Turning a profit?

I'm sure that some of you write for the pure joy of it.

As for me, I write for the joy and for the possibility that maybe, someday, I'll make a few bucks.

So in that vein, have any of you managed to turn a profit from your web fiction?

And if you have, got any tips?

I've made a few quid, selling print books and Kindle copies of the STREET trilogy as it went along. It's a tough market but if you write something people like then they will buy it. Not many, but some.

The most significant contribution to my sales is cross-pollination. Lots of people continue to find my work through other projects that I've contributed to over the years, in modding and game development. Mostly free stuff. However, if you make one thing people like, they're often willing to take a chance on another thing you've created.

The other thing that helps is to establish a distinct visual identity. If you check out the Files page on streetofeyes.com ( http://streetofeyes.com/?p=files ) you can see my ham-handed attempts at this in the banners. A unique logo is a must. You can actually do a lot with a little help from friends or commissioned artists. I've gotten better at graphic design over the years, but I didn't have any skills or experience to start with, just the knowledge that something is better than nothing. According to my traffic logs, people still click some of those banners when they pop up on forums and the like. And some of those people actually stick around.

Lastly, and most importantly, always do your damnedest to make your story the best, most well-written story you can write. Once you're at that point, be patient. Just keep improving and see where it leads you. Don't lose your head, and don't lose heart.



I make a profit off every serial I do; most of them make me about what you'd expect for a first-time novelist's advance. I experiment with every model I try, everything from "pay to vote on parts of the story" to "pay per episode" to "tip if pleased." I release merchandise. I do e-book versions and hard copies when I'm done. Here's what's worked for me:

1. Have lots of free stuff. Preferably, make the thing you're selling free and monetize it in some other fashion.

2. Be personable. People like paying for someone who works hard and accepts their money with genuine pleasure and gratitude. Bitter artists who update infrequently can make money but they have to work much harder for it.

3. Make the story available in multiple formats. Most people are perfectly content to pay once for a serial, and then if they are excited about it, to buy either a physical book or an e-book version they can take with them away from their computers--

4. --however, keep your prices reasonable. If you know people are going to pay twice or even three times for something, don't squeeze the money out of their pockets. Make it affordable, or you won't make the sale and you will incur patron displeasure.

5. Finally, foster your community. Give the people who like your work a place to talk together about it. Chances are they'll like each other. They make new friends, you make new friends, everyone is happy.

Ryan's points are also good. :)

Please note: it took me years to get to this point, and a lot of projects published. Don't expect your first project to make you a great deal. My first project made me $400. The second, $700. It grows, but you have to write a lot, write consistently, and be willing to make it all available.

I should add it wasn't until the third and fourth projects that I started seeing reasonable numbers. So yes, it takes a while, and a lot of material and effort. :)

I'll let you know when I do, heh.

LOL..Alex, I wouldn't know...you're still handling the money...

Hogarth and Ryan, you're exactly right. I work on a bunch of projects at once. Freelance reporting, humor column, and my web fiction. It helps promote your work.

And Alex and Cassandra? I think we'll all shout it from the mountains if we make a profit :)

I've only ever made any money from selling books. No donations to speak of. No merch sales... at ALL.

Recently, the money's been coming mostly from Kindle ebook sales. It seems to me like that's where things are really exploding right now.

E-books are a great way to make money. You can also sell your serial to a publisher if you're so inclined and the format is suitable. :)

This question is along the same vein, but when did folks put a "DONATE" button on their website (if at all)? IE, at what point did you feel comfortable putting it there?


I always intended to, but I didn't get around to it for two years--and by then people had started to ask me for one.

I am pretty sure you should have a donate button if you're giving away any kind of content on the web. You never know who will want to use it, until you have it available. :)

M.C.A. Hogarth (Member)

Posted 7 minutes ago

I am pretty sure you should have a donate button if you're giving away any kind of content on the web. You never know who will want to use it, until you have it available. :)

Ironically, someone who kicked me to your site was also the person who asked me "The hell don't you have a donate button for?!"

I thought I'd solicit some thoughts, since the friends I've been asking for advice have been fairly unhelpful in this regard.

Ha! That's very cool, Erin. My readers and I have these discussions frequently, about the new patron models/museum models the internet makes possible. They're great folks. :)