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How I Supplement My Author Income

Here's the truth: most authors don't get rich quick. (And some don't get rich at all!)

Are you surprised?

We can't all be like JK Rowling or Suzanne Collins or Stephanie Meyer. Many authors don't see much (if any) income by the time they pay for publishing and marketing costs.

My Story

If you've been following me for a while, you know that I'm a self-published author. That means that I pay for all of my publishing and marketing costs myself--everything from cover design and editing to Amazon and Facebook advertisements. If you want to do it right, that stuff isn't cheap. Four books later and most months, my ad spend is more than my books actually make.

When I first decided to pursue my career as an author, my husband joked about writing my "million-dollar book," but I knew going in that a sudden bestseller probably wasn't in the cards for me--or most authors, statistically speaking.

But I had to pay for my publishing costs somehow. When I published my first series, it was in the midst of having my first baby. I had just transitioned to working from home part-time and we had lots of new family expenses, so our budget was tight. We didn't have wiggle room to pay for a cover designer or professional editor for my books.

It was time to think outside the box.


I signed up for Fiverr. If you haven't heard of it, it's a website where freelancers can advertise their services. I've always had an eye for grammar and syntax and I have experience as a copywriter, so I decided to list myself as an editor.

My success started slowly. I gave a few friends and family members each $5 to buy an editing service for me. I edited a couple emails and office memos to get some positive reviews on my Fiverr profile.

After that, the orders started coming in. I edited everything from cookbooks to memoirs to blog posts to web course content. Many of my clients were non-native English speakers, so their copy required heavy editing. I worked for cheap until I built a solid base of five-star reviews, and then I slowly raised my prices.

Now, over a year later, I have almost 200 five-star reviews and a Level 2 seller rank at Fiverr. Whenever I need some extra cash flow, I turn on my gig and wait for the orders to come in.

It's an excellent way to supplement my income at my own pace!

Private Editing

Once I had spent a decent amount of time on Fiverr and felt that I had the experience necessary, I started accepting private editing clients. A few other authors requested my assistance editing their novels, and now I have a few private clients that send books to me regularly. It's super fun to read other authors' work and I get to keep 100% of my fee, rather than losing 20% to Fiverr with every order.

I choose to only have a few clients because I'm also a full-time stay-at-home mom and author, so I try to find a healthy balance.

Final Thoughts

If you're a self-published author and you're trying to find ways to supplement your income, take a look at your strengths. Are you great at editing? Are you a fast, proficient writer? Can you draw?

Fiverr is a great place to offer those skills to clients willing to pay for them. It's a great option to dip your toes in the water of freelancing and see if it's a side hustle you're interested in.

I know other authors who supplement their income using online courses, YouTube videos, and merchandise design. The sky is the limit when it comes to finding a side hustle that will work with your author career!

Do you have any other ideas for an author side hustle? Leave them in the comments below!


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