If you ever wanted to know how to become a fortune cookie writer, you just hit the fortune cookie jackpot. Who wouldn’t want to get paid to write witty one-liners that are mass produced and disseminated world wide?
In this post, I’m going to share with you exactly how to become a fortune cookie writer, step-by-step.
How do you become a fortune cookie writer?
You become a fortune cookie writer by applying for a position at a large, medium-sized, or small fortune cookie manufacturing company. You can also launch your own custom-made fortune cookie company.
The big picture of becoming a fortune cookie writer is pretty straightforward. However, there are several steps and skillsets involved in succeeding in this career.
If you want to know everything you need to become a fortune cookie writer, read this article all the way to the end.
What is a Fortune Cookie Writer?
A fortune cookie writer creates the short, vague sentence (called an aphorism, ambiguous prophecy, or “fortune”) written on a sliver of paper trapped inside of fortune cookies. Fortune cookies are crisp, sugary desserts served mainly in Chinese food restaurants in the United States. Traditionally, patrons of these restaurants break open the fortune cookie, remove the slip of paper, and read their “fortune”. These vague sentences supposedly reveal your future.
The “fortunes” typically fall into one of the following categories: (These are good categories to know for when you become a fortune cookie writer)
- Predictions about the future
Examples of predictions in fortune cookies:
- A fresh start will put you on your way.
- A pleasant surprise is waiting for you.
- Congratulations! You are on your way .
Examples of quotes in fortune cookies:
- Advice is like kissing. It costs nothing and is a pleasant thing to do.
- An inch of time is an inch of gold.
- Curiosity kills boredom. Nothing can kill curiosity.
Examples of truisms in fortune cookies:
- A faithful friend is a strong defense.
- Better ask twice than lose yourself once.
- Every flower blooms in its own sweet time.
Yes, it’s true that the categories often overlap depending on interpretation. The key factor in these mass-produced fortunes is, like many horoscopes and psychic omens and prophecies, they perfectly balance vagueness with specificity. They leave open room for multiple interpretations so that anyone can relate the saying to their own lives.
There are also other categories such as motivation/call to action (Don’t just think. Act!) and what I can only describe as fortune cookie flirting (Can I have the key to your heart?).
In addition to the mass produced fortune cookies, smaller companies offer custom-made “fortunes” for special events like birthdays, weddings and other celebrations.
Humorously, the origins of the fortune cookie are hotly debated and shrouded in as much mystery as the fortunes themselves. The recognized most prolific fortune cookie writer is Donald Lau, the Vice-President of Wonton Foods, the largest manufacturer of fortune cookies in the world.
How to Become a Fortune Cookie Writer (Step-by-Step)
Ok, here’s exactly what you can do to become a fortune cookie writer.
Step 1: Develop exceptional writing skills
The first step to becoming a fortune cookie writer is to cultivate the necessary skills. These skills include creativity, writing, grammar, conciseness, research, organization and vagueness.
You can complete step one by doing the following:
- Practice writing every day
- Collect the best writing tools like a good dictionary and the right kind of thesaurus for writers
- Write poetry and quotes
- Collect quotes, motivational sayings, and short poetry (Pro tip: collect international sayings to expand your knowledge base)
- Copy motivational sayings, proverbs to imprint the structure of short writing
- Attend an in-person or online class or course on writing, editing, and/or copywriting (marketing/advertising)
- Collect and study existing fortune cookies (analyze the structure, character, and word count – usually 20 characters or less – and common themes)
- Read my post on How to Write Like Danielle Steele
Step 2: Create a portfolio of fortunes
The next step is to develop your personal portfolio of fortunes. A portfolio demonstrates to potential employers that you are professional, experienced and provides proof that you can write fortunes.
Your best bet is to prepare a comprehensive portfolio with example fortunes in all the major categories that we went over earlier. As a recap, the major categories are predictions, quotes, and truisms. It is helpful to keep the examples positive.
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these sites:
Step 3: Upload your portfolio to a free online platform
Once you have developed your portfolio, it’s common practice in the technology age to upload it to an online platform. There are many free options available.
Two of my favorite platforms are:
- Google Drive
- Google Sites
Google Drive is a free online storage platform. All you need to do is go to Google Drive, sign up for a free Google account, create a new folder in Google Drive and upload your portfolio. That way you can send potential employers the link to access and view your portfolio during the application process.
Check out these screenshots for a quick visual tour of how to set your portfolio up in Google Drive: (It’s super simple!)
Google Sites is another free online platform where you can upload and store your portfolio. Google Sites are free websites from Google. The benefit of using Google Sites is that you can easily create a professional looking website with simple drag-and-drop website tools built in the platform.
Read my detailed blog post on how to set up a Google Site.
Here are the basic steps to get you started:
- Go to Google Sites
- Click on Start A New Site
- Choose your website template (appearance)
- Replace the default images and text with your portfolio (you can get royalty and copyright free images from unspash.com)
Step 4: Apply to Open Fortune Cookie Writer Positions or Launch Your Own Company or Service
At this point, you have two major options. You can search online for open positions or launch your own service and/or company.
Search online for Fortune Cookie Writing positions:
I recommend using online job platforms such as Indeed.com and Flexjobs.com. You can narrow your job search to Fortune Cookie Writing and even set up alerts so that you are notified any time a new position is available.
However, if you really want to know how to become a fortune cookie writer, I recommend you employ the Guerilla Marketing approach to pre-empt and side-step your competition. Essentially, you contact Fortune Cookie manufacturing companies to pitch your services.
Why is this so effective? If you wait until a company posts an open position, you become just one of many applicants. If you contact a company before they post an opening, you are the only applicant.
To prepare for a pitch conversation, you’ll want to have the following ready:
- Your fortune cookie writing portfolio
- Your resume and cover letter (in this case, a pitch letter)
- Your elevator speech with unique selling preposition (60-second description of the value you bring, your experience, and why you are the best person for the job). Start with this template: “Hi, I’m [Your name]. I have [number] years of experience writing Fortune Cookies with a portfolio ready for your review. I’d love to schedule a time to review my portfolio with you. When might you be available for an in-person, phone, or virtual call?”
- Your readiness to start immediately with full time, part-time or contract work
Of course, they might not have an opening available right away. In that case, you might consider offering a pilot contract or temporary unpaid internship with an agreement and scheduled date to review the possibility of transitioning to a contract or tempt to hire employee.
Launch Your Own Company or Service:
You can bypass applying for positions at other companies by launching your own company or service writing custom-made fortune cookies. You can create your own website or offer your services through gig marketplaces such as Fiverr.com and Upwork.com.
Read my detailed post on how to make money on Fiverr
Do You Have To Go to College To Become a Fortune Cookie Writer?
Boy do I have some good new!
There are no special required qualifications, degrees, certifications, or licenses to become a fortune cookie writer. Anyone of working age (this varies somewhat by country, but is typically 16+ in the United States) can become a fortune cookie writer.
The good news is that anyone can become a fortune cookie writer. The bad news is also that anyone can become a fortune cookie writer. While demand for fortunes is massive (there are reportedly 3 billion fortune cookies made each year), there are actually only a few fortune cookie writer positions.
Even though you don’t have to pass Fortune Cookie Writing school to become a fortune cookie writer, since the position entails crafting concise, creative sentences, the following skills can help set you apart:
- Proficiency/fluency in English
- Grammar and punctuation
- Productivity (work fast)
- The ability to write short, pithy one-liners
- Copywriting skills
- Independence to possibly work for yourself or on a remote contract basis
Where Do You Apply To Become a Fortune Cookie Writer?
There are many places where you can apply to become a fortune cookie writer. Not all of the fortune cookie manufacturers will have open positions.
Don’t worry, there is more than one way to become a fortune cookie writer!
List of Fortune Cookie Manufacturers
- Wonton Food, Inc.
- Bailey International
- Peking Noodle
- Tsue Chong Co.
- Keefer Court Food
- Sunrise Fortune Cookie
- Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
There are also many smaller companies that specialize in custom-made fortune cookies. Simply Google search for “custom fortune cookies” to find these companies.
How Much Does a Fortune Cookie Writer Make Per Hour?
According to ladders.com and careertrends.com, the average annual salary for a Fortune Cookie Writer is estimated at a surprising $40,000 to $80,000. Hourly, that breaks down to $19.23 per hour up to $38.46 per hour.
Fortune Cookie Resources
When looking to become a fortune cookie writer, keep the following resources on hand. They will help you make your fortune cookie dreams comes true.
Writing Fortune Cookies:
Fortune Cookie Recipes:
Conclusion & Next Steps
Thank you for reading my article! If you like this one, there are many other articles about how to become different kinds of writers on my website.
Here are a few:
- How To Become a Writer for Disney [Ultimate Insider Guide]
- How To Become a Writer for SNL (Ultimate Guide)
- Can you write a scary story in 150 Words (Everything You Want To Know)
Now that you have an exact road map for how to become a fortune cookie writer, all that is left to do is take action. Study writing. Create your portfolio. Start contacting companies or launch your own. You got this!