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Creative Revenue Ideas for Digital Content

Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/kalexanderson/

You have an idea for a publication and now you want to think about how you can generate revenue for your content. Whether you need to pay contributors, distributors, or fund an entire business with full-time salaries, there are some very creative ways you can fund digital publications. Here are just a few: 



  • summary: Issues or individual documents are downloadable after paying a one-time fee
  • example: The Atavist stories (iOS app) - https://atavist.com/
  • tool: There are many solutions - you can roll your own or a WordPress plugin like easydigitaldownloads will do the trick — https://easydigitaldownloads.com/








DISTRIBUTORS - Amazon/Kindle, Apple/iBooks, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, etc.

ADVERTISERS - Using paid advertisements relevant to your audience to provide value for readers, advertiser and you the publisher (we like non-intrusive, full-page responsive ads like this one: http://readidea.com/magazines/issue1/blacknight-advert.html


SUBSCRIBERS- More and more consumers are happy to pay for content they find valuable or want to support. Follow Model View Culture’s example and charge your subscribers on a regular basis: https://model-view-culture.myshopify.com/products/model-view-culture-digital-subscription

Love this 3D CSS page turning effect - see how it was made here!

Love this 3D CSS page turning effect - see how it was made here!

Distribution: Just putting it out there

You’ve created a book, you’ve proofed and edited it, and everything looks fantastic. Now you need to help your audience find your book and read it.

Having a specific web page or URL you can point people to can be very helpful in marketing campaigns. Being able to consistently say something like “Just go to ‘my-website.com/book’” will help people to remember where to find it and allow you to keep that content rich, relevant and updated with quotes, reviews and any download links you might be tracking. 

A landing page like this one allows you to offer a marketing site for your book, something that shows perhaps a summary or some book reviews as well as up-to-date links for customers to purchase your content either via your site or through marketplaces like Amazon or Apple. 

Here’s another example of a useful landing page:

For publishers offering a web-based version of their book, the landing page could be the entrance to their paywall site as well, something like this one:

One other thing having a landing page allows you to do is get some analytical data on how many people are clicking through to purchase, where they’re coming from, if they used search terms to get here, etc. If you are selling content on your own site, you might want to track downloads as well to see which versions are downloaded more often or if there are any clear purchasing patterns to keep in mind. 

Kindles are widespread for good reason: the devices are a joy to read on. Selling to Kindle owners is a good idea due to the popularity of the platform as well as the ease of purchasing through the platform. We’ll have a future article on selling through Kindle, as there are many factors to consider, but to get started a good idea is to go ahead and register yourself here on Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP, as an author or publisher, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the different programs and pricing models offered via Kindle. 

Apple devices continue to grow and their marketplaces are no exception. iBooks market share isn’t as strong as Kindle, but it is growing. While registering and distributing free content via iBooks costs nothing, you may need a US Tax ID and a paid books account through Apple. 

You can read more about their process and requirements on their FAQ page here

Many authors are seeing fewer and fewer reasons to pay a middleman like Amazon or Apple and want to publish and sell their books themselves. There is no shortage of success stories of authors doing this, and it’s easy so why not have a way to let your readers give a larger percentage of the purchase price to you instead of a retailer? 

Easy-to-use merchant services for authors and publishers include Stripe and Gumroad, and there are many easy WordPress themes that incorporate sales templates (we have used and recommend MemberPress, especially if you want to do subscriptions or membership sites).

A good landing page might be the first factor to consider as it allows you to build a marketing campaign with your link ready, and you can always update or modify that page to add new links, change wording or design, or update linked download files.

Woopie customers receive free custom landing pages for their first publication - get in touch if you’d like to try out Woopie and get your own beautiful & responsive landing page!

Next week we’ll be looking at some interesting and creative revenue ideas for your content. If there are any particular revenue methods you are curious about, email me and I’ll be sure to cover them.

How To Add Smooth Page Transitions

Doing something creative with your layouts? Why not animate your page transitions to create a smoother transition and add a bit of fun to your pages? 

Three Common Mistakes to Avoid When Publishing a Book App | Digital Book World

Let’s talk about margins

A book with proper margins says a number of things. It says, we care about the page. It says, we care about the words. We care so much that we’re going to ensure the words and the page fall into harmony. We’re not going to squish the text to save money. Oh, no, we will not not rush and tuck words too far into the gutter.

A book with proper margins says, We respect you, Dear Reader, and also you, Dear Author, and you, too, Dear Book.

A wonderful essay by Craig Mod on book margins. And so much more.

The Pipe | Self-published design, technology, and business ebooks hand-picked just for you.

Formatting for Fun and Profit

Once you have created your book, it’s to think about editing, previewing and publishing. 

We’ll start with a quick refresher on output formatting. Woopie creates up to four different versions for you, so that your readers always have the best version with the most appropriate content for them. It doesn’t make sense to include, for example, large video files for a black-and-white kindle reader because they take up space, slow the download, and cause reader confusion and frustration when they can’t access or play the video. 

Instead, Woopie builds your publication with contextual intelligence. So a reader on a desktop browser sees a high-res version of the video, an iBooks reader gets a smaller, compressed, embedded video, and a black-and-white kindle reader sees a screenshot of the video with a relevant caption.

Here are the four output formats: 

  • - Web will give you a responsive web reading layout, suitable for desktop, tablet & phone screen sizes.
  • - ePub will give you an eReader format suitable for iBooks and most eReader devices
  • - mobi will give you an eReader format suitable for all Kindle devices. 
  • iOS will create a version suitable for an iOS Newsstand app.


One of the most frustrating parts of creating digital publications is previewing and testing on different devices. In fact, our experience doing this with our own magazine was the biggest reason we ended up building Woopie. We spent way too much time creating, exporting, downloading, testing, fixing, repeating, so we built Woopie to do that for us and for anyone else with the same frustration! Testing can be time-consuming, awkward, slow as well as expensive if you’re buying different devices to test things out on. 

By previewing the content, you can view it at many different device sizes and responsive layouts. This gives you a good feel for how your images look, whether you need more or less media, if the fonts feel right, etc. 


Besides the web viewer, you can also email yourself a link to the publication so you can view on your phone or tablet. Or forward the link to a friend or colleague to get their take on it. 

Lastly, we make it as easy as possible to get the output onto your own devices in case you want to test them yourself, too. Download the formats and copy them to your tablet, or push them to your dropbox folder and access them that way.

Now you can download files and share or distribute them. Publishing means different things for different people. You may want to download the files and push them to your own server, or you may want to push them to Dropbox or an FTP account so that they are live on your own URL or server. 


A great way to help your readers check out your new content is to have a landing page for them, like this one: http://woop.ie/samples/movietop5.html

There you can have all the links to download the books, and this is also a good place to put things like links to Amazon or iTunes if your book  is for sale in other marketplaces. You can also enable a paywall if your content is only for subscribers or members. There are many other ways to think about revenue from your content, like tweet-to-unlock, pay-per-day, subscriptions and many more which we’ll cover in a future article. 


Now that your book is completed and ready for your readers, it’s time to help make sure they find it! In our next post we’ll talk about marketing strategies and tracking your downloads. 

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