Posts Tagged ‘self employed’

So Crazed

This morning, I have:

– Written two freelance articles for publication
– Done an in depth analysis of user trends on a product
– Completely forgotten about the report I write every Monday before my kid wakes up, and I can hear him waking up now

What I have not done this morning:

– Put any words into at least one WIP. I try to do 250 words every morning. My real writing time is in the evening, but getting one manuscript page complete each morning sets such a good tone for the rest of the day.

What I wish I was doing:

– Reading the copy of Gwenhwyfar I got for Mother’s Day.

I’m only a chapter in, and already I’m so excited. I cut my fantasy teeth on Valdemar, and loved it more than anything, and I know I’m not the only reader who started feeling a bit… disappointed. Like the well had run dry and someone was still making Mercedes Lackey throw down the bucket. Her “romance” series for Luna made me feel a lot better, because they were great reads. Still, there was sometimes a sense of automatic pilot. But this Arthurian book is the good stuff, the vintage Lackey but now with all of the craft and power an author with years of practice can command.

I used the word romance in quotes there because it’s a freaking fantasy series, but it was branded as a romance, which irritated… huh. There’s a whole pile of assumptions to be examined right there. I’ll get to that one of these days when I’m not so crazed.


The Internet Is Forever Except When It’s Not

Right now I’m cobbling together a living from a handful of small jobs. I am trying to find a single large job that will replace the income. It’s not six of one, half a dozen of the other – switching between jobs, manager styles, project needs, writing voice, tracking systems, reporting systems, and all that other stuff takes time. If I have one job and not six jobs, I will have twice as much time in my day. I know this from experience – I finished two manuscripts when I only had one job, and for the last month, I’ve made painfully slow progress on several stories, one of which is begging me to finish already.

An opportunity to do some tech writing came up, and honestly, it would pay so much better than my professional blogging, so I’d love to land the gig. The contact person asked me to dig up all of my product reviews from the last few years. Five minutes with Google, right? Twenty minutes later, I was still digging for the best one, the crown jewel of my reviewing career. The magazine that published it was out of business, but they’d had it on their website, and it had been so widely quoted and linked that surely there was a cache. Right? Wrong.

There are pictures of me weighing twenty pounds more than I do now. Things I have said off the cuff are in forum signature files all over the internet and they come up when you Google my (other) name. There are video clips of me doing unfortunate things with thumb drives at trade shows. And yet this ONE THING I really want, the thing that makes me look witty and incisive and well-informed? Gone like a fart in the wind.

Categories: Writing Tags: , ,

If You Pirate My Book, You Could Be Ending My Career

April 30, 2010 1 comment

There is an argument, oft-made by pirates, that by offering an artist’s work for free, that artist is gaining wider exposure and possibly more paying fans than might have otherwise encountered this artist.

I have made the argument before that the only thing an artist gets from exposure is death by pneumonia, but I will say that in the realm of music, this argument has proven to be at least somewhat true.

Here’s why I don’t think it applies to books. If you get a bit of a song in your head, you’re going to go looking for the rest of the song. And then the rest of the album. Songs are discrete elements, complete in and of themselves unless we are talking about Pink Floyd concept albums. A single pirated song could well serve as bait on a hook that, if taken, will result in the listener going out to get the album.

The parallel case in books is not pirated books – it would be single chapters or other kinds of excerpts. And those do work quite well as bait. My book contract specifically says I can use nearly a quarter of the whole book as an excerpt, just to make sure you as a reader reeeeeeeeeeeally want to pay the three bucks to find out how it ends. But no pirate site *I’ve* ever seen does chapters. No one is getting a sample of writing that inspires them to go buy the writer’s book. They’ve got the whole book, right there.

Does that possibly lead to future sales for that writer? It might. But here’s the problem with that for first time writers – if you pirate a first timer’s book, there won’t be a second time.

Sales figures are watched very closely. If someone’s book doesn’t sell, it’s an easy call for the publisher to not extend another contract. But most writers fall into a gray area. Not a runaway success, but not a failure.  There’s a line, not a hard and fast one, but definitely a line between someone whose sales aren’t quite good enough and someone whose sales are nearly there.

The hundred pirated copies might have made the difference between a second contract and oblivion.

In conclusion, please don’t pirate my debut novella, or the kitten gets it.

Self-Employment Downside:

No sick days.

If I don’t work, I don’t eat. Maybe not today, but on a future day where the crops sown today are harvested, there will be no harvest unless I get the seeds in the ground, the words on the page, and the websites updated.

Meanwhile, I want to go back to bed and have someone bring me juice with a bendy straw. I’m tempted to take the laptop to my bed and work there, but the sick kid is in that bed, and he’s not so sick that he wouldn’t want to touch the magic! buttons! All of them. Particularly the off button right when I’m in the middle of a hot idea.

Anyway, 1600 more words and I can go lie down. Today’s protip is “wash your hands after touching your friend’s boogery baby.”

Day Jobs

In a quest to support my end of the family mortgage while I get published, I have a variety of jobs. One of them just started – a gig blogging three times a week for a client. I know from past experience that blogging here is going to be more of a challenge while that side job continues. It’s not just the blog. When my day job consists of a lot of writing, fiction at night is really, really hard.

I’ve heard it said that writers should take day jobs that don’t interfere with the writing muscles – working at bookstores, waitressing, etc. I am not sneering – a day job at a bookstore would be perfect in so many ways, but there are two major flaws for me. One, trust me when I say that the four bookstores near me are not hiring. The stores are virtually empty whenever I go in. Maybe they’re crazy busy during the evenings, but I doubt it. And two, the bookstore isn’t going to let me take my toddler to work.

That leaves me with earning a living the only way I know how, and that’s with my keyboard. At least I’m warmed up when I finally get to my fiction every night, right?

Categories: Writing Tags: , ,

Health Care

I’m already self-employed – I’m a consultant and a non-fiction writer before I go into a phone booth and put on my glasses – so all this yammering about health care makes me kind of want to reach out and hit people. If you believe in the American dream, in pursuing your dreams to be self-employed, in the importance of writing and art, you might consider making a fist yourself.

Read more…

Categories: Thinking Tags: ,