On a slightly different note - revenue generation.

10 years ago | ubersoft (Member)

So... over at my site I have a post called Finance Porn, which is the result of me having to calculate my self-employed income in a more complicated fashion. Before 2011, calculating my self-employed income was easy -- I made very little from banner ads and donations, and spent more on site hosting.

This year I still spent more on expenses, but I made more money than I usually do, because I published an eBook. But the interesting thing is I published an eBook in November (with pre-release copies sold in Sept and October) and my income surpassed all ad revenue for the entire year.

I have pie charts on my site.

Now, an eBook isn't exactly web fiction. However, I posted Pay Me, Bug! as serial fiction first. And when I post the sequel to Pay Me, Bug! online sometime in late 2012 (or maybe 2013) PMB! will potentially be something what will help generate interest in the new serial.

A lot of you guys have been doing this for a much longer time and have a much deeper archive of material. You should consider getting it in eBook form if you can, and selling it. Publishing an eBook can be inexpensive enough that it might be more lucrative than running Project Wonderful ads... and you could wind up a) having a revenue stream that you can b) also use as a marketing tool for your site.

Just thinking out loud. And... um... linking out loud, I guess.

Curveball (Updating)
A Rake by Starlight (Updating)

Read responses...

Page: 12


  1. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 10 years ago

    That's in process for me at least.

    The scary thing in my view is that the section of story I'd always thought of as "Book 2" is something like 180,000 words. I'm thinking that it's Book 2 and 3. Now I've got to figure out the break point that most resembles an enticing cliffhanger, and least resembles "WTF? Where's the rest of the book?"

    I really don't want to rewrite things in a big way.

    Book 1 has been edited by me and is now being edited by someone else. Publication estimate is sometime in July (I think).

  2. SgL (Member)

    Posted 10 years ago

    The ebook market is just really exploding. If you follow "The Passive Voice" (http://www.thepassivevoice.com/) you'll see that each year the revenue for folks has really expanded. (David Gaughrin's blog is another I follow that dissects electronic publishing without the proselytzing on the evils of print and traditional publication.)

    Right now, my end game for book 1 is an ebook as well. I suffer the same problem as Jim. It's long already at around 130,000 words and with at least 6 chapters to go (of undefined length). I'm not sure that print will ever be a real option for me unless it's a collector's edition of some sort (with illustrations and additional content that would not go in the ebook) and done on a preorder/POD/or fundraising basis.

    Glad to hear though that the ebooks are helping offset costs. Always good to come out ahead, even if slightly :)

  3. Wildbow (Member)

    Posted 10 years ago

    I'm very much in the same boat as Jim.

    8 arcs written, was working under the assumption that the end of arc 8 would be the end of 'book one'. Was nearly done #7 when I exported the files & did a wordcount, and discovered I was sitting in the neighborhood of 260,000 words. I've since written the 8th arc and that probably brings the total close to 300,000.

    Do I split that into three parts? Doesn't really work that well. If I cut it roughly in half, there -is- a passable break point, but that still makes for fairly large chunks of reading - a typical book that you see on a bookshelf in Chapters or Barnes and Noble will be ~100k.

    I do want to see if I can make this happen in terms of a book or ebook. Revenue would be nice, but I think my main priority going in is just being able to say "Hey, I have a book," and even/especially being able to hold said book in my hands? That'd be ten kinds of awesome.

  4. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 10 years ago

    I've got a few thoughts on how I'm going to do it. In the case of book 2/3, I think I can cut it at about the 90,000 word mark and have something passable. Then I'll have to make it clear somehow that really book three is part 2 of book 2. Fortunately, what would be the end in that scenario is the climax of the middle of the book (if that makes any sense).

    That said, it doesn't tie up much of anything.

    What I think I'm going to do while dividing things up is think about things as if I were writing an actual comic book. I don't know if anyone else here buys graphic novels, but what they generally do is include 4-6 issues that tell one narrative arc. It's completely obvious that not everything is wrapped up, but the major issue is, so the reader can be happy enough.

    Basically, I'm going through things and think about the most natural way to divide them into sections. If I have to, Book 2 might become Book 2,3, and 4. Apparently novels are generally in the 50,000-90,000 word range. I suppose I could have three 60,000 word books as easily as two 90,000.

    At that point, I might even have to do the comic book thing and have a page worth of "In the last section" at the beginning and remind people of how wonderful the next section will be at the end.

    If I really get into the spirit, maybe I'll include a Hostess Twinkie ad: http://tomheroes.com/Comic%20Ads/hostess%20ads/hostess_ads.htm.

    On a more serious note (assuming you found that funny), various self-publishing gurus say that having multiple titles increases the chance that people will find your work. Provided that you clearly label a series a series, you're likely to be better off than if you had one huge book available.

  5. Wildbow (Member)

    Posted 10 years ago

    What I've been wondering is if there's a way of phrasing it to give potential readers a clearer idea of what they're getting into, much as the graphic novels do.

    Worm: Gestation
    A Collection of Arcs 1-4

    Worm: Extermination
    A Collection of Arcs 5-8

    Worm: Chrysalis
    A Collection of Arcs 9-12

    Etc, etc.

  6. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 10 years ago

    I think that could work.

  7. M.C.A. Hogarth (Member)

    Posted 10 years ago

    That is a fabulous-looking post you put together there, ubersoft. I do something similar in my own accounting spreadsheets for the business, and one of the things I do track is passive vs. active writing income, where the active income is almost entirely donations to my web serials. The passive income is ebook and physical book royalties. Last year they were about neck and neck for me, but what stands out to me is... the passive income required -no extra work- on my part. When I want to inspire donations for serials, I have to exert a lot of extra effort, post more often, create incentives, etc.

    The passive income, though, just keeps rollin' gently in, with or without my supervision. This makes me want to put a lot more stuff out there to passively generate income, I admit. >.>

    As a reader, I prefer ebooks to serials myself, which is why I'm glad you put out Pay Me Bug. I would have missed a great story if I hadn't. :)

  8. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 10 years ago

    A guy that I was in a business networking group with refers to "passive" income as "mailbox money"--as in, it just shows up in your mailbox.

    In retrospect, that now seems out of date. With ebooks, the money skips the mailbox altogether.

  9. M.C.A. Hogarth (Member)

    Posted 10 years ago

    A couple of other points worth noting:

    1. Historically, the serial -> bound volume transition is well-established! Dickens, for instance, published his work as a serial first before it ended up as a book.

    2. Readers love interconnected stories. I am noting that while re-reading Lackey's Valdemar books (the popularity of which I probably don't have to explain). These books are so hopelessly intertwined, not just in one another, but with other Lackey properties, that you need a timeline and a wiki to make sense of it if you get out of order. But people love that! So don't fear the mess. Apparently, as long as the mess can be made sense of and readers enjoy the headspace, they will colonize. :)

  10. Wildbow (Member)

    Posted 10 years ago

    I think there's a difference between interconnected stories and an inconsistent experience for the reader.

    If someone shells out, say, 3.99 for a web novel, they generally expect a degree of completeness in what they buy. If you buy an ebook and it ends at the wrong time, it sits wrong. That's the problem Jim and I face, really. Can we end the individual volumes at a time that it works, without having it be too bloated/anemic a read?

    Excuse the coming semi-off-tangent ramble:

    EA (a video game publisher) was recently declared the least liked American company (keeping in mind that this was an internet poll, which may have biased things - I personally think Bank of America is way worse). Why? Part of it was that they'd withhold content and expect people to shell out extra for 'DLC' or downloadable content. Release an game, but take one part out and sell it to the customer 2 weeks after the game comes out. Add the DRM (digital rights management - preventing piracy) that tends to punish the honest consumer more than the pirate, and people get a bad taste in their mouths. The sad thing is that people still buy EA (and still get disappointed one way or another) because they want to see the continuation of the Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed (and so on) sagas.

    As newbies in getting content out there, we're not quite so fortunate in having such a mass of loyal fans.

    In that same vein, elaborating and echoing on the subject of DLC, DRM and the like in respect to video games, I think the primary objective of someone who's creating something for an audience is to emphasize -service-. Valve is a video game company/distributor that (arguably) does a fantastic job of this, because they make stuff cheaper, really easy to get, they offer bonus content (be it a hat for your in-game character or extra levels/story for free) and their customer support, customer relations, and the tools/interface they offer to customers are all pretty damn impeccable.

    Our aim should be to get people to buy our stuff because they know it's the optimal way to get what they want. (and I just surprised myself by sounding very much like a villain from my story). It should be easier and more rewarding for one's time & money than even going to, say, mediafire and downloading a pdf there for free. In the simplest terms, that means giving readers what they pay for. They want something to read, without hassle or headache - which means story that's parcelled out in a way that doesn't leave them hanging & frustrated (Anyone that read book 3 of Game of Thrones may know what I'm talking about - the book ending 3/4 of the way through the volume, finding out you have to wait 3-4 years for the rest of that story). In broader terms, that might mean bonus content, rewards and reader validation through community and feedback.

  11. ubersoft (Member)

    Posted 10 years ago

    But keep in mind that releasing things as trilogies is perfectly acceptable behavior in the book world, and for a trilogy, the story arc isn't usually over until the last book. Readers of novels are generally OK with "unresolved" as long as there's a promise of resolution coming.

    Curveball (Updating)
    A Rake by Starlight (Updating)
  12. M.C.A. Hogarth (Member)

    Posted 10 years ago

    And some of the cliffhangers in those mid-series books are horrendous, and made me want to fling things against the wall.

    If that's your concern, release the cliffhangerish books only when you're done with the succeeding volume, so that they can be released close to one another. That's my current plan with my trilogies; not to release book 1 until at least book 2 is done.

  13. Erin Klitzke (Member)

    Posted 10 years ago

    I'm not sure that these 100k+ word novels are actually all that bad. If you're pricing them at $4.99 or so for the edited version, that's about the same length as some decent-sized fantasy novels you'd pick up off the shelf.

    I just got done reading Mark Coker's latest book on ebooks, marketing, etc., and he suggested that the 100-120k mark is actually a GOOD thing. So I'd say that the extended length is probably a good thing.

  14. Wildbow (Member)

    Posted 10 years ago

    Well, I know that conventional publishers aim for 100k words for most books. Fantasy epics get a bit of leeway.

    For an ebook, 30-80% extended length may be considered a bonus, but for an actual book (I mean, I know 1889 labs prints books in dead tree format), it's extra bulk, which may detract from things. I'm not positive on the justification or reasoning for why traditional publishers discourage or avoid books of longer length.

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