Monday, April 11, 2011

Really, I Have Nothing To Do

I had a most irritating conversation the other day in which the other party implied that writing wasn't a real job.

Really?

Because last time I checked, there's this really coveted list (New York Times) that every writer, I mean, person who sits and plays on their computer all day would love to be on.  There's this place called the Library of Congress that houses and catalogs hundreds of thousands of bound bands of paper each year.  And all over the country there are stores known as book shops.  Some near me are small like Book Swap (closest source for overpriced second-hand Harlequin novels and Westerns) or ginormously large like Barnes&Noble (where hipsters can be pretentious while sipping $5 lattes).

Here's the thing.  While I am struggling to eke out a living as a writer at this point, I am in no way not not busy.  Here's the things I have to do daily as a writer:
  • Write a blog entry, to stay relevant.  If I skip a day, I'll lose readers, meaning less exposure. 
  • Network via Twitter, Facebook
  • Seek out similar writers blogs and books, send messages, leave comments in hopes they'll come seek me out.
  • Put together essays that I am working on for my book, re-wording entire paragraphs at times, trashing some essays totally.
  • Check on developing news.
  • Research upcoming writers conferences, writing contests.
  • Research into ANYTHING that could get me more exposure on my blog, FB, or Twitter
  • Publish an article for the news feed I freelance for.  (That part hasn't been going too well at recent.  Hopefully I can reorganize some time slots to accommodate that.)

I do all this in one day, in addition to all my jobs as a stay-at-home-mother.  I'm busy.

So don't tell me for one minute that writing isn't a job.

Sure, I'm not bringing in a paycheck for all the work I do.  For a person who use to slave away 40 hrs a week at a job I dreaded going to, I could look forward to every other Friday because I knew my bank account would have replenished itself.  I don't have that incentive to work hard each day because I'll be reaping in my rewards within two weeks.  It's not like that.  I don't have a promise of a paycheck every two weeks.

I'm writing because I strongly believe that this burning desire placed in me is what God is calling me to do.  I've held traditional 9-5 jobs over the years and have been successful at what I've done, but ultimately I wind up burned out, crushed and angry by rules devoid of any reason.  I hate working for The Man even though I was rewarded every other week with a paycheck.  Now I don't have a paycheck and I couldn't be more elated.

From the age of six, I knew I wanted to write.  I use to throw rubber-banded stories on my neighbor’s lawns believing that they would want to read what I had written.  Since second grade much of my free time has been spent reading and writing.  I do not recall a time when I have not been actively engaged in a creative writing project.  I have two dresser drawers full of novellas, screen plays, and outlines, ranging from children’s literature, humorous antidotals and dark mysteries.

I have set before myself a deadline of one year to make this dream a (paying) reality.  I know I have the talent it takes to appeal to an audience.  I have had well-read authors, radio hosts, people both famous and other not so famous tell me how they have been touched by my writings.  Some have cried at my honesty, others have laughed at my humor.  I have the audience and through Kindle I have a medium that allows me to by-pass the traditional hassles of publication.

Before the advent of indie publishing, Kindle, and E-reader the typical author might spend a year or two waiting to hear back from a publisher, with four-fifths of writers receiving rejection notes based on the publisher‘s preferences.  For example, Richard Hooker author of M*A*S*H , was rejected by 21 publishing houses before his book was published, spawning a movie and television series.  John Grisham’s A Time To Kill was rejected 28 times before seeing print.

As media moves in a more digital direction, authors such as myself are having greater opportunities with far greater payouts.  Without the traditional overhead, publishing through Amazon enables the author to set the price of their writings and keep 70% of the profit made off the book.  New author Amanda Hocking has earned more that $900,000 in one year and Barry Eisler, a New York Times Best Selling Author, recently turned down a $500,000 book deal from a traditional publishing house.  After doing the math, Eisler realized that self-publishing would allow him a greater profit than any of his other traditionally printed books had done. 

The market, the audience, and the profit are there; I feel strongly that by utilizing my skills and dreams of writing I could turn a profit within a year.  In order to devote myself wholeheartedly to this job, I need investors to back me.  I got the math figured out with the assistance of a former ad executive and the numbers are good.

For now, I write, I send out query letter to potential investors, I write some more, say a few prayers, and continue writing.

But if you have a spare thousand or 25K, and would be willing to invest in a rising author drop me a line.  Or you can be completely altruistic and donate via Paypal.