Friday, April 17, 2020

Harsh Financial Realities

Author finances are, for me, a long series of wrenching trade offs. My balance sheet bleeds. I've been operating at a loss for enough years that I can no longer file with the IRS as an author. I've been relegated to hobbyist. Also, I've picked up a day job to help get the family through some of the current nonsense because there can never be enough employed people in a household during an economic downturn. At least I'm technical writing, I guess.

This all amounts to me having to make decisions about how and where I publish material based on cost. For the moment, that means that self publishing is out of my reach for the foreseeable future. Professional editors are worth their weight in gold. I prefer not to publish without an editor looking over my stories and calling me out on my bad habits. It's just I don't currently have the gold for that or for good cover art. That can all change at a moment's notice. But the more likely scenario is that I can change that with hard work and book releases. So I'll favor small presses (thank the heavens for The Wild Rose Press) and querying agents about getting back into traditional markets, maybe. Whether I like it or not, this is the way it is for now.

So what convinces me to part with my pinched pennies? Marketing. Low investment ads that allow me to play a long game to build an audience slowly as I finish up the SFR series this year. I committed the cash to join an authors' coop so I could learn from people who are out there in the trenches really doing a good job with marketing. They're being super generous with their knowledge. Learning new skills is always worth the money. Up to the point that you can't pay the mortgage, obviously, but so far that's not at risk. Knock wood.

I don't mean for any of this to come off as a complaint or a plea for any kind of sympathy. I want to be transparent. There are reasons people stop publishing. I won't because I can't. And I have just enough ego mingled with spite to keep throwing my pages out into the aether.

At least with most of the world on lock down, it's not like I'm missing conferences this year?

Y'all stay safe out there.


  1. "Ego mingled with spite" <-I'm saying that the next time someone asks me for the most important qualities in being an author! I appreciate you being so honest. I think a lot of the writers who are positions similar to yours hesitate to speak up - and it skews the reality. <3

    1. I would love to be able to tell a different story that ends with movie contracts, sports cars and regrettable decisions on my part. :D But I do feel like it doesn't matter where you are in the publishing world. The point is that there's always somewhere you can go and something you can do. So do that.