“Of all the advantages that ghostwriting offers, one of the greatest must be the opportunity that you get to meet people of interest.”
– Andrew Crofts, Secrets of the Italian Gardener
Over the summer I read an interview with Chuck Palahniuk. I remember him saying that he used to earn 12 cents for every copy of his book that was sold. Even if you wrote a horrible one page eBook and sold it for 99 cents on Amazon you’d be making more in royalties. With that said, you’ll still probably make less than Chuck Palahniuk.
While you might earn more per unit from your dazzling how to guide on growing potatoes, you probably won’t have the same reach that something backed by an army of publicists and marketing experts would. I’ve read some great self published books that have made peanuts compared to drivel like celebrity memoirs and 50 Shades of Grey.
Not all books are created equal. Because of this it’s sometimes better to write for others than try and sell something yourself. From my work as both an article and eBook author here are a few examples of times where I’ve found that it’s actually better to work for someone else.
Subjects that the average man cannot enjoy
If you go to any post on this site, you’ll probably find something that you can relate to. Even if they don’t actively do it, most people can understand activities like fitness or having a side business. Even traditionally dry subjects, like economics, can be made fun and interesting. People want to be entertained, even most informative books and blogs still have stories or jokes to keep their audience engaged.
Writing something dry like an article about waffle iron safety isn’t something that most people will have any inclination to check out. A lot of the articles that I’ve been paid to write are basically technical manuals. They wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t some type of monetary benefit to having them.
Super niche content
A while back I got hired to write a short booklet with a very limited audience. For privacy reasons I’m not going to reveal what it was about, so I’ll make up a book that would have a similar market size. I’ll call this fictitious book How to select a reliable paint roller. While I have no doubt that the product will make money, since there is virtually no competition, I have to question how much money it will make. For projects like these I prefer my position as a ghost writer.
Projects that offer a lot of money
Most bloggers write as a labor of love. Posting a new article on here takes time and energy that I could spend somewhere else. It also pays nothing. Working a minimum wage job would probably pay more per hour than what most bloggers earn. I’ve had hundreds of thousands of readers and over three hundred published posts. Despite this I’ve never made a lot of money off from having this blog.
I can make more in a week of article writing and video transcribing than I can a month of blogging under my real name. With that said, there are better outlets to express your interests and earn some cash. Magazines, something a lot of people overlook, pay a decent amount. Other outlets, like newspapers, can also pay pretty well for freelance material. The Miami Herald pays $200 to $300 dollars for travel articles. While I can’t speak for everyone, that’s a lot more than I’d earn from posting something onto my blog.
Those are my observations from writing both independently and for other people. At the moment I’ve been blogging here for well over a year, and have been freelancing for a solid six months. If you disagree or have any insights, feel free to leave a comment.