Financially, outside of marketing, how much have you invested in your serial?

6 years ago | Tartra (Member)

Let me just write it again: outside of marketing.

I just discovered Fiverr. I'd heard about it, but I finally bit the bullet and got involved. I now have a pretty avatar of me trying to jam a bow on my cat (because of course), but it's done two things for me: one, proved that these sorts of artistic transactions can be done smoothly, and two, proved that this artistic transactions are affordable. (By the way, the guy who did mine is 'elumier'. Great work! /endplug)

I Want more. I started stalking the samples of other artists, and my shy interest in getting a banner for my site that's 'good enough' and character illustrations freaking exploded. I'm holding off for a bit more because I don't want to get carried away too soon, but with the designs I have in mind, I'm looking at a budget of maybe $350 to $400 CAD.

Has anyone else sprung for extras like these? Did you get them for yourself or as something to entice readers? What have your experiences been - or even thoughts towards doing this - and where would you be budgeting these projects?

The Other Kind of Roommate — Like Fight Club meets X-Men meets The Matrix meets Superbad.

Read responses...

Page: 123


  1. t4nky (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    Personally, I've tried to do a DIY site. This way I don't have to worry about any copyright issues, in case I want to, for instance, have my logo on a T-Shirt, I don't have to worry about copyright law.

    Then again, I know my way around Adobe Illustrator, have one part-time job, and am living with my parents. My circumstances may be different.

    "An uneducated man may rob a rail car. An educated man can steal the railway."
  2. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    I got a banner from Artcorgi, that was about it. Actually, no - I also paid the 20 or so dollars Wordpress wanted to let me change font colors.

    The banner I got mostly for myself, and I'd probably have the same amount of readers without it. But I'm happy with it and would commission it again. The color customization option was for the readers. Links were barely visible with the standard theme options.

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world.
  3. ubersoft (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    Well for each year of Curveball so far I've paid for cover art (Year One: Year Two: When I published Year One in novel form I really wanted to pay the original artist to do a cover for it, but I couldn't reach him, so it wound up being a derivative of the original cover: (which I originally liked, but am kind of frustrated with now). And I'm about to start looking for an artist for Year Three, since that's only four issues away at this point.

    I can repurpose those covers for promotional and advertising purposes, but that's marketing, so I guess that's not covered here.

    I do run my own site and I've paid for some semi-professional themes that I've tinkered with, but I've never gone with any of them because they haven't played well with all the content I need to filter. I could benefit from paying someone to gloss up the site a bit, but I don't have the budget for that at the moment...

    I'm considering taking on an editor because while I love that my readers are willing to edit for me, they shouldn't have to... but I *really* can't budget that 8-10,000 words a month doesn't sound like much for web serials, but in terms of editing costs, well, depending on the editor it eats into your cash on hand really, really fast...

    Curveball (Updating)
    A Rake by Starlight (Updating)
  4. ubersoft (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    Forgot to answer these questions:

    Did you get them for yourself or as something to entice readers? What have your experiences been - or even thoughts towards doing this - and where would you be budgeting these projects?

    I did because my conceit of "Curveball is a comic book" required a comic book cover in order for it to work, and I wanted the cover to look good, so I knew I couldn't draw it myself. :D I don't think it specifically enticed readers, though I think not having it would call the conceit into question.

    I don't think these things are necessary for a webserial. They're absolutely necessary for the next stage of what I do (convert them to ebooks) but for the webserial part? There are a lot of serials on this site who are a lot more successful than any of mine, and they don't bother with that stuff -- you need to put in a certain level of work to make your story presentable, readable, accessible, but after that I think the story takes over and wins (or loses) the day.

    Curveball (Updating)
    A Rake by Starlight (Updating)
  5. Tartra (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    @t4nky My site's DIY as well, and I like it, but there are some things I'd like to add on that I know I don't have the talent for. Art, mainly.

    @chrysalis $20 is what I expect for a banner. My budget is hugely on the high side because I don't 'know' what the final costs are I wanted to agree to an absolute limit before I fell into sunk costs. If I got the three banners made (I'm hoping to cycle through them), then my expected cost drops to $250.

    @ubersoft - For covers, for that kind of sales' sake, the cost seems absolutely justified. It's something that's going to be passed around to people - hell yes, you want to have the quality in place.

    For editors, I haven't reached those costs yet. I've been going to Scribophile for peer, amateur edits and been really happy there, but when I start getting into published arcs (way down the road), I need to keep that in mind. Thanks for the heads up.

    I like the covers, by the way. I'm nervous about talking to one when I get to having my major characters designed. Any tips on detailing what you expect, or is it better to let the artist have the major say (beyond an outline of what XYZ looks like)?

    And yeah, this is very heavy on the 'extra' side of things. I've got a banner that I think fins but I'm not reeve ally sure it's public domain, and while I'm not big enough for it to be an issue yet (I hope), I'd like to make the site more ME. When I do hit the ebook stage, I'm going to have something else designed, which is still more cash to put on it, but until then, this'll give me that tiny added bit of pride when showing it off to people. My baby's wearing Gucci and all that. Well, not Gucci. But something nice. For me.

    The Other Kind of Roommate — Like Fight Club meets X-Men meets The Matrix meets Superbad.
  6. Kess (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    I pay for my hosting (I'm self-hosted), and for my domains. I've been lucky with my website looks: I use Wordpress, and have managed to find suitable free themes to use (I customise the CSS myself, but the graphics were all free).

    I had some custom graphics done for Starwalker, for merchandise, though I've had no sales from that. It did let me buy some fun t-shirts, though. I suppose this might count as marketing? The graphics cost me about $100, I think.

    The only other things I'll spend money on are ebook covers and editing, but that's post-serial, not during.

  7. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    I bought Aside from that, not really anything else? The artwork thing is an interesting puzzle though. Over two years ago, I commissioned someone to draw one of my main characters, partly because I wanted to see someone else's take (I do my own art), partly because I thought it might be more inspiring (than my own art), and partly because I was hoping to encourage others to try drawing my math people (it did not). It was so good though that I've had other commission pieces done for the same reason(s), as well as to inject money into people at conventions who (in my opinion) are talented artists.

    So on the one hand, I've spent over $100 for the past couple years on character artwork. On the other hand, aside from one-time posting it on my blog and having pictures to look at at in my home office, it's not really an investment in my serial... because I don't think there's going to be any sort of return on this "investment".

    Writing a Time Travel serial:
    Writer of the personification of math serial:
  8. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    Oh, editors! I just got one, but I don't consider that cost (and it's a substantial one) an investment in the serial. It's an investment in the upcoming ebooks, and thus in a different league entirely. I haven't gotten reader complaints about lack of editing since the big rewrite of the first few chapters. But once I start charging money for ebooks, I have to adhere to a different standard.

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world.
  9. Tartra (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    @Kess That might be 'wares' so it technically slips through. Damn you, loopholes! Either way, merchandise slipped my mind. Did you have it designed predominantly to sell and then started liking the shirts and such for yourself, or did want the shirts and then figured you would make a few to sell?

    @mathtans Argh, I keep forgetting to add domain costs in! I bought I could've stuck to the free side of things, but again, it adds a little extra something for me to host it on its own site. It seems like more of a commitment.

    So given those two partly's, which would you say pushed you into commissioning something more: having someone else's take or encouraging others to join in? And you talked to artists at conventions to do it? There's an idea. I've been looking online exclusively. What was that experience like, talking to them face-to-face?

    @Chrysalis So when do rope an editor in for the ride, do you go back and update the serial with all your edits or leave that as a bonus for the ebook buyers?

    And I'm beginning to recognize that distinction! The serial seems like a springboard or practice ground leading up to the main event: the ebook. If you never had any intentions of getting an ebook together (let's say whatever readership ebook would bring, you got through the serial and tips alone), would you still shoot for an editor?

    The Other Kind of Roommate — Like Fight Club meets X-Men meets The Matrix meets Superbad.
  10. DrewHayes (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    I'm going to do my best to distinguish between my site only costs and my book production costs, as adding in the latter would really leap up my serial's cost if included.

    Website: I pay around $200 a year for a site on Squarespace, and that comes with a domain. It's a pricey option, but since I derive my income from selling books, I thought it was worthwhile to have a very stable system in place, and it comes with useful commerce features. That's a development of the last year or so though. When I started out it was $20 upfront with Digital Novelists and that was it. I use Wordpress for my other sites though, as it is far and away the best compromise of price and function I'm found. That runs about $50 a year for sever and $10 a year per domain.

    Artwork: I spent around $150 for Year 1's cover, and while that falls on the e-book side of the divide I feel some of out it should count toward the serial, since I got my logo from that cover as well and use it all over the place. For what it's worth, I'd say a logo is a really solid investment in any web-serial, as it can be used as branding in every ad, bookmark, or banner you create. My banner and minor artwork was made by a friend, and in terms of creating ads I do that myself using the aforementioned logo.

    In terms of purely serial, I'd say that's about all the costs I can justify putting under that umbrella. Post-serial e-book costs are what really pile up.

    Super Powereds & Corpies
  11. Tartra (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    @DrewHayes Oof - $200! I get why you had to build up to it. I've got WordPress for my site and GoDaddy for my host. I haven't had problems with them yet, so I'm comfy there for now.

    A logo? There's a thought. This is my only project on the go, but I'd still probably benefit from one that's story-centric to link all my extras together. Plus, I have a shadowy organization sacking superpowers out of unsuspecting heads, so it's not as though I can't work the logo into the story or draw the logo out from it. Bad guys know their flair. Plus, I'd like an icon for my site. (And in a really ideal world, keychains! :D Ohhh, I'm too optimistic for my own good.)

    The Other Kind of Roommate — Like Fight Club meets X-Men meets The Matrix meets Superbad.
  12. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    @Tartra: There were actually 3 partlys. ;) But I'd say it was "someone else's take" over both the other factors. Granted, artists need a description or basic drawing to work off of in the first place, so how different could it be? Well, the characters I drew were MATH - the hairstyles would match the graphed equations, so that tended to be central in my mind. I wondered how it might be if it was more of an afterthought, or in a "super deformed" style, or the like.

    And yes, I went into the artist's alley at conventions for it. It was a natural extension for me because that tended to be when I bought anime merchandise, and this way I wasn't giving it all to big corporations. (Plus, doing things online requires setting aside time for it. I was already at the convention.) The talking wasn't a big deal (even speaking as an introvert). Basically, I'd do a walk around, see which art styles or posted work jumped out at me along with who took commissions, then go back to approach those people saying, "hey, I like your art style, could you draw something like this" (shows sketch). Certain characters linked themselves more to certain art styles. (I remember one artist saying, "You realize I'm going to be doing this in my style right?" and I was all, "Yup, that's why I'm asking you!")

    It's harder at bigger conventions (more artists), but by doing this on the first day of a multi-day convention, I could then return at the end to pick it up, no shipping needed. Some did want an initial deposit, and I'm fine with that. Some even did colour. I guess the one thing is, they still own the image rights, but I have their business cards (and link back to them from my blog when I put up the images). Besides, it's kinda like owning the rights to nothing, since I have no impetus to publish.

    Writing a Time Travel serial:
    Writer of the personification of math serial:
  13. Kess (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    Tartra - it was a bit of both! I wanted to make some merchandise and I wanted goodies for me, too. It's all good. ;)

    If you're going to produce an ebook, definitely pay an editor. It's worth it!

  14. Madiha N. Santana (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    I've spent $20 every year on a domain name and that's basically it. I don't really have budget for a lot else unfortunately.

    I received my logo as a gift from a friend and fellow writer.

    Someday I might be making enough money to invest, but at the moment that means going hungry. And I can't write hungry!

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