How to Make Money Writing Online

By Mike Haaren

Jan. 4, 2011

If you enjoy writing and want to earn some money to help with those post-holiday bills – or even land a full-time job – there are many places to make it happen online. Although YouTube, Hulu and other video-oriented sites get attention in the media, the Internet is still a text-driven beastie, and this can spell opportunity for budding and veteran writers alike.

It’s not a path to overnight riches, mind you, but with a bit of focus and effort you can make it work. Here are some ways to get your keyboard in the game.

Freelance Articles
A number of websites pay writers for periodic freelance articles or regular contributions. In some cases you’ll face competition from experienced journalists, but opportunities for newer writers exist as well.

Demand Media: Demand Media (DemandMedia.com) provides content to websites across the Net, and hires freelance writers continuously. As their site says, “Claim titles you want to write by searching within categories or sites you are interested in. These titles are yours alone and you have seven days to submit the completed article. After review and fact checking by a copy editor, your article is approved for publish and payment is processed.”

Helium: Geared to newer writers, Helium.com offers a place to make a little money on your work while dipping a toe in the expository waters. Per their site, pay is based on three factors: “(1) Higher-ranked articles earn more money than lower-ranked articles. (2) Some subjects draw more total views than others. (3) How much will advertisers pay to advertise on the subject?”

About.com: About.com hires “Contributing Writers” to cover a variety of topics. Current subjects range widely, and include Auto Restoration, Beadwork Patterns, Magic Tricks and Texas Cities. Training is provided as well.

Journalism Jobs
Many jobs in journalism are part-time, and can now be done from home or your favorite café, minimizing time in the rat race. Here are two sites well worth visiting for jobs and projects.

JournalismJobs.com: Generally for more experienced writers, this site offers freelance jobs, internships and conventional employment, both brick-and-mortar and off-site.

Media Bistro: Like JournalismJobs.com, MediaBistro.com caters to more experienced wordsmiths. That said, in addition to jobs and projects, the site offers courses in magazine writing, blogging and other subjects, as well as handy articles on how to pitch your work to magazines and newspapers.

Publish Your eBook Here
With the Kindle, Nook, iPad and other devices spreading the eBook gospel, publishing and marketing your own work may have never been easier. You’ve still got to buckle down and do the writing, of course – and you’re the Head of Sales & Marketing, too – but the pathway to readers is now much shorter.

LuLu.com: Founded in 2002, LuLu has been a popular destination for self-published authors for some time. According to the site, it publishes 20,000 titles in paper and electronic versions monthly, and supports eBook distribution to the “iPad, Sony Reader, Stanza and more.”

Amazon: With sales of its Kindle reader reportedly booming, Amazon offers eScriveners some interesting options. Books published through its Digital Text Platform, for example, “can participate in the 70% royalty program and are available for purchase on Kindle devices and Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, PC, Mac, Blackberry, and Android-based devices.”