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How to Make Money From Writing Online in 2020

When it comes to writing, it can be hard to find a way to make money from what we love. I can tell you that I have spent so, so many hours looking for apps that pay! Of all the things that I do in my life, I think I am best at writing. So, it is only natural that I want to find a way to turn it into a living.

After all of this time and energy that I spent on this topic, I think that it’s a good idea for me to sum up the best ways to make money from writing in 2020. So, I have put together a list of all the ways I have discovered!

I made a star rating system so that you can judge how easy, attainable and useful each of these methods is. I suggest that you mix and match to find the best ways to make money. It will take time and energy, but I think it’s worth it in the end! Good luck!

Making Your Own Writing Blog

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I have my own writing blog. It is one of the few ways that I have chosen to make a little bit of money from my writing. It means that I can control what I write about, how my blog is formatted and even where the ads go!

So why did I give it 3 stars? If I chose to set up a writing blog, surely it’s a good way to make money, right?

Well, it takes a lot of time, energy and content to do well with your writing blog. You have to set up the blog, make content that counts and do all of the other things that I suggested in my Advice Blogs post. Then you have to take the time to build your audience, gather your affiliate links and keep pumping out content as much as you can.

You can’t just rely on ads to make a blog work. This is my third year of writing on here and I still can’t make a living from it. So far in June, I have made just over a dollar in ad revenue! And that’s with around 2000 website views a week! You’ve got to find other ways to make money if you want to make a writing blog work.

Writing blogs give you the freedom and independence that a lot of writers love about making their own content. However, this is at the expense of having to do all of the hard work for yourself. It will take a lot of time for it to go anywhere, so this isn’t a good fix if you want fast results.

Medium

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Medium is a way to make your own writing blog with a twist: it is run by Medium, so they take a lot of the stress away from you. They do the money collecting and you don’t have as much freedom on how you lay out your blog.

Plus, people come to medium for info. It’s not like running your own advice blog where you have to spend time getting your SEO score up. You don’t need to fight to rank high in Google. No! While people can come straight from search engines, they also look on the site itself for their info, which means that the people clicking onto your blog are much more likely to be looking for the content you make, so they might stick around.

But there’s a catch: you have to be part of the Partner Program to make money from your writing on Medium. Not only that, but you only make money from the people who are subscribed! You do have the chance to write content just for paid users, but this will lower your traffic a hell of a lot! They don’t use ads, so there is no other way to make money from your posts.

Medium can be a great way to quickly start to make a few cents from your work. However, there is a middle man who takes a large cut. Just bear that in mind.

Episode Interactive

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Episode Interactive is a great way to make money in theory; not so good in practice.

On the one hand, you have the fact that it gives you clear goals on views to unlock Writer’s Payments. It’s fun to use and you can do a hell of a lot with the Writer’s Portal.

For the most part, Episode does all the advertising and drawing in users. It is a huge app with millions of reads and dollars under its belt! If you’re serious about unlocking Writer’s Payments, I suggest publishing many good-quality stories and chapters in one sitting. Take the time to plan out lots of story stuff and get as many chapters for different stories as you can done. Then, publish them all at once, or in quick succession. Your Writer’s Payments qualification spans over all of your stories, so get lots out there all in one month to maximise your chances.

On the other hand, though, Episode is a bit of a hellhole for writers who want to make money in a stable way. As I said in my post about being kicked off Episode they only gave me a week’s warning. It has been exactly a year since they banned me and they still haven’t told me why! When anyone asks about me on the Episode Forums, they get flagged and silenced. My friends get ignored when they ask why I was banned. The company is not very moral, and it’s not just me that they have done this to.

When you add that to the fact that they don’t consistently follow their own content guidelines, it can become a real mess!

So while it is a great way to make money in theory, Episode is awful in practice.

Wattpad

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I love Wattpad. It is a great place to publish fiction stories and get your work out there for the world to see. Lots of people know about Wattpad, which means that lots of people could find your story! It has a great community of readers and other writers who share each other’s stories and give great feedback.

However, when it comes to making money, not a lot of writers do.

There is a chance that you will get put on one of their programmes to help you to make money, but they are few and far between. You have to be a great writer and get lots of views to even be considered! That’s very hard to do. I haven’t got there yet. Although, that might be because I don’t publish or participate in the community as much as I should. I didn’t even give myself a chance to make money!

Then, there is the chance that you’ll be found by a real-life publisher, who will take your book and put it on shelves in your local bookshops. Sure, that’s a dream! It does happen! The problem is that it’s very rare, so I don’t think you should spend the time waiting out for it.

Wattpad is great for getting your writing out there and building yourself a reader base. It is not great for making money.

Tales Writer

Rating: 4 out of 5.

While I haven’t published a story on this app yet, I love Tales Writer. It’s an app a little bit like Episode, but I haven’t seen them do anything immoral or bad just yet.

If you get through the application process, they will give you the chance to submit story pitches to them. This is where you can plan out your story and show them how you think it will shine. They might then approve it and then you can start writing, either as an independent or sponsored writer.

If you get sponsored, they will pay you up to $11,000 in advances just like a proper publisher. If you are independent, you will keep all of the rights to your story and get to make way more from the ads they run on each chapter.

I have to say, though: this is a hard process. I have submitted three pitches so far and they don’t seem to like the genre I write in at the moment. Of course, I will keep trying.

Personally, I don’t think that they should gatekeep independent publishing like that. Sure, you should have to submit pitches for the sponsored writing. However, I think they should open up independent for everyone who passed the application process and let us make what works for us.

I’m sure that they know their audience well! But they can’t know if something new and different will work. They turned down my story, which had over 260,000 reads on Episode! I know it works!

The fact that you can’t take this into your own hands is the thing that stops me from giving Tales 5 stars.

Radish Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I love Radish. In fact, I love it so much that I might move The Queen of Freaks to there in the near future! It is a lot like Wattpad, but you need to fill out an application form to become a writer.

They use a load of different ways to make money from the app! You get to choose if you want to make your story free or paid. Or, if you want to lock the story for paid users until it has been out for a certain amount of time. So, you’re in control of whether you make money or not, and how much, too!

Of course, it doesn’t have the same reach as Wattpad. After all, free stories are always going to get more readers than paid ones! So if you want to make money from your writing on Radish fiction, you need to make sure that your work is very, very good. On top of that, you need to be able to judge if you should make the whole story premium access, or if you should drip-feed it to the free users.

You get a lot more power over your own work than you do on Tales. Sure, you have to make sure that you follow their content guidelines, but no one is going to stop you from writing what you want to write. They aren’t going to ask you to submit a pitch, so you won’t get turned down.

The only real hurdle is the application process and the fact that it’s not very well-known at the moment. Once you get through both of those concerns, you will be making money from what you write in no time!

Tapas

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Tapas is a fun, free way to write. It is a lot like Wattpad, but there is much more of a weight on comics as well as novels! It looks beautiful and runs so smoothly!

There are loads of ways that you can make money from this app. You can earn from ad revenue. You can make premium stories that users have to unlock. Or, readers can support you using their “ink” currency.

This is a very close contender for where I will be posting the new chapters of The Queen of Freaks. I may choose it over Radish, if I’m honest! I just love the way it looks and feels. It’s so visual and they even give you the chance to work with artists to turn your work into comics!

Plus, unlike Radish and Tales, you don’t need to apply to start making money from Tapas. You can just write! There’s even a place for mature stories! All you need to do is get 100 subscribers on one story and be 18 or over and boom! You’re getting ad revenue! So, it’s a lot more attainable than Episode’s hundreds of thousands in 90 days.

Because you need 100 subscribers, I don’t recommend posting the whole of your story at once for this. You need to give people a reason to subscribe! Try keeping to a schedule and posting frequently.

The only thing is that it is not as popular or known when you compare it to the other platforms. So, you probably won’t make enough ad revenue to turn writing into a career if you just use Tapas alone. Who knows, though? I could be so wrong! Just take the time to sell your work and keep at it!

Writing on Patreon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I love about Patreon is how steady it is as a way to generate income. You set out what the tiers cost and how much access users get with each one. When you get 100 patrons on the $3 tier, you know that you will make $300 a month, minus the cut that Patreon takes. It’s not like ad revenue, where the cost of space on your site can go up and down drastically day by day.

You can also mix and match Patreon with a bunch of the other ways that I mentioned before. You can add a link to your Patreon to your Wattpad stories and let readers know that you will publish new chapters for your Patrons first. If you have a blog, you can add a button asking people to pledge. Or, you can even choose to gate content for your patrons on WordPress!

The only real issue is that, just like with your own blog, you are going to have to go out there and make people want to sign up for your Patreon. You will have to give them a taste of your content and make them want to read more. You need to find a way to let people know that you’re out there and make them want to sign up.

In fact, it’s even harder than with a blog! You see, with your blog, you can just write a hell of a lot of stuff and make sure that it is good for SEO. Eventually, Google will recommend it to people if the writing is good enough! With Patreon, your content is gated. Only Patrons can see it! You need to find a way to tease people and leave them wanting more.

Ko-Fi

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Very much like Patreon, you can use Ko-Fi along with a bunch of the other methods I mentioned to earn some money from your writing.

The good thing about Ko-Fi for a lot of your readers is that they can make a one-time donation. A lot of people are more comfortable with that than a monthly subscription! After all, while they might have the money to give to you today, things might come up next month that stop them.

You can run both Ko-Fi and Patreon together, but Ko-Fi would be more for the sake of asking for donations, rather than gating content.

Saying that, you can still hide your work to paid users! This works especially well with Ko-Fi Gold, where you pay for Gold for a whole year and you can take subscriptions just like Patreon and even offer commissions and sell items with the new shop feature!

This makes it better than Patreon when you have lots of readers willing to pay for your work. While Patreon takes a cut of the money from each patron for each month, Ko-Fi asks for a set amount every month and you keep all of the rest! So it’s perfect for when you want to make more money.

Of course, you still need to build up your fanbase on your own, which can take a hell of a lot of time and work.

Publishing on Amazon

I have never tried to write for Amazon Kindle, so I will leave my star rating for now. I will let you know if I ever do get around to it!

What I do know about Amazon, though, is that anyone can do it. You just need to take the time to sit down and write your whole story, from start to finish. It’s not like the other options I listed that let you post bit by bit. So, yeah. That does take a lot of work.

There are a hell of a lot of failed books on the Kindle store, so it can be quite hard to get noticed. People will think that you’re just yet another writer who posted on Kindle before they were ready! And you can’t just go back and edit a spelling error in the same way you can with an Episode or Wattpad story.

Plus, you need to make sure that you reach out to people and make them want to read your work. Once you have climbed the bestseller list, the book will sell itself! Until then, though, it is a bit of an uphill battle.

But on the bright side, you make more money per reader than you do for any of my other options (apart from Patreon and Ko-Fi). While each read can cost less than 1c on Episode or your blog, you can sell your book for a few dollars. That means you make a hell of a lot more money for your writing. If you can get the people!

It takes a lot of time and energy to sell yourself, but it seems to be worth it if you get the readers!

Plop

I have just been approached by Plop, so I will reserve my judgements and my star rating for now. All I know is that it is quite a lot like Radish, where people can unlock chapters of your story. You get paid for every unlock that a user makes!

It’s more interactive than Radish, though, so for those who are used to a tap tale format, this might be the one for you.

It sounds like a great way to get a little bit of money for all of the writing you’ve done. I’ve read a few stories so far and I love the format, so I hope writing for them will be just as good.

I’m going to see what I can write for Plop very soon, so let me get back to you on that one!


Well, that’s all the ways I’ve found to make money for your writing right now. I hope one or two of them suit your needs!

Happy earning!

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in Tips, Writing Advice

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  1. I’ve never really thought about making money from writing online, but this is a great breakdown of various ways to do so! When working on my story on Episode, I had a big issue with not being able to fit to a pre-made schedule or do things fairly regularly. I’d also only heard of Tapas a bit, and it actually seems like a really interesting platform. Naturally, none of these methods would be easy, but I think that their support of comics also makes them a really interesting platform. The lower rating of Wattpad than Episode definitely makes me never want to publish a story on it. Hopefully this post helps out some people who are really into writing!