What it's All About
First step: rethink completely
what it means to be a "writer."
We nonfiction writers possess two talents of value:
1. Expertise in some particular field, area, topic or practice: business, cooking, health, relationships, travel, weddings, wine—whatever.
2. The ability to communicate our expertise to audiences: to teach, really.
We use these talents in writing books, articles, brochures, film scripts, etc. We do the research, the organizing of the material, the writing clearly and cogently. We submit our work to a publisher, it gets published (we hope), we get paid (we hope), and then we start on the next project.
Imagine how wonderful it would be if we could simply publish our work ourselves and make our living from it. No pitching article ideas, no book proposals, agents, contracts, royalty statements (filled with errors—almost never in our favor), kill fees or book returns.
No "out of print." No cession of rights. No deadlines! No work-for-hire contracts.
We'd just pick a topic that interests us, something we know about and love, research it, write it up, send it directly to our readers, and watch the money slide into our bank account.
In effect, we'd just put our brains online.
Well, this is exactly what Internet self-publishing is.
You follow a step-by-step process to optimize the content of your expertise (text, illustrations, photographs, etc.) for Internet profitability and publish it online, worldwide. Within minutes (literally), your work will be earning you money, paid by monthly check or direct deposit. Pennies at first, but dollars soon.
You retain all rights in all your work, including your new content website. You are your own publisher, and you own everything.
What's the catch?
There is no catch—you will earn money!
(Let me say at this point that I want no money from you. This website is free, and I have nothing to sell you. I just want to help writers get online.)
But as always, the devil is in the details:
— You will have to spend some time organizing and optimizing your content. You can't just put article or book text designed for print publication online and expect it to earn much money for you. You will have to recast your content for the Internet medium, which will take some time and effort. It's not simply re-write, but actually re-think. And you may have to work nearly full-time on your website for a year or more to get it to the "take-off" point.
— If interest in your work is low you may not earn much money each month—but your earnings over the long term may still be considerable.
— You will have to spend some money to get your content online—but this cost may be paid off by your website's income in a matter of months if you do it right.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not promising to show you how to get rich quick—far from it—but you may be able to make good income over time.
How much you earn depends on three things: the value of your content and expertise to a worldwide readership, how well you optimize it for this new medium, the vagaries of the Internet, and how much time passes.
Your income won't be much at first—pennies per day, perhaps—but in a few months it can be dollars per day, and in a few years hundreds of dollars per day, which adds up to tens of thousands of dollars per year. And just think of the long term.
What to do first?