Becoming a Working Author

Writing Gig Websites and Writing Opportunities

According to headlines, it’s easier to find a job today in 2022 than in previous years, but It’s still walking a tightrope to put food on the table with freelance writing gigs. Or, more appropriately, a desert with few watering spots. Finding writing work is never easy.

Today’s wide selection of websites and online gigs is a blessing. We don’t have to subscribe to magazines and newspapers and wait feverishly for them to arrive each day in our mailbox (remember those?). Still, walking the minefield of website offerings is scary.

I feel your pain. Some sites require fees, and some also require testing to prove your grammar and punctuation are acceptable, meaning you invest your precious time before ever attracting a single job.

So, here are some sites you should consider. I’m not an affiliate and clicking the link doesn’t do squat for me. But I hope it will do something for you.

I’ve had experience with each, meaning I’ve joined, sometimes paid for additional services, and made real cash. If you’ve read my writing here, you may think, “Hey, I’m as good as that guy,” and you probably are.

Whether you’re a highly qualified writer or just earning your chops, you can avoid my mistakes and make some cash while increasing your marketability.  Still, remember to read the introduction at each of these sites carefully without reading into their blurbs what you are “hoping” to find.  The first review is the perfect example.

Writers Work

Like the old-time job board found at temp agencies back in the day, Writers Work offers a new twist online. While they reference a $20 to $65 hourly income for freelance writers, that’s a statement of possibility, not an offer of employment.

Their introduction statement is quite clear (if you don’t read between the lines):

Writers Work connects anyone interested in writing with the companies that need them desperately.

They aren’t hiring, and they aren’t guaranteeing any jobs. They are a job board/middleman. The actual employers offer the jobs they list. It may be helpful to have them in one area where you can filter your experience and interests. But it’s up to you to click through to where the offers start- at the companies looking for talent. Nothing you take from Writers Work except for what you’ve learned there will help you get the job you are interested in gaining.

In addition, you’ll need to join Writers Work (there is no free period to assess their offerings) for $15 per month or $47 for a lifetime membership. Then, they’ll do their best to try and upsell you on a host of offers like one-on-one coaching, a Freelancer’s Playbook, and additional video courses.

If you make your way through them, you’ll find a friendly dashboard for finding jobs, an online document editor, and the Writers Work University training materials (19 short videos).

Yay or Nay?

If you’ve got the cash and want to search for jobs offered by others listed at the Writers Work site, gaining just one job you didn’t know about will probably make joining worthwhile. If you’re on a shoestring budget, move on.


Like Writers Work, Fiverr doesn’t offer jobs. But like most freelance writer websites, it offers you a chance to pitch your skills to a broad audience.

Joining Fiverr is super easy, costs nothing, and has a colorful and extensive website to peruse and compare competing gigs to get a feel for how to word your pitch and what to charge.

The downside is that many people are already succeeding on Fiverr, whom you’ll have to emulate but still differentiate yourself from. It can be done. I’ve been successful in several areas, but as the name implies, a fiver was the original cost of all gigs. Yup, five bucks. Today you can market your gigs – in Basic, Standard, and Premium offerings – at prices from $5 to $995.

In addition, you are judged on how quickly you respond to inquiries, and the worldwide audience means you’ll get questions at three in the morning if you are successful. And, any gigs you offer that are purchased must be finished within the time frame you set. Please don’t be late; it can be fatal to your ratings.

You’ll also want to remember that Fiverr keeps 20% of your income (even tips). When a job is approved (or three days after delivery), the money is moved toward your account but not directly to your account. You may grow impatient with the time it takes (up to 10 days in my case) for it to arrive and be available to withdraw.

Yay or Nay?

I like Fiverr and have ads running as I write this. And I set my rates. I refuse to work for the pennies per word, so many authors advertise. Still, I’ve gotten many ghostwriting gigs with friendly authors who needed help or wanted to speed up their projects. I charge per word and have sold gigs from 5,000 to 55,000 words.


Most freelance writer websites connect writers with buyers in a mixture of Writers Work and Fiverr styles. Upwork allows writers to search a large selection of writing projects posted by Upwork buyers. The best part is that there is no fee to join, and you can build a profile of your work, talents, and desires to attract interest.

However, any job you want requires “connects,” which cost cash. Upwork takes a 20% fee from your gig income, but to get to that step, you’ll need a Basic membership with ten free connects each month or a Plus membership with 80 connects and the ability to see what your competitors are bidding for jobs. Additional connects for both memberships run 15 cents each.

Unlike Fiverr, where you’ll have people buying your listed services, Upwork requires you to search for gigs and make proposals to buyers. It costs two “connects” to propose.

It takes time and skill to pitch yourself and your abilities to fit the buyer’s needs. If you can do that, you are more likely to get hired. Having little experience or a short work resume is like being the last kid picked in gym class.

Yay or Nay?

My success with Upwork is spotty. I had trouble attracting interest and bristled at the requirements of most jobs (quick turnover, low pay). Eventually, I took a gig with a buyer who had eight short article ideas that needed to be filled (at the time, I felt I needed several projects done on the site for maximum exposure).

Those articles paid two cents each, and then Upwork took their cut, leaving me just a few dollars per 200-word piece. Afterward, I didn’t seem to have more success attracting clients than before. And many jobs there now offer that low two or three-cent rate.

My time involved reading job offerings, finding projects that interested me, answering proposal questions, and producing articles that returned an hourly rate too low to make minimum wage. Your mileage may vary.


Guru’s website is much like Upwork’s. You’ll find many jobs in translation, ghostwriting, and website creation and content, but there are also social media and IT gigs.

Like other sites, you’ll have to join, designate a way to get paid and prove your identity. Guru was the first writing website I joined, and I’ve written tens of thousands of words for clients, often at a rate lower than I would usually contract for.

Why? Because most jobs offered are at a penny or two (or less) per word. You can be strong and choose your worth, but your choices will be severely limited when you start. I cracked. I wanted work and took short books for as little as $500 each. The only advantage was that I’d get a decent paycheck, even if the hours were many to earn it.

Yay or Nay?

Guru can be a time suck. Many (many!) proposals are posted by buyers with no track record of purchases, no straightforward project, and unrealistic ideas about decent pay. I just looked, and a regular posting says Nonfiction Book 15k words Fixed Price | Under $250.

In addition, many of these listings also want Kindle and paperback formatting, a book blurb, and a book description. Sorry, I charge as much for the blurb and description as they pay for 15k words.

If you can crank out 5k or 10k words of work in a week, you can make some money. Again, I understand; I’ve been there. And, since your profile shows your annual earnings, the more work you’ve done successfully, the more you are likely to get. Then you may be able to move into higher earning jobs.

Try not to spend an exorbitant amount of time choosing a writing gig at Guru, writing a perfect proposal, and producing examples of your work you think the buyers need to see. Otherwise, you’ll be lucky to make a buck an hour.

Writer Access

Writer Access is different from the other sites I’ve used and reviewed. Yes, you’ll have to join, give personal information, and prove you can write. And you can upload specific work to show you can handle assignments in different areas.

Your chances of being chosen for gigs can be enhanced with examples of your work in specialties, industries, content types, and additional skills. It takes work to produce a viable profile, as with other sites.

There aren’t as many jobs available here as at other sites, and many gigs have a 30% expense cost – Writer access takes that off the top of the offered per-word rate.

You can click on any job found on the dashboard, but if you want to have more than one job going or reach an “elite” rate, you’ll need to finish several jobs in one area. I started by getting ten jobs in “articles” to move up.

Those gigs only paid 2-3 cents per word, and at 275-words, they were short and easy, but my hourly rate was terrible. Once you’ve proved your ability, you are more likely to get Love List jobs offered to you and a few others. Whoever responds first gets the job.

Solo jobs are offered to you alone. Accept or pass.

Then there are Casting Call jobs, like those at Guru and Upwork, where you submit a short proposal for a gig. On the flip side are Crowd offerings. Once you’ve proven your worth and finished enough orders, you’ll be able to click on the crowd offerings, which are yours to complete.

Some gigs are due in a day or two; others have a longer timeline. A clock is always running for acceptance of gigs and completion. Don’t be late!

Yay or Nay

Unlike the other sites reviewed, Writer Access is both a job board and a continuing job offer site. The proprietors monitor your writing, time frames, and buyer reviews. As you prove your value, your “star rating” rises, and your pay rate increases. You can always accept jobs at your ranking level or below.

I like Writer Access very much, but the competition is fierce. I get an email 10-minutes before Love List jobs being posted, and if I don’t camp at my dashboard immediately, the job is usually gone 30-seconds after it posts.

Still, my ego likes having jobs pitched to me, and earning double or triple the lower star rates is excellent.

Wrapping it Up

I enjoy writing. I do articles for magazines and websites and blogs for multiple sites, and I count myself lucky to get gigs through many sources. However, I’ve had the most success with ghostwriting books. Some months I’m swamped and can hardly finish my commitments. In other months I’ve got time to work on my books or catch up on TV.

My advice is to take whatever paid writing gigs you can get in the beginning. Even if you must resort to 500-word articles for five bucks, you will be honing your craft and earning something.

However, I also think I spread myself too thin. I’ve joined all the sites I reviewed (and more), which means none show all my work or earnings. There’s a good chance I’d look more promising to buyers if I concentrated on just one or two sites highlighting my writing ability or proficiency.

Also, writers need to have thick skin. Not everyone thinks the way you do or expresses themselves like you. That means when they read your work, they may not be comfortable with it.

Don’t be embarrassed or frustrated if a client wants revisions. They are the boss. It’s your job to write for them and their audience.

Go out into the world with your head held high. Freelance writing, like life, has a learning curve. We can’t all be Stephen King, but we can be us, and that’s a good starting point.


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