My popular and sought-after pseudonym has 2.5 million reads and makes much more money than I do. No field of study is more complex, ancient, and intellectual than astrology, and few things are more symbolic, metaphoric, and collective-unconscious, so my interest in it seems to me part of a continuum. I’ve spent many enjoyable years studying astrology and meeting and talking with astrologers. About 25 years into it I realized I had this vast fund of specialized knowledge I wasn’t writing about. I held back because I thought people would call me nutty. Astrology is not a religion. I’m not a psychic or a witch and I don't let astrology run my life. I'm curious, and fascinated because there seems to be something to it, and I realized there are many others just as curious.
I planted a second career seed by taking a pseudonym who writes about astrology. Began it in 1993, in a small way. It grew. I learned about the market, which is enormous yet demanding. The Internet has educated readers about astrology in the way newspaper columns and books never did, so today they know what's fake and know what's genuine. They know what sign the Moon is in today; they know what Mercury in retrograde means. And I found a niche. I got my toehold writing articles exposing "astrologers" and "psychics" who charge thousands of dollars but whose "readings" I can prove are fake and canned. I've saved many people their hard-earned money. It's satisfying. An editor read what I wrote and offered me a steady gig. So I have monetized a specialty I had, and the pseudonym allows me to separate literary work from popular.
How about you? What do you know about that you might monetize by writing about it?
Yes, you can still deposit and cash checks written to your pseudonym -- simply tell your bank, and on the account they’ll put “doing business as” or d/b/a. No, you needn’t register a pseudonym with the state or federal government, although I registered mine as a dot.com right away.