10 Author Side Hustles

Oct 28, 2020 | Writing

Now this may come as a shock to some of you, but most authors aren’t rolling in dough. In fact, unless you’re releasing several books a year, you probably aren’t making a full-time income from your book sales. So it should come as no surprise that many authors either have a day job, or a few side hustles they’re working. 

But if you’re like me, you don’t want just any side hustle that has nothing to do with your interests. You’d want something related to writing, publishing, or the author journey, and luckily for you all the ones I’m talking about in today’s post do just that. 

Stick around to the end of this post where you’ll get a chance to sign up for my newsletter and receive 6 more bonus side hustle ideas not listed in today’s post. 

Now let’s dive in.


Cover Designer

The first author side hustle on this list is cover designer. Now every book has to have a cover and someone’s got to design that cover, and if you have the skills to do so, why not you? If you’re an artist and you love designing, then cover designer might be a perfect side hustle to explore. 

Book Formatter

Next on the list deals with the interior design of a book, and that is a book formatter. This is actually a side hustle I’ve been looking into and might want to offer sometime next year. A book formatter works with the content inside your book to make sure the layout and look are clean and easy to read. They’re also responsible for all those fun little embellishments within a book, like the heading design at the beginning of each chapter or the little section dividers within the chapter. 

Now there is software out there that will allow authors to format their own books, however, there are plenty of authors who have no desire to learn this skill. Therefore, if you do, you can turn it into a side hustle.


The next one on this list is an editor. Every author should have their books looked at by a professional editor before publishing. Now there are different types of editing services you can provide, but I think the most common ones I’ve seen are developmental editing, copyediting, line editing, and proofreading. 

Developmental editing deals with the content and structure of your story. They look at the big picture and help authors figure out how to improve their plot, structure, or characterization. In fact, I’d argue that diversity readers are a specialized form of developmental editors. But I’ll get to diversity readers in a bit.

Copyediting deals more with the mechanics of your story to improve your book’s clarity. So some things it focuses on are spelling, grammar, word usage and repetition, POV/tense (making sure you’re not constantly switching from past to present tense or from 3rd to first person), I’ve been guilty of this.

Line editing kind of falls under copyediting, but it has a more detailed focus on the style and flow of your writing. Proofreading, most people know what that is, but they’re pretty much the last set of eyes on your book before it gets formatted. They make sure everything is clear and readable, and no spelling or grammar mistakes make it to the final version of your book.


Diversity Reader 

The next author side hustle on this list is diversity readers. Now, like I mentioned earlier, diversity readers (also known as sensitivity readers) are pretty much a specialized developmental editor. They focus on the characters in your story, particularly the ones they share a cultural background with, to make sure that character is accurately portrayed and isn’t full of stereotypes.

I am actually a diversity reader, and the characters I read for are physically disabled/wheelchair user, black female characters, and Christian characters. I recently wrote a blog post on diversity readers if you want to learn more, and if you’re interested in me reading your manuscript for any of the categories I mentioned, you can check out my service page to get more information and contact me.


Social Media Manager 

Now #5 on the list of author side hustles is social media manager. Now hear me out. I know it’s not directly related to writing or publishing, but it’s still something that authors need help with. In fact, I’ve asked in one of my writers group on Facebook what people struggle with the most when it comes to their author journey and many people said social media marketing. So if you love social media and you know how to help an author grow their platform on Facebook or Instagram or YouTube, then that’s a skill that you can put to use as a side hustle. It’s definitely an area that a lot of authors, myself included, want and need help with.


Online Courses

Next is creating online courses. All the skills we’ve talked about so far can be used to create a course, and you can teach others how to gain that skill as well. I’ve seen others to do courses on how to grow your author platform on YouTube, or social media management. You can create courses teaching others how to create their own book covers or format their own books, or even how to create an author website. Brittany Wang has a course called the Author Website Boot Camp that helps authors learn how to create their own websites. Online courses are a great side hustle and the best part about them is that once you’re done creating the course, they become passive income.


Patreon/Membership Sites

So we’re up to #7 of our author side hustle ideas, and the next one on the list is Patreon and/or membership sites. Now while you can create your own membership site on your website, it is more expensive and time consuming to maintain, so for that reason I’d suggest Patreon. Patreon is a platform that works like a membership site, where you can have people sign up for different levels of membership, and offer exclusive content to your members based on whatever level they’ve signed up for.

For example, I’ve signed up for Brittany Wang’s Tier 3 (or level 3) membership, which includes: live monthly group coaching, access to the replays for all the previous coaching sessions, and everything that’s included in the previous 2 tiers. So if you’re looking to offer some type of membership program, Patreon might be an option for you.

Merch Products

Author side hustle #8 is creating your own merch products. Shameless plug, this is something I currently do. I use Teespring and Amazon merch to create print on demand t-shirts and mugs. My store on those platforms is called Novel Creations, and I do a lot of designs that would appeal to writers and book lovers.


Social distancing t-shirt
you're going to be someone's favorite author someday mug
Writer at work t-shirt & novel creations mug

Now with these platforms you can create more than shirts and mugs. You can create leggings, pillows, tote bags, cell phone cases, wall art, and so much more. I mainly focus on shirts & mugs, & some hoodies, but I may expand later on. Check out my shop to view all the products I offer, plus I just created some fun new ones for the holiday season. So if you’re still looking for that perfect gift for the reader or writer in your life, stop by Novel Creations

Also 10% of all the proceeds from my store will go to the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), which provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons. So if you want to support a good cause and get some cool shirts, then check out my store. I’ll also leave the link to EJI website, in case anyone wants more information.


Audiobook Narrator

Side hustle #9 is audiobook narrator. Ever wonder who are the people who read the books you listen to? Well, now you can be one of them. There’s a platform called ACX that connects authors and publishers to people who narrates books. 

Now I’m not at this stage yet, so I haven’t looked too deep into this, but I will once I’m ready to create the audio version of my book, cause I don’t want to do the narration, so I’ll definitely be looking for someone when the time comes. So if getting paid to read books sounds good to you, then this is definitely a side hustle you’ll want to look into.


Copywriter/Content Writer

The last author side hustle on my list today is copywriter and/or content writer. This was something I did for a little while over a year ago. Copywriters are responsible for the words you see on websites, sales pages, landing pages, email marketing, etc. Their job is to write persuasive copy that gets the reader to either buy or take a specific action. 

Content writers are the ones that usually write the blog posts, articles, social media posts, newsletters, etc. anything that involves any written content. 

Now the reason I’ve saved this for last on the list is because while it is a side hustle option that’s related to writing, being a copywriter or content writer can drain you of your creative energy and if that’s what you work on for most of the day, it means it might not leave you with enough creative juice to work on your own books and novels. So this is one I would probably just caution you to think about before you jump into it.

So those are my top 10 author side hustles. Want more ideas? I have 6 more bonus author side hustle ideas for you, so if you want to check them out sign up for my newsletter below.

If you’ve got any author side hustles you love doing, share them in the comments below, I’d love to know what you’re doing. 


Until next time, 

Happy Reading & Writing!