How to make money by writing?

A teleclass held by coach, journalist and author Suzy Greaves, introduced the following star line up:

Oscar nominated screenwriter Shah Husain
• Features editor of Psychologies Magazine Anita Chaudhuri
• Top ten award winning blogger, author and entrepreneur Erica Douglas
• Awardwinning author of over 20 books, journalist and ‘inspirational’ business mum of the year Antonia Chitty
• Journalist and award-winning food and travel writer and correspondent for Monocle magazine, Michael Booth.
• Louise Johncox, ex-commissioning editor of Style magazine.

Suzy sets herself goals each year – and inspires clients to join her. This year it’s creativity and she’s determined to get that screen play she’s had on the back burner ‘out there.’ In addition to pitching and writing articles for newspapers and magazines, Suzy will be working on her script, blog, novel and self-help book over the next six months as part of her Big Writing School.

Personally, I am fascinated by those that talk about ‘doing’ and those that ‘do.’ Those who write, set up businesses, change jobs and those who talk about it. What’s the difference. Is it confidence, time, energy, money?

We have the best of intentions but things get in the way – but it’s mainly fear. Fear of rejection, failure, fear of the unknown.
So here I am on a teleclass faced with a group of virtual ‘doers’ those who do make money out of writing and 150 hopefuls who want to write and make money.

Michael Booth’s life sounds intriguing – ‘he leads a millionaire lifestyle on a shoestring’ says Suzy. ‘He’s no longer a scabby freelance journalist and whilst he’s not the best writer in the world he has a talent for selling things.’ He’s written four books and gets amazing reviews. “You need to become an expert in something if you want to travel the world.” He says. “It can be barbecuing – everyone has a general knowledge of food – but editors want a specialist knowledge. It might be food from a certain country, but build an authority on something. It provides a good start to building trust with an editor. Create and cultivate a trustworthy, entertaining voice.”

Shah Husain is BAFTA and Oscar nominated and is adamant about the need to know your market and the industry. There’s no excuse not to have a thorough knowledge of the market and who’s working where. She lists a range of websites with online courses and scripts for the budding screenwriter.

Want to get into Psychologies magazine? The email is key. “I can tell from the title and subtitle if that person can write” says Anita. “No pressure then” comments Suzy. “It has to be succinct, no more than 100 words. Get my attention with something fun and different.” Says Anita.

Louise Johncox now a freelance journalist says “I usually pitch three ideas in one email in the hope that they’ll like one. Give them a strong hook – an event or date. Give them a reason to publish it, a reason they can’t ignore. I might also suggest a photo idea – how to illustrate it. And a writing friend to bounce ideas off is essential.” says Louise.

Only this morning Suzy pitched her latest idea to the Daily Mail “they need it before 10.00am to take into their morning pitching meeting.’ She’s waiting to hear. But two articles a month can earn £2,000.

Here’s one she wrote earlier:
Fees ranged from £200 – £1000 for articles – depending on which magazine and length and how well you are established.

Then on to blogging supremo Erica Douglas. “You need a following” advises Erica. ‘How do you get one?’ butts in Suzy. “Find where your target audience hang out. Have a good search engine facility. I started six years ago – just with writing. Now I have podcasts and videos – which has all helped build a following. “ She mentioned RSS subscribers – but whilst I’ve seen the terminology it means nothing – and I feel I need to buy her ebook already.

Antonia Chitty meanwhile makes £10,000 a month from her ebooks (she has written 20). 150,000 books were published last year and with the advent of the ebook – 1 million are estimated to be published next year. How will yours stand out from the crowd? She wrote The Mumpreneur Guide and published it as an ebook after being told by her publisher it was a book for women and therefore they wouldn’t publish it.

“Work out what you will do with the information – advances are not great. Create a course – how can you use that knowledge to increase income. How can you make it pay the bills. Will you run webinars to accompany that knowledge and have a book to promote at the end of it. Run courses or offer one to one sessions.”

Suzy Greave’s Big Writing School starts on Wednesday 29th February – with a bronze, silver and gold package available.

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3 Responses to How to make money by writing?

  1. Weekender says:

    Sometimes, for some people, the talking and writing about “doing” becomes the “doing” itself… Is this wrong? Someone (GBS?) once said, “Those who can do, those who can’t teach” – unfair and unkind to many a talented teacher – but is the new maxim, “Those who can do, those who can’t tweet about it”?

  2. Thank you for your comment. You could be right. But is it most often said perhaps by those that have never taught or I suspect, those who don’t have a Twitter account?

    Speaking of which – via Twitter I have just heard about The Mothers of Invention 2012 event at the British Library – also available via webinar on March 19th. Includes wonderful Sophie Cornish – a great person who gets things done. Don’t know if she teaches but she Tweets and can be followed here @SophieVCornish.

  3. Weekender says:

    I reckon Frank Zappa would have tweeted….

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