You have already delved into the weird yet fascinating world of cosplay and you love cosplaying. You put in a lot of effort on everything from costumes to wigs to makeup to even photography.
It’s fun sometimes and sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming. But what if you could earn a living from it??
There are lots of professional cosplayers who have taken this art as full-time work and it’s not only their hobby but also their bread and butter. There’s nothing wrong from making a living from something you love and are passionate about.
Even if you are a cosplayer who has just started up, you must be aware of names like YaYa Han, Stella Chhu and others in the niche. All these cosplayers started a little long back and today have established their names in the space.
If you don’t want to take it up as a full-time work, you can always do it as part-time if you would want to and then scale up from there. It totally depends on your personal choice to do it and if you feel you just want to keep doing it for fun, that’s also perfectly okay.
However, by taking up this art asking up this art as a profession and making your name in the niche, you would be able to inspire and influence several other amateurs of cosplay.
You would also be able to contribute to making it safer and easier for other cosplayers.
That’s why we have written this guide to help you make money from cosplay in 2019 and take it as a profession if you would like to…
In 2019, there is a lot of ways through which you can make a living from cosplay other than doing commissions and selling merchandise. We have included 10 ways through which you can earn from cosplay in 2019.
Commissioning and selling merchandise are the two basic ways to earn from cosplay but there is more you can do especially when digital media is growing tremendously.
Instagram and Youtube are going to grow as a giant in 2019 and many people are already earning impressive amounts from it.
So, let us see how you too can…
image by Carousell
Well, commissioning is the most basic way to earn money from cosplay. People have been doing it already but why is it important in 2019 and further.
Here is a screenshot from Google trends on the search term “ What is cosplay”
There is a steady growth in the volume of the search term on the giant of search engine “google”.This means more people are getting interested about this art and trying to explore it more. Many will probably enter into it.
This means there will be more demand for quality costumes as not everybody is proficient in sewing and costume designing.
If you are skilled in it and can do high-quality costumes, you can do your own commissions. You can get easily get your first customers through friends and family and most importantly from your cosplay network.
2. You can be an Artist
Image by Lucy Gorman
If you are not good at sewing but good at sketching, you can still earn from it. Many cosplay costumes are very detailed and requires sketching beforehand. You can work with a costume commissioner to help him sketch his costumes in a detailed way.
3. You can sell merchandise
Image by Pixabay
You can sell merchandise related to cosplay. There are an end number of things you can sell when it comes to cosplay:
YOU CAN SELL:
-Sell images of yourself : cosplay prints, calendars, or photobooks
-Sell personal merchandise of your cosplay persona/brand: T-shirts, keychains, hot toys, legos or other merch
-Sell copies of things you made before: patterns, blue prints, prop replicas, kits
-Sell general cosplay supplies: wigs, makeup, body paint, foam,worbla
-Sell your designs: some cosplayers who are also artists can be commissioned to draw a design for a cosplayer
-Sell books: both print and e-book formats are common, many of these are manuals to teach other cosplayers how to make things
-Sell previously used cosplays and props
Now the question is: How is it helpful in 2019?? Well, in this digital era, you can easily have your own website hosted for just a few bucks. You can design it yourself for free with platforms like Wix and Wordpress, even if you don’t have any coding knowledge.
And sell all those merch online. You could invest a few more bucks in some online paid promotion but that would need a little digital marketing expertise.
Anyways, you can still use platforms like Reddit, Quora, Facebook groups on cosplay to drive traffic to your site and sell from there. You can also sell through Instagram.
Facebook's organic reach has declined drastically and that’s why your posts don’t reach enough people. But Instagram still has a good reach and Instagram is rolling some cool new features in 2019 like voice message in 2019, celebrity accounts, etc.
This means Instagram is gonna stay here when it comes to making business from it without paid promotion. However, to further extend your reach you can do paid promotions on Instagram too.
Yaya Han earns in six-figures being a full time cosplayer. In 2005, Yaya took the plunge and jumped into the world of cosplay full-time, transitioning from casual cosplayer to costume commissioner as her sole source of income. However, today she not only earns from commissioning but also from different merch.
She sells stuff from calendar to prints to wigs to even cat ears. She has build a personal online brand and has her website in her own name which also has a shop in it.
You too can start small and can scale up as you go...
4. You can publish content
If you are neither good at sewing nor drawing but like writing, you can start your own blog and write on topics related to cosplay and fandom. You can even write cosplay tutorial guides.
There is already tons of blogs out there, so you’ll need to provide the best value to your readers.
You can then sign up for Google Adsense to place Ads on your blog. There is some eligibility criteria such as your blog domain should be at least 6 months old. There is more criterion and policies which you can check here
After your application is approved, you can add different ad placements on your blog and Google Adsense will pay you on the basis of Cost per Impressions (CPM) or CPC (Cost per Click) depending upon your ad type.
You can also do this by creating your free sites for a start rather investing in it. There are many free blog sites available, some popular ones I have listed them below.
5. You can be a model
Image by Bob Hubbard
We believe all of you are already beautiful when you cosplay. Cosplay isn’t about perfect shape and complexion. It’s about how you present yourself as a character.
If you really enjoy yourself dressed as an anime or superhero character, you can be a model for different companies selling cosplay related stuff.
You could be a model at a convention in exhibiting booths or you could be even a model for a brand. You selection would depend on the eligibility criterias by that company but you should be able to get in somewhere if you apply at several places.
6. Switch to Patreon and Twitch
Just like YouTube, Patreon and Twitch are two popularly growing digital platforms where artists can upload their videos for users. Artists on patreon offer a monthly subscription in return for their content. Twitch also works the same subscription way but artists can also get donations. Patreon is popular for different artforms like music, cooking but cosplaying is also not far away.
Twitch was initially started as a gaming tutorials platform but today it has gained popularity in other areas and cosplay is no different.
Video content is becoming popular than ever. And youtube is till the no.1 video sharing platform followed by Twitch. Giants like Facebook are also trying to enter the niche by introducing categories like Facebook Watch and Facebook Gaming.
It’s simple to earn from Youtube although it will require a little effort, perseverance and patience. You can create your channel on Youtube and then start uploading your videos on the channel.
Once your channel view reaches to 10,000 you can sign up for YouTube partnership program which will help you to place ads on your videos. On an average YouTube pays $7.60 cpm per 1000 views (views on ads not your video).
Of course, you’ll need a lot of views to earn a substantial amount but with consistent effort, you should be able to scale up.
You can do videos on any thing from product review to product unboxing to DIY cosplay tutorials.
There is a channel called SpideyPlanet on YouTube. They basically show you how they make spiderman cosplay stuff. One of their videos on making the spiderman mask posted just 11 months ago garnered about 24 million views.
That’s a lot of views from just one video and could have possibly also garnered them enough earnings from ads.
8. You can be a guest
Image by Phoenix new times
You can be a guest at conventions. If your not a popular figure in your niche, it won’t be easy. You can start with small conventions and reach out to them to be guests. Gradually, cosplayers will know you and you can scale up from there.
Not all comic cons value cosplayers as guests but many of them do. They provide you with flight tickets and accommodation and even fees. You’ll need on check with the convention on what they are actually offering.
You can even charge for autographs or sell your merch there. You can be a panel judge or can even host a tutorial event at the con.
You can also help others promote their brand and charge them in return. However, for this you’ll have to have a decent social following or Youtube Subscription or Patreon subscription whatever is applicable in your case.
You can do shoutouts for the brand you are promoting or post reviews about their products If you have a loyal following, you’ll be able to help promote a brand quite successfully because your followers would rely on your recommendations.
However, make sure that you promote only authentic brands to your followers with quality products/services.
If you start promoting any product/service for money and the product/service is terrible then it’ll adversely affect your followers and you can lose the trust made with months/years of efforts.
Make sure whatever you promote adds value to your customers and is genuine and value for their money.
10. Exhibits at conventions
Image by Amino apps
If you are a cosplayer and make great cosplay stuff, you can sell them at conventions. Conventions offer you to place booths/exhibits for your merch. With cons having huge attendants, you can earn quite enough.
However, make sure that whatever you are going to make is just awesome and something which is in demand because you’ll be paying a lot for the booths.
You can always start with local cons with smaller attendants. That way, their charges will also be low and then you can scale up and hit up larger cons as you have some budget.
With growing popularity of cosplay, popularity of conventions will also increase in 2019 and further. It’s a good chance to utilise this opportunity. However, do check your local laws (if any) for selling at conventions.
So, those were 10 ways through which you can earn through cosplay in 2019 and probably further. Not all of the ways described here would be suitable for you…
Choose the way you feel you can best do. It’ll will take a little hard work and patience to see results but perseverance is the key to success.
Let us know which way you would choose for your cosplay career in the comments section below. If you have any queries or doubts, feel free to ask and we would be happy to help.