Passive Income for writers
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One goal for authors is to have a published book. Another goal is to make money from that published book. It’s a challenge to meet both of those goals, so when the opportunity comes along to get some extra cash in your bank account you should explore it. Today, we’re exploring ways to earn passive income as a writer.

Passive Income Option #1: Upload Your Book to Additional Platforms

If you have self-published your book and decided not to offer the book exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, you are leaving money on the table if you are not also published on all of the major e-retailers: Amazon, Apple’s iBooks, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Kobo, Google Play, and Smashwords. Don’t forget to also upload it to Overdrive and Hoopla so that libraries are able to order it and offer it digitally to their patrons.

You can do all of this yourself, if you have the time (most cost effective). You can hire a publishing assistant (PA) to do it for you (hourly fee varies). Or you can go through a service like Draft2Digital and for 15% of your royalties, they will upload it almost everywhere for you. They’ll even provide you with a consolidated book link to use so that you can provide that for social media posts and advertisements. For example, here is the Books2Read link for my science fiction and fantasy short story collection Flash Magic: https://books2read.com/u/mBM6KD. The reader clicks that link and instead of going to one retailer, it goes to a landing page where the reader can choose where they want to purchase it from.

Another additional sales channel to consider is audio books, which I discussed in a previous post. Find out how audio books can be a stream of passive income, click here.

Passive Income Option #2: Games & Apps

Another sales channel that isn’t as well known is reader applications and interactive games for smart phones and tablets.

Once you have a published book and you have the gaming rights to it, you can explore having your novel serialized on an app or turned into a Choose Your Own Adventure-like game. The good news is this requires no additional work on your part. The bad news, is that some of the contracts can be predatory towards the writer, so I highly recommend having a literary agent or an entertainment lawyer look over it before signing anything. At the very least, you must know what rights you are selling, how much you will be compensated, and how often.

One reader app choice is to have your entire book able to be read from an app, but the reader buys tokens to unlock a chapter. The KISS (romance novels) and SCREAM (thrillers) apps from Crazy Maple Studios are an example of this. You get a royalty based on the amount of tokens that the readers buy to unlock your chapters and read your book on their phone.

Another app choice is to have your book turned into a visual novel game. The app company takes your novel and illustrates it, changing the story to fit into their readers’ expectations and to allow the reader to immerse themselves in the game by offering dialog and other choices. Like the reader app, the consumer buys tokens to purchase in-game items. In some cases, it’s for a special hairstyle or costume for the main character. In others, it’s to unlock a special scene or to make a different choice than what is offered for free.

My visual novel Pleasure in Paradise from Chapters Choose Your Romance app also by Crazy Maple Studios is based off my self-published book, Beach Happens. When you open up the visual novel, you first get to name the main character, choose what they look like, choose their hairstyle and outfit. Then the story starts. It costs “tickets” to read chapters and “diamonds” to make special choices. Tickets and diamonds are given out daily, but to get instant gratification, the app sells them. You get a royalty on how many are sold.

Passive Income for Unpublished Authors

But what if you’re not a published author? You can still get paid by serializing your novel on apps like Wattpad. Wattpad allows you to upload your fiction or non-fiction to their site and have it available to over 150 million readers. There are a few ways to make money from Wattpad. You can have a virtual tip jar on your work, where readers can send you money if they appreciated or liked what they’ve read. You can choose to have advertisements on your novel or short story and get paid per click on the ads. Or you can apply to be a Wattpad Star and get even more opportunities for revenue.

All of these apps are free for the reader and it’s possible for the reader to play your visual novel or read your book without ever purchasing anything. However, a lot of the readers still do because it takes a while to build up those tokens, and people are genuinely impatient—especially when it’s a good story. Also most modern smartphone users have become accustomed to paying a nominal fee for a boost or a bonus in a game. Candy Crush, Farmville and other popular games have paved the way for this. And at the cost of a cup of coffee, a lot of phone users have written off the cost as a good value for their entertainment.

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USA Today bestselling author, Jamie K. Schmidt, writes erotic contemporary love stories and paranormal romances. Her steamy, romantic comedy, Life’s a Beach, reached #65 on USA Today, #2 on Barnes & Noble and #9 on Amazon and iBooks. Her Club Inferno series from Random House’s Loveswept line has hit both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble top one hundred lists. The first book in the series, Heat, put her on the USA Today bestseller list for the first time, and is a #1 Amazon bestseller. Her book Stud was a 2018 Romance Writers of America Rita® Finalist in Erotica. Her dragon paranormal romance series has been called “fun and quirky” and “endearing.” Partnered with New York Times bestselling author and actress, Jenna Jameson, Jamie’s hardcover debut, SPICE, continues Jenna’s FATE trilogy.

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