Good morning authors and welcome to another #WriterWednesday, where we hash on about industry, community, and business. Today, I thought I would touch on something a little different. We all know writing and selling books is the biggest part of the job and reaching that sweet spot of possibly making a living wage from writing often seems like an impossible goal. So today on the blog, we are casting the spotlight on a few alternate avenues of income for authors to explore. As always, these avenues come with the caveat of mixed success, often requiring time, effort, and trial/ error but can be lucrative.
Alternative Income Avenues for Authors
I am starting with this one because it is this because it crops up in conversation a lot and it is slightly different from a lot of other donation platforms. Patreon is an artist and creator platform designed to create a steady source of income. The platform is set up for creators to provide exclusive content and a tiered reward system in exchange for patron support in the form of small fees per tier or an open donation system.
Now for the pros and cons: Patreon requires quite a bit of time, planning, and patience. It also requires a steady stream of content and promotional awareness to create sustained interest. Not only will you need to create tier rewards that you, the creator, will provide, it can take a long time for things to kick off. Patreon is actually something I would not recommend to starting authors, BUT it is something I would recommend to authors who could potentially shift their fan base to Patreon in exchange for series extras, exclusive novels and novellas, and other bonus goodies. If you have put out a few books in a series that has stirred some interest, Patreon could be an alternative avenue that works for you. Some genre will also like do better than others, especially romance and erotica.
As I stated above, Patreon is not something I would recommend for authors just starting out, and even if you have an established fan base, the work load that often comes with Patreon might not be for you. There are several sites and services that offer authors a direct donation method such as paypal's direct donation widget that can be added to your website or using something like kofi.com.
Pros and Cons: This is usually not a steady income stream though you can set up a shop on sites like Kofi to provide little extras and swag. However if can be a nice occasional bump.
Direct Sales & Personal Shops
Most self published authors are all over this one, but it is something trad and small press authors use as well. Publishing through third party sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble means authors receive a chunk of their royalties.
Authors are often to purchase copies of their own books at base value from their distributor or publisher. If you have an author website using builders like Wix, you have the option to create your own shop on site which you can sell signed copies and even book themed swag. Some use business sites like Etsy to set up shop.
Pros & Cons: Having a shop means keeping it stocked and creating awareness that it is available. You also take on the responsibility and liability of shipping and handling your products. But selling books directly from your website means you get the full cut of the sale.
Serialization is making a comeback in a big way in recent years thanks to several platforms like Radish and Tapas. Even Amazon is getting in on the serialization boom with Kindlevella. Serialization often has a different feel and style to it than straight up novels. The idea of drip fed stories has proved to create a consistent demand and whether you choose to write the full story then publish it in pieces or can commit to writing a few chapters a week, serialized stories could be a way to provide another avenue of income while you are working on other pieces.
Pros and Cons: Once it's out there, it's out there. This is not something I would recommend for stories you may be seeking other representation with. And writing a serial can be exhausting on top of other commitments but if it is an avenue that appeals, it can create other opportunities.
To that End
All these avenues are ones you can explore. And none of them may be for you, which is okay. But if you were wondering about some of the options out there, we hope this provides you a starting place. As always, remember to be kind to yourself.