I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to put my work ‘out there’. I’ve done a lot of research into both traditional/legacy publishing and self-publishing, and decided that self-publishing is definitely the route that I want to take. As well as the standard ‘ebook that people can buy from places’ approach, I really want to use some newer and less conventional tools and platforms as well, for chapter-by-chapter release, because I love the idea of both writing and reading being a process with continuous, active engagement.
I’m looking at Tablo and Wattpad for this. Both have their advantages and disadvantages – Tablo has a smaller user base but seems to be populated more by adults (who are more likely to be my audience), and although Wattpad is HUGE, everything I’ve read about it suggests that it has a generally younger user base – so instead of choosing one, I might go with both, at least for my first release. I haven’t spent much time with either yet, so I’m aware I need to get to know the platforms much better, get to know the people who use them and become active there myself before sharing my own work or I’m going to be screaming into the void.
Neither of these platforms are places where people can purchase books, so I wouldn’t derive an income directly from them but my (possibly misguided? who knows!) hope is that people who enjoy my work will make a purchase through Amazon or Smashwords to support my writing, and also to get a full download-and-keep copy of my books without having to wait and read it in instalments. This may not work out at all, but I tend to start projects with a bit of faith in people’s willingness to support creativity, so I’m going to give it a shot anyway.
In terms of writing-as-an-income, I’m planning to use Patreon but from the research I’ve done into it, it seems to be worth waiting until I have a larger regular audience before dedicating time and energy to it. For anyone who doesn’t know, Patreon is a platform where people can support creativity through paying an amount of their choosing, either on a rolling monthly basis or a project-by-project basis. My (future) plan for Patreon would be similar to what I’m thinking doing at Tablo and Wattpad, except patrons would have first access to new work and some other nifty rewards for their support. Again, this is a bit of a faith-in-human-nature mission, which may or may not work out. But it’s all part of the adventure and my inner cynic can shut up.
I actually do need to make some money from my writing. As much as I’d love to be able to afford to throw my creations out there into the world for no return (if I won the lottery, I would totally do this though), I need an income. Due to ongoing and fairly major health issues, I don’t currently have any other realistic and practical options for earning an income. This is a long story that I’m not getting into here so please, for the love of all that is pink and fluffy, don’t comment with suggestions, however helpful you may be trying to be.
Writing is something I can do even with wonky health stuff, something I don’t suck at and, most importantly, something I absolutely love and really want to do. I’m aware that it’s never going to be a massive money-spinner, but I don’t need massive money to be spun. I’m pretty inexpensive to run and my living costs are low. I’ve never had much money and as long as I’m comfortable, anything above that is a bonus. I would be more than happy to be able to build to a regular modest income over the next few years and am not expecting more than that (although if more than that happened, I would be overjoyed).
I’m under no illusion that any kind of publishing is easy and I know it requires a lot of very hard work that isn’t directly related to writing. To be honest, I’m as excited about all that other stuff as I am about the actual writing.
This post is getting quite long, so I’m going to continue tomorrow with part 2.