Writing is a process. From honing your skills to earning an income. Success as a freelance writer vs author relies on how you brand yourself as a writer regardless of the industry you’re into.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links that help me monetize the site. Currently, I am not running any ads so I heavily rely on promoting products and/or programs that I use and believe. Don’t worry. I only recommend those that are proven to work.
In writing, there are two main opportunities you could get. You either work as a freelance writer vs strive to become an author.
Which do you think of the two has a better opportunity than the other?
Do you think the freelance writer earns more, given the number of gigs? Do you believe that the author has a higher income because of the published books?
- Freelance Writer VS Author – What’s The Difference?
- Who Is A Freelance Writer?
- Pros & Cons As A Freelance Writer
- Who Is An Author?
- Pros & Cons As An Author
- Summary Of Pros & Cons From Both Writers
- Conclusion – Which Is The Best Way To Become A Successful Writer?
If I were to ask you, which of these 2 different industries do you like to achieve? If you are working as a freelance writer, do you have plans to leverage your authority?
Or do you rather stick with your writing routines and rely on the number of gigs to secure your income?
Whatever your plan and your vision are as a writer, it is important to know the differences between these 2. Especially in terms of authority and value.
Do you want to remain as a writer or do you wish to increase your value as a writer and lead a tribe with like-minded people around you?
This is what we’re going to delve into in this post. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Freelance Writer VS Author – What’s The Difference?
Before we go through the details, allow me to differentiate the two based on how we generally perceive them. In other words, how Google defines them.
Setting my experiences in both aside, a freelance writer is someone who writes for someone either for a company or a private individual. That is without the control of the context of the material.
What do I mean by this?
A freelance writer relies on the topic each client wants to have. It doesn’t matter if it’s games or entertainment. Whatever outputs they want, you should stick with it to ensure your income.
Otherwise, if they won’t approve your write-up, you won’t get paid. I experienced this many times, especially when I began my writing career back in 2014. My income relies on how much I deliver to my clients.
On the other hand, an author, from the name itself, brings authority. The fact that you published a book on various platforms.
Let’s admit it. You have more respect for a writer with a published book than a blog than a writer with contributions.
The income relies on passive income generated from book sales. One author revealed that she sells at least 10 copies of her books per day.
And if you sell each book for $5, for example, you have $50 per day. In one month, you have at least $300.
This isn’t working for a freelance writer, given that the clients pay you for each word you write. And there’s a limitation.
For instance, your client wants to have 1,200 words for an article. As a freelance writer, you are limited to writing around the maximum number of words.
Otherwise, they want you to revise it to shorten the output. Hence, minimizing the content length. There’s no chance for you to earn more than the required.
The situation doesn’t happen for an author as she has the right to write more than a thousand words to fulfill the content she likes to have.
In this case, many freelance writers prefer to have a blog. At least, they can write whatever they want to share without the required number of words and other technical stuff. Just write from the heart. That’s all.
Regardless, both of them seek for other income opportunities using the skills through blogging, vlogging, etc. for the sake of increasing income streams.
Who Is A Freelance Writer?
I have been writing for 6 years which began when I became a freelance writer. So, I can tell you about my experiences in this area as much as I can.
When you define a freelance writer, the opportunities expand by the industry your client belongs to.
For example, you applied for a writing job and the company that hired you to prefers business articles.
As a freelance writer, you have to stick within the topic. There’s no room for exploring your writing skills by expanding the topics you can write about. No.
In 2015, I started with writing entertainment news for around 6 months before I left the company for another one. They required me to write 5 posts every single day to reach the minimum threshold.
I have to reach the number of posts they want me to deliver. Otherwise, they will compromise my pay.
At the time, I was only paid $250. It sucks, right? But this is how I began my writing life just as everyone does.
Generally, the context is limited depending on the client. As I mentioned before, you aren’t allowed to write something else unless they tell you to do so, which isn’t something an author will deal with in her career.
Pros & Cons As A Freelance Writer
If you want to choose this field to begin your writing career, here are the top 3 positive and negative reasons for you to consider.
Pro 1: Instant Income Per Gig
As soon as you get into the freelance writing job, you get paid after delivering outputs.
When I began, most companies and private individuals asked for my PayPal account as a convenient choice.
You can immediately measure how much you earned by counting the number of articles you have delivered within a month, for example.
Pro 2: Doesn’t Need More Time To Earn
Once you start working online as a freelance writer, you don’t need to wait longer before you see your income. Especially if your skills improved over time.
The better you write, the professional you sound based on your writing skills, the higher the payment you get. This is the truth in this field.
Pro 3: Work-At-Home Online Opportunity
This is the big reason for most moms to search for an online opportunity. They don’t want to leave their lofty homes for whole-day office work. Unfortunately, most moms have to do to support family needs.
As soon as freelance writing increases in demand, more and more women prefer to search for any work-at-home online opportunities they could get.
Consequently, more women quit their jobs after realizing they’re making more money than their full-time job without the need to get out and join the stressful commute.
Con 1: Limited Creative Writing As Clients Demand
As a writer, you have the power to transform any idea into something consumable by the public.
For example, if you want to express a particular discovery, you can write the exact words you want the world to know.
This isn’t as free when you write as an author can do. In the past, the companies I worked with preferred a specific niche for my outputs.
So, I have to stick with it alongside the adjustments of the tone they prefer with their articles. The moment I change one company to the next, I always have to adjust to their conditions.
And that sucks.
Con 2: Minimum Income Worth $10,000 Or Less
This is already according to a study. When I scoured the internet and sought real people sharing their rants, I found a group of people. They mentioned the pricing they provide for their clients.
Most of them revealed they’re asking $0.01 per word for each client. That’s a bit low, I know. But that’s the reality of how every writer begins. Especially if you prefer being a freelance writer — and not as an author.
Con 3: Too Much To Deliver Within Minimum Threshold (to secure a stable income)
When I began working as a freelance writer years ago, I always had to make sure I reached the minimum amount of articles I have to write. Otherwise, they won’t pay for the whole month.
This is why most freelance writers are in constant pressure to search for gigs on Fiverr, for instance, and hope to get more clients.
At the same time, they have to push themselves to the limits just to reach their financial goals.
This had been my daily life as a writer. Not until I found the purpose of my writing endeavor.
Who Is An Author?
An author is someone who has published books by definition. That’s it. Regardless of the subject she delves, she writes every single idea without limitation.
You are free to write whatever you have in mind, although in some cases, there will be revisions of the content, especially if you deal with traditional publishing.
But it’s not as dramatic as it sounds, though some editors would suggest revising here and there to improve the manuscript.
Again, it is to improve your work to compete with the market in the sense that your message is conveyed better than the earlier revisions.
Though the technical side of authoring a book would complicate it, the whole revision process still relies on how you wanted the content to shape. Just as how you imagined the book before you start writing it.
What the publishing companies do is to enhance the content to make it more marketable for the public audience, your future tribe to lead.
As a freelance writer, you don’t have this kind of freedom. I can say because I experienced it myself. Your content creation isn’t as free as an author could do.
In addition to that, the author can make a fair income from the books she publishes. That is without limiting the creativity in terms of delivery and content per se.
While you enjoy the freedom from authoring a book, you also receive the compensation you deserve unlike in any freelance writing opportunity.
Pros & Cons As An Author
If you have been following my posts, you will notice how much I encourage you to become ambitious and write a book, regardless if it’s nonfiction or fiction.
Yet, at this point, I like you to see the pros and cons of being an author. This is just to show you the realities every author faces and fights underneath the fame it brings.
Pro 1: Limitless Creativity (across genres)
As I mentioned earlier, you can write a book of any genre, given the freedom authors experience in comparison to freelance writers. For instance, Stephen King authored both non-fiction and fiction books in his lifetime.
His book, “On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft” talks about his journeys as a nobody to a best-selling author. This is why it’s a must to read his work, especially for aspiring authors like you.
Pro 2: Passive Income From Book Sales
Once you have your book published and distributed to various outlets, be it digital or printed, you guarantee passive income by royalties you receive from each sale.
In a traditional publishing way, you will get a fair share as royalties from each book sale. The distribution depends on the contract agreed between you and the company.
Read my experience with a publishing company that almost got myself into trouble if I weren’t careful. Read this if you don’t want to have some problems with publishing.
On the other hand, most authors nowadays opt for self-publishing, which is a daring method to publish books.
Consequently, more books-on-demand companies existed with attractive printing packages to offer for authors.
Due to the increase of self-publishing authors, the book publishing game shifted versus the traditional way of distributing book copies.
Especially that more authors opt for handling the publishing work on their own through self-publishing.
At least, in that way, it minimizes the costs for editors and layout artists to make sure the book performs at par.
Pro 3: Gain Authority
Let’s be honest here. Who do you think you will follow more, a freelance writer or an author? I bet you will choose an author over the other one.
What’s the big deal of publishing a book and why do I keep on pushing this idea that every writer should be ambitious enough to publish?
This is because you immediately gain authority and confidence over the niche you’re in. For example, you are deeply interested in spirituality and you also blog about it.
Though you have written a lot of posts over the years, people will only be attracted when you have done something not everyone can do.
By writing a book, you cement the strongest foundation as a writer.
It’s for your gain.
You’re a published author. You have ISBNs if you self-publish. Name it. You own the work, idea, and income in one package.
Con 1: Takes More Time To Build
You can only begin your career as an author if you have a book. From there, you need to start writing it, which takes months or even years before you can finish. I admit that most of us struggle to do so.
When I wrote my unpublished books, it takes around 3 months before I can finish my work. The speed itself in writing a 90,000-word book within that period is the average.
Scott Fitzgerald, author of “The Great Gatsby,” took 2 years before he finished it. J. R. R. Tolkien finished the whole series of “The Lord of the Rings” for 12 years. Other authors can speed up and finish works around a year.
If you want to learn how world-renowned authors craft their books and learn their secrets to well-written books, I recommend you try MasterClass.
It’s a platform in which the best-selling authors and other world experts share their expertise in a consumable content for a cheap price. Click the image to learn more about it.
Con 2: Requires More Marketing Time To Guarantee More Sales
This is true to most self-publishing authors. If you happen to be en route to a traditional publishing company, the entire process of editing, layout designing, distributing, and marketing are shouldered.
The entire cost spent on the entire process to publish a book will be paid from the book sales.
Hence, the author only receives a fair share of the entire sale. The percentage will depend on a contract-to-contract basis.
In self-publishing, on the other hand, has a different process. The author becomes her own publishing company.
If you prefer publishing your works on Amazon and other platforms on your own, you will handle what every traditional publishing company does.
You have to hire a developmental editor, copyeditor, layout artist, book printing company, and marketer. The process of book publishing will be the same. It’s just that you will have to take care of everything.
The good thing is that it is only difficult for the launching part of the business. The passive income follows after your book is distributed across different platforms and read by global readers.
The book sales are 100% yours. So, you’re able to cover the costs you made from the pre-launching process (editing, etc.). The rest of the income generated will be yours to keep until…forever.
Con 3: Requires High-Levels Of High-Income Mindset
If you aren’t mentally prepared with the toughest challenges a writer could face, you can’t survive the tough life of an author.
A beginner writer could complain about dissatisfaction from low payments or impatient to wait until receiving the compensation.
I received an email asking me why everything is tough and complained about the payments albeit the tough job. She just started exploring but she has already felt uncomfortable.
Becoming an author can be rewarding. But then again, it requires higher doses of high-income mindset to keep laser-focused on what you are working on.
The goal here is to finish a book within a short period. Finish a manuscript of your book. Authors give justice to the ideas and stories as much as they can by finishing a 300-page work that you consider a masterpiece.
Most authors I know, including myself, choose to isolate themselves for a week or a month from any social interactions, as well as their own family.
They will lock themselves in a room where they can be free from any form of distractions.
They will only open the door and return to becoming social after they finish the first draft of the manuscript. Some would return in their isolation months after finishing the work if they resume editing their crap.
The cycle will be the same over and over again. This is the life of an author. Are you up for it? Or do you rather stick with being a freelance writer? The decision is yours, my friend.
It’s up to you.
Summary Of Pros & Cons From Both Writers
- The instant income per gig
- Doesn’t need more time
- Work-at-home opportunity
- Limited creativity in writing
- Minimum income
- Stressful deadlines to reach financial expectations
- Limitless creativity in writing
- Passive income from generated book sales
- Gain authority
- Takes more time to write a book
- Requires more marketing to guarantee sales
- Requires higher high-income mindset to keep sanity and finish the book
Conclusion – Which Is The Best Way To Become A Successful Writer?
Honestly, it’s up to you. To determine which is the best way to become successful, it depends on how you see yourself as a writer.
Do you feel content as a freelance writer? If yes, you measure your success based on your financial goals.
If you are ambitious and aren’t content with being a writer, you can start committing yourself in writing your first book. Start from there and it will lead you through different possibilities.
To start writing your book, I am giving a FREE PDF in which I teach you the step-by-step process in writing your book from Day 1. Get it now and start writing.
As a thought to ponder, you have to determine your goals as a writer. If you are content with making an income from gigs, fine. You can continue doing it until you like it.
But if you want to become an authority and lead a tribe of like-minded people, better write a book containing the message you want your readers to resonate with. By publishing a book, you can start making a global influence.
This is my goal as a writer. What’s yours?
If you like this post, please share this with your friends and family, especially those who are struggling writers. If you have thoughts or comments to share, feel free to leave them in the comment section below.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay