In 2018, I was desperately looking for a way to make money with my writing. I didn’t want to do anything like have a youtube channel or a patreon or anything that involved me doing a million side hustles. I just wanted to write, and make money from it. I know. I know what you’re saying, “BUT CAMBRIA, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO MAKE ART FOR ARTS SAKE. MONEY ISN’T SUPPOSED TO MATTER.”
HAVE YOU EVER LIVED OFF OF STORE BOUGHT RAMEN FOR A MONTH? Then you see my dilemma.
My writing journey started when I was nine and I had a teacher who decided I was going to be an author because I was always reading books in class. OF COURSE my little brain went cool, I can make a million bucks and be a famous author. That sounds good.
I was nine and didn’t know exactly how impossible it was to be an author then.
But I figured I had the whole author thing handled. I would write a novel. I’d get published. And BOOM! Fame and fortune and glory because that was what happened, right? So, from the time I was 9 I spent my time trying to learn how to write a novel.
I consumed everything literary. Classic works that probably went way over my head. Was gifted a million books on writing. Tried self-publishing at 13 before people knew what self-publishing was and the internet really existed. Went to my first writers conference when I was fifteen in San Diego where I watched a grown woman get drunk for the first time at the reception and talked to a guy who sat on the edge of a tree planter while talking to me the whole time about his weird new age novel. And was the only person who had read the Gossip Girl books in what I think was a panel about YA or maybe screenwriting? I don’t remember it was forever ago.
I went to school trying to get my English degree. Had some set backs due to health and family stuff. And all of this time, I was writing, and submitting, and getting a whole lot of NO.
At this point the world had wattpad but it wasn’t monetized AT ALL. There was no real way for a writer to make money online unless they were doing a side hustle like youtube or putting out a couple grand to self-publish. I was in my twenties, working customer service, and did not have a couple grand to self-publish.
My one success was a smutty romance novel I published under a pen name with a company called Totally Bound Publishing that I let die because I didn’t think it was any good and that wasn’t what I really wanted to write.
At this point, I was a little frustrated with publishing. It seemed like nothing I was doing was working. On a whim, I tried looking for apps that monetized writing. There were a lot for non fiction. Things like Medium and a few others I can’t think of right now. But nothing for fiction.
I found Dreame after some really intense searching. The first novel I submitted to them was called The Endless Series which was a three book series about a group of twenty somethings that inherit a family curse involving a faerie King who wants to force their youngest sister into marriage. I believe I got paid like $50 for it, but it was the most money I had made on anything.
Plus, Dreame allowed me to post my novel serially instead of all at once. Meaning I could write daily and update. And I could earn royalties too. They even optioned the rights for some of my works to be audiobooks which was also pretty cool.
And my book, The Dragon Queen, was one of the winners for one of their fantasy romance contests. Dreame makes covers for me. They’ve got built in readers for my app. And they usually try to create cool opportunities for their writers.
You can participate in their challenges like their daily writing challenge or their writing academy. Or contests where the winners are voted on by the readers which give writers even more chances to win money.
Dreame is one app under the company Starry. They also have another website called Ringdom which is more of a high fantasy publisher. Dreame focuses on romance but you can submit any genre, just as long as its got a romantic element.
I’ve been chronicling my experience in writing with Kindle Vella and I thought I would write some about my experience with Dreame. They pay 8% versus Kindle Vella and their 50% but they also do a lot more for writers, i.e. different licensing options like audiobooks for their authors if your book is popular enough.
Right now, my current book with them is To Aurum With Hate which is a political romance about a Princess who is forced to marry a dictator only to find out that her sister may have been killed by him and she has to solve the mystery of who did it before they frame her for it. I also have another royal romance series called Royals and Rebels which features a new country every time but keeps the same villains in the form of a group of revolutionaries called Rosa Nigrum that are trying to destroy monarchies. I’ve written five books in there and plan on writing one for each country in Europe once I’m done writing To Aurum With Hate.
I’ve written 12 books for Dreame, and they’ve been wonderful to work with. So, if you want to write serially, and you are hesitant about Kindle Vella, and you write romance maybe try Dreame first. They’ve been doing this for three years and are pretty great at it.