The Many Ways to Monetize Your Writing Via Laterpress
A summary of options and pricing strategies authors have for selling content through Laterpress
At Laterpress, we want authors to have complete control over how they choose to price and sell the work they distribute through our platform. In this article, I’ll walk you through several different possible strategies for how you could monetize your work through us.
Selling Completed Books
This has been the most common method of selling a book for ages, and needs little explanation. On the details screen for your book, set your price in the “Price (non-subscriber)” box. In “Price for a bundle of…” select “Entire book.” Anyone who buys the book now has access to the entire book right away.
Serialized Pricing (Pay-As-You-Go)
Laterpress supports selling bundles of chapters, ideal for monetizing serial content. Instead of selecting “Entire book” in the “Price for bundle of…” box, you can choose how many chapters readers buy access to at once. The system allows for every number from 1-10, then goes up in multiples of five all the way to 100 chapters.
There’s a lot of flexibility in this option. Do you want to charge $5 for 20 chapters? $1 for 10 chapters? Remember that Stripe processing fees apply to each transaction, so consider the balance that seems right between providing a good return for you, and good value for your readers.
Bundles unlock chapters in the order they appear in the book, so a 10 chapter bundle would unlock the first 10 chapters. Buying another 10 chapter bundle would unlock 11-20. This is important to be aware of, because if readers have been previously reading or purchasing your serial elsewhere, and were on episode 40, they will not be able to only buy content from episode 40 and later.
Consider the length of your serial as well when sizing bundles. If your serial ends at 50 chapters, and you sell bundles of 20, anyone who buys the last bundle will have 10 chapter credits that do not carry over to another book. In the future, we plan to have an ability to mark a serial “complete” and the final bundle of chapters will be prorated - but that functionality does not exist at this time.
Strategy #1: Timed Exclusivity
Consider making your book available first on Laterpress, for a limited time. Major retailers often make a 30-50% commission on every book sale. In comparison, Laterpress doesn't take anything out of your direct sales. Offering the book first on Laterpress can channel your most enthusiastic fans into a platform where you’re making much more per sale.
Strategy #2: The Early Access Premium
This strategy involves selling access to your book early, at a higher price than the intended final price on the book. To avoid upsetting readers, I would communicate to readers that the price is higher due to early access, and give guidance on when the price will change.
For example, you could serialize a novel, publishing each chapter as it’s ready. While it’s serializing, it may cost $9.99. This gives access to the entire book early to people who want to read new chapters as soon as they’re done. When the book is complete, you could then set the final price to $4.99. Again, if using a timed pricing structure like this, we'd recommend communicating this to your readers, so they can make an informed decision on if they want to purchase and read now, or wait.
The Annual Author Subscription
Laterpress allows authors to set up annual subscriptions. By purchasing the subscription, readers have access to all your content without having to buy each story individually. (Except for anything placed in a Collection subscription – more on that below.)
While logged in to your author account and looking at your books, go down to settings. Once you’ve set up your Stripe account, enable subscriptions, then set your price. The subscription price is the minimum readers will need to pay to access your content - the system allows readers the option of paying more.
It is possible to make some stories available only to readers who have purchased a subscription. To do this, go to the individual book, and on its Details screens, for “Who can read it?” choose “Subscribers Only.”
You could use the annual subscription to offer readers a bundle discount on all your stories, as well as a way to provide you with ongoing support. Making a story subscriber exclusive is a way to provide extra perks to your biggest fans.
It is possible to set up a subscription fee for specific collections of books. (See our guide if you need help with setting up collections.)
Collection subscriptions could be useful if you write in different genres, and know your readers may not necessarily be interested in all of your content. If you have a paranormal romance series, and a science fiction series, each could be set up with their own collections, each with their own price, so readers can buy just the series they’re interested in.
To set up a collection subscription, from the click “edit” on the relevant collection. On the “Details” screen, under “Subscription” click the option for “Collection-only subscription,” then set the subscription price.
Important note: Setting up a collection subscription removes that collection from the author (default) subscription, meaning that anyone who has an author subscription no longer has access to that content, unless they also purchase the collection subscription. Consider carefully when deciding between doing an author subscription or a collection subscription (or a combination of both), and make sure you’re communicating to your readers what they’re buying with either option.
Free with Optional Subscription
Authors can set up an annual subscription without having to have prices on any individual books. Feel free to make your writing free, and advise readers if they want to support you, then they can purchase the annual subscription. You could put additional stories or bonus content behind the subscription paywall as a reward for those who do provide financial support.
“Best Enjoyed Directly From My Site”
Laterpress allows authors to use custom domains, making it possible to host your books directly from your own site! Readers can go to YourAuthorSite.com, click on one of your titles there, and start reading instantly, with your brand front-and-center the whole time. (Meaning it shows to readers that they’re still on YourAuthorSite.com, and not some other site.) See https://www.malcolmacan.com/ as an example. Your readers are interacting with you, not a giant mega-corp.
Present the online version of your book as the best version of your book, the definitive edition readers need.
Reasons you could offer readers on why they should read your book online, directly from you:
- For the same book price, they’re providing you more financial support than with major retailers. (Laterpress takes no commission on direct sales. Most retailers take 30% or more. If our author community features assisted in making a sale, the platform fee is 15%.)
- Books are web-native, meaning they can be read anywhere a reader has internet access, and from anything that has internet access. No need to download an app, buy a specific ereader, or have a particular operating system. I’ve read Laterpress content on my PC, ipad, iPhone… even my Xbox. (Seriously. I used the Microsoft Edge browser installed on the system and read off my TV.) Authors also have the option of making books downloadable so readers can forward it to their ebook reader of choice.
- Reading progress is saved automatically, making it easy to pick up from where you left off, even if you’ve changed devices.
- Consider adding bonus content not available in other editions, to incentivize readers to buy direct, instead of from a retailer.
Over time, there will be even more reasons to enjoy stories through Laterpress. In the future, we’ll be adding a feature to quickly and easily offer audiobook versions of your books. We’ll also be adding social features to facilitate author-reader communication (as well as readers interacting with each other) to truly strengthen that direct connection with your audience.