Laterpress 101: Guide to getting started
Thinking about signing up for Laterpress? Here's everything you need to know before getting started.
What is Laterpress?
In a nutshell, Laterpress is a free way for authors to publish directly to–and make money directly from–readers via their own author website. That's right: we take 0% on all direct payments authors receive from readers (compared to the 35% to 70% cut taken by traditional digital booksellers).
Better yet, because authors can publish via their own website, readers form a direct connection with the authors they love, not with a company or marketplace. This gives each author freedom from any one platform or bookseller.
How does it work?
So what does publishing via Laterpress actually look like? Let’s walk you through some of our core features:
1. Publish to your own website
Laterpress lets you publish your books and serials to your own branded subdomain (like https://iliad.laterpress.com) or even a custom domain of your own (https://planargates.nategillick.com). With your branding front and center, you can build a direct relationship with readers:
If you decide to use a completely custom domain to host your stories, the best part is your readers don’t even have to know Laterpress exists. And if you ever stop using Laterpress as your publishing platform, you can host your new stories on the same website URL as always.
With central platforms like Wattpad and Kindle, that simply isn’t possible. If you decide to leave those platforms, you risk losing the readership you’ve spent months or even years growing. With Laterpress, authors never again have to choose between their independence and their readers.
2. Sell your books as epubs... and web-native experiences
Laterpress makes it easy to sell your book as a downloadable epub file for readers that prefer e-reader devices. We also let you offer a version of your book that is accessible directly via the web. These web-native books have been engineered from the ground up to meet the expectations of book and web serial readers.
For example, your readers can navigate within chapters by swiping from page to page or by using a slidebar:
Readers can also jump between chapters using your book’s automatically-generated table of contents:
And they can customize their reading expirience with different fonts, line spacing, and themes:
Laterpress also automatically saves each reader's place in your book so they can return to your website whenever they want and pick up reading right where they left off.
3. Charge what and how you want
Instead of forcing readers to jump over to Paypal to pay for your books, Laterpress makes it easy for readers to read and pay for your book all in the same place:
All you have to do to get started is create a Stripe account, connect it to Laterpress, and decide how you want to charge your readers. If you want to give your readers a free preview of your book, you can set the number of chapters they get access to. You also have flexibility over how you charge readers, with three different payment options:
- Entire book fee: You can charge readers a single price for access to your entire book.
- Chapter bundle fee: You can charge your readers a fee to unlock a certain number of chapters at a time. (This is a great option for authors of web serials in particular.)
- Subscription fee: You can charge your readers an annual subscription fee to access all of the books you publish on Laterpress.
Authors can even offer readers a choice between the options above: for example, between a book fee to purchase one book from you or a subscription to get all of your content. It’s completely your choice as the author.
4. Release your book all at once… or serially
Some of the best stories are the ones told serially over years and years. But current book publishing technology (like static ebook files) makes serial publishing hard. With Laterpress, we’ve changed that. You can add new chapters to your book whenever you want with just a few clicks:
And your readers can receive automatic email notifications whenever new content is available so they always stay up to date:
5. Gather insights about readers
Laterpress gives you the tools you need to understand your readers. You can view high-level metrics or download a report that tells you what chapters people are reading and where they might be dropping off:
And because Laterpress integrates with your Stripe account, you can also log into your dashboard and see a detailed breakdown of how much you’re earning and how those earnings are trending over time.
6. Build a mailing list… and community
Whenever readers create an account on Laterpress, they are asked if they want to sign up to your mailing list:
That means every visitor to your book is an opportunity for a direct and enduring relationship with a reader, not just for a one-off transaction. Simply export your reader list from Latepress into a newsletter service like Mailchimp or ConvertKit and you can start communicating directly with readers today.
7. Control the platform you publish on
The conundrum many authors today face is that technology platforms are often essential to building a career in books, but as those platforms grow and investor demands increase, the platforms often make unilateral changes that benefit the company at the expense of authors. Maybe the company hikes fees from 10% to 20%, or they change their algorithm to prioritize more lucrative content. Whatever the change–the authors responsible for growing the platform in the first place don’t even have a voice or a seat at the table.
At Laterpress, we’re building a new kind of platform. Not only are we flipping the traditional script on publishing and helping authors go direct to their readers, but we’re giving authors a direct say in how Laterpress is run. We’re doing this by creating a first-of-its-kind platform constitution voted on by user delegates to help determine important issues like platform fees, content guidelines, and more.
Does Laterpress help readers discover authors?
Yes! Laterpress offers optional Author Community features that authors can opt in or out of. These features are designed to help you grow your readership.
What does Laterpress cost?
Publishing on Laterpress is completely free and we keep 0% of any direct payments you collect from readers. Our third party payment processor, Stripe, charges a small additional fee (roughly 2.9% - 3.4% + 30¢), and you keep the rest.
In addition to free support for direct payments, Laterpress offers optional Author Community features that help readers discover authors. When readers purchase a book or subscribe as a result of Author Community features (e.g. because of referrals from affiliate links or recommendations), Laterpress charges a maximum fee of 15% in addition to Stripe's payment processing fees.
What happens if I leave Laterpress?
We believe that leaving a platform should be easy. That’s why we’ve designed Laterpress so you can take everything with you — your books, subscriptions, and mailing list — with no strings attached. With Laterpress's free custom domain functionality, authors can even leave Laterpress while keeping their website URL.
Making leaving Laterpress easy for our users is a way for us to ensure that authors are sticking with us for the right reasons. Not because we’ve locked them into our proprietary payment system or because we’ve co-opted your readers but because we’ve built the best toolkit for direct book publishing. That's our mission.