Making Money with Crossword or Sudoku Puzzles

For whatever reasons, brain teasers and other mental exercises have always held a special appeal to many of us. Across a broad spectrum of society, puzzles of all kinds are a common pastime that are still as popular as ever these days. In recent times, the wildly popular Sudoku has joined the traditional crossword in the top echelon of puzzles. If you have a fondness for solving such puzzles, then a side hustle as a puzzle creator could allow you to earn extra money.

Crafting Your Puzzles
Nowadays, pumping out crosswords and in particular Sudoku puzzles is accomplished using software for the sake of speed and accuracy. Popular options for crosswords include Across LiteCrossword Compiler and Crossword Weaver. For Sudoku, something along the lines of OpenSky or JSudokuCreator should work just fine. Obviously, there’s more to creating a solid puzzle than just punching a few variables into a program. You’ll need to brush up on best practices for crossword creation and Sudoku design to output acceptable puzzles.
Selecting a Unique Hook
If you plan on making any money in the field of puzzle creation, you’ll need to come up with a hook or distinguishing gimmick that sets you apart from the rest of the crowd. Perhaps appealing to a particular demographic of puzzle solver might be the way to go. Alternatively, you could focus on creating puzzles with a unique theme or a series of puzzles that combine to form a larger pattern. Whatever approach you adopt, the key is to do something original.

Promoting Your Work
Getting your foot in the door with buyers and making that first sale is the toughest part of making money with puzzles. A good place to start is by submitting crosswords to magazines, local newspapers and periodicals that aren’t affiliated with Reuters or the Associated Press. It’s close to impossible for one person to create and edit a new, full-sized crossword or Sudoku puzzle every day, so many publications purchase them from freelancers. Shop your puzzles around to as many publications as possible.
Specialization & Monetization
Once you’ve established a name for yourself, you should decide on a niche to specialize in when it comes to selling your wares. Specialization in any field is often the path to greater profits, but it can take time to find the perfect niche for you. Try a shotgun approach to determine what will earn you the most money per puzzle. Selling your crossword and Sudoku creations to puzzle book publishers while simultaneously pursuing traditional avenues like daily or weekly newspapers is a smart move.
Digital Challenges & Opportunities
Lastly, you’ll definitely want to consider making the leap to the web with your puzzles. Even traditional publishers have largely moved online, which is why you should follow their lead and diversify. Try creating a paid mobile app  that delivers regular puzzles to users for a fee. You could also create a website that runs contests based on solving your crosswords and Sudoku puzzles. Ultimately, your puzzles don’t need to compete with the New York Times crossword to make decent money online.

Turning Your Puzzles Into Cash
While there are certainly easier ways to make a buck, creating crossword and Sudoku puzzles is definitely one of the more enjoyable ones. Be forewarned that making any appreciable amount of money out of your hobby will require hard work, foresight, ingenuity and an ability to adapt to changing demand from puzzle solvers. Though the overall puzzle market can be a rough one in which to thrive, it’s more than possible to profit from it if you’ve got the drive and passion.
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