duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
[personal profile] duskpeterson
"I suspect I have spent just about exactly as much time actually writing as the average person my age has spent watching television, and that, as much as anything, may be the real secret here."

--William Gibson, via The Passive Voice.

+++ 17 June 2014

How the Move is Going, otherwise known as, Is my Life Sane Yet?

Housework: Going well, considering that I had to leave most of my cleaning equipment behind in Greenbelt. Dishes, laundry, and tidying are getting done promptly, and I've begun to help Jo/e with his chores. Bigger housecleaning tasks are getting done too, though not as promptly as they would if I had less unpacking to do.

Unpacking: Not going well at all, because Jo/e has been so sick (with an as-yet-undiagnosed ailment) that he hasn't been able to help me most days to move bookcases into place. Without being able to move bookcases, I can't unpack the boxes of books and LPs. Without being able to unpack the boxes of books and LPs, I can't unpack the boxes that are buried beneath/behind them. So basically, this place still looks like a warehouse.

Layout/publishing: Going excellently! I've been getting out several reissues with new covers each week.

Editing/proofreading: Still on my agenda. I had them pencilled in for this week, but financial matters have kept me online far longer than I'd planned.

Writing: My Muse showed up today, for the first time since December - yay! As long as I feed him other people's fiction, give myself time each day to draft stories in my head, and force myself to sit in front of a blank screen every morning, my Muse will continue to produce, if my past experience is anything to judge by. But . . .

Online usage: In order for me to have a fiction-only diet, I need to get offline. Haven't been able to do that, not because of my Internet addiction (though it's been taking full advantage of the situation, believe me), but because I have so much online work to catch up on. For example . . .

Email: At the beginning of this month, I hadn't answered anything except vitally important email for three months, due to the move. My inbox is Chaos.

Finances: All askew, thanks to that stupid security breach on my card, *but* my PIN finally arrived, *and* my birth certificate (which was supposed to take six weeks, but arrived within a week of my ordering it). So now I can get a state ID, and everything else I need to do financially follows out from that. Except . . .

Health: My health insurance. I'm in the midst of changing policies. That's put a kazillion health appointments on hold. I did get to see my new primary care physician before this all started. And I'm walking a lot more, now that I'm moved to an interesting new town. My health has been good since I got here, except when I've made the mistake of eating dairy. (My body can't tolerate dairy. I keep trying to ignore that fact, particularly when faced with a Snickers bar.)

Socializing/spirituality/ethics: Still my weakest area. I'm not keeping in touch with family and friends as much as I should, I haven't made any effort to get involved in my new community, and I'm not devoting as much time as I should to Living the Examined Life. Partly my social isolation is due to the continued effects of hypomania; every time I try to socialize, my hypomania holds a party, and my conduct, to put it mildly, is distasteful. Understand: I'm a hermit by inclination (or rather, a semi-hermit who needs at least one other person in my daily life, which I have), so complete social isolation, except for talking to Jo/e, isn't *unpleasant* for me; it's just not the ideal way for me to live my life. Even desert hermits talked to other people occasionally.

Overall schedule: Not as good as it could be. Partly this is due to the trials of settling into a new place, but partly it's still a self-discipline problem. I really need to get myself up to thirty hours of professional work a week, if I'm to have any reasonable chance of raising my income. I've heard that the way to achieve self-discipline is to treat your self-employment like a day job, with a boss hovering over you, cracking a whip. Since I haven't had a day job for twenty-two years, and since I was terrible at keeping to a schedule when I had a day job, that particular piece of advice doesn't help.

Overall sanity: Much better than it's been for the past five years. I'm still a bit stressed/depressed over the continued interruptions to my daily routine and over my finances (especially the state of my ebook sales, accompanied by worries over whether I'm taking the right approach with my covers). Having virtually no access to my bank account for a month didn't improve my mood. But all this is a walk in the park compared to what I went through during the past half-decade. Except for the itty-bitty detail that I'm earning one-tenth of what I need to pay the bills, I feel like I'm now back into "ordinary stresses of life," as opposed to "unremitting trauma."

+++ 21 June 2014

The above-mentioned problem of Internet addiction meant that it was Thursday before I started on my e-book reissues of the week, so I ended up spending three days laying out three e-books and their covers.

I managed it, which gave me all too clear an indication of how much work I *could* be doing if I'd just get myself on a regular schedule.

I'm going to be strict with myself after this. Except for major emergencies, no time online except on the weekends (other than my daily brief check of email, phone calls, weather, and ebook sales). Four hours of professional work a day, and I'd really like to get that number up to five hours, which would give me a 40-hour week.

My Muse hopped away toward the end of this week, like a skittish bunny, thanks to me spending too much time online, but I should be able to lure him back next week. The bigger problem is the amount of work I have on hand. Here's what I'm trying to do at the moment:


Reissue the Eternal Dungeon stories in multiformat (twenty e-books, unless I serialize On Guard, in which case there'll be more).

Reissue the Three Lands stories in multiformat, including serializing Law Links (six stories), Blood Vow (six stories), and Law of Vengeance (six stories, and no, this isn't a coincidence), because I think the high price of those volumes is scaring away readers.

Edit and publish the first three installments of the next Three Lands volume (which will - wait for it - eventually be six stories).

Edit and publish the next Life Prison volume, including separate editions of the three stories in it.

Reissue the Toughs side stories in a single volume.

Locate cover art for all of the above. We're talking over fifty covers, guys.

Put more of my short stories online, in more places on the web.

Write the next installments for the Eternal Dungeon and Waterman, as well as finishing some side stories.

That's my *short-term* publishing schedule.


There just ain't enough hours in the day.

I read with envy an email today from a fellow writer, saying how she was hoping to get an assistant soon, to relieve her of non-writing tasks. Now, I actually do enjoy the non-writing parts of my profession. I'd have gone insane long ago if I didn't. And writing comes first on my schedule; publishing work is what I do once I'm through writing for the day. (Because of my health, it's really not good for me to spend all day writing in any case.) I'm a fairly fast writer, so if I stick to my schedule, I can finish a couple of novellas a month, just by spending that hour or two a day writing. So lack of writing time isn't the problem.

The problem is lack of *publishing* time. I don't how the heck I'm going to lay out and publish (and in some cases, edit) fifty e-books in a relatively short period. That's not even counting the remaining multiformat editions that need to be issued, nor whatever new stories I end up writing.

But *cough* Ineedthemoney. My goal this year is to get my monthly sales up to an average of five copies a day. (To those of you who are writers: No, I do not mean five copies per ebook, of the sixty ebooks I have out. My sales are really that bad.) That should double my income from last year. Then I'll try to double that figure. And so forth. I'm taking baby steps. But the first baby step is a big one: getting myself out of the sales rut I've been stuck in for the past two-and-a-half years.

Scary link of the week (for those of us who write m/m): A 2013 survey of m/m authors by Jesse Wave. Among other things, she asked how much m/m authors were making. Of the 54 self-published authors who responded, 78% earned under $10,000 a year. (The earnings for traditionally published authors weren't much better, I'm sorry to report. Some well-known authors were reporting very low figures in the comments.)

I already knew that m/m doesn't earn much in comparison to m/f, but I hadn't realize the situation was that bad. Because I've been on threads where m/f romance authors were comparing their earnings, and yowza. You can make seriously good money writing m/f romance, especially if you write in a hot subgenre, such as contemporary or YA paranormal.

I think the top-earning m/m author at the moment must be Josh Lanyon, who reports earning $300,000 gross last year. (He does emphasize that his net earnings are considerably less; he lays out a lot of money when self-publishing.) He must work like the devil, is all I can say. I've talked to a couple of other self-published m/m authors who were making comfortable incomes. But it sounds like it's an uphill battle to do what I'm trying to do: make a living from writing stories that feature gay love.

However, there's no guaranteed income for any freelance/indie writer, no matter what genre they write in. I decided long ago that it was silly to try to second-guess what would sell best; rather, I write what I find interesting and try to figure out a way to market it in such a manner that it sells well. So that's why I'm spending so much time recently worrying about marketing matters. It's not so that I can bore those of you who are interested only in the writing part of what I do; it's because good marketing (if I can figure out that formula) will enable me to continue writing what I love - and what some of you have said you love - rather than my becoming some hack writer, churning out the Flavor of the Day.

Date: 2014-06-23 11:02 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Glad to hear you are settling in. Hope Jo/e's feeling better soon.

Thanks for the heads up to the blog on Wave's site about earnings. Ithink Josh is right. Four quality books a year is the ideal. Impossible when holding down a full time job. I also don't feel like spending all that time and having half of it go to the tax man as it adds onto my current RL income.

Maybe when I retires I'll devote more time to it.

Date: 2014-06-23 11:04 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Sorry, the above comment was me, A.B. Gayle. :)

Date: 2014-06-24 09:48 am (UTC)
musicman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] musicman
I think your date of 21 July 2014 is a bit premature, I assume you meant June? Only important if you read your journal later on and get confused which month you were writing about, because July hasn't happened yet. Or you could be time traveling.

Could Jo/e be allergic to all the cardboard boxes? I get respiratory distress when surrounded by that much cardboard.

I'm sorry I can't come up and help move book cases around so you can get the books unloaded and the boxes out of there.

You could do a m/f version of one of your stories, to change the sex of one character and see if it sells on the m/f romance? Do it under a pseudonym so you don't ruin your rep as a m/m writer? It might make for an interesting experiment.

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