Guest Post From C. A. Sanders: Jukepop Serials Adds Donation Option

On October 15th, JukePop Serials issued a press release announcing the addition of a donation option for their hosted serials. This means that now authors can solicit donations from their readers. Each serial will have a donation button, along with a personalized message from the author. The minimum donation in one dollar, and goes into an Amazon account for the author, minus a small hosting fee for JukePop.

JukePop Serials, which recently celebrated its one year anniversary, has taken a progressive stance regarding author compensation from the beginning. Unlike many sites, Jukepop pays its writers upon story acceptance, and offers additional monetary incentives for story popularity.

The donation option was actually added last week, but JukePop decided to refrain from announcing it until all the inevitable bugs were worked out of the system.

From the press release to authors, by JukePop Serials’ founder Jerry Fan:
We know how hard all of you work to write great stories for JukePop readers, so we are thrilled to announce the new Support Author donation button for JukePop authors. This new tool will let your fans make a donation to show how much they enjoy your work and also enable you to make money on the side to support your writing.

My Opinion: As many of you know, my serial, The Watchmage of Old New York is hosted by JukePop, and continues to be very popular (3rd place in popularity out of several hundred serials). Perhaps this makes me biased in favor of the option, but I have other reasons to support it.

I firmly believe that writers should be fairly compensated for their work. Writing is hard, writing is time consuming, and writers should not be forced to work for nothing. It is not a matter of money, it is a matter of respect. By compensating authors, you are saying “I respect the work that you do, and I think that it is worth something.”

I have been writing professionally for over a decade, and I have been published in many literary journals and web zines. For many years, the best that a writer could expect in compensation was “contributor copies,” three or four copies of the journal that accepted your work. If you were especially lucky, you might find a magazine that offered an honorarium of ten to twenty dollars. It was a system that was made for academics, professors and adjuncts that published in order to improve their resumes. It was nigh impossible for a full time writer to make a living in such a manner.

The internet and recent change in the industry allows writers to self publish online and reach an audience. The rise of the online novel and webserial created a paradigm change that freed writers from the bondage of “contributor copies,” though they still often work for no compensation. That JukePop is willing to host and to compensate is no small event. I am proud to be a part of this new revolution.

C. A. Sanders is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. His debut novel, Song of Simon, from Damnation Books, is available on Amazon or at DamnationBooks.com in both eformat and print. His popular and award-winning webserial, The Watchmage of Old New York, is available at JukePop Serials. His short fiction and non-fiction can be found across the internet and in print. A lifelong New Yorker, he currently lives in the suburbs of NYC.

Follow Sanders at his Facebook fan page, on Twitter, or at his website.

14 thoughts on “Guest Post From C. A. Sanders: Jukepop Serials Adds Donation Option”

  1. I’m good with the introduction of this option too, donation buttons have been common enough on independent web serials for a while, so JP may as well join in.

    Sadly, it currently doesn’t seem to be available for the non-American Jukepop author. (Not because of anything Jukepop have done, but because the Amazon Payments system they use is US only.) I live in hope of one day joining in.

    1. A lot of crowdfund sites have those similar growing pains re: mechanisms for accepting funds. With webfic /serials authorship being split (from what I can tell) between Australia/NZ, the UK+Ireland, and Canada/U.S., hope to see JP mention plans to include those other entities as well.

      1. I’m pretty sure it’ll work out. I’d be interested to know if the JP community has discussed how the donation button is being messaged. Donation buttons can be a double-edged sword in the webcomics community. If you’re an author that has no established track record and put up a donate button it comes across as preemptive and unseemly. (And then if you fail to finish/disappear – who knows how patrons might react?) I have a theory that donation buttons can sometimes (not always) create a sense of entitlement among viewers. It’s why I have been reluctant to solicit anything until a volume completes and an ebook is available.

      2. Actually a reply to SgL’s comment starting “I’m pretty sure it’ll work out…”, but I can’t reply there due to it being third-level already…

        But yeah, if I had a donate button for Hobson & Choi, I’d consider using an incentive somehow to try and make it seem less arbitrary. Like, for every $XX donated, I’d do an extra weekly chapter. I’ve heard people discuss using that kind of approach on WFG and I quite like it.

        1. Sorry, the settings unwittingly had it set to allow comments only 3-deep. Pushed it to 10 and hope that helps.

          Nick: I think that’s a good approach. You could even take prompts from those week donors on side stories or something.

      3. I don’t know how the donation buttons actually work (as in how you get reports of amounts etc), but presumably you just slap up a new chapter midway between the regular ones every time the donation total hits a multiple of $XX?

        You might need a spreadsheet to keep track of the numbers but sounds doable.

    2. This is one of the reasons I’m in favor of adding an option for donations via an electronic currency, like BitCoin. It’s international so anyone with BitCoins can donate to an author no matter where they are in the world. Amazon itself should consider adding that as an option, or else Jukepop.

      In any case, I hope it all works out for you Nick!

  2. From the beginning I’ve treated my serial “The Armored Satchel” as a loss leader, that is, an entry into my writing in general rather than a generation of revenue for itself. That said, I really like the voluntary donation feature and will be adding it to my serial. I just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet.

    1. That’s how I’ve approached my serial as well. I did add a donation button, but I don’t expect it to really generate much of anything. It would be interesting to learn in the future whether anyone has success with it–i.e. $X generated, Y% of which went to 5 authors (or whatever the breakdown is).

      1. Honestly, I think that linking the donation to something makes it more likely to be used. I would prefer to see it go to an update or some bonus content so the donor feels they got something out of it.

        The good thing about JP SErials is that there’s an established precedent of ending your serial (writing with a book or compiled volume in mind). I think this will allow the donation culture to be a little less prone to some of the problems I see that emerges with very long-running serialized content. (I’ve seen readers turn on webcomic creators over time when there’s merchandise and donations in the mix because they invest more and more and feel that, in kind, they are owed something. I haven’t seen as much blow back with prose serials but there aren’t that many that qualify as long-running with no end in sight for me to say much.)

        I really don’t want to see this program used by newbie authors who haven’t proven themselves. With so many serializers just showing up and quitting on a weekly basis, I would hate to ruin the trust of audiences new to this idea of serialized stories who donate only to see no end product. It makes these new readers cynical and less likely to support other authors in the future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s