Every writer’s journey is going to be a little different. There are certainly indie authors who are making their entire income solely off publishing novels. But there are plenty who are also mixing up the bag a little. One of the benefits of spreading your income across multiple income streams is the certainty that if you lose one source, the others will be there to catch you.
Some creative types like writers and artists make a good chunk of their income off satellite activities – something related to their field that they also find enjoyable, but something other than their writing or their art. If you need a satellite activity to supplement your indie publishing, here are some ideas.
Publish Informational Books
Show others how to follow in your footsteps where you’ve got some know-how. This could be a topic completely unrelated to your writing, or it could be a guide on an area of fiction craft where you’re particularly adept. It can also be on a topic you write about. (For instance, I write about fatherless daughters in my fiction; it would be perfectly natural for me to turn around and publish a book about being a fatherless daughter – which, in fact, I already have.) The sad fact is that people frequently place more value on information (non-fiction) than on entertainment (fiction). Capitalize on it!
This is essentially the same as above, but you’re offering even more: one-on-one attention. Read that: You can charge more! Classes can be in-person or online. Again, offering writing classes is just one option; you can offer classes on whatever talent you posses and would like to share. If that talent is related to a topic in your books (parasailing off the coast of New Zealand, for instance?), all the better!
Offer Book-Related Services to Authors
This is a burgeoning market! What’s your particular strength? Are you a whiz at formatting ebooks and print books? Do you have a graphic arts background and love designing covers? Can you make a stellar book trailer? Do you love marketing and publicity? Are you great at organizing emails and calendars? Are you good at editing or proofreading? Hang up your shingle. With some business and marketing savvy, any one of these pursuits could help round out your income – or become a livelihood in itself.
Monetize Your Blog
This is an area I need to research more myself, but I hear rumors that pique my interest. Get involved in affiliate links programs. Maybe sell ad space in your sidebars. I’ve heard authors say they add a nice little sum to their bank accounts each month through the money they passively generate on their blogs.
This is another area which, given some dedication, can be a career in itself. Not all magazines, blogs, and websites pay for their content, but many do. Pay schedules are all across the board, too, from a fraction of a cent per word to a dollar or more per word. Choose your niche, then pitch some magazines or set yourself up on Elance or UpWork (formerly oDesk). If you freelance on the same topics you write fiction about, this can be a great way to market your books, too. Mention your book in your bylines!
Copywriting is one of the most lucrative writing jobs there is. Somebody’s gotta write all those ads! Unfortunately, it has little to do with writing fiction, but if you need some income – and loath the idea of doing anything but writing – this could be the answer. Again, choose your niche (I’d specialize in travel and tourism if it were me!) and get to know businesses within that niche and what kind of promotional materials they need.
Offer Ghost Writing Services
There are lots of people out there who would love to write their memoir, but have no idea how to do it. If you have a flare for creative non-fiction, this could be right up your alley.
Those are all the paid para-writing activities I could think of. Do you have any more? Do you have experience in any of these areas? Let us know in the comments!