I love LaterPress! And it’s not just because I was a finalist in their 2022 Genre Fiction Contest. But you’re probably wondering what it is — and more importantly, why should you care as a reader? In short, it allows authors to offer their work directly to readers in an online format that’s easily accessible everywhere. No big e-commerce corporations stealing profits or randomly deciding to remove books or adjust the pricing. It’s more than that, though.
Direct from the Author
On Laterpress, the author is selling directly to the reader and can set up their pricing and offers however they want. So readers can choose how, and sometimes how much, they want to pay. I realize that might sound a little confusing. In truth there are so many options available that I can’t cover them all here, so I’ll focus on how I have it set up. I hope that will make the benefits more clear.
I offer my ongoing serial, Target 10, for a fixed price, about the same as the finished ebook will cost (but if you read it on Vella, you’ll need to pay tokens per episode, based on word count). On the Outward Edge, the first in my series of novellas, is also available for a fixed price. I also offer an annual subscription that will get you both those stories, plus the prequel to On the Outward Edge, plus everything else I plan to publish in the coming months (and years). Right now my annual subscription is $12, but it will go up as I get more books published.
The subscription operates kind of like Patreon, except that it is annual and not monthly (yet still so affordable!) with none of the downsides:
- Readers aren’t locked into a monthly fee.
- The content is available online anywhere in the world using any browser.
- The fees for authors don’t increase as features are added (as of this writing) which means more of the money readers offer to support the author goes directly to the author and not some corporate beast.
- Authors have total control over the content they offer.
It also works like many of the online tip-me apps. The subscription fee listed is a minimum. If you find an author you love, you can type in a higher amount if you want. You can also choose to opt into their email list and get notified whenever they post new content. It all happens when you choose your payment option, so no jumping through hoops to get on their list. But what about those payments I keep mentioning?
All transactions are handled via Stripe, a well-established secure online payment processor. So readers don’t have to worry about what’s happening with their credit card information.
Becoming a Reader
I won’t lie. Laterpress is fairly new, which means there are some things that they are still working to improve. One of these is the process of finding and purchasing from authors. Here’s how the process works right now:
- Click on a link for the book you want to read (see books.cpnight.com for an example).
- Read the free chapters/episodes, if there are any.
- When you reach the end of the free content, you’ll see a pop up to follow the author and the option to sign up for emails or not. You’ll create a Laterpress account at this stage too, if you don’t already have one.
- Once you click “Follow Author” you’ll be taken to a payment pop up. Here’s where things could be more clear. You can see in the screenshot you choose which option you want to purchase. The default is the book at a fixed price.
- But if you click on the subscribe option, it will show you the minimum cost for an annual subscription (remember you can offer to pay more if you’re super hyped about supporting the author). One of the changes Laterpress are implementing is having all the pricing listed upfront so readers can make a more informed decision.
If you stick through these little bumps, though, you’ll complete your purchase via Stripe and have immediate access to the amazing stories you wanted to read.
Gosh that made it sound much more difficult than it is! The two screenshots are really all there is (besides entering payment details with Stripe) so it’s much simpler than my long rambling.
If you want to see how it looks and how it works, take a look at books.cpnight.com. Both Target 10 and On the Outward Edge have free chapters to read, and if you like them, I hope you’ll consider joining my reader list there.