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50 Shades of Pay: Making Money as a Writer

Viktor Hanacek

Writers have more opportunities than ever to serve their communities, generate synergy, and build diversified income streams from their content, knowledge, ideas, and literary and business skills.

Authors of practical nonfiction will be able to benefit more from these opportunities than storytellers, but you’re only limited by your imagination. More chances to profit from your work will emerge as technology and your career develop. There are more than fifty ideas here, and following what authors in your field are doing will spark more ideas.


  • A Book
  • Revisions and new editions of the book
  • An illustrated version of the book
  • Mini-versions of the book
  • Selling chapters of the book
  • An illustrated version of your book
  • A series of books, stand-alones or sequels, that sell each other
  • Young adult, middle grade, and children’s versions of an adult book
  • Adapting a book for woman into a book for men
  • Adapting a book about one city, state, country, or profession to others
  • Adapting a general how-to book into books for different professions
  • Articles and short stories
  • Collections of short work
  • Article syndication
  • Column syndication 
  • Forewords
  • A newsletter that has advertising and promotes what you offer
  • Advertising on your blog/website
  • Ghostwriting
  • Advertising 
  • Media releases and other publicity materials 
  • Editing

Subsidiary Rights

  • Excerpts before and after publication
  • eBooks
  • Enhanced ebooks
  • Audiobooks
  • Feature or documentary movies
  • Screenplays
  • Video Games
  • Foreign rights
  • Merchandising
  • Plays
  • DVDs
  • Television series
  • Downloadable templates
  • Merchandise such as cups, bookmarks, posters
  • Crowdfunding


  • Paid presentations for corporations,  nonprofits,  conferences,  conventions,  schools and colleges, and  events you sponsor that will either buy books from you, your publisher, or a local bookseller to sell or give away
  • Free talks for  libraries;  service organizations;  churches;  professional and trade organizations;  alumni associations;  academic, trade-show, and writer’s conferences at which you can sell books, products, and services
  • Audios of talks
  • Videos of talks
  • Coaching
  • Consulting
  • Teaching your subject or about the kind of books you write about writing and publishing,  about editing,  about research,  about promotion,  how to create a website,  how to use social media,  how to make videos and book trailers,  how to make podcasts
  • Teleseminars
  • Webinars
  • Training
  • Putting on live conferences
  • Putting on online conferences
  • Retreats that last from a weekend to a week
  • Speaking, writing, or repurposing your work as a corporate spokesperson 
  • Facilitating a critique group
  • Facilitating a book club


  • Selling books at every opportunity
  • Giving discounts for multiple books
  • Bundling books, products and/or services at a discount
  • Subscription for a membership in your organization
  • Using your website to sell products and services
  • Merchandising (cups, T-shirts, calendars, etc.)
  • Selling products and services through ecommerce sites
  • Selling books, products and services at events
  • Reciprocal selling of books, products and services of other authors
  • Selling books in bulk
  • Tours of places in your books
  • A business or nonprofit institute based on your ideas
  • Having local businesses sell your book
  • Using your email list to sell products and services
  • Selling other people’s products and services that relate to your book
  • Selling your books in catalogs
  • Renting your email list

Helping me add what I left out will lengthen the list.