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Go niche

How to make money from your writing

Enter niche competitions

Everyone who’s writing seriously has heard of the big competitions, but what about the smaller comps? The competitions for people who do / like the things you do? Get to know yourself! What is it about you that makes you you? A big one as far as competitions are concerned is where you live. Is there a local writing group or a local competition? How do you find out about them? Use searchable online competition sites and search by topic.

To help you do just that, here’s my mega ‘list of lists’ of competitions.

Over on my Facebook author page, you can watch a quick video of me talking about this idea.

Find your writing niche

What are you good at? What do you know about? What’s your area of expertise? This may be obvious if you are a qualified professional or you have a particular interest that you’ve been into for years. Sometimes, though, your area of expertise can go under the radar. Perhaps it’s something unique to you, or it’s not considered ‘valuable’ by wider society. So here’s how to tell what you’re an expert in if you have difficulty working it out:

Write what you know

  1. What could you spend 30 minutes talking about without notes?
  2. What could you teach / have you taught someone else to do?
  3. When someone seeks you out for advice, what do they want to know?
  4. What would you grab if you had to leave your house in a hurry?
  5. If you had to leave a relative a list 5 pieces of advice for living his / her best life, what would you include?
  6. If you were going to make me a midnight snack / a picnic / a banquet what would you include and what would you do first?
  7. If you had to save / raise £5000 by the end of next year, what would you do first?
  8. What’s your favourite book / film and why?
  9. Name a difficulty you have overcome and what you would advise someone in a similar situation now.
  10. What advice would you give your 18 year old self?

I have a feeling that the old Creative Writing adage ‘write what you know’ is actually better expressed as ‘start with something you know well and let it inspire you.’ Not quite as catchy perhaps! Now you’ve considered what you’re an expert in, could you turn that knowledge into a feature article, a column, a guest blog post or a self-help book?

Here are a couple of lists of blogs that accept guest blog posts:

(I don’t have any affiliation with these websites, I’ve simply found these lists useful myself.)

Niche your audience

This very much depends on what you’re writing, so adapt accordingly, but with that caveat, I’ll explain what I mean. The answer to ‘who will like my writing?’ is not ‘everyone’, nor should it be. What’s your ideal reader going to be like? Who or what do they read? Where online / social do they hang out? What blogs / websites do they like? AND: which editors are likely to be in this category?

Try this as an experiment: say you write paranormal horror set in outer space, or what about historical romance set in mainland Europe? Where would your audience hang out online? What do they read? Which editors fall into this group?  This takes research! Which is why it is natural to start with WHAT YOU ALREADY LIKE. It’s ‘write what you know’ again. It’s possible that your ideal reader is you.

A couple of years ago I wrote a guess blog post for the TLC, where I talk a little more about this idea.

So there you have it. Three ways to go niche:

  1. Enter niche writing competitions.
  2. Find your writing niche.
  3. Niche your audience.

More soon. Until then, happy writing,


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