Being an indie author usually means eating a lot of noodles and salad for dinner, putting in long hours and maintaining a "day job" to boot. But if you aren't making money selling a lot of books, you shouldn't necessarily resign yourself to a life of noble poverty. There are many different ways to earn an income with self-publishing, and you never even have to write a word.
Money, Money, Money
Self-publishing has been going through a bit of a boom in recent years, and the authors definitely aren't making all the money. As the number of independently-published books has grown, so have the amount of services available to authors. There's a huge market out there for indies. Tap into it, and you can also make money in this newly-rediscovered industry.
- Book editing: Lots of people use editing services to make their books letter-perfect. If you're detail-oriented and have plenty of time to scrutinize text, you may consider offering editing services.
- Beta reads: Less critical than reviewing and less tedious than book editing, beta reading allows you to read indie books even before they're self-published. Offer paid beta reading services and you could get swamped with highly imperfect books, so be aware of that risk before you invest your time in this.
- Paid reviews: You can always offer paid reviews as a service if you're a very good reviewer, but this can be a tough market because so many bloggers offer free reviews. But if you're reading a lot of books and offering thoughtful criticism, you may be entitled to make a little extra scratch on the side.
- Cover art: Designers offering cover art services can earn a decent amount of money if they're very good at what they do. If you've got artistic skills and good software, you may want to consider putting it to use.
- Promoter: If you're quite good at promoting, why not do something with it? Put together some marketing packages and start selling to indie authors.
Indie author services are highly in demand, and as the industry grows so will the services that go with it. Supplement your income by offering services to other indies. There are lots of different ways to be involved with writing, even if you don't write at all.