If you can identify the highest paying writing jobs, you can make a full-time income and energize your writing career.
Many people will try to tell you that there is no money in writing. They either say that the field is too competitive, assignments are not regular enough, or that no one wants to pay the cost of good writing. But, they fail to consider how many people earn more than the median salary for all occupations in the U.S. ($41,950 as of May 2020.)
There are all kinds of people working high-paying writing jobs and earning a respectable income. May editors make $80,000 a year or more. Content managers can easily break six figures.
Work on excelling in areas like our list of highest paying writing jobs below to increase your income.
- 1. Technical Writer
- 2. Speechwriter
- 3. Screenwriter
- 4. Novelist
- 5. Ghostwriter
- 6. Greeting Card Writer
- 7. Travel Writer
- 8. Grant Writer
- 9. Copywriter
- 10. Content Writer and Strategist
- 11. Proposal Writer
- 12. Romance Writer
- 13. Public Relations Writer
- 14. Columnist
- 15. Nonfiction Writer
- The Final Word on the Highest Paying Writing Jobs
- FAQ About the Highest Paying Writing Jobs
1. Technical Writer
Technical writing involves taking complex ideas and translating them into an easy-to-understand format. To excel in this field, you’ll need not just writing skills, but some understanding of tech-related concepts, as well.
It also pays to be a strong researcher. You don’t need to be a subject matter expert in everything you write about, but you do need to be able to take in information and synthesize it into clear and concise text.
Why not check out our article on the perfect style guide for business writing to help you prepare for this niche.
Few public figures write their speeches. Instead, they hire skilled writers who can translate their ideas into compelling spoken words.
While political speechwriters are the most well-known kind, there are also speechwriters in other niches. For example, speechwriters may craft speeches for executives, academics, and even people who want a very special wedding toast.
To be a successful speechwriter, you need to write simply, directly, and conversationally. You need to be able to analyze potential audiences and write in a style that they will find relatable. And, you need to capture the natural voice of your client, so your speech does not sound canned.
Screenwriters have an essential role in bringing your favorite entertainment to life. They are behind hit movies and also the episodes of your favorite shows. There are even unsung heroes who get paid a premium behind the scenes to “punch up” scripts that are good but not perfect.
To be a successful screenwriter, you need to be able to work collaboratively, accept criticism and make changes based on what others want. You will also need to have a good ear for dialog and a basic understanding of the structure of a screenplay.
Many people think that being a successful novelist is a pie-in-the-sky dream. However, many writers are making full-time, reliable incomes writing fiction to fit the market.
If you feel you have a book in you, take some time to get familiar with the business. Look for agents who accept first-time writers. Learn about the tropes, expectations, and word counts associated with your writing genres.
Often, professionals in fields that range from tech to the movies have stories and wisdom they’d like to share, but not the time or writing skill to write a book of their own. This is where ghostwriters come in. If you care more about the act of writing than securing bylines, this can be an excellent path for you.
A ghostwriter will work with a client to create a book together. It is common for ghostwriters to interview their subjects chapter by chapter and write the book based on what their client has to share.
Most ghostwriting is done by freelance writers. Fees vary but can run from $30K to $80K or more for a full-length book. Ghostwriters also often handle social media and blogs for public figures.
6. Greeting Card Writer
If you have a way with words, this can be a great way to make a living. Most people who buy greeting cards say that they choose them based on their connection with the words in the text. Since greeting cards are short and sweet, the pay per word is among the highest you’ll find.
Average earnings for writing greeting cards range from $25 to $150 per accepted submission.
7. Travel Writer
Travel writing is a dream for many people who love writing and exploring new places. Travel writers can include bylined journalists writing for glossy magazines, solopreneur bloggers, and long-form writers who contribute detailed guidebooks about different locations.
Many travel writers work directly with specific hotel chains, tourism boards, and other entities to encourage travel to specific places.
The average travel writer makes $59,197 a year.
8. Grant Writer
Many foundations and nonprofits depend on grants for their operational costs. Therefore, these organizations will employ grant writers to ensure the best possible chances of a successful application.
Grant writers start by identifying potential funding sources and then writing proposals that persuade the group to contribute to their client’s needs.
Different donors will have different requirements that must be followed to be considered. For example, grant writers will need to know how to break down costs and what sorts of language are most likely to persuade a donor.
Some grant writers are employees of the organizations they help. Others are freelancers who charge flat rates or a percentage of the secured grant.
The national average salary is $42,879.
Copywriters can create copy for materials that include blogs, websites, pay-per-click articles, and more. However, in today’s highly digital environment, they need skills in search engine optimization (SEO) along with a knack for persuasion.
While many copywriters have bachelor’s degrees in advertising, journalism, English, or a related field, a degree is unnecessary. Some work as part of a specific agency’s staff, others take freelance writing jobs.
The average national salary for a copywriter is $50,846.
If you need help building up a portfolio, check out our article on creating writing samples.
10. Content Writer and Strategist
It takes skill to get your client to stand out from the crowd. Content writers and strategists use blog posts, articles, social media, and ads to bring potential clients to a website.
To excel in content writing, you need to stay on top of the latest best SEO practices. Content marketing also needs to hit a delicate balance between providing the information that potential prospects want and an enticing feel without being overly promotional.
Salaries in this area can vary wildly. Beginners may work for a few cents a word. But, on the other hand, experienced content strategists can earn around $59,920 a year, on average.
11. Proposal Writer
When companies are looking for funding or contracts, a formal written proposal is often part of the process. Proposal writers have skills in persuasive writing to demonstrate how their clients can meet an investor’s or customer’s needs.
While many people in this field have degrees in disciplines like journalism or communication, it is not necessary. Instead, potential employers will look at a proposal writer’s track record with successful deals.
The national average salary for a proposal writer is $57,628.
12. Romance Writer
This is an area of creative writing that is so in demand it requires its own separate listing. Every year, romance novel sales exceed $1 billion. About a third of all mass-market fiction books are in the romance genre. And that doesn’t even begin to touch the demand for romance games and interactive novel writers.
Most romance writers are freelancers. They may self-publish on platforms like Amazon or sell their stories to publishers like Harlequin or Avon. However, there are also many calls on job boards for writers to create content for romance games. These are usually work for hire, with the client company keeping the rights.
Because earnings are self-reported, it is hard to put a firm number on how much a romance writer earns. However, reports of $8,000 a month in sales or more are not uncommon.
13. Public Relations Writer
Maintaining a positive public image in today’s highly connected environment is more important than ever before. Public relations writers will handle writing tasks that include press releases, speeches, social media posts, blog posts, and more.
It is common for people in this field to seek a degree in public relations, journalism, business, or a related field. Some may also pursue master’s degrees in areas that include public health or nonprofit management.
The national average salary for public relations writers is $54,111.
Many people return week after week to read insights from their favorite columnists. While columnists typically had work that appeared in newspapers and magazines in the past, many communicate directly with readers now through emailed newsletters on platforms like Substack.
Many columnists have degrees in areas like journalism or communication. Others will have education or life experience in the areas they write about, including food, politics, history, or other areas. There are, however, no specific educational requirements to become a columnist.
Specific publishers employ some columnists. Others earn money on the syndication of their columns.
The national average salary for a columnist is $39,956.
15. Nonfiction Writer
If you have niche knowledge, a following on social media, or something else in your background that sets you apart, you may have what it takes to become a nonfiction book writer.
Publishers like John Wiley & Sons are continually looking for subject matter experts who also have a knack for writing. As a result, they do not accept proposals. Instead, they prefer to contact the writers with who they want to work. Other nonfiction publishers have submission guidelines that typically start with a proposal and a few sample chapters.
A full-time nonfiction writer earns, on average, $61,240 a year.
The Final Word on the Highest Paying Writing Jobs
Writing skills can be a boon in a massive array of fields. To succeed, you need to work on your writing skills and research in your chosen and other related fields to increase your marketability. While newbies may not make a lot, experienced writers can advance through a number of fields to earn a comfortable living with their trade.
FAQ About the Highest Paying Writing Jobs
What type of writing pays the most?
There is no single answer to this question. Entry-level writers take pennies a word and those at the top of their field at $1 a word or more.
What are the best jobs for writers without a degree?
Writers without a degree can find success freelancing. Credentials take a back seat to quality published clips.
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