making money from cosplay
8 Straightforward Steps On How To Make Money From Cosplay 5

Cosplayers often aim to make money through their hobby. Be it the cost of materials, costumes, traveling fees or just something simply because they can’t afford what they want to do. There are many different routes you can take to make money as a cosplayer. We will outline the most popular options for you.

Product Sales (Merchandise)

This is one of the main ways people try to make money out of cosplay. Selling prints, selling self-made items, selling fanart and so on are all very popular choices.

Print Sales

This is the most common type of product sale. Those who wish to sell their prints usually do it through an online store, such as Etsy or Big Cartel. It’s also possible to do print sales at conventions by having a table for print sales or waiting in line with your prints to be signed. This will probably garner more sales.

Keep in mind that if you work on commission, some commissioners might want to keep the rights of your work for themselves or refuse to pay if they have decided not to purchase. After all, it’s free money for them, and it could be easily resold.

Commission Sales Commissioning is usually phrased as “paying an artist” or “paying a cosplayer for a photo shoot.” In fact, the cosplayer is selling prints into the future. If you intend to make money as a cosplayer, commissioning may be your best route.

You set up prices and negotiate commissions with commissioners via email or social media (Instagram, Facebook). Some people like giving their commissioners free reigns. Others are very specific about what they want their commissioners to capture in the photos/video, for example, poses, expressions, where the photo is taken at. It’s up to you how much control you want over your work after it has been sold.

If you have a good relationship with your commissioner, however, it might be possible that he/she works with you to re-take photos at no additional cost. To be safe, always have a contract drawn up before the photoshoot takes place.

Crowdfunding & Indiegogo Campaigns

cosplay crowdfunding
8 Straightforward Steps On How To Make Money From Cosplay 6

This is another popular route for cosplayers who want to make money from their hobby. There are many crowdfunding sites available nowadays where people are willing to invest in projects. Some of these are crowdfunding sites; others are ‘projects’ sites where investors seek some kind of profit or return on their investment.

There are many different types of crowdfunding that exist on the internet today. There’s crowdfunding for inventions, digital media, small businesses and even some cosplayers have decided to upload their cosplay projects on Kickstarter for people to invest in.

If you’re thinking of this route, make sure that your project is one that can easily be marketed and sold into the future; an invention, for example, has little value once it’s already been created, whereas a cosplay will last longer.

Studio Ghibli & Anime Conventions

If you’re looking to work more than just one con a year, Anime and Studio Ghibli conventions are your best bet. These conventions usually pay their cosplay guests, so it’s easy money for you.

Anime guest lists at Comic-Con or other cons are very competitive, so if you want to attend these types of events, you might want to think about paying your own way or selling prints and photos to make back the money (or more).

Photographer/Videographer

Those who can’t draw can always resort to making videos. If you know how to use a camera and editing programs, consider yourself blessed. There is plenty of work for cosplay photographers, videographers and even video editors.

Making cosplay music videos or “photo-fessions” can be a great way to get your name out there if you ever intend on going the guest route.

Give tutorials

Many cosplayers usually have their own websites where they write tutorials. If you’re good at sewing, wig styling, makeup or pretty much anything else cosplay-related, you can always make a tutorial and sell it on any number of platforms.

If you consider yourself good enough to teach others about your skills outside of conventions, I would advise you to set up a website, a blog or a YouTube channel if you’re a vlogger. The more work that’s out there, the easier it is for people to find you.

The only downside is that not everyone who follows your tutorial will buy from you. If they can’t follow what you do, they may go ahead and Google the same thing you teach them how to do instead. It’s a risk if you decide to go this route, but it can be well worth your time, especially if you have a big following.

Sell Pics/Videos/Photos

Making money off of cosplay is easy nowadays, with hundreds of websites that pay for content. If you’re good at taking photos and videos, consider uploading your works to stock websites such as Shutterstock.com.

Once an image is approved, it can be sold for a certain period of time (usually 1-3 years), earning you royalties each time someone downloads or uses the photo. The more views and downloads it gets, the more money you make.

Cosplay fashion

cosplay fashion
8 Straightforward Steps On How To Make Money From Cosplay 7

Cosplayers are always looking for ways to improve their costumes, so why not create something new and market it? Don’t let your cosplays keep you locked up in your room. Do what artists do with their artworks, find a way to market them and continue perfecting your craft at the same time.

Be Yourself

The easiest and probably best way to make money from cosplay is by doing what you love most: being yourself. Take stunning selfies, upload them on social media and enjoy the fame as you accumulate followers who don’t just see you as a cosplayer but as an actual person.

Then again, the more you market yourself, the easier it is for them to become interested in your work and give their money away.

The Bottom Line

Cosplay is always evolving, and so are our ways of making money from it. We may not be lucky enough to become professional cosplayers or even attend conventions as guests, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make our hobby profitable.

Cosplay is fun, and you should always enjoy it, but if you find yourself wanting to step up your game and try something new, now’s the time to do so.

SnowDragon: Zelda Royal Guard Link Cosplay
SnowDragon: Zelda Royal Guard Link Cosplay

On a different note, if you’re looking for cosplayers to book for cosplay events or shoots, do contact SnowDragon via Instagram.