Free vs Paid, The pros and cons to posting online

‘Do I have to pay to read the rest of the story?’

That’s a comment most creators get when posting online, if it’s not for free, many people aren’t interested in continuing further.

Content creators have the world at their fingertips when it comes to online publishing, there are many sites and resources we can use to get our works there, but there are downsides when publishing your work for free and on sites that aren’t yours to control.

In my experience, let me tell the pros and cons I have encountered when publishing online.

Sites like Tapas, Inkitt and Wattpad are great for writers and comic artist to share their works, it allows them to strut their stuff and show off the worlds trapped in their heads. I first started out on Wattpad and then went on to post on Tapas and Inkitt. I initially created Living with Vampires for fun, after playing the sims. I was on the last leg in hopes to be seen as an adequate or good writer. I didn’t expect any story coverage and imagine my surprise to learn my story was picked as an editors choice and trend for one week on Tapas front page. My story blew up, many people came to read my story, and I received many wonderful comments. This gave me the boost I needed.

So let’s start with the pros before we dive into the negative aspect.

· You get your stories/work out there

· It gives a confidence boost, breaking away the uncomfortable feeling when showing people your work

· People online have adapted to reading poorly written stories, you could upload the first draft and see where it takes you.

· You build a small fanbase/ community

· People are excited to see what happens next and anticipate your next story

· Post one chapter at a time

· One work can be successful and leads to more readers for your other stories.

· Ad revenue. For every view on your story, you gain some profit (Tapas only)

Now, this is what I experienced, there may be more to this list. Comment below some Pros.

Downside and this is to be expected as you are posting publically for free, but people who come to these sites want to read for free. They don’t want to pay or simply can’t afford to donate. (which is perfectly fine for people who are financially struggling). Which, In a sense, works well with one of the pros. ‘The writing isn’t great, but hey, the story is free.’ When I had my first taste of mass viewing of my story, I was ecstatic but too . . . well greedy. I’m gonna admit that here and now. I legitimately thought I could live off my works as a writer using Patreon or Ko-fi. Still, I didn’t have an audience that could donate without financially hurting themselves or an audience who wasn’t passionate enough to contribute, to begin with. This could have led readers to turn away, and that’s my fault and my fault alone.

I have learned not to do this anymore but also realised I can’t always keep posting for free online. Hiring editors and artists they cost money, but it’s all in a labour of love, and I may never see that money again, I’m ok with that. I’ve accepted that writing will always be a part-time gig for me, my books will always be apart of my life, but they won’t be my primary source income anymore.

So, the Cons

· The audience will not pay for content – some expect it to be free regardless. I was given a one-star review on Inkitt cause I didn’t post the whole story for free.

· Content management. This grinds my gears a lot. As a fellow creator, I believe we should create what we want without the fear of losing our account or not gaining any reads. Tapas has a strict policy on what can be posted on their site, and I have seen artists having to change the story because of it. They struggle even more to get their works noticed, and that’s not fair.

· Negative comments. This will happen, with positive can come with negative as you are in the public view. I have been dealt with a few, some about the formatting, and real snobs who just want to beat you down, but this can make you stronger to combat against negative reviews with your published piece. Writing is subjective, and not everyone will like what you have written or how you’ve written it.

· Algorithms, getting reads is hard, and looking at another work that is written worse than what you write and see it be more popular than your, stings. And usually because of how many chapters they continue to write, the genre itself. Boy Love is prevalent on these platforms and gets more notice, plus some of these stories have over eighty chapters or more, the more they are regularly updated, the more notice your story gets. Sites recommend to post nearly every day or twice are day if creators want to be noticed, which can be incredibly draining.

Comment below what Cons you experienced?

These can seem to be worse off than the pros, but I wouldn’t have published my books if I wasn’t given the boost I needed if I didn’t start publishing online. I loved 2019, working on my stories non stop and meeting some incredible people along the way and, turned into long term friends. <3

I highly recommend posting you WIPS for any writers who are starting out, just be cautious and consider what you want to do long term. Do you keep the ones you have posted for free or edit them and get it published?

Comment below or send me a message about your experiences regarding publishing online, I would love to hear what they were and what you have learnt from them.

Until next time

- Belinda

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