing the joy of college graduation. Keep it simple, and keep yourself out of the picture as much as possible. If you have a strong control of voice, greeting card writing may be your niche.

What You'll Write
There are three basic types of greeting cards: traditional, contemporary, and humorous. Traditional includes poetry or prose and allows for more written lines. Contemporary includes all messages in a conversational tone. Humorous cards include a wide range of possibilities, and they also pay the most. Greeting card companies have an equal demand for all three styles.

Until your name is well known at a particular company, all your projects are written on spec. So what you write is entirely up to you. You have no set structure to follow. Be creative. Experiment with all styles and occasions.

What It Takes
Theoretically, anyone can write a greeting card. Unlike other publishers, greeting card companies don't care about your past writing experience (even if you don't have any). They don't want you to send a resume or other writing samples. All they care about is the work you submit. That being said, skilled writers have the greatest advantage in this industry. With a firm grasp of voice, their work is more likely to be accepted.

But greeting card writing is a skill that can be acquired. The best way to learn greeting card writing, particularly what sells, is to browse the card aisles of any store. Read as many cards as you can. Study additional greeting card resources (at the end of this chapter) for tips and ideas on how to improve your writing. Then keep trying. Eventually, you can become an expert in the industry.

Getting Started
1. Write. Jot down your ideas. One great aspect of greeting card writing is that it can be done anywhere. If you have five minutes, grab a pen and brainstorm.

2. Request guidelines. There are dozens of greeting card publishers in the United States, some of which you can find online at cards/publish.htm. Contact the publisher, president, or creative director. Many companies have their submission guidelines available online. If not, send the company a polite request for their guidelines, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Focus on midsize companies. Large companies do not accept unsolicited materials.

3. Research. Publishers tend to produce similar cards; browse their cards on their websites if not at the store. Get an idea of what they're selling and make sure your cards match. Like any other industry, greeting cards follow trends. Know what those trends focus on before submitting any work.

4. Type your work. No matter what format the company requires, always type your work. Include your name and address on the top left-hand corner of all your submissions.

5. Send your submission. Make sure everything you send includes your personal contact information and a #10 self-addressed, stamped envelope. The easier it is for a company to contact you, the more likely the sell. Send six to twenty submissions at one time, and resist sending simultaneous submissions to other companies. Once you have submitted your work, sit back and wait. It could take several weeks or months for a publisher to send a reply.

If you are serious about greeting card writing, there are a few resources listed below to consider. Good luck, and happy birthday, or Merry Christmas, or whatever.

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Table of Contents


1. Abstracts. These are capsule summaries of scientific articles and papers. Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, got his start writing abstracts for physics journals

2. Advertising. Thousands of organizations - from Madison Avenue ad agencies and Fortune 500 corporations, to small local businesses - need ads written to sell their products; American businesses spend $56 billion a year on newspaper and magazine advertising

3. Annual Reports. Most large, publicly traded companies produce elaborate and expensive annual reports, for which the average writer's fee is $10,000 per report

4. Articles. This is the traditional defi nition of freelance writing: crafting articles for magazines and newspapers. Pay can range from nothing and abysmal to decent and occasionally high

5. Banner Ads. Banner ads are seeing a resurgence; they may have as few as half a dozen words, which you can get paid $500 or more to write

6. Billboards. Professional writers are needed to write pithy slogans on billboards and other outdoor signage

7. Biographies. Both traditional book publishers and wealthy individuals hire writers to craft biographies

8. Blogs. Increasingly, companies are paying bloggers as much as $100,000 a year to blog for them; popular bloggers are also landing book deals based on their blogs

9. Booklets. Companies publish booklets to educate and inform customers, and many writers publish and sell their own how-to booklets for money

10. Books. Another traditional venue for writers, where the pay, like magazine articles, can range from nominal to fantastic

11. Book Reviews. Although a low-paying assignment, many writers enjoy book reviewing, and you do get a lot of free books

12. Brochures. Despite the proliferation of websites, business prospects often tell salespeople, "Send me a brochure." You can charge $500 - $1,000 a page to write sales brochures for business clients

13. Bumper Stickers. Americans buy almost two million bumper stickers a year, and companies will pay up to $15 a word or more for slogans used on bumper stickers, coffee mugs, and other merchandise

14. Business Plans. Entrepreneurs need business plans to get money from banks and venture capitalists, and will pay you $10,000 or more to write one for them

15. Cartoons. The New Yorker pays $675 for a single cartoon, and dozens of other publications also buy cartoons

16. Case Studies. Also known as success stories and extended testimonials, case studies relate the experiences of a satisfied customer who has benefited from the product or service you are marketing

17. Catalog Copywriting. About $1 billion a year in merchandise is generated through catalog sales

18. Children's Books. Americans spend more than $3 billion annually on children's books, and of course the Harry Potter series has helped create a whole new generation of eager children's book readers

19. Christian Writing. Religious publishing in the United States is a $7.5 billion market, with 5,600 new Christian book titles published annually.

20. College Essays. Parents of high school students are hiring "college consultants" to help with the college selection and application process, including guidance and editing for the college entrance essay

21. Coloring Books. Young adult horror writer R. L. Stine got his start writing the text for coloring books. Although he was paid just $500 per book, each took less than a day to complete

22. Comic Books. Top comic book writers can earn more than $100,000 a year

23. Cookbooks and Recipes. One out of every ten books sold is a cookbook, generating cookbook sales of more than $1.3 billion a year

24. Copyediting. Freelance copy editors can earn $25 - $45 an hour or more

25. Corporate Histories. Companies will pay freelance writers $10,000 - $50,000 or more to write books about the corporation and its history; most are privately published by the company

26. Crossword Puzzles. Newspapers pay $40 - $75 per puzzle, except for the larger Sunday crossword, for which writers get $100 - $350 per puzzle

27. Direct Mail. It's a little-known fact that direct mail copywriting is one of the highest paying freelance copywriting assignments, with some direct mail writers earning as much as $10,000 or more, plus royalties, for a single sales letter.

28. eBay. eBay has 210 million registered users worldwide, who trade items worth a total of $12.6 billion; you can make money writing ads for eBay marketers or selling products yourself on eBay.

29. E-books. I make $3,000 a week selling self-published e-books and other information products online; the average e-book length is sixty pages

30. Email. My clients routinely pay me $1,000 - $2,500 per message to write short promotional emails they send to customers and prospects

31. Employee Communications. Freelance writers can earn $100,000 a year or more writing employee manuals, company newsletters, benefits booklets, and other materials to communicate company policies, rules, activities, plans, and benefits

32. Erotica. Sales of erotic romance fiction in the United States exceed$1 billion annually

33. Essays. Writing personal essays can be extremely satisfying and pay anywhere from nothing to $1,000; I was paid a $20,000 advance for a book of my essays some years ago

34. E-newsletters. Thousands of companies use short online newsletters, also called e-newsletters or e-zines, to regularly communicate with their customers at virtually no cost. They pay writers $500 - $3,000 per issue to research and write brief articles for these e-zines

35. Fantasy. If you can write an engaging fantasy novel for young readers or adults, you can write your own ticket; look at Terry Brooks and J. K. Rowling

36. Fund-Raising. Charities and other nonprofits use fund-raising letters to raise money for their causes, and top fund-raising writers can earn as much as $400,000 a year

37. Ghostwriting. Celebrities from Lee Iacocca to Bill O'Reilly pay ghostwriters handsome fees to write their books for them; non-celebrity individuals and companies also hire ghostwriters to produce books and articles

38. Google AdWords. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is an underserved niche market for copywriters; clients need PPC ads that generate lots of traffi c at low cost

39. Grant Writing. Organizations in search of funding will often pay grant writers a percentage of the money raised for them

40. Greeting Cards. Hallmark and other companies use both staff and freelance writers to write greeting cards for every occasion.

41. Help Screens. Software companies hire freelancers to write help instructions for computer programs, which today are almost always online only

42. Horoscopes and Astrology. At least 90 percent of all Americans under age thirty know their sign. Americans spend more than $200 million a year consulting ten thousand practicing astrologers and bought twenty million astrology books in 2005

43. Horror. Advances for first horror novels can be $2,000 - $5,000, but top horror novelists receive considerably more; Dean Koontz, for instance, gets $6 million per book, according to

44. How-To Writing. Thousands of how-to books, DVDs, and audio learning programs are published annually, ranging from home improvement to finding a mate

45. Indexing. Book publishers pay $300 - $500 per project to write the indices for nonfiction books

46. Instructional Writing. Hundreds of products come with instructions, and professional writers are hired to write them. I was paid $6,000 to write a booklet for Toro on do-it-yourself installation of their underground sprinkler systems

47. Investor Relations. Companies send stock reports to mailing lists of investors to convince them to buy their shares; I frequently write these reports at a fee of $12,500 each

48. Jokes. Although they often don't admit it, many professional comics buy jokes from freelancers; fees start at $25 - $100 per joke, more if you have a track record or write for a superstar

49. Landing Pages. A landing page is essentially a long-copy sales letter posted on the Web and dedicated to selling a single product. The objective is to convert unique visits to orders

50. Love Letters. Pre-Internet, freelance writers wrote love letters for clients for $35 - $50 per letter; today, some clever entrepreneurs are selling prewritten love letters online

51. Medical Writing. Medical writers can get $6,000 - $15,000 to ghostwrite a "monograph" published under a doctor's name and sponsored by a pharmaceutical manufacturer to promote a new drug

52. Menus. This is a new market, as menus are a form of advertising. Restaurants, particularly the upscale variety, are starting to pay writers to create the text for a menu

53. Newspapers. It's easy to get started as a part-time reporter for your local weekly paper, and you can have a great full-time career working for a larger daily newspaper; the average freelance journalist earns about $50,000 a year

54. Novels. Many writers dream of writing the Great American Novel, and while they pursue that dream, they can use other writing opportunities in this book to pay the bills. Although the average advance for a first novel is often less than $10,000, some unknowns have received as much as a million dollars for their first novel

55. Outdoor Writing. Writing about hunting, shooting, fishing, nature, and the outdoors is an active genre; the Outdoor Writers Association of America has more than 1,300 members

56. Playwriting. Playwriting is one of the great venues of expressing mankind's angst with the world around him; while notoriously low paying, it could lead to a movie script or even a television series

57. Poetry. The pay is minimal, but if you take on some of the tasks outlined in the other chapters, you can make enough to afford to spend some time each day writing poetry

58. PowerPoint Presentations. You don't have to know PowerPoint or design the slides, but if you write text for the slides with speaker's notes, you can charge $1,000 - $1,500 for a PowerPoint presentation with ten to fifteen slides

59. Public Relations. A press release is a short announcement or short news story sent to the media to promote a company or its product. You can charge $250 - $1,000 or more for a one- to two- page release

60. Procedure Writing. Companies that want to be certified to the ISO 9000 quality standard for manufacturing must carefully document workplace procedures in writing, and professional writers charge thousands of dollars for this service

61. Professional Speaking. Writing speeches in general, according to 2006 Writer's Market, can pay $167 per hour or $2,700 - $10,000 per project, depending on the subject and who is delivering the speech

62. Proposal Writing. Freelancers who help businesses write proposals can charge $100 an hour and up

63. Public Seminars. Holding a public seminar or workshop is a great way to build recognition and sell your products; a two-day seminar can run about $300 per person

64. Radio Commercials. I regularly charge clients $2,000 to write a series of thirty- or sixty-second radio spots, and the assignment rarely takes more than half a day

65. Reports. Newsletter publishers, financial services firms, the federal government, and other clients routinely hire freelance writers to create all kinds of special reports, often sold as a product or given away as a premium

66. Resumes. Advertise "resume; writing service" in your local paper, and your phone will soon be ringing off the hook with job seekers willing to pay you $100 - $300 or more to whip their resumes into shape

67. Romance. More than half of paperback fiction sales are romance titles, generating $1.2 billion in annual revenues. A first-time author writing for Harlequin might receive $3,500 as an advance, while the average advance for an experienced romance novelist with a track record could be $5,000 - $7,000 for a category romance (a novel marketed as a romance)

68. Science Fiction. Getting published in genre fiction is often easier than breaking into mainstream fiction, but the pay scales are modest; science fiction (SF) magazines pay 5 - 9 cents per word for stories, and advances for SF novels average $5,000

69. Self-Help. Self-improvement, in all of its forms, is an $8.56 billion business, with 3,500 - 4,000 new self-help titles published in 2003 alone

70. Short Stories. Short fiction is one of the most artistically satisfying writing specialties, but also one of the most difficult to break into, as well as one of the lowest paying

71. Specification Writing. A specification is a statement of needs to be satisfied by the procurement of external resources; manufacturers, software companies, and other businesses hire "spec writers" to create precise definitions of their requirements for products and services to be purchased

72. Sports Writing. More than $16 billion is spent annually on attending sporting events, and both freelance and staff writers are needed to cover almost every sport imaginable

73. Syndicated Columnist. While some syndicated columnists are highly paid, it's a difficult field to enter: about 2,500 column ideas are submitted to King Features every year, and of these, less than 1 percent are selected annually

74. Tabloids. The tabloids are a top-paying market for freelance writers; the National Enquirer spends $16 million a year acquiring articles

75. Technical Writing. Technical writers can earn upwards of $100,000 a year working as staff, freelance, or contract (freelance but on site), creating systems documentation, user manuals, help screens, and other technical documents for corporate clients

76. Telemarketing Scripts. In 2002, telemarketing generated sales of more than $100 billion. Fees to write a five-minute telemarketing script are $1,000 - $3,000

77. Training and Development. I routinely earn $4,500 per day giving technical writing, business writing, and copywriting seminars to corporate clients

78. Travel Writing. A freelance travel writer who writes fast and has a few steady gigs can earn $50,000 a year writing travel articles, and also receive free travel worth $5,000 - $50,000 a year, depending on the markets covered

79. T-shirts. As with bumper stickers (see chapter 13), you can earn $10 or more per word for writing short slogans to be printed on T-shirts and other merchandise

80. TV Commercials. Freelance copywriters can earn $950 - $1,500 for a thirty-second spot, $2,500 - $4,000 for a two-minute direct response commercial, and $8,000 - $15,000 for a thirty-minute infomercial

81. Video Games. Surveys by executive recruiters show that staff writers for video game companies earn annual salaries of $35,000 - $75,000

82. Video Scripts. A freelance video scriptwriter can earn $2,000 - $4,000 for writing a short (fi ve- to eight-minute) video presentation promoting a product, service, or organization

83. Websites. There are more than a billion pages posted on the World Wide Web; you can easily charge $500 - $750 per page or more writing content and product descriptions for websites

84. Webinars. Web seminars and telephone seminars are enormously profitable; I have earned as much as $9,800 in a single hour marketing my own tele-seminars

85. White Papers. Software companies selling to information technology professionals, as well as other industries, use "white papers" - a cross between an article and a sales brochure - to promote their products. Fees vary, but $5,000 for a ten-page white paper is not uncommon

86. Word Processing. Although not writing, if you want to spend your time typing words, starting a home-based word processing business can generate a steady income for you, enabling you to work on your own writing between assignments

87. Writing for the Government. Most people don't realize the federal government is the largest publisher in the country, and thousands of government agencies regularly hire writers to turn out reports, proposals, and a variety of other documents

88. Young Adult. This market encompasses books written for readers between ages nine and nineteen; the world's wealthiest writer, J. K. Rowling, is a young adult author with a net worth of more than a billion dollars


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