We've been talking lately about additional revenue streams / income sources for freelance writers (beyond client projects). So far we've talked about making money through blogging and flipping websites. Today we're going to talk about earning extra income by writing e-books and reports.
I'm not going to go into the "how to" of writing e-books in this post. If you decide that e-books or reports are a good residual income stream option for you, be sure to check out the more comprehensive collection of posts from our previous 14 Day E-book Writing Challenge.
There are two main ways e-books and reports can fit into a freelance writing career, leading either directly or indirectly to more income for you as the writer:
This is a no-brainer. You write an e-book or report, and you sell it. In most cases (and what I recommend), you'll sell your e-book or report directly to end readers (as opposed to selling it once at a higher price for someone else to put their name on and earn an even bigger profit from).
You can write something as short as a 5-page report to a several hundred page survey / study in your specialty area. That's a key to making decent money with this income stream though - specialization. While I won't say that no generalist writers can make it work for them, e-book writing works best for specialists who can sell copies on their own authority status (and preferably existing niche audience).
Giving Away Free E-books
Free e-books can bring in income? You betcha!
While it may sound strange on the surface, free e-books and reports can actually bring in a lot of indirect income - they can attract prospective clients, give them a good feel for your work and style, and convince them to buy from you over your competitors.
There are two main things to keep in mind if you go this route:
- The e-book has to be something that would interest your target clients, and
- The e-book should include a clear call to action (to let them know you can fulfill a need of theirs, and to tell them how to hire you).
Your call to action can be a simple line in your footer (I do this in my press release writing e-book), or you can have a separate page at the end. It all depends on how much detail you need to go into, and the type of action you're trying to provoke (visit your site to learn more? call you? email you?).
If you're a freelance writer looking to add new revenue sources to diversify your income a bit, consider testing one of these methods with a short report or e-book to see if it's right for you.
Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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