“I was a little excited but mostly blorft. “Blorft” is an adjective I just made up that means ‘Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.’ I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.” -Tina Fey, Bossypants
So, rough times on the corporate hamster wheel of late. I’ve been getting sucked into more and more work (with no accompanying glory) and have been finding office politics more obnoxious and more difficult to get away from than ever. I guess that goes with increasing tenure and knowledge of my role, but I find it tiring, as most people do.
I decided in a fit of pique last night (a very quiet and serene fit of pique, right as I was drifting off to sleep) that I want to be off the corporate hamster wheel (CHW) within 5 years. That gives me plenty of time to (1) birth 2 babies, because no one pays you maternity leave once you’re self-employed and (2) grow a stable foundation for self-employment via writing. I worry about the feasibility of accomplishing the massive undertakings above, but time waits for no woman.
What’s the magic number? $60,000 per year. It’s a number that I picked out of the air, but I think that is quite a modest amount on the grand scale of writerly salaries for genre writers, when factoring the megawriters like Howey or his like, and thus achievable for someone with a full time job. If I hit a point where I can project $60,000 in a year, then that will be the moment when I seriously consider quitting.
So, how close am I? With the check that rolled in yesterday, I have made $4,962, pre-tax, for the first half of this year. The goal for this first full year, then, is to make it to $10,000. If I can double that or more in 2016, then I’ll be well on my way to that sweet, sweet quit number.
I think I will hit $10,000 quite easily, as long as I keep my productivity up. I’ve been learning the ins and outs of different distributors, different advertising strategies, and general best practices; it’s been paying off. I’m not going as fast as some writers just starting out, but my growth has been steady, even in the absence of a constant release schedule.
Luck clearly plays a huge factor, and I hope it will be on my side as long as I put my nose to the grindstone. In my last post I was so delighted about hitting $54 on non-Zon platforms, and rubbing my virtual palms together at the thought of reaching the $200 threshold?
Well. I hit $1200 instead. WHAT. Lady Luck must have blown me a kiss because that series of 3 books took off on iBooks. I idly Googled my pen name in the middle of this gravy train and realized that at some point, I’d landed on the iBooks paid bestseller list in Australia! I was #48! I started getting tens of subscribers from Australia, and for a while I even outsold Stephen King and GRR Martin. It was only for a few days, but wow. I will hold this tiny, prawny achievement to my heart for a long time yet.
I made another $400ish dollars on Amazon and will be skipping past the $1,500 mark for June totals. July will be much lower, as there is an inevitable sales decay on all new releases, but I’m rather pleasantly shocked at how well my non-Zon experiment went. Some of that was random luck and lightning rarely strikes twice, so I’ll continue to guesstimate on the low range for non-Zon platforms. Also, some non-Zon platforms pay quarterly rather than monthly, so that lowers numbers a bit.
Goals hit in 2015 so far
-$1,000 month! YAY!
-Newsletter subscriber list past 50 (hanging at 99; so close to 100! So close!)
-Website revamped and host migrated
-Posting to website 1-2x a month
-Finish space opera (le sigh)
Goals for 2nd half of 2015:
-Finish contemporary novel; submit to 1-2 trad publishers
-Submit to 1-2 writing contests
-Write sequel to bestselling series (1)
-Write sequel to bestselling series (2)
-Do paperbacks for bestselling series; learn how to format
-Do audiobooks for bestselling series; learn how to format
-Get newsletter subscriber list to 150 people (bonus points: 200 people)
-Start running large scale paid promotions (Nov-Dec)
-Make $2,000 in one month
It’s ambitious. It’s so ambitious that it necessarily leaves space opera behind in the dust for a while. That’s okay, I think. Let it marinate. Scifi has never been a crazy lucrative genre unless you’re at the top, so if I try for that genre, I want to work out more of my writing kinks first.
I’ve got bigger fish to fry at the moment if I’m going to try and launch a career while sprinting on the CHW at the same time. Excelsior!