While fanfiction itself cannot be published or monetized for copywrite reasons, there are plenty of other ways you can make money from your stories. Some of the most profitable include: rewriting and self publishing them, starting a writers Patreon account, or designing fanfiction book covers.
I’m sure some of you are skeptical already. After all, if you’ve spent any time at all on fanfiction sites, you’ve seen the disclaimers: This body of work is based off the work of, and entirely owned by the author of blah blah blah. We’ve all heard the spiel, and while it’s true, there are still ways and means to make money from your work. Trust me – I’ve done the research!
Realistically, you’re unlikely to make any serious cash selling your stories, but at least you’ll be getting some reimbursement for all the time and effort you put in. After all, you’ve done all the hard work already (writing the thing!).. now it’s just about monetizing it!
By far the easiest way to make money from your fanfiction is to start a Patreon account. As, you don’t need to rewrite or republish your content using this method.
Patreon is a subscription based service where fans can donate/make contributions to their favorite creators. Usually exclusive perks/incentives are offered by the creator in return. Sometimes these perks are tiered, with better incentives being offered at higher price points.
Nowadays, you can start a Patreon for just about anything (no really). You’ll find all sorts of writers, creatives and creators on the platform.
You can check out other creators using the platform to market their fanfic’s here. Some of the more popular writers are bringing in upwards of $2,000 a month!
Pretty impressive right?
2. Self Publishing
If your fanfiction is only tangentially related to the original works, it may be possible to rewrite and self publish your story. Popular books such as City of Bones, After and Point Pleasant are all popular examples of fanfiction rewrites .
While traditionally publishing your book is a good option if you’re willing to do the legwork (and don’t fear rejection like I do), you’ll see much faster results/success publishing it yourself. Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP, is a fantastic resource for writers looking to publish their own, original stories! KDP offer a fantastic print on demand service where the book is only printed once an order has been placed. This means you don’t need to keep any physical stock of your book, nor do you need to meet any minimum order requirements! Any book you sell is just money in your pocket!
There are also options for publishing e-books directly to the kindle store! How cool!
It’s a relatively straightforward process, but does require some basic graphic design & formatting knowledge.
If you’re interested in learning more about the self publishing process, there are plenty of your authors who have made a name for themselves doing just this. Check out Hannah Parker, Jenna Moreci and Abigail Hair for instance! It’s worth noting that most of these authors made money self publishing their original works, not revised fanfics!
When it comes to actually rewriting your story, Microsoft Words “Find and Replace” function is going to become your best friend! Google Docs and Apple’s Pages also have similar functions! At an absolute minimum, you’ll need to change character and location names. But, you’ll also need to write out an mentions of major plotlines/events from the original novel. Get a few friends or family members to read over your manuscript before publishing it, as it’s EXTREMELY important that you’ve removed every single mention of the original work. Otherwise, you might find yourself in some legal trouble down the line!
Related Reading: How To Make Money Selling Cookbooks + Design & Publish Them Yourself
3. Sell Fanfiction Book Covers
If you know your way around Photoshop, Illustrator or Canva, you can make some pretty decent money selling fanfiction book covers online! After all, not everybody is capable of creating beautiful Wattpad covers; so, if you already have experience, why not put it to good use?
There are plenty of opportunities for cover artists on websites like Fiiver and Upwork; especially if you cater your services specifically toward wattpad/fanfiction authors!
Start making a name for yourself in the community by linking to your shop in your own stories, and getting other authors to do the same!
4. Start a Blog
Unless you’ve spent a significant amount of time reading finance blogs and watching marketing videos (like I have), you might not that there’s money to be made in blogs. I know it certainly came as a surprise to me!
Honestly, I thought blogging was a thing of the past (or at least only something only self-centered, egotistical people did). Either way, it certainly wasn’t a pursuit for ME, the average joe!
Neither of these things are true though. In fact, a lot of the content you see on google comes from blogs. If you’ve ever searched for a recipe online, or read an article about the best dirt bike/home security system/laptop you’ve almost certainly visited somebody’s blog.
Making money from a blog isn’t particularly hard either, you simply need to run a few ads here and there, or link to affiliate products/services. You can even go so far as to start selling your own products online if you want! Some bloggers sell online courses, while others make downloadable PDF’s and Ebooks.
If you’re wondering what any of this has to do with fanfiction, I’m getting there! Believe it or not, the hardest part of starting a blog is deciding what to blog about; and we’re serving it to you on a silver platter!
Starting a blog about writing fanfiction is an absolutely FANTASTIC idea. Chances are that you’ve already got a built in audience (the people who currently read your fanfics), AND there’s next to no competition on google!
While you can’t (and shouldn’t) post your fanfics to your blog, you can write advice articles. Tell us how you were able to get to 100k story views, write in 3rd person, or do character research. The sky really is the limit here; the possibilities are endless!
Along the same vein, Youtube is a fantastic place to earn a little extra cash. Again, we don’t recommend actually posting your fanfiction content there, but you can start a channel about writing, storytelling and general advice.
Put a link to your YouTube channel in your author bio and start promoting it to your friends and family. The more people you can convince to watch your YouTube videos, the more money you can make in AdSense.
On average, you can expect to earn about $18 per 1,000 ad views- however this number does fluctuate somewhat depending on what kind of channel you run. The good news is, your earning potential with YouTube is exponential. The bad news is you have to put yourself out there, and learn to market yourself as a creator. It can be a steep learning curve!
6. Write Commissions
There are plenty of people who are willing to pay top dollar for writing commissions on freelancing platforms. If you already have natural affinity for writing, and love doing it, it can be a great way to make a bit of extra cash.
If you’re unsure whether there’s any real money to be made, just check out how much some writers are charging on Fiiver!
I’ll admit, you won’t always be writing stories you like, about fandoms you like… but, at least it’s a start! Once you’ve established yourself on the platform, you can star being a little more selective about the jobs you do/don’t take!
7. Fanfiction Binding (Book Binding)
While selling fanfiction is definitely a no-no, printing & binding it for personal use is perfectly okay. So, if you already know how to bind books or are up for learning, it’s a good way to capitalize on that knowledge.
Lots of people dream of seeing their work in print one day – so it’s something they’re more than willing to pay YOU to do. Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram and Pinterest are great platforms to market your services as they’re all extremely visual – but you could even go so far as to start a book binding website if things go well. If starting an online store isn’t really your thing, there are lots of creators selling their book binding services on Etsy too!
Your books can be as intricate, or as plain as you like. Trust me when I say there’s a market out there for both.
If you want a quick introduction to book binding, Jennifer Bates has a fantastic YouTube channel all about it – I recommend starting with this video. She also Pinterest account that you can follow for even more binding tips!
While writing your own, original content is always going to be more profitable than writing fanfiction; I hope this article taught you that it is still POSSIBLE to make some form of an income from fanfics. While you’ll likely need to spend time rewriting some of your stories or building a brand, every small business/side hustle takes work. Nothing in life comes free!
If this article has inspired you to keep writing, please drop me a message on Pinterest (this is where I’m most active) and tell me about it. I’d absolutely love read your stories and hear about your successes!