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Earning Money as a Writer

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This past week I clicked on an article about making passive income as a writer. But after I read it, I was more than a little confused. 

“Hey, what’s passive income?” I reached over and prodded my husband, Mr. Business-Major-Man. 

“Money you just sit back and earn. Investments are passive income. Interest is passive income.” 

That’s a relief. I do actually know what passive income is. But many of the people giving recommendations to writers clearly do not. I know this because I went beyond clueless article #1. I did a Google search. I read something like a dozen articles on passive writing income. They suggested things like. . . 

1. Teach online. The idea is that once you pull together your teaching material, teaching is just easy peasy mac-n-cheesy. 

2. Create a blog. Putting up valuable content on a daily basis is all you have to do. Then you just have to monetize your blog to earn income. 

3. Create a podcast. This works a lot like a blog and, really, it isn’t that much work. 

4. Indie Publish a book or books. Since you get to keep all of the income, once you get the book written it will be pure profit. 

5. Traditionally publish a best-selling novel. 

I kid you not. Each and every one of these suggestions was mentioned again and again. The reality is that if you are looking for easy money, writing probably should not be your #1 plan. 

It isn’t that you can’t make money writing, but you aren’t going to find a lot of passive income. What you will find are ways to use one income stream to boost another. 

You write books. You have a blog that is monetized. If you speak at a conference or on a webinar, you will be billed as Whitney Writer, the author of An Amazing Novel who is also on Blogger. Yes, it was work to put together your class or presentation. But you can use it to help sell your book. You can send people to your blog. 

Or perhaps you write an article about something related to your book. You’ve got a byline and bio. You mention your book, your class, and your site. No, the article wasn’t effortless but it has helped earn more income from your book, your class and your site. 

Very few writers make a living from one income stream alone. You won’t find a lot of truly passive income, but, if you are clever, you can use one source of income to boost the others. It isn’t passive but it a pretty smart way to work. 


Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 30 books for young readers.  To find out more about her writing, visit her site and blog, One Writer's Journey.

The next session of her new course, Pitching, Querying and Submitting Your Work will begin on November 1, 2021).  Coping with rejection is one of the topics she will cover in this course.

Sue is also the instructor for  Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins November 1, 2021) and Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins November 1, 2021). 

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