In the past year, I’ve made tens of thousands of dollars from my writing. (I made a whopping $40 total in my first 4.5 years). Obviously, I’ve learned a thing or two!).
I discovered you can earn money from your writing very quickly, if you know what to do.
Here are 5 simple steps that you can take to become a paid writer in the next 5 weeks.
Step #1: Become a Medium.com Member
I promise, I don’t work for Medium. No, they didn’t pay me, either. (Although Medium — if you feel like sending me a nice fruit basket or something, I would not say no).
Become a paying member of Medium.com. For $5/month, it’ll be the best investment you’ve ever made for yourself as a writer.
Here’s why: when you’re a paying Medium member, you can begin publishing articles that are eligible to make money. (You can even allow readers to sign up for your email newsletter with a simple call to action at the bottom). Basically, the more people who read/interact with your article, the more money you get.
I had my sister sign up for this a while back, and she told me she made $8 in her first month from posting a couple of articles. $8 doesn’t sound like much, but if it’s your first income as a writer, it’s huge.
You’re already writing — why don’ you write somewhere where you’re paid for it?
Step #2: Insert Amazon Affiliate Links Into Your Posts
I’m amazed how few writers are doing this.
In about 90 seconds, you can register with Amazon’s affiliate program (just insert your bank and tax information because Amazon deposits your earnings directly into your bank).
After that, you can paste links to any product on Amazon, and get anywhere from a 3% — 10% cut if anyone buys the product from your link.
Frankly, I only earn $50 — $100/month with these links. I don’t use them as much as I used to. However, for a beginner writer, that’s enormous income (especially if, like I was, you’re used to making 50 cents a month).
I exclusively link to books I quote in my articles. Books aren’t that expensive, so I don’t earn a lot, relatively speaking.
Another example: uber-successful entrepreneur Tim Ferriss sends out a weekly email with his “favorite purchase of the week.” Sometimes it’s a nutrition bar, sometimes it’s expensive workout equipment. A growing email list is an excellent audience for those links.
With Amazon affiliate links, you get a cut from everything. They’re simple, subtle, unobtrusive, and very lucrative if done right. You can start getting paid by the end of the month’s cycle. (Just remember to include a note in your Medium article saying there are affiliate links).
Step #3: Begin Collecting Your Reader’s Email Addresses
As the old saying goes, “there’s riches in the list.”
I’ve been able to collect over 35,000+ email subscribers in the past year or so through Medium alone. Other writers here have reported similar numbers. I’ve heard of a few writers getting hundreds of thousands of subscribers here.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: that’s crazy, there’s no way I can get that much!
True, you probably won’t see anywhere near that number of subscribers at first.
But if you have something to sell — a book, a coaching service, an online course, a solution of some kind — you need to have people to sell to, on your terms.
This is the power of the email list. Most people check their email every day. If you can make a connection with your readers and encourage them to join your tribe, you can build a powerful and lucrative platform to get your message and products to the world.
Step #4: Create a Product Priced Between $17 — $29 Dollars
A product in the price range of $17 — $28 is a very popular tool many writers use to get their first customers, as well as podcasters, marketers, and other creatives.
Why? It’s a low-risk investment your readers can make when they’re beginning to trust you and become a fan. A product like this doesn’t require much content, and it’s relatively quick for you to create it.
For my product, I created an online course on behavioral change I priced at $28. It has 4 videos (10–20 minutes each) with matching articles and books. I recorded them on my laptop. The whole process took about 3 weeks.
Since I launched it a little over a year ago, I’ve gotten nearly 400 students.
Derek Sivers once said, “What is obvious to you is amazing to others.” Even if you’re just one step ahead of your readers, they’ll look to you for guidance.
Also, a common fear I hear from many of my writing coaching clients is that they’re afraid no one will buy their product because there’s already a better version out there by somebody more qualified.
The truth is, people will still buy your product because they want to buy from you.
This means that you could write a coming-of-age story of a young wizard trying to save the world from danger and your readers will buy it (even if J.K. Rowling has kinda cornered the market). Why? Because you wrote it.
Create your product, then tell your readers about it. That’s how you can start making your first sales.
5. Self-Publish Your Book on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
It’s never been easier to self-publish your book and bypass the traditionally-published route.
I’ve done both. I signed a book deal last year, and my traditionally-published book is coming out soon. I’ve also self-published another 3 personal books.
Amazon’s KDP platform makes self-publishing your book easy. Simply sign up for your KDP account, upload your manuscript and cover, and Amazon places the book live on their bookstore, where readers can purchase it immediately.
Better yet, the KDP program recently changed and now prints books on a per-sale basis. This means you can send your readers a physical copy of your book by the end of the month, almost anywhere in the world.
I just completed this process a few months ago. I wrote my manuscript, hired designers to create a cover and format the eBook version for Kindle (cost about $100), and published to book on Amazon. Readers can order their copy online (or you can even have Amazon ship you the books directly, which you can sell from your website/blog and keep the commission Amazon would normally take).
Follow these 5 steps, and you’ll create a strong platform for your writing. Earning income has never been easier as a writer. Building a tribe can be done very quickly, and creating products/services for them is a simple and straightforward process.
I hope these tips helped. Let me know how much money you make after 5 weeks!
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