From Web2 to Web3 — for Writers
A guide to help authors earn money by writing.
It seems impossible these days to talk with my writer friends and colleagues without hearing how frustrated they are or how disheartened they are with accessing the publishing world and finding success in it.
As I visit my social media platforms to chat with my writer friends there, I see so many posts about never making it, that they’ve been sending query letters for months, and that they just want to give up. I feel like we, collectively as writers, at one point or another have had the similar aspiration — become a published author who gets to connect with our readers, share our stories, our truth, and can pay our bills while doing it. This has been our dream.
It also seems impossible these days to go anywhere on the internet and not hear about Web2 this and Web3 that. I, like most of us, brushed it aside as something that didn’t concern me. I’m not a computer programming guru; I’m not particularly tech savvy. I am a novelist who feels happy when my characters cooperate.
However, because I am a writer, who likes to keep up with things publishing related, I began to pay attention and see things that piqued my interest. I began to ask questions. What is Web2 anyway? What is Web3 and can it help writers? Can it give us another choice in publishing? Can it help us ensure that the legacy of our writing, the world’s literature, is present in the future? Let me tell you, I am so glad that I went in search of these answers. What I learned changed my trajectory as a writer.
What is Web2?
As writers, Web2 is where we are now. We interact, socialize, promote, and publicize in Web2. We blog, send out newsletters, and post to socials: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Linkedin, Goodreads, Twitter, and on and on.
We write a book, short story, poem, essay, etc…, and then we go about the process of querying for agents and publishers. Some of us get published traditionally and some of us choose to publish independently.
Then it is time to sell our work to our readers. Hooray!! Dream come true!
But somewhere along the way, some of us experience disappointment. We really wanted that particular agent or publisher, but they said no; we’ve been querying for what seems like forever with minimal to little success; some of us feel like we will never get to share our story with our readers; some of us do sign a book deal or publish independently but make pennies comparatively to the publisher; we rarely get to interact with our readers, and we get paid on the first sale of our book only, nothing on the resale.
How can these disappointments fade? How can we sell our books, connect with our readers, get paid on the first sale at a higher percentage than we are now, and get paid on the resale of our books too? The answer lies in Web3.
What is Web3 & What Does It Look Like for Writers?
In the interest of avoiding technical jargon, Web3 is simply the next edition of the internet in which the preferences and needs of the user will be the focus. Web3 for writers is no different. In fact, it is so full of possibility and opportunity that I have to force myself to go to sleep. I find myself writing constantly — because of one very real, huge reason! That reason is — choice — our choice.
In Web3 writers get to choose their publisher. We get to research and choose where and when and how we want our next manuscript to be published. We can even collaborate with artists, other writers, musicians, photographers, voice actors, and even readers as we prepare our work for publication. The possibilities are endless!
We don’t have to query for months in the hopes of finding an agent who will pitch our book in the hopes of getting it published. We simply get to publish, as we choose.
Then, once our work has been published — when, where, and how we chose — we get to interact with our readers, and we get the bulk of the money made on the first sale, and we even get paid for every resale after.
The readers can keep the work, and actually own the work, or they can resell it. If they resell it, they could make money, and we — as writers — can receive resale royalties! Read that one again. We can receive resale royalties.
How can we do all this — sell our books, connect with our readers, get paid on the first sale, and the resale? And if the answer does lie in Web3 what do we do next, how do we make that transition?
How Do Writers Make the Transition to Web3?
Making the transition to Web3 can be filled with small steps. Reading this is a great small step. Because everyone makes the same journey in a different way, my transition to Web3 has happened slowly. I started exploring Web3 writers — most of them, as of the writing of this article, are on Twitter. I followed those who resonated with me and my goals. Every person I talked to was amazing and helped in some way. I haven’t met anyone who won’t give advice or help navigate this new world.
The transition to Web3 doesn’t have to be an all or nothing transition — you can keep your current work — market like you have been, interact like you have been in Web2 — while you’re investigating becoming a Web3 author.
The good news is — is that you already have the skills necessary to be a writer in Web3. Your social presence is already in place and you’re a writer, so you can write like mad until you’re ready for bigger steps.
If you’re ready and excited to jump in with both feet and take bigger steps, I can help you with that too. My first big step was joining publishing Discords and having conversations with other writers, learning all the while how each “publishing house” worked.
What I learned is that publishers in Web3 are a growing and dynamic industry. They each have facets that are appealing and worthy of research. They each have growing communities of writers, readers, artists, developers, and promoters. (I have put together a list of publishers accessible through my Linktree. Please feel free to visit. While you’re there, add your name to the Web3 writers list too, so I can follow you and support you.)
The next big step I took was getting involved with Web3 writers and publishers. I am one of the co-hosts of The PageDAO Show every Monday on Twitter Spaces. PageDAO is a Web3 publisher. I even started my own Roving with Rionna show on Fridays where creatives of the space come together to discuss their creative journey and connect with others on the same path.
Simultaneously, I have started publishing my own work in Web3. In a few short months, I have been a writer for Vagabond Magazine, a brilliant, creative literary magazine published in Web3. I have published a flash fiction piece as part of a multi-author anthology. I am set to sign two contracts for two separate manuscripts to be published in Web3. (One contract has my writer revenue set at 85%.) I am currently collaborating with artists to create a literary piece to be published in Web3. I plan to resurrect some fun newsletter and blog post content and publish that in Web3. See why I am so excited I can hardly sleep!
Just like with all new things, there will be a learning curve when it comes to the processes of publishing in Web3. However, learning this new skill is nowhere near as trying as writing the dreaded elevator pitch. Plus, those amazing people I talked about earlier, they will help you. I will help you, just send me a DM and reference this article.
The transition to Web3 as a writer is definitely a work in action! There are so many opportunities — so many new facets to explore. Every day, I meet someone new, and I am blown away by the idea for their work in progress. I am thrilled to hear about who they are collaborating with, what piece they want to publish first and next, and how they intend to connect directly with readers. Amazing!
Web3 can help writers. It does give us another choice in publishing. It can even ensure that the legacy of our writing, the world’s literature, is present in the future.