How to Make Money by Being a Writer

Paige Padla, Staff Writer

Laura McCullough, a published author, visited my class on Monday (at Arts High in Neptune) to speak to us about her personal experiences, essential information anyone who wishes to publish a book would want to know, and most importantly, how to make money off writing! Something she made very clear to each of us was that the so called “luxuries” that many people indulge in, she has happily lived without. “This jacket!” She laughed, holding a green jacket above her head and waving her hands, “I got at the thrift shop! Almost everything I have I bought at the thrift shop. I have a nice couch, why buy a new one if the kids are just going to spill grape juice on it anyway?”
McCullough went into details about how she went about becoming an author. One of the things that you have to get used to, as she said, is rejection. “I have been rejected today, I was rejected yesterday, and probably the day before that.” But, did that phase her? No, because she is used to it. It comes with the territory. Along with rejection and financial needs is the road or experience that every writer must have to make the money.
A younger girl sitting front and center for the poetry class down the hall asked, “I have a book I wrote that I want to publish, how do I go about doing that?” McCullough replied with the bad news first, she won't get it published. But, the good news is, she can eventually. By checking out writers websites such as and, and by submitting work to literary magazines you make your work and yourself more open to possible publishers. If they see your work in a magazine, and it isn't uncommon for this to happen, they may email you and ask if it is part of a larger piece. Once you have someone interested you have a shot.
You can also recieve experience by recieving a masters in creative writing, which I didn't even know existed. About 40 years ago, maybe even less, writing programs and majors were unheard of. Many colleges did not offer creative writing and especially not as a major. Today though, almost every school has a writing program and major of some type to offer, along with a masters course. The trouble now is picking out the good programs. One of the Colleges McCullough mentioned was Stockton, and even Brookedale right in lincroft, which she herself attended.
McCoullough today has many books out including Speech Acts, Panic, and the upcoming Rigger Death and Hoist Another. She specializes in poetry but is becoming more focused on her fiction. (In the writing industry today you can usually only pick one or the other.) Before the end of her lecture McCoullough reminded us that when we think of ourselves as writers we should not feel so small. We are a community, and together we are making something important in the world. If our ideas are different and not so mainstream they could be the beginning to more in the future.