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Praying for Clients? Pro Tips to Earn Well as a Christian Writer


Can you make a living as a Christian writer?

Maybe you’re praying for new clients, wondering if you’re on the right path.

After all, the Christian market for freelance writers has a reputation of low pay or no pay which makes for an unlikely way to make a living.

Median annual salary for freelance writers fell to a historic low of $6,080 in 2017, down 42 percent from 2009, according to an Author’s Guild survey.

And if you’re trying to carve out a niche as a Christian writer, you might think there’s even more gloom and doom to come.

Why? Some Christian writers make even less because many of these publications have low pay for articles and expect you are doing it for “the ministry” instead of the money (which may be true and more about that later).

And it doesn’t have to be that way.

I’ve successfully made a living as a Christian writer for many years, and I want to give you some of the “secrets” on how to become a freelance writer to help serve other Christians.

Meet Christian writer Terry Whalin

Christian writer: Terry Whalin

Terry Whalin

Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 books for traditional publishers including 10 Publishing Myths, Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Book Proposals That $ell.

He’s also an accomplished Christian writer and runs The Writing Life blog.

“While I have a journalism degree from one of the top 10 colleges in the U.S., Indiana University, I had a life-changing experience in college,”says Terry.

“Instead of working for a major newspaper, I went into linguistics for 10 years and worked 17 years at Wycliffe Bible Translators (raising my own financial support).  Now, for many years, I have successfully made a living working in the Christian market.”

Want to make a living as a Christian writer? Here’s what you need to know:

1. Learn to write well in the print magazine area

Even if it is low pay, you’re gaining publishing experience. Book editors and literary agents are looking for authors who have publishing experience.

One of the best ways to gain that experience is writing for magazines. You learn to:

  • Write for an audience
  • Give the reader a solid takeaway or single point to remember
  • Develop good storytelling and writing skills

These are critical skills for every writer-Christian or not.

2. Low-paying articles can lead to higher paying opportunities

While working on a magazine article assignment, I met the leading African American in Promise Keepers when it was the fastest growing faith-based men’s group in America.

No, the magazine assignment didn’t pay all that great. But…

  • My new relationship led to writing a Christian book with Bishop Phillip Porter.
  • That project paid a good fee, but it was also another stepping stone.
  • I was able to work with a New York literary agent and get a six-figure book contract for the second book.

Before you blow off low-paying assignments, take a minute to consider the possibilities. Follow every open door. You never know where it will lead.

3. Meet your deadlines

From my years of working as an editor, I know many writers are terrible about meeting deadlines.

If you meet your deadlines with quality writing, it is a simple way to stand out from other writers and get even more writing work.

4. Diversity your writing and income streams

No one has a crystal ball to see the future of publishing. But I have learned the hard way the Christian writer needs to create multiple streams of income. For example:

  • I’ve had full-time day jobs which have suddenly come to an end.
  • I’ve had book contracts cancelled and other unexpected events.

The best protection for any writer is to earn from different places

There are many types of paid writing work. I have a list of possibilities in the first chapter of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams.

It’s also helpful to know the going rate for different types of writing (Freelance Writing Rates: What Hard-Working Writers Earn in 2020).

5. Broaden your network and ask for work

The Bible verse James 4:2 says: “You have not because you ask not.”

No matter how much material you have published in the Christian market, you can’t sit and expect people will beat a path to your door.

Every writer has to continue to:

  • Write book proposals
  • Pitch editors and marketing directors
  • Send query letters
  • Leverage social media

Are you on LinkedIn? Editors and agents move around. But when they move, they take their LinkedIn account with them.

Continue to broaden your connections. When you meet someone new, ask if they know of any writing opportunities. You may not start with what you want to write, but just being available can open new doors for you.

6. Be willing to write ‘Work Made for Hire’

Many writers will turn down ‘Work Made For Hire,’ because they lose their rights and any future earnings on the project.

Fact: My literary attorney says I’ve signed more ‘work made for hire’ agreements than anyone she knows. It’s because for years I have been a working writer.

True story: Over 20 years ago, I wrote a 48,000 word book for a Christian publisher in eleven days. I finished the book two weeks early and got a two-week bonus. This particular book has sold over 100,000 copies and my name is on the cover in the small print “with W. Terry Whalin.” Because the publisher hired me, I’ve not made any more money on this project. But it’s been an excellent writing credit. And it’s helped me get additional work.

7. Fail, expect rejection, and keep going

Many people forget the Chicken Soup for the Soul books were rejected 144 times. Now this series of books is one of the bestselling in the English language.

Anyone who wants to earn a living in the Christian market (or any other market) will be rejected. It’s part of the publishing business, and your persistence as a writer is an important quality.

You need to keep going no matter what happens to you.

Carol Tice puts it this way:

Take the attitude that you are an unstoppable force of nature, and you won’t give up until you’ve got your freelance writing biz earning what you need!

8. It’s not always about the money

While the bottom-line is important, sometimes in the Christian market. you write the article for a different reason than just money.

  • Expand your network. I’ve written magazine profiles on people, not for the article pay, but for the opportunity to talk with them personally. An interview is an opportunity to form a relationship that could lead to a much larger opportunity such as a book project or some other writing.
  • Break into a new niche. Other times I write the magazine article to reach a new audience and include a link to an appropriate free giveaway which builds my email list (and later those subscribers will buy something from me).

The reasons you write something for someone are much more complex than it appears on the surface.

9. WHO you know is as important as WHAT you know

The Christian publishing world may appear large, but in many ways it is a small, connected group of people. One day someone will be a new publicist, and in a few months they become the vice president of publicity.

  • When someone has a writing need, you want to be the first person they think about. Many times I have saved a failed project and earned a living in the process.

For example:

I wrote Running On Ice by bobsled-gold-medalist Vonetta Flowers in six weeks. The Christian publisher received a poor manuscript and was already out selling the book to bookstores. I was hired as the replacement writer and completed this short deadline. Unfortunately this publisher was racing for the wrong deadline. They were trying to sell an Olympic book in a non-Olympic year.

Tip: Continue to reach out to editors and publishers to see if there is a writing project for you. A gentle question can reveal a profitable writing project.

10. Continue learning and trying new writing venues

I have collaborated on books with more than a dozen people. Some of these projects are ghostwritten, while others include my name on the cover of the book. Not every writer can handle collaboration writing, but it can be another income stream for you if you can do it.

Remember this: There will always be more stories and busy people who need help with their content. And that means there will always be work for willing writers.

The path to being a successful Christian writer

Making a living in the Christian marketplace takes persistence and consistency, as well as a continued good reputation. I have found my way-and believe you can follow the same path.

Need help carving out a niches as a Christian writer? Leave a comment and let’s discuss.

Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He’s also a Christian writer and author of more than 60 books.

Recession-Proof-Freelancer - Selling an E-book - MAKEALIVINGWRITING.COm

Freelance Writing Websites: 5 Essentials to Attract Ideal Clients

Freelance Writing Websites: 5 Essentials to Attract Ideal Clients

Writer Websites: 5 Tips to Attract Freelance Clients. Makealivingwriting.com

What’s the secret to creating one of those writer websites that get’s noticed?

You know…an ideal client lands on your writer website. And you’ve got all the right stuff there to get that person to call, email, or connect on social media.

Great writer websites can:

  • Generate freelance writing leads
  • Grow your network
  • Show off your portfolio
  • Help you stand out as the writer in your niche

…while you sleep.

Chances are pretty good you already know writer websites help the pros stand out.

But what does your writer website look like?

Maybe you keep putting it off or avoid giving it an upgrade because you’re not a graphic designer, web developer or tech genius.

Sound familiar?

If you aren’t sure where to start or how to improve your online presence, you’re in luck. I’m going to show you the 5 essentials writer websites need to help you stand out, move up, and earn more.

How to Find Entry-Level Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners

How to Find Entry-Level Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners

Best Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners. Makealivingwriting.com

Right now, a record-high number of people are considering a freelance writing career. My inbox is overflowing with questions from newbies. And the first question is: “Where can I find freelance writing jobs for beginners?”

If that’s you, sending hugs! I totally feel your confusion. The freelance marketplace is a big, complicated place. There are lots of types of paid writing, and different kinds of clients, too.

I’ve been helping writers get started for a dozen years now. And I know how mystifying it can be. You feel like there’s a door you need to find, a person you need to know, a secret you must unlock to become a freelance writer.

But really, the path to freelance writing jobs for beginners is simple.

You need to find someone willing to let you write for them. That’s it.

You get a few samples and boom — you have a portfolio to show. And you’re on your way.

There are fairly simple, break-in writing assignments that newbies tend to get. I’m going to outline what they are below.

But first, I need to explain something…