Full Time Writing

Is it possible for a web fiction writer to sustain himself/herself without a need of a second job? I asked this because I'm thinking of planning my future after I'm graduated.

Yes, but it's not easy. Alexandra Erin does it with her Tales of MU. Of course, she has 40,000+ daily readers.

Easy question to start with... how much do you feel you'd need to earn to "sustain yourself?"

You don't have to answer that publicly, but it's where you have to start. Make certain you've included paying taxes based on your location, of course. Be very, very realistic about how much you'll need. You can't go wrong by estimating too high, but you're setting yourself up for disaster if you guess too low.

If you're in the US, take a look at this site: http://www.livingwage.geog.psu.edu/

Your next question is how you intend to raise the money. Donations? Subscriptions? Individual content purchases? Advertising? Merchandise? Some combination of these?

For each option, take a serious look at how you plan to handle your choice. Things to consider:

- What costs are associated with each choice?

- What structures will you need to maintain each option?

- How much can you reasonably expect to collect?

- How many people do you think you can reasonably reach?

Let me tell you again: Be realistic. In fact, be pessimistic. Highball your expenses and lowball your income. That's much better than going the other way around.

Now you can set goals. I'll give away some of my own information for this... I'll be launching Midnight Cross with a premium subscription option, and with merchandise available. Together, I expect each "converted reader" to bring in about twelve dollars a year. If I'm looking to earn $25K, then I'll need 2084 "converted readers" every year. I don't think that's reasonable for at least a couple years.

So break out some spreadsheets and crunch the numbers, see what you consider realistic expectations.

However, if it were me... I'd make certain I had a more secure source of income before taking this route.


Wow XD Such great advice!

Another question to consider is whether or not you want to write only fiction to support yourself. There are lots of non-fiction markets around that will pay you for content, either as up-front or per-page-view payments, or both.

There's a friendly community of non-fiction content writers at the Accentuate Writers Forum who'll be able to give you a lot more information about this than me! But it's a possible avenue that you might be able to use while you build up your fiction readership to a supporting level.

Good luck!

Good point from Kess! Another great resource for freelancers(believe it or not)is craigslist. Through an ad posted there, I've done some writing for the local edition of the Onion (restaurant and entertainment "profiles"; non-fiction, not the funny stuff) which can net me a couple hundred bucks on a good month.

That's obviously not gonna be enough to live on (unless you're a monk) - but what's cool with freelancing and getting paid for it is that it makes you more confident in your writing, overall. Plus (in my case) I link to the places I've written about when I mention them in my fic...

I have heard many horror stories about Craigslist jobs, particularly for writers. Glad you didn't encounter one of the scam ones, Joel!

On the forum that I linked in my previous post, there's a board for paid writing leads, all of which are checked and verified by the forum admins. Write with confidence!

There'd be serious question about whether even getttin 40,000 visits a day would be enough to live on, frankly.

There was a time when people made $10,000 a month on adsense ads, but they are long gone as any site dealing with monetization will quickly tell you.

It's not a realistic expectation. Best bet is to write for fun and if it shocks you by paying out, THEN quit your day job.

Same as any writing gig.

Just way more so.

PS Just looked at the charts for those MU sites and neither is running at more than 15,0000 unique visitors. And ads are being had for around three bucks. So... are we talking 300 bucks a month?

And that's about as good as it gets.

Well, she also has a stable of consistent donors - check out her "Alumni" page. She's paying all her bills with only her writing. But she's the only one I'm aware of.

I've got the feeling MCM is doing well too. Yes he's doing other stuff too, but it's all along the creative line. He posts regularly how his books are doing. Small example: In the First month of Torrentboy: Zombie World he made close to 2000$. Which is somehing I wouldn't say no to :)

The latest post on Novelr is a guestpost by him explaining some of his tactics, though I think it is mostly a reward for his writing, which is pretty good :)