Self-publishing is a growing industry and many researchers agree that by 2020, 50% of all books will be penned by indie authors. One of the downsides of electing to take the path of writing and marketing the book yourself is the financial situation. Often authors only generate money once the book is actively sold and do not get any type of advance to offset the cost of developing a new title. This is why many romance writers lean on their husbands to sustain their financial situation, while they generate a devout following of readers and try make a living from it. Sure some authors take advantage of Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise funds, but often they fail to meet their financial targets. This is why many self-published authors are paying attention to what George R.R. Martin is doing with his new charity campaign.
The Game of Thrones writer is taking a novel approach in order to raise funds for The Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and the Food Depot of Santa Fe. Two readers who donate $20,000 will be able to be slain in a grisly fashion in the next book he writes. There is one male character and one female character available. You can choose your character’s station in the world (lordling, knight, peasant, whore, lady, maester, septon, anything) and be killed in a horrendous fashion.
Paying to be inside of a book is a relatively new approach and although self-published authors are unlikely to get away with charging exorbitant amounts of money, there likely is a market. Erotica and Romance are two literary genres that are dominated by female indie authors and 59% of all titles on the market are written by them. According to Bowker, the official ISBN agency for the US and Australia, 71% of self-published books were bought by women, with romance titles the most popular category, followed by literary fiction. Likely many women readers would love to have the main character named after them and would be willing to pay for the privilege.