Earning a living as a writer is next to impossible. Even when you’re published, the amounts received for the majority of writers are far below poverty level in the course of a year. When you have a book published, you receive an advance, but that advance has to last until the book earns back the money. That could take about three years for a successful book. Divide your advance by three, and that will give you your annual writing income per year. A $6,000 advance will net you $2,000 a year. Can you live on that? A less successful book might go out of print before the advance is paid back. The answer, of course, is to have more than one book published—a book a year would probably be worthwhile. But having one book published doesn’t necessarily mean your next book will be accepted.
The solution to this problem is simple. You must decide why you’re writing in the first place. If you just want to get rich, you might think about entering the entertainment field. Once you’re known throughout the world, publishers will be knocking on your door to publish anything you want to write. Otherwise, you have to make a commitment to write and market your manuscripts every day. If you spend enough time and effort, eventually you will be published, and, ultimately, you will probably make a living at writing. But you won’t be rich.
If, however, writing is in your blood and you find yourself continuing to write whether you get published or not, consider submitting your work to an e-magazine article market. It’s a wonderful place to see your non-published article collection in print. Some of these markets even pay you, but regardless, if you are good at your craft, the nonpaying editors will jump on your submissions and beg for more. There is a benefit involved here that could lead to fame and fortune as it relates to Google and being showcased on the Internet. If you enter your name on the Google site, what do you find? If you’ve had any publishing success, you should be there. But if you aren’t there, and even if you are, it’s to your benefit to consider e-publishing. A previous paying market in this field that unfortunately is no longer active is http://www.writeforcash.com. This market paid only $15 an article for all rights, but if you were accepted, you could submit as many articles as you wanted to submit. The site offered numerous subjects for which two- or three-page articles were needed. At the beginning of each month, your earnings would be deposited in your PayPal account. And, yes, this was done without fail. The link to the articles I had published with them continues to be active, and if you wish to see one, please go to: http://www.pagewise.com/articles/train-basenji-dog.htm.
The closest I could find to this type of market is http://www.ezinearticles.com. Unfortunately, there is no pay for articles submitted here, but unlike Write for Cash you retain the rights (in case you want to put all your published articles into book form at a later date). You can also submit to other markets as long as you add a link to ezinearticles.com. If you’re really good, your article will not only be accepted, you will be designated an expert writer, which greatly increases your online image. As a regular writer you are limited to 10 submissions, but if you are an expert writer, you can submit as many articles as you wish. If you haven’t entered the online marketplace yet, I would suggest that you start here. It will offer writing credits you can use when submitting to paying markets. This site also offers a list of various subjects for which they will accept articles. I would further suggest that you self-edit your articles and make sure there are no misspelled words, no typos, and that you follow the format set forth. Don’t hesitate to use a spell checker and make sure you use the correct grammar.
One e-magazine that pays for articles is Brady magazine. Go to: http://www.bradymagazine.com. The payment here is $20CDN for first electronic rights and $10CDN for reprints. In American funds that is about $15/article. The manuscripts accepted by Brady must, however, be about writing. It’s very important to know what prospective editors want for their online publications. It is further important to know what rights you’re selling. Read the guidelines carefully.
“Writer’s Magazine" has published a list of online writers’ markets in its September 2005 issue. These sites are intended for writers looking for writing markets online. Some are gateways into other sites, and others offer articles about writing, while a few seem to be limited to articles by the owner of the site. The one site I found to be useful is http://www.freelancing.com. It lists several subjects with prospective markets. The best way, I think, to locate a market for your articles is to enter “article guidelines" or “article submissions" in Google or Yahoo. It will take some time to winnow out the chaff, but it’s worth it.
If you decide to follow this path to publication, it is best if you have your own website. That way every article you have published can link back to your website. My website is listed below, and I invite you to check it out.
Stay away from any site that says you can earn a lot of money. Not that easy. If you have good writing skills and have learned your craft well, you can become a published writer and ultimately a paid writer. Good luck.
Marjorie N Allen is an award-winning author of several books and has taught writing at a community college. She has presented school workshops in writing, and has written book reviews for “The New York Times Book Review, " travel articles for the “Boston Globe, " and is a longtime freelance editor. Her website is http://www.marjorienallen.com