Passive Income Ideas For Writers And Authors

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Make A Passive Income From Your Writing

Earn a passive income from your writing and make money while you sleep

Gaining passive income is most often associated with real estate investments such as a rental property or investing in a mutual fund, dividend stocks or the stock market.

But, these types of passive income streams involve a substantial upfront investment.

The returns on the source of passive income from financial investment are generally small in percentage terms. A ten per cent return per year would be considered extraordinary.

savings account is another form of passive income that earns money based on an interest rate. Again, the percentage is usually very small.

For most people, setting up a real estate investment trust, peer to peer lending, becoming an accredited investor, joining a lending club or using a Robo advisor are far-fetched ideas.

The reality is that an active income is the most common way to make a living. Working nine-to-five for a boss is the way an employee earns money.

The other form of active income is having your own business. If you have a shop, a cafe, or a consultancy, you get paid for the hours you work.

If you are working hard to make an active income, have you thought about earning a residual income from your writing?


Passive income ideas for writers

All of us are writing every day. For business or pleasure, we are all now sitting at a keyboard for hours and hours.

You might not be writing a book, but words are continually streaming from your fingers. So why not make some money from it?

Generating passive income from writing has a lot of advantages. 

The first is that you don’t need to make a huge investment upfront. You might need to buy some online tools, but these small costs won’t break your credit card or your bank account.

The second is that there are so many ways to build passive income from writing.

The obvious way is to sell books and ebooks. But blogging, content marketing, affiliate marketing and advertising are all income generating and potentially very lucrative. They can all deliver reliable cash flow.

On top of that, it is time-flexible, so you can do it whenever you have time to make extra money.

If you are thinking about making money from your writing, here a few ideas, you might want to consider.


Start a blog or improve your existing blog

A monetized blog is by a long way the most popular passive income source for writers.

Many writers make money blogging. For some, it is a full-time job. Each blog post they write and publish will last for years and become an ongoing income source.

A blog is an adaptable and versatile means of earning money. Here are some proven ways to do so.


Accept paid articles

For quick short-term earnings, a blogger might accept a one time fee for advertorial or sponsored content placement. A lot of content marketers are looking to blogs now because social media penetration is declining.

Generally, the content marketer supplies all the article text and images.

So for a blogger, it is only a matter of taking a couple of minutes to publish the article to make money.

The amount of money you can charge depends on the ranking of a blog. But you could expect to earn between $25 to $100 for each article placement.


Add advertising

There are many ways to add advertising to a blog. The most popular is Google Adsense, but there are lots of others that offer banner or link advertising.

The basis of all of these programs is that the blogger gets paid when someone clicks on a link on their site. This is genuine passive income at its very best.

All you need to do is add some code to your site and then wait for the money to roll in.

I have been using Adsense for years now, and while it is not my highest passive income source, it is the by far the most reliable, consistent and easiest income I earn.

The only work I have done in the last two years was to move one of my Adsense codes from the article head to after the fourth paragraph. It took a whole two minutes.


Affiliate marketing

You can add links to your blog pages that promote a product or service. Unlike advertising, you don’t get paid for a click. You only get paid if someone makes a purchase.

There are many variations, but normally, if someone clicks on your link, a cookie is added to their browser. The cookie controls how long you can earn money from your link.

For instance, if you use Amazon Associates for affiliate marketing and someone clicks on one of your links to an Amazon product, you will usually earn money if the buyer makes a purchase within 48 hours.

Other affiliate programs offer much longer cookies. Some are even up to six months long.

I keep most of my affiliate marketing to products or services that I use because I think it is a more honest way to promote a product.

As an example, because I write a lot online, I use two premium online writing programs every single day.

I use Grammarly for all my blog post and online writing because it is fast, efficient and always on, wherever I am online.

However, for long-form writing for my books, I use Prowritingaid because it has so many useful reports to analyse a long text.

Both of the links above are affiliate links, so if you click on them, you will be taken to each product page. If you decide to make a purchase, I will earn a sales commission.

This article will be online for years, so my links above have the potential to earn money for me 24/7, 365 for a long time.


Sell a service

You can use your blog, social media or even online advertising to sell your service.

All you need to do is use your expertise or develop a service.

As most readers of my blog know, I also own Whizbuzz Books, which is a book promotion service.

But you might want to set up an editing or proofreading service, a beta reading service or think about creating an online course.

If you are bilingual for example, you could offer online courses by Skype to learn a language.

If you have experience in self-publishing, you could create an online consulting service by email or again, by Skype.


Self-publish a book or ebook

Selling books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo is the most common way for writers to make an income.

It is tough work writing and promoting a book, so it is hard to define the income from book sales as passive.

But if you have a blog that has a focused theme and is offering genuine advice, have you thought about creating an ebook from your blog posts?

It doesn’t take long, and once it is published and available for sale, you can promote it and sell it on your blog, as well as hope for income from sales on ebook retailers.



There are hundreds of ways to earn money from writing.

Some ways are active income and involve a lot of hard work. But there are many more passive means to get paid.

The best ones are going to be those that you can set up once and then forget about them. But, they will make you money, even when you are sleeping.

The big advantage is that you won’t have to invest thousands of dollars to do so.

Even if you go for a self-hosted WordPress blog and a couple of premium writing tools, you won’t have to outlay more than perhaps a couple of hundred dollars.

We all live busy lives, and a writer needs all the time they can get to write.

But you also want to put food on the table, so consider your options to earn a little more money, the easy way.


Further reading: How to write the perfect blog post


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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

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