Monday, September 12, 2016

And you thought being a full-time writer was glamorous.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've decided to jump into this being-a-full-time writer thing. 

Without a parachute. 

DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNN! 

Yeah. It's all very dramatic. Truth be told, though, it's not really all that glamorous. I've explained my thinking in my IWSG post, but the TL;DR version goes something like this...

Lots going on with my "day-job" businesses, but no money has come in. 
Writing, while bringing in a tiny income, is in fact bringing me an income. 
Ergo, it makes sense for me to put in more time to create content and writing which can bring me more income. 

Am I being stupid about this? 

Gosh, no! At least I hope not. Basically my "day-job" business has reached a hurry-up-and-wait phase. As in, I've contacted people. They want to work with me. They ordered samples. They've received samples, and now they're waiting for some meeting or the other to try said samples and decide whether or not they buy. 

In the meantime, I'm sitting here twiddling my thumbs looking for other ways to make money.

Since writing is my passion, I want to put more time into making it work as a viable business, just like I'm doing with my other businesses. 

The problem with this is... 

You might have guessed it. Money. Right now, money is my biggest issue. See, if I'm going to make it as a writer, I need to keep producing books. Which will bring me in some money. 

Okay. But I need to get the word out, which means marketing. Marketing like... sharing stuff on all my social networks all the time. (Which I'm doing now, but man it takes a chunk out of my time.) Marketing like creating more content that has value to my readers (like more books). And so on. 

Problem is that I have to pay for most of this in some way, whether it's with money or time. Because more often than not, money payments aren't an option, it's time. Which means that right now, everything I do is a trade-off of some kind. 

I can spend more time on social networs, but that means I don't write as much. 
Or I can buy a way to schedule things to all my social networks, but that costs money, of which I have a very limited budget and no clue as to the Return on Investment. 

Yes. Me taking this thing into full-time territory has me thinking about return on investment a lot. 

And thinking about that, brings me to the timing of those returns. In other words... No matter what I do, there tends to be at least a month delay between my spending my money and me getting it back, if I even get it back. 

To illustrate. 

Let's say I want to publish a new book. 

If I pay outsource: 
Cheapest Nice-ish Cover for ebooks and paperback: $150 if I'm really lucky.
Formatting: Between $100 and $500

This means a minimum of $250 for one book. 

If I do it all myself, I can bring the cost down to $80 by paying for sofware I use to make my own covers etc., but the downfall is that this is $80 per month. Which means two things: 

1) To keep the cost at $80, I need to create a book every month. Which is something I had been working towards, but that got steamrolled by my life. So let's say we're actually closer to $200 per book, unless I use the same software for other income streams. (Which would be the plan.) 
2) In order to keep the software, and assuming that books are the only way with which to pay this money, it means I have to sell at least 40 books every single month just to break even. 

And even if I was there (and I'm not), that money will only come in at least one month (but as much as three months) after the end of the month in which I incurred the expense. 

To say the least, it's a freaking headache. 

If I was to publish through a publishing house, it does save me the expense, but at the cost of not making any income off the time-commitment to write until at least nine months after I sold the book. Never mind the time it takes just to find a publisher who wants to sign the book. 

So now I have to find other ways to generate money with which to pay for these products, such as Patreon, Fiverr and monetizing YouTube videos. Which is great, but I still a) need the those same $80 products to help generate content, b) need to spend time in order to market my activities on those sites c) need to wait at least a month before I receive the money back. 

And to make the money back as quickly as possible, I have to use Payoneer in order to have a US Bank account, and if I do that, I have to wait until I have $200 to pay out just to get the money loose. 

So, in short... I'm feeling very much stuck. 

Advice? Thoughts?

19 comments:

Mia Hayson said...

Gosh, it's all so much when you write it out! I'd suggest looking into grants too? If you haven't already fundsforwriters.com/grants/ is great to look at. There are some not so practical things but there are other grants that might appeal and they're a decent size :) The list is very long and varied so it's worth looking through I think <3

Patreon is fab too! I love subscribing to people on it. It feels v personal but useful too.

Launna said...

Oh my... writing for yourself is stressful, I hope you find way... maybe some who is doing it will be able to give you some useful tips xox ♡♡

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It does sound like a vicious cycle. Now I know why I don't want to be a full time writer.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

The entire process is very slow. I have five books in production with DLP (soon to be seven) and the money is going out now with the hope much much more comes back when the books are released.

I format for $99.

The Cynical Sailor said...

That's wonderful that writing is bringing in an income, no matter how small. But I can see what a challenge it is to have to fork out money as part of the process and hope for a return on investment. I wish I had some useful advice, but I'm sure others will. You seem like a tenacious woman so if anyone can figure it out, I'm guessing you'll be that person :-)

M.J. Fifield said...

I sadly don't have any advice. I barely make any money from writing, and it takes me years to finish a book.

I like Mia's suggestion of looking into some grants.


Best of luck to you...I wish you much success!

Janie Junebug said...

Google "advice for marketing books." I've seen writers do a number of blog posts about free ways to market books, but I can't think of who they were. You probably already follow blogs by people who publish regularly. They often have great suggestions. If you make some money writing, then go for it. What about adding some pieces for small magazines? You won't make a fortune, but sometimes I wrote something in half an hour and got paid $25 to $150.

Love,
Janie

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I use Payoneer debit card and it has done wonders for me. The fee is worth being able to have cash on hand as it was a disaster trying to get bank support locally as a freelance writer with all my work being online ghostwriting. I think the cover creation can be a great option if you're really good at it. Here are three ways I have seen cover artist help increase their prestige.

1) Collaboration on creating one image/company where each as a group can promote their work and pull in writers to buy from great options.

2)One popular cover creator opens their page to other creators to feature their covers. Even photographers who get seen because their photographs are used. Najla Qamber does this as a cover artist and she's the reason why I found Lcphotoart (spelling? I'll check facebook if you're interested in knowing more) and have bought two photographs from the photography personally for future promotion. Also Najla is a talented cover artist in both original and premade covers. I have hired her for more than one cover and have never been disappointed. She has even expanded to having a new site dedicated to creating children covers.

3. Take part in FB promos made by authors offering deals on promotion or creating relationships by visiting these online writing events and getting to know the authors better. I have had chats with authors and as long as you don't push your jobs at them they like hearing what others are doing in the writing and cover business. Hell on twitter I got a CP because one of the event attendees was so excited by one of the ideas I'm working on that she begged for me to remember as a CP when I was ready to pick some. Looked her up after, she's definitely going to be a CP for me.

Anyway I wish you all the best and keep going. If I can find a way to work the writing gig with just a high school diploma and working on my craft, you can with all your experience. Always keep aiming for the stars!

Juneta Key said...

Misha you may already read JoAnna Penn but you do not she is well worth the read. This is about being entrepreneur author. I keep up with and I would like to take her publishing course one day when I can afford it again It's not bad but for me, like you now, it is not something I can do until I am back on my feet. Joanna writes thriller fiction and nonfiction, here she breaks down her 6 figure income.

I don't know how much this can help you but it will give you something to think about. It is something I am thinking about it.

I was watching when she put out her first book and I have watched her soar in the last five years. She gives me hope as an Indie author.

Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Olga Godim said...

I make my own covers with the free software, paint.net. My covers might be simple but at least they are original. And free. Perhaps that would be of help to you. Paint.net is a rather basic image-editing software. It wouldn't work for a professional designer but it works for a writer like myself who dabbles in cover design. I also occasionally make covers for free, and a couple of people on wattpad already have my covers on their stories.

Shell Flower said...

I really love the covers you made, and I think people would pay for those on Fiverr or what have you. If you sold a few covers each month, that could potentially pay for the software so you can also make your own. Same with the formatting software.

Mark Noce said...

The way I look at it, most writers have had day jobs, and that comes with the territory. Joyce was a teacher, Dickens an editor, Orwell and Hemingway were journalists, and Vonnegut was a tech writer. Even they needed a regular steady paycheck to get by. It's all part of making our art come alive. :)

Patricia Lynne said...

Making money off of writing is tough. It can take years to build up an audience who will gobble up your books. I wish I could give some magic advice to make it happen faster, but since I understand that fact, I'm not giving up my day job while I write. That's at least steady income to pay bills and do things like marketing.

Denise Covey said...

What can I add, Misha? Writing is not something most authors expect to make a living from doing. Unless you're a best-selling author. Something to aim towards. :-)

LD Masterson said...

Writing full time to support yourself has to be one of the hardest jobs there is. That's why I was never brave enough to let go of the paying job until I was able to retire and write full time. But I'm guessing you don't want to wait that long.

Crystal Collier said...

I hear the 7 to 10 book mark is where you start to see decent returns...unless you're super lucky. *shrugs* I'll keep you in my prayers. Cash flow is the biggest issue for most small businesses.

dolorah said...

Everything seems to come down to "money". That once a week buck on a lotto ticket is not a waste of resource, lol.

Medeia Sharif said...

This is why I can't quit my day job, not that I want to, although writing full time would be great. Money making will always be an issue unless I hit the bestseller lists.

Rachel Pattinson said...

I hate how everything seems to come down to money - I'm lucky to have a day job that I like, but I've been thinking lately is it worth me putting in the extra hours to get ahead at work and sacrifice writing time, or just do what I'm supposed to do, but have time to write? It's a difficult choice - unfortunately I have no real advice to give you, other than to wish you the very best of luck with it all. If anyone can figure it out, it's you, Misha!