Long-Term Earnings Online
Authors with royalties hope for long-term earnings. Now all writers can enjoy them.
Just self-publish online.
Article writers have a certain mindset about money: I submit my work, the publisher pays me the fee. Period. Done. That's it.
Yes, it's nice if there are later subsidiary sales. A few extra dollars never hurt. But the payoff comes (or at least is supposed to come) upon submission, or acceptance, or publication, or kill-fee time. There's that one big payment, and that's it. You've got your money. On to the next project.
So when a writer accustomed to seeing nice-sized checks sees the first returns from online self-publication, they can seem puny.
Puny? Downright risible! A few dollars? For a whole month's publication? Why, with newspapers I received hundreds of dollars for an article that appeared for only one day, and with magazines I received thousands of dollars for an article that was current for only one month (or quarter)! How am I gonna live on just a few dollars?
But where is that article now? If it's "evergreen," you can try to sell it again, and go through the whole query/ marketing/ deadline/ submission/ editing/ correction/ fact-checking/ proofreading/ check-is-in-the-mail rigmarole again.
Or you can look at earning money in an entirely different way: long term.
One 2000-word article may make 15 to 20 good web pages with three or four blocks of ads on each page: 45 to 80 ad blocks total. The ads on each page may produce only a few dollars per month on average...let's say $3 per page per month.
Times 12 months, that's $36 per year for a page. Not much? A joke!
In 10 years, $360. Still a joke.
But what if you have not 15 to 20 pages, but 150 to 200 pages? What if they produce $5400 to $7200 per year?
And what if—like some online writers I know—you worked for a few years to get 4000 pages online? That's $144,000 per year!
That's still nothing. Here's the best part: what if these pages need only minimal, occasional maintenance over the course of the year? And what if these pages were to remain useful for a decade?
At the end of a decade, they would have produced $1,440,000. Yes! Nearly a million and a half dollars.
The whole point here is to look to, and work for, the long term. Yes, you will have to invest some time in getting your work online, and you won't earn much for it in the short term. But this is truly an investment in your future.
With newspaper and magazine article writing, there is no future. There's this week and this month, period. Next week and next month, it's back to the grind of marketing and querying and contract-signing and editing and all the rest. Your career and your workload is long term, but your payments are strictly here-and-now short-term. (And the way print is going, who knows how long even the short-term will be?)
Even books are short-term these days. If your book doesn't sell a minimum—large—number of units within a few months, it's remaindered, and that's the end of it. No long-term royalties.
But if you're the publisher, and you publish your own work online, payment is forever. Write it once, earn from it forever. Steady monthly income—something freelance writers never expect to see.
Just think about it.