Monetization of Serial Stories Online

Finally! I’m back for another blog post, and I plan to update every week again. Some of you may or may not remember that I already discussed monetization of serial stories online. Back then, I discussed how Tapas and Radish were the main websites charging readers money for chapters online. Well, this is an update to that post.

I’ve learned a lot more about these websites charging money for serial stories, so this serves as some pros and cons to getting monetized by an online writing website.

If you read my blog, then you know I’m pretty honest with my opinions and what I find online. So, after doing some digging, I’ve found out that more and more websites are offering contracts for writers that post their stories online. To clarify, I’m not saying this is a bad thing. Writers earning money for their work is always good, but please, do your homework first!

I’ve read so many stories of writers selling their story rights to these websites and not even realizing it. So, based off my findings, here are some of the pros and cons of getting your stories monetized online:

Pros:

  • You earn money for your work
  • It helps build up your writing portfolio
  • It’s another alternative to traditional publishing
  • You can interact directly with your readers through comments

Cons:

  • Depending on the contract, you may give away your story rights
  • Readers may complain they can’t own a physical copy of the story
  • Although it’s published online, your story isn’t given an official ISBN number
  • The website can basically delete your work at any time
  • Most of the time, the stories don’t go through professional editing so the lack of quality may look bad on you as the writer
  • A cut of your profits goes to the website so you won’t get all your money. Also, depending on the website, some of your earnings may also go to the Apple or Google store.

Lastly, most of these websites that offer contracts for stories online aren’t the most reliable companies. Many of them have pooched writers from already established writing websites, like Fictionpress and Wattpad. To do this, their staff violated the terms of service of the websites by creating accounts just to contact writers that already have a large following. When you think about that, it’s pretty shady.

I’ve also seen these other platforms “brag” about how they’ve taken writers from other websites and added them to their site. Now, I know that business is business, and it’s probably no different than one agent taking an actor from another agent, but still, watch yourself when dealing with these companies.

There are still many young writers online on these websites that don’t understand contracts and publishing rights. So, to get a random PM from someone offering them money and a deal, may sound all well and good, but you have to read the small print.

Personally, I don’t care for it, but if you’re a writer that doesn’t want to pursue traditional publishing or self-publishing, then publishing with one of these websites may work for you. Just keep in mind that most of these websites take a cut of your sales, and there are fees through the Google and Apple store you may have to pay for.

Always, always read the fine print! Don’t give away your hard work to these websites. Think of it like this, your story is your child, and you’re looking at different colleges. You want the best for your child, so you should also want the best for your story.

Some writing websites that offer monetization are:

Tapas
Wattpad
Radish
Webnovel

I also heard that some writers use Patron to sell their chapters to readers who pledge on their page, so that’s another option for writers who may not want to publish.

If you already post your stories online and get paid through a website or Patron, can you share your experience with us?

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Life, Middle, and Death

How is everyone doing? I know this year I’ve been disappearing and reappearing, and there are reasons for it. As I mentioned before, I want to bring this blog back. As always, there are many issues in the writing community that I feel need to be discussed. Before I get into future topics I plan to write about, I want to update everyone on what has happened.

To begin:

  • My grandfather recently passed anyway. I did see him before he died, but the pain still hasn’t left me yet. Since the beginning of the year, he had been ill, so I knew it was coming, but it still hurts.

  • The man in my life is also dealing with loss. Sadly, we’ve both lost family members in the same year.

  • I started a new book, and I’m doing edits on COT. Next year, I really want to query my work, so I’m trying to focus on getting the manuscript ready.

  • I’ll be taking programming classes. As I shift my career to more technical writing and web development, I plan to take some front-end development courses to hone my skills. Learning programming isn’t easy, and it takes time, patience, and studying to get good at it, like writing.

  • Next year, I also plan (or hope to at least) to move out of the Bay Area. If you’re familiar with California, then you know how expensive it is. Ideally, we want to move to a cheaper state.

  • Lastly, I went on a two-week vacation this year, so that took some of my free time, but the trip was great! It was relaxing to lay on the beach enjoying the warm air and cool drink in my hand. 

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m doing too much. I set so many goals for myself, but when life creeps up on you, it’s hard to do everything. When a loss happens, you gain a new perspective. With all the death around me this year, I want to stay focused on my goals, so I don’t lose sight of my way before the end comes.

My writing journey has had so many ups and downs and all arounds, but one thing I’m proud of is getting away from the drama that tried to destroy my creativity. I’ve seen writers do some nasty, downright awful things to each other, and I’m glad that I’m past that now.

I’m going to end this blog post here, but before I do, here are some future topics I want to discuss:

Monetization of Serial Stories Online
Does PC Culture Affect Your Writing?
Writing Outside of Trends

As a pre-question for the next blog post, can you answer the below question?

Question: Do you currently get paid for posting your stories online? (I’m not referring to Amazon or selling your story in e-book format? I mean on a site like Tapas, Radish, or inkitt).

 

What does it mean to be a writer?

Hello, everyone! How are you doing? I know it has been a while since I’ve updated, but like I said before, I am trying to get back into blogging.

Today, instead of doing my updates, I’m going to jump right into the discussion. Like the title of this post, I’ve been asking myself recently what does it mean to be a writer?

As I progress into the world of professional writing – technical writing and fiction writing – I’ve been questioning more of what a writer really is.

When I was younger and first started writing, I used to think to be a writer meant just crafting stories for entertainment, but it’s so much more than that.

Right now, I’m reading a book titled Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. In the book, the author pointed out that writer Gary Provost said, “So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader’s ear. Don’t just write words. Write music.”

The quote is taken from Clark, Roy Peter. Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer (p. 91). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

Personally, I found that sentence to describe what one aspect of being a writer means. As writers, we take words and put them together to create meaning. When I think about words and writing, I can only conclude that being a writer means being a wordsmith. Of course, there are plots, character development, and all that jazz, but at the basis of it all, it’s utilizing words to present information or tell a story.

To present information or tell a story, you need good grammar and syntax – you need to master the language that you write in. However, I know that every writer is different, and for some writers, writing is more of a hobby than something they want to master. Writing may also just be a way for someone to express themselves, so I suppose in the end, what does it mean to be a writer is subjective. However, to me, being a writer means you are a master in the language you write in. Depending on what type of writing you do, you are skilled at crafting words together to accomplish your end goal.

Right now, as I pursue a professional writing career and research agents, I want to be the best writer I can. Lately, one thing that has bothered me is typos. Every time I make a typo, I get so mad at myself.

Honestly, this is how I feel when it happens:

when-you-hit-send-then-see-a-typo-23538776

Aside from my hate of making typos, I’ll end the post here for today.

I do want to ask everyone, what do you think being a writer means?

Oh! Also, if you like to watch games on Twitch, then please follow one of my friends here: https://www.twitch.tv/vavaverity. 

Thanks again, everyone!

 

Elements of a Great Story

Well, everyone, I’m back to blogging again. For those who don’t know, there was a big issue happening in the writing community. If you haven’t heard of #cockygate, then you can find some information about it here: Cockygate defeated: judge finds “Cocky” trademark for romance titles unenforceable. 

Basically, one author was trying to copyright the word, “Cocky,” and she was attacking other writers who used Cocky in their book titles. Not only was she attacking them online, but she also had Amazon remove their stories if they had the word, “Cocky” in the title. Today, I’m not going to discuss my feelings about it, but I’m sure you know how I feel. Needless to say, I think it’s silly to try and copyright a word, and it always bothers me when one writer attacks another. Us writers already go through so much, so when one of us isn’t supportive of another, it really weighs down the community as a whole.

Also, here is another reason I warn against using Wattpad: Welcome to the History of Wattpad Wiki. I guess some users of the website think it’s funny to create a Wiki calling out drama between writers…

Anyway…

So, today I want to discuss the elements of a great story. And no, I’m not talking about how you should write in regards to using Show, don’t tell, or metaphors. I want to discuss what aspects of a story bring readers into the world and relate to the characters.

If you read my blog, then you know I like to mention amazing video games I’ve played. As a girl gamer, I have no problem sharing my love for a good RPG, especially JRPGs. Most, if not all of my storytelling, I learned from watching anime and playing JRPGs. The newest game I played, Persona 5, taught me an important lesson about storytelling.

When we (as in us writers), write our stories, we want to capture our readers. Not only do we want them to dive into the world we created, but we also want them to love our characters and read their journey. After playing Persona 5, here are a few important story elements I feel all writers should include in their work:

  1. Make your characters relatable! – When we’re creating characters, we’re basically giving life to a new person. When you think about a person or yourself, what do you think of? Well, usually people have goals, hobbies, little quirks about themselves, and a well-established backstory. Remember, you don’t need to make every character have a tragic backstory story to be related, but you need to make them (at least the main characters) slightly likable and unique.
  2. Diversify the plot and twist – What I mean is, don’t have sad situations or happy situations all the time, twist it up. In life, we go through so many emotions – happiness, sadness, being mad, etc. – so the same should apply to our work. Our characters grow through what we put them through. Life is full of ups and downs and all arounds, so our stories should be the same. And you never know, a reader may just smile along with the character when they finally realize their goal or cry when another character dies.
  3. Have a message – This one, I can’t stress enough! One element of a good story is a clear message your readers can relate to and take with them when the story ends. Of course, I know it’s hard to write something new in today’s world, but you shouldn’t give up. Having a message in our stories is important, and that’s what helps a story stand the test of time. There are reasons the classics are still taught in schools, even if people don’t write or speak that way anymore.

This post is getting long, so I’ll end it here for today. Lately, to improve on my plotting, I’ve been analyzing my favorite stories. For example, I asked myself, “Why did I want to keep reading about these characters?” or “What message did this story teach me?”

If you have time, do the same, and you’ll see how helpful is it.

Question: What do you think are elements of a great story and how do you include that in your own work?

 

Updates and Life

 

Awkward Hi

Hey…I know it has been a while, and I hope everyone is doing well. Right now, my life is like the gif above. Instead of waving hi to everyone, I’m pouring myself another glass of wine.

To be frank and provide updates to everyone, here are the following things I’ve been dealing with:

  • At the beginning of April, I was really sick, like stuck in bed all week and all day sick. After about three weeks and lots of meds, I was finally able to recover.

  • When I was sick, I interviewed for two technical writer jobs. One company said they wanted to hire me, but the opportunity didn’t go anywhere. At first, after waiting almost a month to get the offer letter, they told me the job was put on hold. So, I was sad about it, but they told me once the hold is over, they’ll contact me. Well, they contacted me again and said they were going to send me the offer letter, but now that was like two weeks ago. Needless to say, I’ve let that opportunity go.

  • The other job said they wanted me to come in for an in-person interview, but well, that was almost a month ago. So, I had given up on that opportunity until they emailed me randomly, and said they were still working to fill the position. At that point, I didn’t know what those companies were doing, so I gave up.

  • After all that – the interviews and writing tests – I’m right back to where I started. Sigh…the only good thing is I’m almost done with my technical writing certification. So, after the next two months, I’ll be a certified Technical Writer. In the meantime, it’s more job hunting for me.

  • I’ve been finalizing COT for querying and working on my new stories. Once I complete my technical writing certification and a full-time writing job, I am going to re-brand myself online. So far, I’ve been researching different agents to query and deciding on my new brand.

  • I’m still working on my new writing platform. The writing website I’m building will be hosted by me. Coding takes LOTS of time, so that’s been keeping me busy.

Honestly, I miss writing my blog and discussing different writing topics. I may not have been around for cockygate, but I know all about it. I want to give this blog attention again, but in the meantime, I’ll still be working on my books, my technical writing, and new writing website.

To everyone still following this blog, thank you 🙂 I’ll post some new content soon.

So, how is everyone doing? How are your writing projects going? Does anyone have any news to share? Did you recently publish a book or get an agent? Please let me know.

A Sunken Place (For Writers)

Today, I’m not going to start with updates, since I’ll explain further what’s going on. The title of this post is called “A Sunken Place” It’s a reference to the 2017 movie titled Get Out. For those who don’t know about the movie, it’s a horror story directed by Jordan Peele. And no, today’s post isn’t about the film, but I wanted to mention a scene in the movie everyone can relate to. In the movie, the main character, Chris, is taken to the “Sunken Place.”

I know you’re wondering what this has to do with writing, but just hear me out. The director, Jordan Peele, said the Sunken Place is,

“The reason Chris in the film is falling into this place, being forced to watch this screen, that no matter how hard he screams at the screen he can’t get agency across.”

sunken1

(the image was taken from  http://www.indiewire.com/2017/11/get-out-jordan-peele-explains-sunken-place-meaning-1201902567)

Now, Jordan Peele said more about this, but I want to focus on that particular line. Recently, I’m sure many of you have noticed my lack of updates. Well, for a while, I felt like I was in a Sunken Place with my writing. No matter how much I typed, no matter how much I grew my platform and planned out my stories, I felt my voice would never be heard. For many writers, I’m sure they feel the same way. In many ways, as writers, we often find ourselves in that Sunken Place. It’s a place where we keep trying and trying, and our stories don’t reach an audience.   

Even though I was in that Sunken place, I decided to focus on what I accomplished. So, if you find yourself in that Sunken place, please, free yourself from it. I know it’s hard, so hard, but you can do it.

If you’re in that Sunken Place, I’ve included some motivational and inspiring stories below:

Writer, Susan Sharpio said, “If you keep working hard, someone will notice.”
Lesson: Continue toiling while taking the long view.


(quote taken from the Writer’s Yearbook 2018 – Writersdigest.com)

I found an excellent motivational video here:

As the video said, “If your ideas could talk, imagine that they said, ‘If you die, I die with you, so don’t let me die because you are the only one that can birth me into the world.”

As writers, that’s what our story ideas are to us – we can bring them into this world, so don’t give up.

“Every time you fail, get up!”

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and that it motivated you to keep going. To continue the discussion, can you share your story of motivation? Was there ever a time you wanted to give up, but instead, you keep going? After you kept going, did anything good happen?

I would love to hear what everyone has to say!

 

How to Make Money From Writing and Exciting News

Hey, everyone!

It has been a while since I updated, and before we begin today’s topic, I wanted to post my updates:

  • I’m still working on my rewrite for COT. I’ve changed a few things and added more details about the mer world, so I want everything to make sense.
  • I’m writing a new novella about zombies. The earth has been overrun, so humans moved to space, but what happens when humans with powers return to find survivors?
  • I’m still working on my technical writing certification and freelancing.
  • I’m also learning how to be a front-end web developer, and right now, I’m creating a new writing website for original stories. I’ll talk more about this below.

Yesterday, someone asked how they can make money from writing. When I said they can look into copywriting, technical writing or grant writing, they immediately came back and said they can only write what they enjoy, nothing else. Of course, that’s how most people think. We usually only engage in activities we like. Basically, they wanted to do the fun writing, the creative writing.

For most writers, the ones I’ve met anyway, always want to know how to make money from fiction writing. Sadly, most fiction writers don’t earn that much. Of course, if you’re a writer that’s making a good income from your stories, please feel free to comment on this post.

Now, the universal fact is most writers will never be best sellers and make much money from their stories. That’s just a fact, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make money from writing. I tried to hint at this topic in this post Learning and Writing With Different Styles, but I didn’t get too many comments on it.

In today’s world, especially now, there are so many fiction writers. Hell, you can find more creative writing advice on Youtube than professional writing advice. Why is that? Well, because fiction writing is the fun writing. Most writers want to be the next big thing, but more than likely, it won’t happen. So if you love to write and you want to write regardless of fiction or not, you can make money.

When I think of fiction writers today, I think of:

fiction-writers-fiction-writers-everywhere

As I mentioned in another post, there are jobs for writers, but no, it’s not the fun writing. If fun writing easily paid well, then you wouldn’t have so many self-published writers, and these writing websites wouldn’t be overloaded with stories.

If you really want to make money from writing (while waiting for that big book deal), maybe look into the following careers:

  • Technical Writing
  • Copywriting
  • Proposal Writing
  • Freelancing (look into Upwork.com and Freelancer.com)
  • Video Game Writing
  • Scriptwriting

And I’m not saying you can’t make money from fiction writing, but it’s just hard. The few writers I know that make decent money from self-publishing worked full-time jobs first. They also tested the waters by publishing a book on Amazon to see how their sales would go. Once they established themselves and made enough sales, then they were able to quit their jobs to focus on self-publishing more books. Even freelance writers gather clients and save money (3-6 months worth) first before leaving their jobs.

The point is, making money from fiction writing isn’t easy, and it takes time. When I look for freelancing jobs, I sometimes see ads for story writing, but they only pay about $25 -$200. Most freelance writing is for articles, essays, and ghostwriting.

I have also noticed that more and more writers are selling their work to websites like Tapas and Radish. But readers will complain about buying the chapters and not getting physical copies of the stories. When you establish your platform, you should think about the impression you are leaving on your readers.

Overall, though, making money from fiction writing takes work, but it’s not impossible. If you love to write, you may also enjoy the other writing careers to earn a better income.

Question: Do you make money from your fiction writing and how? If you have a writing career, what do you do?

___________________________________________________________________________________

I know this blog post is longer than usual, but I have exciting news. So, recently, I found out yet again, other writing websites have corrupt business practices. This time, one website removes negative reviews from their paid content (to make them look better). When I checked into this further, I found out that this is a violation of the Consumer Rights Fairness Act:

The Consumer Review Fairness Act was passed in response to reports that some businesses try to prevent people from giving honest reviews about products or services they received. Some companies put contract provisions in place, including in their online terms and conditions, that allowed them to sue or penalize consumers for posting negative reviews.

You can read more here: Consumer Review Fairness Act: What Businesses Need to Know.

Honestly, that’s like Amazon removing bad reviews on some books. As far as I know, Amazon doesn’t do that. If you publish a book online and charge for it, you open yourself up to opinions. Not everyone will like your work, but I feel some writers (even me, sometimes) forget that.

Here are some reviews about best-selling writers, and I don’t think these would be removed: 32 Of The Worst Book Endings That Shouldn’t Have Made It To Print

Not only that, another writing website has shady terms of service. It states that whatever stories are posted on their site, they will own. And that website is run by a big five publisher!

When I learned these things, I finally decided to take a big step. As writers, we’re always told to write the book we want to read. Well, based on that, I decided to start creating the writing website I wanted to post my work on.

That’s right! I’m in the process of creating a new writing platform! I have a few developers I’m working with, and I’m hoping to get this live next year.

So far, I have the current plans for the website:

  • The website will be for original, mature stories. NA and Adult stories, no YA. I feel there are enough writing websites for young adults. I’m still debating on if I should let fanfiction in.
  • No “premium” or “featured” content! No, no, no! My goal is to have a place where writers don’t fight for popularity. I want to run the website like A03. You post your work, get readers, and just have fun writing.
  • Writing resources. I want to have a place where writers can post advice and help others.
  • A beta-reader program. This will be a dedicated program where we pair writers with a beta reader.
  • Classes. I want to provide writing classes for writers. I’m still working on this.
  • Jobs bored. A place where people looking for fiction writers can post jobs.  

When I think of the current writing websites, besides WDC, A03, and Fictionpress, I think of Hunger Games. It’s just a bunch of writers competing for these corrupt businesses’ attention hoping to get noticed, money, and recognition. Like Katniss, I’m ready to break the game and create a better writing community for my fellow writers.

So far, that’s is all for today, but if you want to leave some feedback, please post your comments =)

Question: What do you want on a writing website?

I look forward to reading everyone’s responses!