I wrote an ebook called Write Where the Money Is. If you haven’t purchased it yet, you really should.
But I’ll give its plot away right now: The money is in nonfiction writing.
I’m saying this as a guy who loves poetry, fiction, drama, and film.
If you have fire in your belly for writing in any of those genres, more power to you. Keep the flame alive. I hope you have a patron or a working spouse. But if you’re a freelance writer interested in making money, raising your prestige in your profession, or enjoying a great part-time or full-time living, look to nonfiction.
The freelance writing opportunities are overwhelmingly greater.
Here’s a sobering assessment from a literary agent discussing the number of fiction-writing hopefuls she hears from every year. It’s from the Writer’s Digest website:
“Out of those 3,000 pleas, nearly 75 percent are about novels. And out of those, at least 90 percent are about first novels. That brings the number of queries about first novels to about 2,000 every year. And in a recent year, I accepted as a client one new novelist out of those 2,000. That’s not 2 percent, or 1 percent, or even one-half of a percent. That’s one-tenth of one-half of a percent.”
Remember, that’s an agent speaking. Not a publisher. Getting an agent is just one hurdle in the fiction-publishing rat race.
Or this from a Los Angeles Times essay by Dani Shapiro, a writer who has published six novels and a memoir. Guess what? She still teaches and writes for magazines and newspapers to earn a living:
“I have taught in MFA programs for many years now, and I begin my first class of each semester by looking around the workshop table at my students’ eager faces and then telling them they are pursuing a degree that will entitle them to nothing. I don’t do this to be sadistic or because I want to be an unpopular professor; I tell them this because it’s the truth. They are embarking on a life in which apprenticeship doesn’t mean a cushy summer internship in an air-conditioned office but rather a solitary, poverty-inducing, soul-scorching voyage whose destination is unknown and unknowable.”
Now…aren’t you glad I wrote Write Where the Money Is?
The odds are almost infinitely more favorable writing nonfiction. My book tells you how to do it. I’ve done it. So can you.