When people ask me what I do for a living, frankly I don’t know what to say.
I usually say, I’m self-employed. Or “I blog.” And they’re all true.
In fact, so are these answers, and I’ve probably used them all over the years…
- I’m an affiliate marketer.
- I sell info-products.
- I’m a writer.
- I create and market ebooks.
- I build websites.
- I’m an online marketer.
- I’m a marketing consultant.
I could go on and on.
But the real truth is this… I write for a living. After all, that’s what’s at the core of all those
The stuff I write takes on many forms, which earns me money in multiple ways.
And the funny thing is, I never took a writing course.
Which leads me to believe that just about anyone can do this.
If you’re someone who wants to earn money writing, here are 13 top markets to explore,
where you can turn your writing into cold hard cash.
(My thanks go out to Alice Seba and Ron Douglas of WriterHelpWanted
who compiled this list and allowed me to republish it here.)
Market #1: Article Writing
As an article writer, you can write for offline publications and magazines, but you’ll
probably find more opportunities online. There are so many publishers, small, medium and
large, online that it’s relatively easy to find work if you look for it.
For example. lots of people earn regular income writing for Medium.com – on any topic
imaginable. Just sign up and start submitting content. Then join their partner program and
lock some of your articles.
Market #2: Biographies and Memoir Writing
Here’s a unique opportunity that allows you to help people tell their story. Many people
want to publish a biography or memoir, but don’t have the writing skills to put it together.
In fact, many famous biographies were not written by their “authors”. Instead, they are
ghostwritten and that’s where your services come in. In some cases, you might even get
credit as a co-author.
Tip – Make passive income: Instead of doing all the hard work of putting together a
memoir or biography, teach people how to write their own, so they can do it themselves.
You can create an information product about the process that you can sell repeatedly. Or
once you’ve achieved success on your own, you can teach other aspiring memoir writers
to break into the market.
Market #3: Blogging
You’re probably familiar with the concept of blogging. However, you might not know
that many bloggers don’t actually write their own content. They hire someone to write it
for them. Bloggers can make a great living working for a handful of chosen blogs. Some
bloggers are ghostwriters, while others are “guest bloggers.”
Tip – Get ongoing work: Offer blogging services from your own website and set up a
monthly subscription plan where you write a certain number of blog posts each week. Give
your monthly subscribers a special retainer rate, so they are encouraged to keep their
Market #4: Book Proposals
Writers who want their books to be published by a publishing company, need a book
proposal. This proposal sells the idea of why the book should be published and includes an
overview of the book, its market, and competition. A book proposal is a specialized type
of writing that needs to be detailed and persuasive. Proposals can be used for fiction and
nonfiction work, so there are a variety of types of clients you can work with.
Tip – Focus on results: While not all of your clients will get book deals because of your
work, the success rate you do achieve will be critical in growing your opportunities.
Always follow up with your clients to find out how things went and use those success
stories as case studies to showcase your expertise.
Market #5: Copywriting
Copywriting is the art of writing material that helps convert readers into customers.
Copywriting can encompass everything from email messages to advertisements to online
sales pages. Any marketing material often entails some level of copywriting. You can do
things like slogan writing, brochures, ad copy, sales letters, product descriptions and more.
Copywriters are in high demand and once you have a proven track record, you’ll have
clients knocking on your door.
Tip – Track your results: Copywriting is a results driven business and your clients want to
know you can get them more leads and customers. Keep a record of conversion rates and
help your clients improve those rates as part of a value-added service.
Market #6: Creative Writing
If creative writing was one of your favorite subjects in school, you’ll be glad to know
there are opportunities to make money doing it. The different types of opportunities are
abundant. You might ghostwrite fiction, do songwriting, write jokes and humor, poetry,
greeting card messages, jingles and more. Here is a look at some types of writing you
Tip – Treat your creative writing pursuits like a business: You need to build your own
audience by growing and marketing to your email list. These are fans you can contact
directly about your works for sale and send other product recommendations where you
earn a commission. Treat like you would any other business… just writing good content
Market #7: Ebooks
The ebook industry is thriving and there are many opportunities for writers. You can write
for clients or for yourself. There are opportunities in fiction and non-fiction. The important
thing is to find a niche for yourself.
Tip – Find a lucrative market of clients: Look for business owners who want to use a book
as a marketing tool. For example, a professional coach can publish a book that they can
use to build awareness for their services and establish credibility. When they are directly
building your business from the content you write, they are willing to pay well to get that
Market #8: Editors
With all the publishing being done these days, the opportunities for talented editors are
abundant. In addition to traditional publishing, think about all the blogs, books, and
newsletters people are publishing. If you’ve got an eye for making writing more succinct
and clear, this could be an opportunity for you.
Tip – Hang out with writers: Many writers need editing services, so make sure they know
who you are. Join online communities and groups. Attend local writing events to connect
Market #9: Emails and Newsletters
Email is a very commercial medium that produces a high return on investment, so clients
are often willing to pay well for you to write for them. According to the Direct Marketing
Association, email produces a return on investment (ROI) of nearly 4300% . That means,
for every dollar they spend, they get $43.52 in return. This is your opportunity to write for
clients who want to generate income from their email marketing or to make money from
your own email list in a niche of your choosing.
Tip: Create retainer packages for your clients: For email marketing campaigns to be
effective, they have to be consistent. That means your clients need more and more emails
written. If you can get your clients to sign up for a subscription for your services, you get
ongoing work, they get more success and you don’t have to constantly hunt for new
clients and work.
Market #10: Ghostwriting
Ghostwriting is actually a lot more common than the average person might think. A
ghostwriter is someone who writes content for their client who then publishes the content
under their own name as if they wrote it. Many of the markets we’ve mentioned in this
report can be done as a ghostwriter. Ghostwriters write anything from blog posts, to
ebooks including fiction and nonfiction, screenplays, scripts, speeches, articles, stores, and
Tip – Listen to and Apply Feedback: Writing is such a personal thing and it’s easy to get
defensive about our talents, but when you’re ghostwriting, you become irrelevant. Your
job is to write what the client wants and conform to what they’re asking for. Of course,
you can provide your professional advice if you think they’re moving in the wrong
direction, but ultimately, it’s in their hands.
Market #11: Private Label Rights (PLR) Content
Private label rights (PLR) content is pre-written content such as articles, blog posts,
ebooks, reports, and any type of content, which multiple people purchase the right to use
as their own work. Typically, the buyer is responsible for altering the content to make it
their own, but they can put their name to it as the author. This differs from ghostwriting
work where someone hires you to write on a specific subject and they pay you for
exclusive rights to use that work. With PLR, you sell the same content to multiple buyers
over and over again.
Tip – PLR Customers Keep Buying: PLR is inexpensive for the individual buyer, so they
keep buying more. If you keep coming up with great topics and offers, your customers will
buy repeatedly. This is why memberships also do well for PLR. Set up a subscriptionbased program. You deliver content every month and they pay you every month.
Market #12: Revenue Sharing Sites
With revenue sharing sites, you write an article on a particular topic or niche, depending
on what the site wants you to do. Once your article is published on the site and people start
reading it, you will earn a share of the advertising revenue generated by the readers when
they click on an advertisement. This is a useful way to break into and learn more about
online writing as well as get work under your byline to help market yourself as a writer to
Tip – Make passive income: The income you get from these sites can become passive if
traffic continues to visit your older content. A natural progression from writing for other
sites is to create your own site. Not only do you keep 100% of the revenue, you also build
a valuable asset that can bring in additional money in other ways.
Market #13: Social Media Content Writer
Social media writing consists of writing blurbs to introduce memes, blog posts, contests
and other content ultimately leading the customer toward the client’s websites or email
lists. If you have the talent to make people want to “click” and read more, you can become
an effective social media content writer.
Tip: Get Ongoing Work: Set up your own website and include social media management
services. Some of your clients might just want you to write their content, but many others
will want you to handle the posting and interaction on their various accounts. The more
hands-free you can make this for your client, the more likely they’ll want to work with
you on an ongoing basis.