Many short story writers seek additional sources of writing income. This is probably more important than ever as WOMAG markets continue to contract and, in some cases, pay less than they used to. Allas is the most recent market to close to English authors as they have lost the editor who translated stories into Swedish.
There’s a list of potential cash sources for story writers on the Writing Magazine website. Numerous WOMAG writers have also written short books on how to make money from fillers, and you will regularly find articles on writing articles in writing magazines.
Interestingly, though, not mentioned on this list is making money from those magazines themselves! For several years now, I have gained back my subs for Writing Magazine and Writer’s Forum. Occasionally I have won the story competition, but that’s not such an easy feat when hundreds if not thousands enter every month. If you get the star letter in Writing Magazine, you get a copy of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook (around £18 for a real copy or you can pay a little more for online access!). This of course only saves you money if you were planning to buy the yearbook anyway.
Writer’s Forum, however, offers a year’s subscription for the best news item every month, and for the star letter. On top of that, there’s the First Draft column where you can submit 250 words of a published novel with deliberate mistakes for the reader to find.
This column pays £25 and has been my main source of getting my subs back. I try to submit to this every month and usually get a couple published per year. I recently noticed, however, that I haven’t submitted anything to them for a while. There are several reasons for this, including difficulty finding suitable material.
You need to find 250 published words that unequivocally contain no grammatical or punctuation errors. You’d think after many editing rounds that all traditionally published books would qualify, but no! I’ve lost count of the times when I’ve got halfway through typing out the chosen passage into Word only to find something that is wrong already. Even JK Rowling gives me a problem as, in my experience, she almost always puts a comma before ‘because’. This is (usually) wrong because ‘because’ usually introduces a dependent clause and these are not separated from the main clause by a comma. If you want to know more about commas and ‘because’, there’s an article here.
Anyway, I’ve a new book by Marguerite Kaye to work with, and I can usually rely on her to get it right. I’ve just sent off the first 250 words with 20 errors inserted. So fingers crossed…