Creative Industry and Women Writers as Labor in the Platform Economy


Future of Work
Web Novel
Women Labor
Creative Writing

How to Cite

Ruhama, Z., & Nilandari, A. . (2023). Creative Industry and Women Writers as Labor in the Platform Economy. Salus Cultura: Jurnal Pembangunan Manusia Dan Kebudayaan, 3(1), 68–77.


Starting from non-commercial, user-generated content, grassroots alternative to the industry-controlled major publishers, web-novel writing in Indonesia has formalized business model and grown bigger with the influx of capital. Very little is known about the mutually shaping relationship of the online creative writing market in Indonesia for women in the wider context of the creative labor debate. This paper will analyze the inception of online writing jobs in Indonesia, before probing the formalization process, taking into account all the associated precarity of informal labor. It then looks into its economic and socio-cultural implications, such as the impact on the formal market and how it can improve employment conditions for creative labor. The findings suggest that writing in the platform economy is typecast as women jobs, with many web novel platforms marketing strategies caters to women audiences. Its further growth and expansion will lead to the empowerment and employment of more women in the platform economy. However, women writer working in platform economy in Indonesia are very vulnerable, with most of them occupying the middle-low payment jobs that require complex skills. The proper regulation establishment from government and education about basic employee rights can improve employment conditions for women writers in platform economy.


Akbar, D. (2020). Premium writer di storial Bisa Dapat Royalti Hingga Lima Kali lipat. Info Komputer. Retrieved from

Alexander, J. (2021). From fanfiction to Netflix hits. The Verge. Retrieved from

Bearson, D., Kenney, M., & Zysman, J. (2021). Measuring the impacts of labor in the platform economy: new work created, old work reorganized, and value creation reconfigured. Industrial and Corporate Change, 30(3), 536-563. Crossref | Google Scholar

Belfiore, E. (2020). Whose cultural value? Representation, power and creative industries. International journal of cultural policy, 26(3), 383-397. Crossref | Google Scholar

Bujor, A., & Avasilcai, S. (2016). The creative entrepreneur: A framework of analysis. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 221, 21–28, Crossref | Google Scholar

Campbell, P., O’brien, D., & Taylor, M. (2019). Cultural engagement and the economic performance of the cultural and creative industries: An occupational critique. Sociology, 53(2), 347-367. Crossref | Google Scholar

Cheung, R. (2018). China’s Online Publishing Industry—Where Fortune Favours the Few, and Sometimes the Undeserving. South China Morning Post. Google Scholar

Creswell, J. W., Goodchild, L. F., & Turner, P. P. (1996). Integrated qualitative and quantitative research: Epistemology, history, and designs. Higher Education-New York-Agathon Press Incorporated, 11, 90-136. Google Scholar

Daugareilh, I., Degryse, C., & Pochet, P. (2019). The platform economy and social law: Key issues in comparative perspective. ETUI Research Paper-Working Paper. Crossref | Google Scholar

Fairwork. (2021). Fairwork Indonesia 2021 Ratings: Labour Standards in the Gig Economy. Fairwork. Retrieved from

Faisal, A. L. F., Sucahyo, Y. G., Ruldeviyani, Y., & Gandhi, A. (2019, July). Discovering Indonesian digital workers in online gig economy platforms. In 2019 International Conference on Information and Communications Technology (ICOIACT) (pp. 554-559). IEEE. Crossref | Google Scholar

Feldman, D. C. (1996). The nature, antecedents, and consequences of underemployment. Journal of Management, 22(3), 385–407. Crossref | Google Scholar

Fisher, M. (2011). The privatization of stress. Soundings, 48(48), 123-133. Crossref | Google Scholar

Flood, A. (2015). Self-publishing lets women break book industry's Glass Ceiling, survey finds. The Guardian. Retrieved from

Genflix. (n.d.). Genflix. Retrieved from

Jayakarta News. (2018). 26 film Indonesia akan diproduksi Untuk Tayang di Wattpad dan Iflix. Jayakarta News. Retrieved from

Kementerian Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif dan Badan Pusat Statistik. (2020). Statistik Ekonomi Kreatif tahun 2020. Kementerian Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif dan Badan Pusat Statistik. Retrieved from statistik-ekonomi-kreatif/statistik-ekonomi-kreatif-2020.

Kementrian Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif. (2014). Ekonomi Kreatif: Kekuatan Baru Indonesia Menuju 2025. Jakarta: Kementrian Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif.

Kementrian Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif. (2020). Outlook Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif di Indonesia 2020/2021. Kementrian Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif. Retrieved from

Khaerunnisa, R. (2021). Survei KBM app: Penulis Online Jadi Pekerjaan Utama IRT Saat pandemi. Antara News. Retrieved from

Koch, F., Hoellen, M., Konrad, E. D., & Kock, A. (2023). Innovation in the creative industries: Linking the founder's creative and business orientation to innovation outcomes. Creativity and Innovation Management, 32( 2), 281-297. Crossref | Google Scholar

Loizos, C. (2021). Wattpad, the storytelling platform, is selling to South Korea's Naver for $600 million. TechCrunch. Retrieved from

Ni, Y. (2021). How to develop and Advance China's cultural exports. Retrieved from

Paskalis, Y. (2021). KBM app, start-up digital untuk para penulis Buku- Ekonomi dan Bisnis. Tempo. Retrieved from

Pratt, A. C. (2021). The creative economy and sustainable development. City, Culture and Society, 25. Crossref | Google Scholar

Proulx, A. (2020, August 22). Annie Proulx: Reading is the finest teacher of how to write. About Editing and Writing. Retrieved from

Putra, A. R., Ernawati, E., Jahroni, J., Anjanarko, T. S., & Retnowati, E. (2022). Creative Economy Development Efforts in Culinary Business. Journal of Social Science Studies (JOS3), 2(1), 21-26. Crossref | Google Scholar

Schmidt, F. A. (2017). Digital labor markets in the platform economy. Mapping the Political Challenges of Crowd Work and Gig Work, 7, 2016. Google Scholar

Southwood, I. (2011). Non-Stop Inertia. John Hunt Publishing, 72. Google Scholar

Statista. (n.d.). ePublishing Indonesia. Statista. Retrieved from

Strauss, V. (2021). Bad contract alert: Bytedance's Fizzo (Fictum) reading/writing app. Writer Beware: The Blog. Retrieved from

Stuart, M., Joyce, S., Carson, C., Trappmann, V., Umney, C., Forde, C., ... & Alberti, G. (2017). The social protection of workers in the platform economy. Google Scholar

Tamat, A. (2020). 1 Tahun KaryaKarsa: Sudah Ada Kreator Yang Penghasilannya 30 Juta Per Bulan. Kumparan. Retrieved from

Vallas, S., & Schor, J. B. (2020). What do platforms do? Understanding the gig economy. Annual Review of Sociology, 46, 273-294. Google Scholar

Wikimedia Foundation. (2021). Web novels in South Korea. Wikipedia. Retrieved from _Korea.

Wood, A. J., Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., & Hjorth, I. (2019). Good gig, bad gig: autonomy and algorithmic control in the global gig economy. Work, employment and society, 33(1), 56-75. Crossref | Google Scholar

Yang, Z. (2021). China is reinventing the way the world reads. Protocol. Retrieved from

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2023 Zulfa Ruhama, Ary Nilandari