Will Readers Join My “Pay to Read” Site?
Q: I write erotic paranormal short stories. I currently have 14 stories and am starting to grow a big following. I was thinking of a building a website where people can pay to read my stories.
What are your thoughts on this?
A: My recommendation, as a published author and marketing consultant:
Stephen King tried this sort of thing back in 2000. Sure, he made a ton of money on a few installments where readers paid to read on the honor system, but he’s Stephen Fucking King. In the end, paying readers petered out and the story was never finished. If a complete unknown were to do this today, they’d fail miserably and eventually their mother would get tired of paying a buck a chapter.
If you’re going to have people pay to read your stories then there is no reason why you shouldn’t let them have a whole book. You’ve certainly got the material for it, so what’s holding you back? The days of expensive vanity publishers are over. Anyone can publish a book nowadays.
If you already have 14 stories, here’s what you need to do:
1. Get an editor (I can recommend several) and get all your stories edited. I don’t care if you are Stephen King – you need an editor to catch the things that make readers twitch.
2. Get a book cover done (again, I can recommend some great artists along the price spectrum). There are plenty of great cover artists out there who are happy to sell you their work at a reasonable price. Get something that will grab the reader because although you can’t judge a book by its cover, readers are drawn to buy with good covers.
3. Set up a website (I have a free class online that shows you how to set up a complete author website and social networks at http://lisapietsch.com/free-course/). If you want to be more than a one hit wonder, you’ll need a solid online platform. A website, Facebook Page and Twitter account are a good start. Check out my class. People usually pay $90 for it so you’re getting it at a steal.
4. Self-publish your book of 13 stories through Amazon.com. It doesn’t cost a dime to publish at Amazon. Set up your Amazon Author Page once your book is live.
5. Use your 1st story as a giveaway on your website to help build your following. Be sure to note at the end of the story that there’s more where that came from and include a clickable link that will take readers directly to your Author Page at Amazon.com where they can buy your first book of 13 stories and each subsequent book you write thereafter.