My writing career blossomed primarily for the greater glory of my employers, first as a graduate student at the University of Texas for 4 years, and then as a professor at Arizona State University for 30 years.
Grant proposals and scientific papers were the norm for obtaining the illusive ‘prestige’ that research universities are always after. Of course, this helped my bottom line, too. Merit pay raises were always based on grants and publications.
My big project on a plant biology textbook, with W.C. Brown Publishing (since bought out by McGraw-Hill), was a huge undertaking that skyrocketed my royalty income through a couple of editions. It was like getting a 50% raise over my university salary. That exceeded anything that ever came my way through merit pay. Unfortunately, book royalties spike and drop, depending on the plans of the publisher.
In my case, the new owners (i.e., McGraw-Hill) dropped my book after the second edition since they already had so many others in the same department.
Even after supposedly being out of print for several years, it still rakes in vast sums for every biannual royalty check … anywhere from zero to upwards of $60 at a time. Wowzaa, huh? (I swear that I wouldn’t be surprised to get a semi-annual royalty statement that says I owe them some money!)
After a couple of forays in to print books (one on an herbal medicine for herpes and shingles and another on probiotics), e-books have become my norm. These include several successful e-books on weight loss (e.g., Fat Loss Biology and HCG Diet: The New Definitive Guide.
The complete set of my other books is listed here on my portfolio page.
In addition, most recently I have hired myself out to write marketing articles for health and beauty blogs. It is interesting work, although the pay is pathetic. My first jobs came through Elance.com, which is where writers offer their services on the cheap, and businesses look for cheap writing services.
Elance is a match made in heaven for cheap businesses and poor writers. It harks back to the last time I worked for less than $2.00 an hour … somewhere in the 1960s, I believe. Serious businesses who know and pay for the value of good writing do not live there, so I stopped doing that kind of work quickly.
My view is that excellent writing and research skills like mine should command pay that is commensurate with such excellence. This is especially true when word power translates into business growth for my clients.
My own article marketing mostly consists of publishing here on ezinearticles.com. This is how I have built traffic for my health blogs and for the blog of one of my clients who manufactures organic skin care products.
My Freelance Writing Niche
I am sure more fun is on the way in my freelance writing career now that I have begun to focus on my true love in writing – i.e., natural approaches to health. It is a logical combination of my expertise in the biochemistry of medicinal herbs with the writing skills that I have been polishing since I was a graduate student over 40 years ago.
Supplement companies, natural health doctors and similar health professionals can always use a good writer, especially one like me who has been a research scientist for more than 35 years.