How Can Writers Make Money in Second Life? Let Me Count the Ways…

by Joan Kremer on September 28, 2009 · 13 comments

in Benefits of SL,Opportunities

I get asked this question a lot:  Can a writer actually make any money in Second Life?

If I’m busy or have had a tough day, bronchi I may respond with another question:  “Can a writer make any money in any life?”

Cynicism toward the publishing industry aside, life usually I answer, “Yes, of course they can,” and give some examples of how they do.


Literary fiction author Michelle Richmond made sales from an appearance in SL.

This is an important concern for professional writers – especially full-time writers.  For virtual worlds such as Second Life to become serious players in the writing and publishing industry, they have to be more than just a place to hang out.

Of course, as I’ve blogged about for nearly a year and a half, there are endless ways in which SL benefit writers — just skim through this blog’s archives to get a glimpse of the free opportunities, events, and places in SL where writers can learn and develop their skills and get to know other writers.  And of course, there are the many unique ways writers use virtual tools to support their writing.

But writers can also make money directly from their writing, and I’m not the only one saying that!  I was excited to see the topic included in the upcoming Digital Media Conference organized by the National Writers Union and Open Media Boston Oct. 16-17 in Boston.

The conference is titled, “Shall We Write for Free or Shall We Write for Pay? Writers Face the Digital Age,” and one of the sessions offered attendees is this one:

Introduction to Virtual Worlds: You’ve probably heard about virtual worlds like Second Life – online systems which allow millions of people to create online versions of themselves (called “avatars”) and pursue all kinds of creative and mundane activities in a completely human-created environment with global reach. But did you know that writers are making money in virtual worlds? This workshop will provide a general introduction to Second Life via live demonstration of the system – followed by an online presentation on writing in virtual worlds.

I wish I lived near Boston so I could attend the conference.  Or better yet, I wish the conference were also being held in Second Life, as is happening with greater frequency.  So I don’t know what the presenters — Persia Bravin, the avatar of a noted UK-based journalist for major media outlets and a key contributor to the Second Life Enquirer news organization, and Gary Zabel, UMass philosophy professor and SL innovator – will say.


Melissa Mayhue runs a literary salon in SL with links to online sellers of her own books, and also brings other published authors in for informal chats.

But if I could attend, I’d share the ways that I and many other writers have found to earn income in SL from our writing:

  • Paid staff and freelance reporting for digital newspapers and magazines that cover Second Life
  • Authors getting published in Second Life (self- or otherwise), where their books are also sold
  • Winning one of the many writing competitions offered in SL (including this one, which has significantly increased the prize money since the date of this post)
  • Adding Second Life to a book tour (if you’re a published writer), during which you can promote and sell books
  • Writing freelance blog posts and articles about Second Life for other Web sites
  • Setting up a permanent display for promoting and selling (via outside links) published works

FarPoint Media, owned by author Michael Stackpole, publishes books in-world

If you go to the Digital Media Conference in Boston, I’d love to hear about it afterward.  And if you know if additional ways writers are working for money in SL or other virtual worlds, please share them in a comment to this post!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paula September 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Oh.. I think I will attend this one. Thanks Joan 🙂

2 Diana Allandale (4 comments.) September 28, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Great post, Joan! I can attest to the fact that writers can, indeed, make money in SL. Doing live readings offers a wonderful opportunity for writers to not only promote their works, but get some great feedback from readers. You can either charge an up-front fee or simply ask for monetary tips from your audience…both have worked for me in the past.

A note about setting out a shop of your own where people can pick up excerpts and purchasing info: “if you build it they will come” only works for baseball fields. Be at the shop at specified times and you’ll be amazed at who stops in!

And fill out your profile! So many great conversations have begun with people saying to me, “I was looking at your profile. Are you REALLY an erotic romance author?” LOL

Good advice for all authors, Joan!

3 Joan Kremer (71 comments.) September 30, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Paula, that would be great. I hope you can attend — and then I’d love to hear what you find out!

4 Joan Kremer (71 comments.) September 30, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Diana, thanks so much for your comment. Those are excellent tips for writers looking to enhance their income in Second Life!

You were one of the writers I had in mind when I wrote this post. I’ve long been impressed by how you use SL’s functions to get your writing out. I also love the workshops you teach! I’ve been thinking about profiling you as an excellent example of good writers making the most of SL.


5 Corey (1 comments.) January 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm

It just goes to show how much you can do in second life. It is amazing all the different applications this little “game” has.
Corey´s last blog ..Lesson 3 – Website Monetization Methods My ComLuv Profile

6 Schutzfolien (1 comments.) February 13, 2010 at 9:28 am

I had never thought that writers could earn any money in second life. That´s amazing, I just get a great idea. Thanks a lot for posting this !
Schutzfolien´s last blog ..Schutzfolien – eine Hilfe bei heißen und sonnigen Tagen My ComLuv Profile

7 Clare @ Harvard Application (1 comments.) February 19, 2010 at 9:29 am

this is very interesting. i would love to attend this one.

8 Mrs Moody@video tutorial blog (1 comments.) March 18, 2010 at 9:58 am

Very useful information, Thanks for sharing this!
Mrs Moody@video tutorial blog´s last blog ..Earn or Make money Online with a simple way My ComLuv Profile

9 Jason June 29, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Can you make a living from Second Life or just additional income. I really want to Retire At 40 and I’m currently doing a few money making projects with little success.

I’m looking into Second Life but can you make a living from it?

10 Denver Website Designs (1 comments.) July 11, 2010 at 10:09 am

I think you are very much right regarding the writing for payment…I have seen one thing among people closely..greed…If you do something for free for one person, he will come again and again to you untill you ask him for some kind of help, specially money…once you ask him for anything, and he will vanish like thin air…At first I also didn’t mind designing website for free for relatives or friends, but slowly and slowly I came to know that I am just getting into bad thing…:)

11 Alex(new comment) April 15, 2017 at 1:16 am

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12 Kelvin Rhodes(new comment) May 9, 2018 at 3:07 am

These are nice information. So writers can make money by using these tips. Thanks, Joan for putting this up.

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