Why Freelance Writers Should Consider Becoming Authors

Carol Tice

Nina Amir

By Nina Amir

I always wanted to be a writer and make my living by getting paid for my words.

However, I didn’t set out to be an author. I set out to be a magazine journalist.

I began my writing career with dreams of working in Manhattan for a glossy consumer magazine like Self or Glamour. I wanted to write, but my degree in magazine journalism had trained me to edit as well. I knew I’d have to start in an editorial position.

Unwilling to take an entry-level position in New York City as a receptionist, I took an editorial job at a regional magazine instead.

I went on to work for several such magazines and later for a corporation and then a small business prior to taking the Big Leap and hanging up my full-time freelancer shingle. Although I considered myself a “real” writer at this point, editing jobs continued to provide me with income.

Then, one day a friend asked me to edit a book. That event was one of two that changed the trajectory of my career.

I remembered my college professor telling me, “A book is just a string of articles on the same topic. If you can write an article, you can write a book.” I assumed that meant with my journalistic and editorial experience I could also edit a book, so I did. And then I did another and another…

After a number of years, I began to wonder why I wasn’t writing books.

I entertained the thought of becoming an author. I soon learned that I first needed something called a “platform.” (A platform is everything you do that creates a base of fans ready to buy your book when released.)

So I started blogging to promote myself and my forthcoming book. That was the second event that changed the trajectory of my career.

I loved blogging. So I started another blog and another and another…And the popularity of those blogs helped me attract a literary agent.

Then I got the crazy idea to start a blog on which I would write a book post by post to teach other writers how they could write, publish and promote their books by doing the exact same thing. In other words, I blogged a book about how to blog a book.

And lo and behold, my agent got me a contract for a publishing deal! I went from freelance writer (and editor) to author.

Becoming a blogger and an author has changed my writing career in profound ways. It has helped me gain:

  • More writing work
  • More editing work
  • More freelance assignments
  • Higher pay for writing assignments

It also hopefully will help me get more book deals in the future. (I get paid an advance for these books and then royalties on sales.)

If you decide to author a book—even if you self-publish a book–a whole new world will open up to you. That published book means you know something about writing books. Thus, you can offer your services as a:

  • ghostwriter
  • book writer
  • ebook writer
  • booklet writer

You also become the expert on the topic of your book. This means you can get freelance writing assignments on that topic—and command more pay for those assignments.

Of course, you can write more books, make more money from those books, and then again increase the income from your freelance writing business in general, too.

Some writers and journalists don’t want to author books. Becoming an author has enhanced everything I do as a freelance writer and journalist. In fact, it’s made it more possible for me to make my living by getting paid for my words.

Nina Amir is an Inspiration to Creation Coach and the author of How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writer’s Digest Books), 10 short self-published books and five blogs. Sign up for a free author, book or blog-to-book coaching session with Nina or receive her 5-Day Published Author Training Series by visiting www.copywrightcommunications.com or ninaamir.com.

35 Comments

  1. Monica Carter Tagore

    What a good perspective. Writers can get intimidated by the idea of writing a book, but as you’ve pointed out here, if you can write an article, you probably can write a book. As with any other goal, break it down into bite-sized pieces, if the idea of a book scares you. Think through the point you want to make, the chapters you need to write, the themes you’ll present. Don’t let the idea of writing a book paralyze you.

    One other thing I would tell aspiring authors: Don’t overwrite. Just get in. Tell the story. And get out.

    Writing a book is a deliberate process, but it doesn’t have to be debilitating.

    • Carol Tice

      I can totally testify — my first print book, How They Started, that’s EXACTLY what it was — 11 3,000-word chapters that I was assigned. Each one was the story of one company. It was no different from writing a really good feature article…over and over.

    • Nina Amir

      Great advice…get in and get out! That’s what’s so super about blogging–short, sweet, to the point. No chance for messing around. Little tiny articles, like shorts. Very doable.

  2. Chimezirim Odimba

    You are obviously a great writer. It’s NOT often that I read through a post without taking my eyes off — You made a point that every freelancer must pay attention to: Author a book and you enhance your earning opportunities.

  3. Tiffany Hughes

    I can’t believe I waited a day to read this post! Very encouraging information.

    I have been wanting to start a blog and write books (creative nonfiction is my favorite genre) for a long time, but haven’t gotten around to really developing a blog topic that could develop a solid following and be enjoyable to write and read.

    I get pretty drained from by dull, low-paying marketing day job; it’s one of my biggest challenges. I don’t get the same creative energy from marketing as I do from writing and editing.

    Any advice? I welcome anything. 🙂

    Thanks Nina for the lovely article, and thanks Carol for the always inspiring blog posts!

    • Nina Amir

      Pick a topic that relates to the creative nonfiction topics you want to write about. Find an umbrella topic, so all your books will fall under it. Then blog about your umbrella topic, and about the topic of whatever book you are writing about at the moment.

  4. Ali

    I have ‘write an ebook’ on my to-do since forever but I can’t spare enough time after writing for my blog and for my clients (and not to mention the daily chores). Maybe I should stop writing for others for a while.

    • Nina Amir

      No..just write your ebook as you blog. Blog an ebook.

  5. Rob Schneider

    Thanks for a very inspiring blog. The idea of writing blog posts as if they were chapters in a book comes as a revelation to me. I have about half a dozen outlines of a book about life in Cambodia growing mold on my D drive, not because I can’t think of what to write, but because there’s too much to write about and it comes too fast. Therefore, I blog instead. Consequently, my blog has grown a fairly large following for its niche, so I’ve got that part of the package in place without even trying. I don’t really want to just pull blog posts and call them chapters, but I can certainly use many of them as rough drafts and to help me organize my chapters. Then I can fill in the blanks with blogs/chapters and get two jobs done at the same time. THEN I won’t have an excuse to keep putting off the book!

    Thanks again!

    • Nina Amir

      Rob,

      Realize that the posts are short–150-500 words. They are not full chapters. Only in your manuscript, which you are creating as you blog, do they become full chapters.

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