Guest Post: 3 Ways to Support Your Fiction Habit While Working Towards That Big Contract

By Gina Conroy

Many of us are committed fiction writers, yet haven’t been paid for our efforts in years. Sometimes it’s hard to convince family and friends and we’re working when we don’t bring home a paycheck. Sometimes it’s even hard to convince ourselves.

So what’s a devoted novelist to do while waiting to land a big contract?

Freelance Before the fiction bug bit, I freelanced for several local magazines. But when raising kids, writing fiction, and freelancing became too much to juggle, I hug up my press hat. Unfortunately, I forfeited the little money I was making that “made” me as a real writer. Now almost ten years later and one book contract advance spent, I need to make money while I wait to land a bigger contract. Since getting a J.O.B is not an option for me at this point, I’ve decided to go back to my freelancing roots.

At a recent writers conference, Chuck Sambucino offered great insight on freelancing. In class I realized I had years worth of blog content that I could repurpose for different periodicals, and was inspired to send out queries. My first query to the local paper didn’t get a response, but I got a “yes” twenty minutes after I emailed a query to a magazine I used to write for. There might even be an option for writing a column when there’s an opening. Now it’s official, I’m a working freelancer again and all because I decided to send out a query!

Teach Last summer I taught story telling/plotting to a group of preteens and had a great time teaching what I love, and I got paid for it! This year I’ve added new classes to creative writing camps and hope to hold one or two this summer. The biggest obstacle is finding students, but I’m doing everything I can to make it happen. I won’t get rich doing this, but it will help fund one writer’s conference this year. And it will add to my speaking resume!!

Ebooks This fall I’ll publish my first ebook starting with the writeing course I created for teens. I also plan on taking my blog content, organizing posts into themes, and publishing them as ebooks. With seven years of blogging, I think I can come up with a couple of ebooks that people will want to read.

What about you? What have you already written that you can turn into an ebook, freelance article, or class you can teach? You might not get rich, but you might just earn a little money while you wait for that next big fiction contract, and prove to the naysayers that you are a legitimate writer.
Unfortunately, the downside to trying to support your fiction habit is that it gives you less time to actually write. But that’s another subject for another day. Til then… keep writing, one word, one project at a time!

Gina Conroy used to think she knew where her life was headed, now she's leaning on the Lord to show her the way. She is the founder of Writer...Interrupted, and tries to keep things in perspective, knowing God's timing is perfect, even if she doesn't agree with it! ;) Her first book Cherry Blossom Capers released from Barbour Publishing in January 2012 and her first full length novel, Digging Up Death should be out by early next year. On her blog and twitter @Gina Conroy she chronicles her triumphs and trials as she pursues her dreams while taking care of family.

How do you earn money while you're working on your manuscript? I do freelance editing for Elance, which brings in in a few paychecks and hones my skills at the same time. What about you?


  1. Oh gosh. I don't know that I could teach a class, since my writing format has less to do with formal training than organic, semi-stream of consciousness...

    I just work a dull, unrewarding, but covers my bills day job. Le sigh!

  2. Sure you could! I'd absolutely sign up for a class where you described how you keep yourself motivated, your techniques for brainstorming, etc. You have more to offer than you think. A great advertising plug would be mentioning how many words you've written in X number of months. Very impressive to writers!


  3. Debbie:

    Thank you for having Gina on as a guest poster!


    I am intrigued by the idea of reworking blog content to use as query material. Very smart way to look at already-written articles! Thank you for your tips.

    Enjoy the rest of your week, ladies...

  4. What a great post, Debbie! Thanks to Gina for her insight and direction on this. I know I could stand to support my fiction writing habit and prove to my family that I'm a "real" writer. ;)

    I'm printing this post to refer back to. I've often thought of turning my blog posts into a devotional book or a book of blessings... Gina's advice makes me like the idea even more.

  5. Janette- best of luck in your querying efforts. I agree, Gina had a fantastic idea with this.

    Shelley- I could definitely see an ebook devotional from you. Now you just have to design the cover...


  6. Ladies, so sorry I missed these comments! I could sure use a class on organization!!! Thanks for commenting!

  7. No problem, Gina. Stuff gets the best of me, too. Thanks for such a great post!




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