Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novels?

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DaFool
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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novel

#16 Post by DaFool » Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:45 am

Mad Harlequin wrote:
jack_norton wrote:Aveyond wasn't luck - I know Amanda well and she first built a big following through quality freeware games and then made the jump to commercial.
Just to clarify, I'm not dismissing her success at all. Certainly there was hard work involved. But to become that successful using a generic RTP RPG fantasy model requires at least a little luck. Surely there was no telling how consumers outside of the fanbase would react.

I've seen quite a few projects of equal or greater quality (disclaimer: my opinion is just my opinion) be delayed by setbacks or fail completely.
AFAIK I remember reading an article a few years ago and she was hit pretty bad by the implosion of the casual games market around 2008-2009 or so.

Now with even behemoth companies occupying even the lowest denominator platforms (mobile), its no longer possible to have a market with hobby-level art (it was still possible just a few years ago, since they seemed indie. But indies nowadays make games that look no different from corporate games).

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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novel

#17 Post by Mad Harlequin » Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:52 am

What defines "hobby-level art" anyway? Is it the work of someone devoted to said hobby or someone who just dips his or her toes in the wading pool? I'm assuming you mean the latter.

Anyway, even the best projects, spearheaded by someone with a good amount of business acumen, can falter. So as others have already said, nobody should expect money to fall out of the sky. But it can be a possible outcome, however unlikely, if the appropriate actions are taken. You need to spend money to make money, and, yes, have a little luck, too.
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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novel

#18 Post by jack_norton » Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:35 am

Also consider that sales aren't a flat line but a curve that after the launch goes down. So even if by miracle you make $5k one month, the next one WILL BE lower, and so on, until stabilizes at around a certain level (depending on your marketing/PR skills). I'm telling you this after over 20+ games released in the last 10 years and talking with a lot of other indies making any kind of games :D
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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novel

#19 Post by dorne » Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:12 pm

Wow! I didn't expect there to be so many influential people to post, but I somehow counted on that.
KomiTsuku wrote:While the ability to turn a profit is higher at the moment, don't expect to get that lucky.
I'm not looking for luck, but I am looking for facts and opinions. It seems that my original question that you can earn $5000 a month in the visual novel industry seems to be a resounding yes. Now it is a matter if you can continuously make $5000 month after month.
KomiTsuku wrote: Wait, do you mean as a member of a team or as the head of the team?
I mean as either the project owner, or part owner. I'm looking towards recurring/initial income profit for the self.
netravelr wrote:That being said, games is something you go into because you love it, not because you're planning to make a ton of money with it. Hope this helps!
Working on what you love helps, but I think it's also equally important to get paid doing what you love. :)
DaFool wrote:Since it takes ridiculously long to make a high quality game, if you're a hobbyist its better to just partner up with one of the successful EVN dev/publishers. I currently feel there's a bit too many brands for the size of the market right now, though of course the market's growing. But it's pointless to have a single company registered website if you're only going to advertise a single game for many years. It's better to be part of an indie library since the full-timers need to keep that library growing for stability.
Is this attune to a writer working with a book publisher and receiving royalties?
jack_norton wrote:Also consider that sales aren't a flat line but a curve that after the launch goes down. So even if by miracle you make $5k one month, the next one WILL BE lower, and so on, until stabilizes at around a certain level (depending on your marketing/PR skills). I'm telling you this after over 20+ games released in the last 10 years and talking with a lot of other indies making any kind of games :D
I'm getting the gist that it would be really hard to get that income off one product. Constantly making new products and refining marketing would need to ensure the income coming in per month does not stagnate.
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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novel

#20 Post by papillon » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:16 pm

It seems that my original question that you can earn $5000 a month in the visual novel industry seems to be a resounding yes. Now it is a matter if you can continuously make $5000 month after month.
It's really starting to sound like you're asking the wrong questions here.

Many things are possible. It's always possible for someone to release a game that somehow goes on to become a smash hit well outside the realm of anything that's been done before. It's possible for a studio to fall in love with your idea and buy the rights and turn it into a film/anime/whatever. But it would be ridiculous to take the statement of it being possible and decide "Aha! So, if I do well, I will get an anime of my work! Yay!" So what is the point of asking whether it's possible or not?

For most people, even the idea of making a few thousand dollars total selling their game is out of reach. Not because it's not possible, but because the time, skill, and resources they have available will never add up.

If you're trying to make a gameplan for yourself in the future, "is it possible" is not a useful question to ask.
If you're trying to figure out the current state of the industry, "is it possible" is still not a very useful question, since things can be possible even if they haven't actually happened. :)

What are you actually looking for?

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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novel

#21 Post by TeeGee » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:51 pm

Also depends on what period you are talking about. Making $5k in a month with a VN is hard but plausible. Cinders earned around $6k in its first week, and had several months with revenues over that number. Sometimes much higher, like after the Steam launch or Humble Bundle.

But things look different from a wider perspective. If you expect your game to make $5k/month on average over a span of, say, two years, you are most likely going to be disappointed. Cinders would be at around $4.6k now, so relatively close, but it's one of the better selling games in the genre.
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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novel

#22 Post by dorne » Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:02 am

papillon wrote:What are you actually looking for?
I like entertaining possibilities. :)
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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novels?

#23 Post by MenmaYu » Sun May 09, 2021 12:20 pm

It's 2021 now and MagicNuts is making 5,855 Euros as of now :3

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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novels?

#24 Post by elixxxirium » Mon May 10, 2021 12:01 am

Possible, very possible to do it. But you have to work your butt off and you have to love what you're doing. I totally feel OP though. I used to be so obsessed with the numbers. But I highly recommend working a normal job you can tolerate and making VNs as a hobby (that you LOVE and ENJOY doing, I really want to emphasize this). Do that for 1 of 2 years and slowly build your VN hobby into a side hustle WHILE you still work at your job. I think that's the most realistic way to do it. Also, live with your parents to save on rent so you can spend the extra cash on marketing (if you got cool parents who will let you stay with them while you make video games, that is).

But that's just my personal take. I think other successful VN game devs have different paths.

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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novels?

#25 Post by elixxxirium » Mon May 10, 2021 12:10 am

Also take in the fact that $5000 is A LOT. Like how much do you spend a month total (rent, food, car bill, living expenses, etc.)? How much do you want to save into your retirement fund monthly? For a lot of people, even in first world countries, that number is going to be lower than $5000.

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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novels?

#26 Post by Elsa Kisiel » Mon May 10, 2021 8:13 am

elixxxirium wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 12:10 am
Also take in the fact that $5000 is A LOT. Like how much do you spend a month total (rent, food, car bill, living expenses, etc.)? How much do you want to save into your retirement fund monthly? For a lot of people, even in first world countries, that number is going to be lower than $5000.
Well, it depends of what that amount is meant to be.

1) Money from the sale ? Then, there might be nothing left once you refund what you had to invest into making the game and promoting it.

2) Profits ? Then, depending of the country you live in, you might have to give more than half of it to taxes. ( In Belgium, for exemple. )

3) Net wage ? Then yes, it's a lot.

In my case, I have to make profits that are at least $5178/month to earn my country minimum wage.
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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novels?

#27 Post by elixxxirium » Mon May 10, 2021 7:58 pm

Elsa Kisiel wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 8:13 am

Well, it depends of what that amount is meant to be.

1) Money from the sale ? Then, there might be nothing left once you refund what you had to invest into making the game and promoting it.

2) Profits ? Then, depending of the country you live in, you might have to give more than half of it to taxes. ( In Belgium, for exemple. )

3) Net wage ? Then yes, it's a lot.

In my case, I have to make profits that are at least $5178/month to earn my country minimum wage.
True, if you're running a studio and paying multiple people to work on your game, $5000 might actually be too little of an amount.

But if you're some kind of incredible solo developer who can draw, code, write, make music, and do all that on your own, well... you'd save a lot of money on the start up.

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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novels?

#28 Post by Elsa Kisiel » Tue May 11, 2021 6:28 am

elixxxirium wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 7:58 pm
Elsa Kisiel wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 8:13 am

Well, it depends of what that amount is meant to be.

1) Money from the sale ? Then, there might be nothing left once you refund what you had to invest into making the game and promoting it.

2) Profits ? Then, depending of the country you live in, you might have to give more than half of it to taxes. ( In Belgium, for exemple. )

3) Net wage ? Then yes, it's a lot.

In my case, I have to make profits that are at least $5178/month to earn my country minimum wage.
True, if you're running a studio and paying multiple people to work on your game, $5000 might actually be too little of an amount.

But if you're some kind of incredible solo developer who can draw, code, write, make music, and do all that on your own, well... you'd save a lot of money on the start up.
Hm, even for a solo developer who do everything themselves, depending on the country they are living in, it might be too little of an amount. Like I said, $5000/month would be less than my country minimum wage once I paid my taxes... (Which is why I actually don't count on VN to make a living.)

Of course, it also mean that a studio, in my country, would be unable to hire even a single person full time with $5000/month. (You can't pay people bellow the minimum wage.)
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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novels?

#29 Post by Mutive » Tue May 11, 2021 11:45 am

Elsa Kisiel wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 6:28 am

Hm, even for a solo developer who do everything themselves, depending on the country they are living in, it might be too little of an amount. Like I said, $5000/month would be less than my country minimum wage once I paid my taxes... (Which is why I actually don't count on VN to make a living.)

Of course, it also mean that a studio, in my country, would be unable to hire even a single person full time with $5000/month. (You can't pay people bellow the minimum wage.)
Also, because I am that person, I want to throw out that there's a huge difference (in most countries - I'll come at this with a US perspective, but I suspect this can be generalized) between earning $5000/month in a job and $5000/month freelance.

Many jobs in the $60k/year range have benefits such as health insurance, PTO, etc. that mean that while the worker's salary is $60k, the amount that the company paying for them in some form is much, MUCH higher.

Even hourly workers at, say, McDonald's are having payroll taxes paid by their employee (for things such as social security, medicaid, unemployment, etc.) that a freelancer will have to pay into on their own. (Making the taxes they pay much, MUCH higher than those they'd pay at a minimum wage job.)

So while your take home for earning $60k/year at, say, Starbucks might be something like $45k, your take home pay as a freelancer will be more like $30k.

(As an example, back when I consulted, the hourly rate I was paid was $55/hr. The amount I billed at was $125/hr. This wasn't entirely payroll taxes, benefits, etc. but they ate up a good chunk of it. If what you feel you need to live on is $5k/month, realistically you probably need to earn nearly double that.)
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Re: Is it possible to earn $5000 a month making visual novels?

#30 Post by elixxxirium » Tue May 11, 2021 3:21 pm

I mean, I live in the States, Even as a Starbucks worker, I was NOT raking in 45K a year (I wish, but I guess if you're working a very busy Starbucks in an expensive area and you're the general manager, 45K is plausible). You guys are counting in health insurance, PTO, other benefits but it's kind of a normal thing for a lot of Americans to live their lives without these benefits while working a job that doesn't pay for benefits. I've done plenty of jobs before that didn't offer those kinds of things. That shouldn't be normal but a lot of my peers are living very similar situations to mine. If you're living in New York, or say Santa Monica, California where the taxes are pretty damn high, than the cost of living will eat up most of that $5000 with very little leftover. But if you live in a decent state, keep saving money, try to cut your expenses down as much as you can (which for a lot of start-up types, they don't carry health insurance), and pray to never get into an accident, I got quotes of burn rates being at least around $1000 to $1500. This is accounting for the fact that they're single with no kids, no dependents, they're able-bodied, with either no debts or even if they do have debts, the monthly payment into that is small. This is what I've seen and experienced for a solo developer living in the cheap part of the States. 60K means you're rich as long as you're not paying off on a stupidly expensive house.

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