If you’re a freelance writer, you know by now that this is a tough way to make a living. But while you’re waiting for your ship to come in, so to speak, there are some good ways to supplement your income with writing gigs. Here are a few you may want to research:

1. Strive for regular income from regular clients. This may seem obvious, but I know lots of writers who are stretched into so many different markets that their income is too sporadic to make ends meet. It’s great to have multiple streams of income, but a couple of those streams should be consistent.

For instance, you could choose to write for the same magazine for a while. By doing so, the editor may ultimately ask you to become an assignment writer for them, where they call you with an idea (imagine that!). Or, you could get to know the magazine well enough that you are known as one of their regular contributing writers, which typically means a monthly paycheck.

Another avenue is to become a columnist for a local or regional magazine or newspaper. To do this, write 3-4 columns and submit them, along with a resume, to papers that do not already have the type of column you want to write. You may also want to have an additional 10 or so ideas ready and stated in your cover letter to the editor. Columns are a great way to gain name recognition and produce steady pay.

2. Provide blog or website content for others. It’s not uncommon for businesses, even other writers, to contract out their blog or website writing, strictly because they don’t have the time to keep up with it. Start with who you know, and offer to write their blog, website, or even electronic newsletter for them. Many small businesses would love to have this taken off their hands!

3. Research publications that do work-for-hire contracts instead of strictly royalty. Children’s writer, Nancy Sanders, just had an interview on a previous blog of mine regarding the benefits of work-for-hire writing. Be sure to check that out if you’re not familiar with work for hire.

To get in the door with these publishers, you’ll need to send writing samples specifically geared to their publication, along with the topics you are interested in writing for. If they believe you’re well suited for their needs, they will call you with assignments.

4. Develop writing courses. If you know how to write, you should have some topics about writing that you can teach to others. You can either develop these courses to sell them online, contract them to other writing companies who do sell online courses, or teach them yourself in person at workshops.

5. Learn about copywriting. Every business, even freelancers, need to have good ad copy written in order to promote their services. Start local or with who you know and offer to develop text for marketing brochures, fliers, websites, sales letters, and more. This is a huge market, and usually quite lucrative.

So there you have it! Five possible ways to make some extra money writing while you’re waiting on your bestseller to get recognized! Be sure to chime in if you have other ways of making money writing that’s worked for you.

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Today, I’d like to join up again with Nancy Sanders to have her continue our conversation about work-for-hire vs. royalty writing.  Nancy writes primarily for children, but work-for-hire and royalty contracts are available in both children’s and adult markets.

Often, writers don’t consider work-for-hire contracts when they think of writing a book, yet they can offer many benefits over royalty contracts. Today, Nancy will discuss what some of those benefits are.

By the way, I must apologize that on my first post of Nancy’s interview, I had some interesting tech problems and was not able to add Nancy’s picture to my post. This time, it seems to have worked!

Here’s Nancy…

Nancy I. Sanders

It’s nice to be back on your blog again, Renee! Thanks so much for having me join your readers and share my perspective on work-for-hire versus royalty contracts. I’ve signed lots of both, so I’ve had experience on both sides of the page. Today I wanted to share about some of the benefits work-for-hire contracts can offer a writer.

There can be key benefits to work-for-hire. One is that most work-for-hire assignments have fixed guidelines and a pre-arranged format writers are required to follow. Some writers prefer this. Editors who work with writers on these assignments also realize there is a learning curve for those who are new to their publishing house. They’re often willing to help and train newbies—an added bonus! It can feel like signing up to take a writing course, but being paid to take it.

Other benefits are that you learn to write what an editor wants and work on a tight schedule. Plus, it helps acquire published credits. These are essential ingredients of building a successful, solid writing career.

The one main concern you want to be careful of when signing a work-for-hire contract, however, is to never agree to write about something that is near and dear to your heart. Don’t sell all rights to the picture book about your nephew’s first birthday party or a middle grade novel series with your twin daughters as the main characters. Save those books for royalty-based contracts where the copyright is registered in your own name.

To get started with work-for-hire contracts, most publishers will expect to receive a query letter stating that you’re interested in being considered as an author for a potential assignment. List any published credits you already have. They’ll also need to see samples of your work, but if you haven’t yet written in their specific genre, mention in your query that you’re interested in preparing sample text for their review for a potential upcoming new project. That way, you can fine tune your writing sample directly to their in-house style and format. And if they like your sample, you just might be offered the contract to write that project.

[I’d like to add here that I believe wfh assignments are an excellent way to break in to a publishing house. In my opinion, it’s much easier if you are given an assignment and told how it is to be written than to try to break in as a new author by sending out proposals in hopes something will catch someone’s attention.

I realize that some writers hate the structure of wfh and would rather be free to create the way they want to, but even with royalty publishing, you still have to adhere to the editor’s guidelines and format.]

Thanks, Nancy for shining the light on work-for-hire vs. royalty contracts!

-Bestselling and award-winning author Nancy I. Sanders has signed numerous work-for-hire books as well as royalty-based contracts. She is the author of the ground-breaking new book, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career, Award-winning Finalist of the National Best Books 2009 Awards. http://www.YesYouCanLearn.wordpress.com

For today’s post I’d like to bring back author Nancy I. Sanders. Nancy has written dozens of work-for-hire as well as royalty-based books, so I thought she would be a great person to help explain not only the differences with these two types of publishing but also the pros and cons.

Please welcome Nancy back to my blog…

It’s great to be visiting your blog today, Renee! Thanks for asking me to participate in a discussion about work-for-hire contracts versus royalty contracts.

Many passionate opinions abound as to whether or not a writer should sign a work-for-hire contract. A work-for-hire contract basically means that you agree to write a manuscript and give away all rights to it. Your manuscript becomes the property of the publisher and as such they can do whatever they choose with it. Many writers feel passionately that work-for-hire contracts should never be signed.

On the other hand, some writers love the world of work-for-hire publishing. Assignments can come at a steady pace. Deadlines are fast and furious. Nice paychecks arrive in the mail on a frequent, regular basis. These writers usually don’t like royalty-based contracts because they’ve learned from experience that it may take years for cash to trickle in from royalties on a book that doesn’t sell well.

Work-for-hire can be a great source of quick cash in the world of publishing, but it might be to your advantage to establish a balance of work-for-hire contracts along with royalty-based contracts. In between your work-for-hire contracts, take time to query publishers who offer royalty-based contracts. If you can land contracts for several royalty-based contracts each year, along with several work-for-hire contracts, it can help you financially in the long run. The beauty of writing royalty-based contracts, other than the all-important reason that you get to keep the copyright to your own work, is that over the years, as you build up your published credits, the royalties start adding up as well.

Stop back tomorrow and we’ll discuss some of the benefits—yes there are actually benefits!—of signing work-for-hire contracts.

Nancy I. Sanders is the author of the ground-breaking new book, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career, Award-winning Finalist of the National Best Books 2009 Awards. http://www.YesYouCanLearn.wordpress.com