6 Ways to Make Money Writing Fanfiction
Want to do what you love and get paid for it? Here are a few ways to make it happen...
Fanfiction has always been a legal grey area—one that gets even murkier when you get money involved. In general, you cannot legally make money from fanfiction that is based on fandoms that are still under copyright. Sites and apps that publish original fiction, like Kindle or Wattpad Paid, don't publish fanfiction for precisely this reason. But there are a couple of alternative options for those looking to use their fanfic-writing skills to earn money...
Self-Publish Public Domain Fanfiction on Kindle Unlimited
While Kindle Unlimited doesn't allow authors to publish any books that they don't have the rights to—and that includes most fanfiction—they will allow legal forms of fanfic like anything based on public domain content. In the US, that includes anything originally published before 1928, like Sherlock Holmes or Pride and Prejudice. (There are also some rare brands that have very generous content policies that will allow creators to write their own "unofficial" content like Minecraft.) Authors can write books and earn money when people read them on Kindle Unlimited.
[ Related: 7 Awesome Fandoms That Are in the Public Domain ]
Write Commissioned Stories
If you have a knack for writing fanfic, use your talents to create by-request stories for other fans. You can sell custom commissions on sites like Etsy and Fiverr. Commissions can be restricted to fandom or by more specific niches like unique crossovers or a particular ship. Authors can make $10-15 for around 1000 to 2000 words (and sometimes for NSFW content).
Get a Patreon
If you've built a following on sites like Tumblr or Fanfiction.net, you can direct your fandom to Patreon. Users, known as "patrons", pay a monthly fee for access to content. That content can be anything from advance access to new chapters to bonus content and exclusive fics. Patrons also get to interact with their favorite writers through things like community chats and email lists.
Get Tips Through Ko-fi
Another option for writers who post on fanfiction sites is Ko-fi. Many writers use it as a digital tip jar and direct readers who enjoy their work to a Ko-fi link. Unlike Patreon, which only has monthly subscriptions, Ko-fi supporters can send you a one-time tip with a little message of appreciation. Writers probably shouldn't expect to make a living off these tips, but it can be a helpful boost and the site can also be used in similar ways to Patreon with a monthly subscription option.
Convert It to Regular Fiction
For authors who want to pursue more traditional publishing options for their fanfiction without the legal ramifications, there's one option worth considering: convert it to original fiction. Many recent famous books were once fanfiction; The Mortal Instruments was a Harry Potter fic and Fifty Shades of Grey was based on the Twilight series. The writers made some edits—renamed characters, removed references to canon-specific locations and concepts—and made the stories distinct enough that they could now sell as their own original works. Original fiction can be published anywhere, including with Wattpad Paid and traditional physical book publishers.
Are you making money as a fanfiction writer? Share your story in the comments...