Joan Leotta_LettersFromKoreaThe way to make money as an author is by first not making money—volunteering is the secret to your longevity as an author, editor and teaching artist. 

While you’re writing your novel, memoir or poetry—which don’t generate any immediate income—you can convert your writing/editing skills/workshop into paid opportunities through your blog so you can gain writing clients, editing clients and invitations to book clubs, speaking gigs, conferences, retreats and more! if you don’t use blogging as your personal author platform, no one will know you exist! I also recommend leading workshops and editing as a means to bring you income as an author and expert. This volunteering and giving back is exactly what Joan Leotta, of Calabash, North Carolina does! Joan is our guestblogger today at Write from the Inside Out. Find out how Joan has become such a successful author and performer through her 3 C’s of successful volunteering: creativity, commitment and comportment!


While I am not an advocate of writing free for commercial entities, there are times and places to share one’s talent and love of words without monetary reimbursement.  I look for a sharing activity that will help others to gain an appreciation for words. A bonus is that all of these activities undertaken to benefit others energize my own creativity and I’m sure will do the same for you. Over the past few weeks, I was able to take advantage of three such opportunities.


The first was with a volunteer story performance at a local library. Story performance makes me think and create in a different way than  pen to paper writing, does.  In my local library, I volunteer as a way of giving back to the community.  Children question, laugh, and think of solutions to problems that are very original. In my retellings of the North Wind and Shingebiss,  in February, the children were amazed that I knew the stories  by heart and could perform them without reading them from a book. They loved all of the fun we had with words  and sounds. I always come home from a story session ready to think new ways about my writing work.


In March, I will judge a poetry contest. With some others in my poetry group and the manager of our local library, I’ve become involved with bringing a poetry contest to Brunswick County. Our hope is to get people in this rural area to realize that poetry enriches daily life. Usually I am a poetry contestant. This time, I will be a judge. Having to rank the poems  will give me an idea of how judges think when they look at my poems—an amazing side benefit.


In addition, I’ve volunteered to work with writers through Sisters in Crime  to help others achieve what I have—published books. What do I get? An opportunity to discuss the craft of writing with yet another wordsmith and the joy of helping someone else.


If you would like to follow my activity (both paid and volunteer)  check out my blog HERE . Giving your work away is a way to help others and feeds your own creative spirit. Try it!


Joan Leotta

Joan Leotta

Joan’s Tips for Giving It Away!


  • Look for opportunities that align with your work
  • Look for benefit to others (every experience will enrich you)
  • Be sure to understand the time involved with your free offer
  • Give the free effort as much time and energy as you would give to a paid “gig”


My author page on Amazon has all of my currently available books



Joan Leotta_ABowlofRiceCoverArtDesert Breeze publishes my Legacy of Honor Series: (historical, sweet romance)Joan Leotta_GiuliaGoestoWarCoverArtJoan Leotta_Simply a Smile_Filigree

Giulia Goes to War

Letter from Korea

A Bowl of Rice

Secrets of the Heart (forthcoming in 2015)

Simply a Smile My collection of short stories (romance, mystery, historical, general fiction all inspired by ordinary objects or art) will be available on Amazon in April from Cane Hollow Press


Note from Joan: I write in a wide variety of genres and work as a performer. If you would like to have me come to speak or perform at your venue, please contact me at


While I may not be able to work for free for your group, I will give a two-for one special on performances for any reader of Alice’s blog. For those interested in reading my work, I will give a free SKYPE appearance to any book club or class that reads one of my books.