How I Earn My Money

moneyI wrote a bit about the finances behind my book deals yesterday. People seemed to appreciate this more than I realized they would; this only proves how rare it is for writers, in particular, to talk about money. Perhaps it makes us feel that our “art” is somehow less pure if we corrupt it with the idea that we’re doing it for pay. But I like doing this for a living, and that means I have to make money at it. It also means I do a better job of it because I can spend my work days making nice articles and books for people, instead of cramming it in between profitable ventures.

To that end, I thought it might help if I shared an overview of where some of my freelance, non-book money comes from. In the first three months of 2015, this is about how it’s broken down:

Online recaps of TV shows (a regular, if not terribly high-paying, profit center for pop culture writers): $1,000

Teaching, both for Gotham Writers Workshops and my own one-on-one clients: $2,000

Short pieces for various online outlets: $1,200

A gigantic special project for a major magazine (I basically wrote an entire stand-alone issue): $8,000

This was an unusually profitable period because of that project. Those are the sorts of things that keep freelancers going. They also cannot be counted upon, so I need to make that money work for me for the next few months.

Fellow freelancers, feel free to share some of your biggest (or smallest) income-generators in the comments below! We can all learn from each other.


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience with us! I earned my first buck on Elance, later I started finding my clients via Odesk or Genuine Jobs and so far, freelancing has been a great experience for me!

  2. I got ripped off for several articles I wrote in my first “job” through Freelanced, so now am paranoid, hard to know who and what to trust, any suggestions?

  3. Great information! My pay rates range from $0 (huffpo Post50 blog) to $100k and up (big content projects for corporate websites). Either I have to love it or it has to support doing something I love. Demystifying money and learning how to set competitive — high — rates is something I write about as well. If you name it, you can get it!

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