10
Apr

It’s been a while

I haven’t blogged in quite a long time, but I’m still writing, still busy–busier than ever, in fact. I’m still writing short fiction every day, but my focus has shifted from submitting to self-publishing. Under names you probably wouldn’t recognize, I self-publish erotic romance and similar genres.

I used to be wholly against self-publishing. I thought that was what failed writers did to feel better. I cringe writing that now, but I’m being honest. If you couldn’t get published (probably because you weren’t good enough to), you self-published. My thinking on this has evolved quite a bit, obviously. :)

It began as an experiment well over a year ago, just to see what it was like and see if I could make a few bucks here or there. It wasn’t under my name, so if something tanked, who cared? I put the first story up not expecting much. Maybe I could buy a dollar burger or a pack of gum or something. I made several hundred dollars in my first month, and I’ve never looked back.

Self-publishing has become almost my entire income in the last few months. I no longer write for the two clients I worked for during all of 2012 for various reasons. Both those associations ended at almost the same time, which would have been a very bad thing a couple of years ago. It would have left me scrambling for new clients, popping Advil for stress headaches, and hoping to squeak by until I found work. Thanks to self-publishing, I was able to shrug it off and then see it as an opportunity.

Instead of spending time finding new clients to fill the gaps, I decided to give myself a trial-period for full-time self-publishing. I planned to take the time I would have spent looking for new clients and writing for them and invest that time in myself and my own career instead. I’m making enough each month to be able to try this, which still amazes me. If my income isn’t where I want it to be by the end of June or so, I told myself, I’ll contact some potential clients and go back to writing marketing copy.  I fully expect not to have to do that.

I’m extremely lucky in that it would be okay if I went back to marketing and sales writing–I like the work, as repetitive as it can be at times, it’s just that writing fiction is more fun, has been my dream for years and actually pays better in the end. The hours spent writing a story, creating the ebook formats and publishing it don’t pay once like articles and web copy I write for other people does. I keep getting paid for the fiction as long as it’s for sale.

Since my goal is to keep increasing my income, the stories that I plan to self-publish have to be my  focus for a while. Horror, science fiction and fantasy stories aren’t in my publishing empire (ha) quite yet. My plan is to take each story, send it to the best markets that are appropriate, and if it doesn’t sell, decide whether to self-publish it or give it another look. I suppose that decision will depend on a number of factors: the story, how I feel about it, its theme. I won’t know until I get there.

It’s an exciting time! My participation in W1S1 in 2011 primed my short fiction pump and made it possible for me to write and built a catalog fairly quickly. So that experiment really set the stage for my success now, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

 

 

12
Feb

The Important Things

I’m not even going to try to detail everything since September in this one update. But I hope to post about different things in the coming week that should hit everything worth hitting.

Since my last post in September, I encountered what Dean Wesley Smith and his wife call a Life Roll.

The house we lived in was in disrepair for a number of reasons too numerous and depressing to list. I’d been looking for a house or even an apartment to rent for several months, but always came up against either a too-high price or a no-pets rule. With an indoor dog of 9 1/2 years, the no-pets thing was a dealbreaker on all the places I could afford.

Then I woke up one morning to a collapsing wall, and a resultant broken pipe doing a hell of an Old Faithful impression. Things sort of went downhill from there. Planets were aligned briefly that afternoon, though. After months of looking, on the very day when we had to get out of there for health and sanity, I found an apartment a mile away, in my price range, with a landlord who didn’t mind me bringing the dog. I signed the lease that very afternoon, though I’d never rented in my life and really kind of feared the idea of an apartment. We needed to get out, so we did. And things went downhill again.

For reasons not worth trying to explain, many of them out of my hands, we lived here without any real furniture for almost a month. Sleeping on the floor was fun when i was 19. I’m 42 and fat and creakier than I should be, and I like it a hell of a lot less now. I am grateful for family members who helped me move the big furniture one day. And some of the things that happened to delay the furniture moving were things that could not be helped, and that were scary in their own right. Things just happened how they happened, and the end of the year was rough for most people I care about, unfortunately.

Still, with all the delays I had getting furniture here and getting things set up, and the fact that I still don’t have everything out of the crumbling house and over here that I need to (and my car is in mid-death-rattle so running around to do this is impossible), I’ve decided that unless the earth is splitting open beneath me, I’m not moving again until I can pay people to move me at my convenience. If I can’t afford to have movers take everything from furniture to boxes of miscellaneous whatevers in one day? It ain’t happenin’.

So. The last quarter of the year was spent trying to cope with life on a daily basis. I can’t believe that feeling went on as long as it did, and that I still feel that way some days when I think of all that’s left to be done before the whole situation is finally resolved. I’ve pretty much spent my time doing the things that make money, out of necessity, and fighting the urge to throw myself into moving traffic. I had little time or patience for anything else, even the things I really wanted to do like continue participating in W1S1 and the Absolute Write forums. I’ve missed a lot of people and the cameraderie. I just didn’t have it in me.

The one thing that ended up being a high point in the last couple of months of 2011 was something I always kind of swore to myself I’d never do–self-publishing. With a couple of short stories up and selling (under a different name that I prefer to keep private for now), this ended up being one of those things that brought in money, and therefore something that I had to do, even when I wasn’t sure it was worth it to get out of bed. It was a hugely good decision. Monumentous for me, really. So the month of house hell did have a bright spot after all.

I’ve updated the Write 1 Sub 1 page a final time for 2011, and though I’m part of Write 1 Sub 1 2012, January was officially a bust for me. In my mind, it sort of clumps in with the end of 2011, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it. 2011 was still an excellent writing and subbing year, truncated as it was. I’ll post about the year’s writing goals and recent publications soon, but it’s too much to add to this one already too-long post.

I still feel beaten down by the end of last year in many ways, but things are better than they were, and slowly getting better still. Apartment life isn’t bad. The place is tiny–I sacrificed having my own bedroom just because we had to get out now–but everything works. The roof is free of holes that squirrels, birds and rain can come through at will. The pipes are sound. There’s no mold in the walls. The ceilings aren’t hanging down and about to collapse. And when something goes wrong, I can make a single phone call and explain the problem, and not have to come up with several hundred to a few thousand dollars to have it repaired. It’s better. All the way around. The line on the graph still bottoms out occasionally, but the general trend is upward.

 

 

 

16
Sep

Best Spam Comment Sep 1-15

Articles like this really grease the shtfas of knowledge.

Wow. I didn’t know I had shtfas to grease!  (And am I the only one who pronounces that shit-fas, and turns it into something dirty?)

Even without the typo and the fierce competition (you make things so undesrtdnrble!), that was the best comment in the first half of this month, hdans dwon!

08
Sep

Jill put flowers up at 7×20

Jill put flowers, reprinted from NanoismWee bio. And one more thing.

I’m also finding myself somewhat in agreement with this Tumblr post I came across, kind of ironically, on Twitter.  Self-Loathing 101: Thought Verbs by Chuck Palahniuk.

While I agree that there are some writing teachers and bits of writing advice out there designed to belittle you/make them feel superior/make you write like them, among other things, I do think Palahnuik’s challenge on getting rid of thought verbs is a great one, and probably isn’t the best example that could have been used to make the point.

 

 

04
Sep

Day 4 of the September Flash Blast

And what have I learned? Mostly that writing this way isn’t for me. Or more accurately, writing this way and then showing it to someone isn’t for me.

I can write a first draft very quickly. That’s how I normally do it. But then I don’t show it to people in the state it’s in 75 minutes after I started it. I put it aside for a bit and then I revise it. The last 4 days have not changed my mind away from that being a great idea.

My better stories are written quickly, but they’re not called done in an hour and fifteen. Considering the first two stories I sent were called, by the same person, incomprehensible (both stories after three reads, no less), and the third I sent with one character named James who later became Lawrence, I should not send anything out that quickly. Bad mistake the name thing, yes, but he’s referred to as James once in the first paragraph and then Lawrence/Larry the rest of the time. Confusing, sure, but not impossibly so. Calling him Larry added extra confusion because apparently it comes as a shock to some that Larry is short for Lawrence? I have no idea. Given these things, clearly the rush of it and I don’t mix. Good on those that do well with it; that’s just apparently not me.

Still, it’s been fun, and I got some new stories out of the mix, for what they’re worth (which I think isn’t much). I haven’t decided if I’ll continue next week, but I do hate to stop something once I’ve started.