According to a news report, the average writer (books etc) makes only $16,000 a year. And this is not the money from blogging, which is way, way less, in 99% cases.
1. Make money writing novels
Even great writers didn't make much money writing their great novels. Nowadays, people who made money in novels, made from young adult fiction/young adult superhero fiction (Harry Potter etc.) or young adult romance (Twilight kind), and many build a series/franchise out of a hero.
Even this area is crowded and ultra-competitive - creating a compelling, different character and a compelling world around the character is a tough job.
2. Online writing for others: Writing basic, search engine friendly articles for 'content farms' such as Demand Media, Yahoo Voices (previously known as Associated Content), eHow, Livestrong, or Answers.com. They pay very less and you have to write quite a lot to make any mentionable money. Most of these content farms also have templates etc to help write quickly, telling you what you have to cover for each topic.
You can also try out writing job boards, such as, ProBlogger or Freelance Writing Jobs. For transcription work, there are sites such as www.dailytranscription.com or www.transcribeme.com (@ 10-20 dollars/hour)
3. Blogging for yourself: The rules of successful blogging haven't changed much. Write in your own voice, write often, write for a target audience (e.g. 'dear Twilight lovers'), cover things you're passionate about (and hopefully, it is a niche that pays well), cover your topic/s like no one else is doing, and get the word out by engaging the target audience for the content, wherever they are.
To make money, you sell ads on your blog: Google AdSense, BuySellAds, Google DFP, etc. Another way bloggers make money, is from Affiliate programs - Amazon affiliate, Vigilink, ShareASale, CJ or LinkShare. You do reviews of products, rank products in a category, and any sale made as a result of your linking gets you a commission.
To find a lucrative niche, you shall have to do keyword research using Google trends and Adwords Keyword Planner tool. As time goes, by, yet another person sued these tools to find a lucrative tool, and now there are 1000s, if not 100000s of websites offering the same advice. It is tough to make money from ads.
Many people give up. But if you continue posting new content on a frequent basis, you may still have hope of making some money.
Of late, we have seen many travel blogs getting traction. These people make money from affiliate links, 'reviewing' travel related products, services and destinations. In some cases, people have found travel bloggers to have written fake stories/reviews of things. People have to make a living, right?
4. Create and sell ebooks: You can sell it through your own website, through online digitial products selling websites such as Gumroad or Sendowl. Or sell on the Kindle store, Google Play and iBooks. Smashwoods and BookBaby helps authors sell tour ebook to other retailers.
One of the most popular ebook genre is, yes you guessed it right, 'how to make money', 'how to make a living, etc', and ironically, the only ones making any money are the authors themselves, so lame, lazy and self-serving are their solutions. Most of them tell you to publish and become rich. So, there we go, in circles.
5. Create and sell 'ebook packages': Ebooks we all understand. 'Ebook packages' are higher priced information products, combining ebook/s, videos (training), interviews, worksheets, periodic updates via email etc.
6. Launch a curated email newsletter: In some niche areas, people are willing to pay subscription fees for some curated, and very timely news - share market, startup investments news, latest medical news, latest industry news and analysis in a very proprietory industry, etc. For example, Launch.co. People use email services such as Mailchimp. Another option of making money is through newsletter sponsorships.
7. Create subscription websites: These are a variation on 'ebook packages', usually structured like a really-long course, where each chapter in a really long/continuing book is sent to subscribers (along with other materials such as related quizzes etc). Then there are other things that come with a subscription, such as private forums etc.
Sites such as copyblogger.com use this model, making money from teaching people to write and market online.
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