How I Learned to Make My Writing Pay, and You Can Do It Too
How come there's so much writing in the world, but most writers are poor? It's because
writers are writing the stuff that makes other people rich. If you're writing novels for
major publishers for example, you're pouring money into the bank accounts of giant corporations,
but the stream of money, by the time it reaches you, is a slow drip, not a river.
If you want to make money from your writing, you need to write the words that sell. In
other words, you need to become a copywriter.
Copywriters write everyday words, the words you see and hear around you every day —
advertising, press releases, catalogs, newsletters, and radio spots. I've been a writer,
and a successful one if you count publication credits, for 20+ years, but it wasn't until
I made copywriting the foundation of my business that I started to feel relaxed about
paying my bills.
If you're an experienced writer, you can add copywriting to the writing you do, and
start making money without much effort. The skills of both fiction and non-fiction are
necessary when writing copy. If you're a new writer, just starting out, the skills you
learn when writing copy are easily transferable to other kinds of writing.
The brilliant news about copywriting is that copywriters can make excellent money, with
the most experienced, enterprising, and productive copywriters scooping in a comfortable
six figures annually.
You don't have to be a great writer to be an excellent copywriter, but you do need to
recognize and be able to use the attributes of both fiction (evoke emotion) and non
fiction (be clear) in your writing. Of all the writing I do, I love copywriting most. It's
fun, it's easy, it's creative — and the biggest plus of all, it's usually short.
Here's the successful freelance copywriter's mindset.
• know that you're surrounded by copy every day, everywhere you look.
• Radio, TV, the Internet, newspapers, food product labels, signs: they all
contain words, and a copywriter wrote them. To most people, copy is so ubiquitous it's
invisible. To you, copy signals a market. You're observant and aware, and every time a
message catches your eye, even if it's only a street sign, you're thinking: "Hmmm... a
• are interested in getting your client's message across;
• are prepared to market, and then market your services some more.