Money rolling in…

I’ve been paid by Amazon!

I published my first short story Driven to Kill last May, mainly to check through the whole process from idea to purchasable ebook.

To check, I bought a copy myself and it downloaded fine to my Kindle.

Since then, I haven’t done anything to market the story and – surprise, surprise – no one else bought it.

I did enrol it into the Kindle Unlimited process, where Amazon customers can pay 8 quid a month or so and get to ‘borrow’ any books they like from those enrolled. A bit like a library.

Authors get paid if anyone reads their books, and they get paid by ‘page views’, so a short story gets paid less than a 120,000 word novel.

Someone must have read Driven to Kill sometime in November last year because I’ve just received an email from Amazon saying they are about to pay me 16 cents! Yes, that’s 10p in ‘real’ money 🙂

Time to get some more stories written.


Is perfect grammar possible?

I’ve started writing some articles at last (well, one finished so far, with some more outlined) and I hope to sell them through Constant Content. They are fanatical about perfect grammar and smooth style, so I’ve gone back to school (on the web, of course!) to try and polish my understanding and application of English grammar.

The CC site looks like a good one to be part of, but it’s only for professionals and I’m scratching to be that at the moment. I might even get some professional proofreading support on the first few articles, sort of ‘training wheels’ for a writer, to make sure I get properly accepted and become part of the CC team.

Is this a change from my strategy? I don’t think so. Article writing could form a reasonable chunk of my income after leaving my day job.

If I sell 500-word articles for £30 pounds, I get to keep 65% or £19.50 for each of them at CC. If I write three articles a day, on weekdays only, that’s 22 days x £19.50 x 3 = £1,287 per month. This, coupled with other income I have from pensions and investments, would be enough to pay my bills.

Writing three good articles a day — for ever — seems a tough ask, but I imagine a good number of them would be linked together: the first article I wrote was about the three essential elements needed to break boards in martial arts displays and training. Roughly: knowledge; technique; confidence. That’s another three articles right there — expanding on the three aspects I’ve outlined in the first piece. Coupled with the pomodoro technique I discussed before, it should be doable.

I’m still a bit cautious at the moment; I want to see at least one article sold before I start to put too much hope into this route.

Keeping fingers crossed …


Writing for Content Mills

A content mill is a site that sells freelance writing to users of that content–usually website owners, looking to get their site further up the search engine results and thus earn more income.

Why do this?  It doesn’t sound like it will get you to your goals quickly or earn you a reasonable hourly rate. Isn’t it like writing prostitution?

Sort of, but there are two upsides: quality and practice.

If you pick the best sites for this, they are very picky about the quality of the writing.  They have editing teams and pay better rates for better writing.  The search engines can tell whether a native English speaker is writing an original article, or whether it’s been mass-produced by cutting and pasting from other articles already on the web.  These sites only want the first category of work.  That means I’ll have to write accurately and clearly, which is good discipline for any subsequent writing I do.

They also pay money when you get articles purchased.  They take a cut for facilitating the market, which is why they need good quality stuff which commands much better prices.  For me, while still at the day-job, this money isn’t going to make a noticeable difference to my monthly take-home pay, but it will have a few effects:

  1. it will measure real writing actually happening – how much money did I make this month from writing?
  2. it will force me to set up the admin properly.  I need to record time spent writing, money earned from writing, money spent on expenses like this website (a portion of) and my IT (again, a portion of).  Doing this will make selling other articles easier and get me going down the path of actual paid writing work.  I think these admin hurdles are often a cause of procrastination to new writers like me.

The two I’m looking at first are Textbroker and Constant Content.

Textbroker is a site where you write articles and sell all rights to them (a bit like ghost-writing?).  You can only write articles that publishing clients have requested.

Constant Content has some other options where you can sell usage rights, and other variants, as well as full rights.  You can also write whatever you like, although you won’t make much money if only you have an interest in one topic.

I’ll report back on both these options soon.