The Money Matter

I hate it when it's time to get resourceful. For all my innovation in writing, my interest in the new and the different, I crave security at a very deep level. Frankly, it's a joke that someone with my need for security should be in a profession where the money comes slow and irregularly when it comes at all.

Lately a series of very bad expenses - all new appliances except for the stove which is limping (and I do mean limping, unfortunately) along and might hold another year if we're lucky, a series of car repairs, tuition for both kids an idiot cat who swallowed a bunch of thread and other sundry emergencies - have driven a knife deep into my bank account. This combines with the fact that payments that used to be almost instant in publishing are often now eight months late to bring us to a no good, very bad, rotten type of financial situation.

Of course the problem with this is that anxiety brings my writing to a grinding halt, and that in turn grinds the payments to an even slower schedule because I deliver late.

To put things bluntly, we need to make up the about 12k in unexpected expenses (yeah, the tuition was expected, but the rest wasn't) that have buffeted us since around December or things are going to go south very fast and get extremely unpleasant to the point that writing time will become iffy (as in, if we need to move).

In this type of situation, normally, I get a day job. Except... I haven't needed to do that in more than ten years, so my marketable skills are limited. Also I'm signed for six books due this year. This combination means in this market getting a job at all will be... uh... interesting and that if I get a job I won't be able to write.

This leaves me two options, which - while both cut into my writing by making more writing - are actually doable and in several ways preferable.

One is a storyteller's bowl. I set up a site and start putting up a novel, then set a value per chapter - since my chapters are short, probably a relatively low value - and once that value is reached in donations, I put up the next chapter. The only problem with this is finishing the novel before I put it up. I don't think that would happen, which means people would essentially be donating for an e-arc - an unedited/unpolished novel. I was thinking - for those of you in the diner - of putting up my regency Witchfinder novel with the Scarlet Pimpernel character. It is outlined, and I know I can finish it, and well... I will write for money. (I could also do a science fiction, mind you...)

The other is a subscription. For - say - $10 a year, I commit to two short stories a month, 60% of those to be set in either the world (and probably past history) of DST and shifters. (Probably more than 60%, but I can promise 60%. ) There would be the occasional three short story month/novellete/story by a "guest author" as a bonus.

I am tempted to try both of them. They would take less time away from contracts than an honest job and if they bring in what I need, it would reduce anxiety enough to allow me to work.

What do you guys think the chances of either/both/neither of these succeeding are? I confess that they're all too "risky" to my mind and that I hate having to get creative in this way. However, it seems that I DO have to try. Ideas? Suggestions? Rotten tomatoes?

crossposted (after six am) at According To Hoyt and Mad Genius Club.

posted by Sarah on 03.23.11 at 12:29 AM










Comments

I admire anyone who can make a living as a writer, although I am in no position to offer advice as to which of your two options (storyteller's bowl or subscription) might work -- for the simple reason that I don't know a thing about the market or the readership. My uninformed reaction would be to try both.

However, I might be able to help with the stove which is limping. What are the symptoms?

Eric Scheie   ·  March 23, 2011 1:54 PM

I rather think I'm too neurotic for this profession, or at least the insecurity that goes with it. I also rather think that I am going to try both. If either works, it buys me time which seems to be main issue right now.

I feel more than a little guilty and embarrassed resorting to this, frankly, but I AM willing to work for my money. And people would pay $10 for a smaller antho/novel, except in this case they're getting a known quantity: me. And they're contributing materially to the hoyt used-book-and-homeless-cat program... (Oh, no, we aren't a "program" but if you entered our house that's what you'd think.)

Sarah   ·  March 23, 2011 2:42 PM

and the stove... well... it's a gas stove and it's been giving off a weird smell. Strangely ozone, not gas. Also, the back burner on the left is putting out a MUCH smaller flame than it used to. And the lighters take turns not working. I chose a gas stove 8 years ago, because I thought -- and in my experience this was true -- they were workhorses, but this one has been odd since day one (enamel chipping randomly off the top, problems lighting) and it's only getting more peculiar. It's odd because gas stoves are relatively hard to screw up. I wonder if it's a victim of the war on things that work?

Sarah   ·  March 23, 2011 2:46 PM

Storyteller's bowl worked for Lee and Miller. They also sold the novel to Baen after posting it online. I think they worked out a deal where subscribers got a finished copy from Baen after it came out in print. (Which might cannibalize next year's income, but if you need the money now. . . ) I'd go for that if I were you.

Not that I am you -- and while I am really good about giving out free advice I cannot say that I am really good *at* giving advice. Or following my own advice.

Mark L   ·  March 23, 2011 2:52 PM

Storyteller's bowl worked for Lee and Miller. They also sold the novel to Baen after posting it online. I think they worked out a deal where subscribers got a finished copy from Baen after it came out in print. (Which might cannibalize next year's income, but if you need the money now. . . ) I'd go for that if I were you.

Not that I am you -- and while I am really good about giving out free advice I cannot say that I am really good *at* giving advice. Or following my own advice.

Mark L   ·  March 23, 2011 2:52 PM

These newer gas stoves can suck bad. I have had plenty of trouble with my GE, but they are all similar. The ozone smell sounds like one or more electronic lighter(s) are malfunctioning. There is a spark module I replaced on my GE XL44 stove, and I read that they can spark intermittently, even when the burners are in the OFF position:

http://forum.appliancepartspros.com/oven-repair-including-ranges-cooktops/4067-ge-stovetop-spark-module-not-working.html

I don't know your stove model, but if you are getting erratic sparking plus ozone smell, it might be the board. They are cheaper on ebay, but you need the part number. Let me know and I might be able to help.

I have also had to replace an oven burner igniter on the damned thing, but it's working fine now.

Yes, it does reflect a war on things that work. In the name of "saving energy." The manufacturers love it.

FYI, here's what mine looks like:

http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=m570&_nkw=WB13K25

Eric Scheie   ·  March 23, 2011 4:45 PM

I'd kick in $10 a year.

I think that you might consider that after a year, you could also sell the story collection on Kindle/Nook for some to-be-determined price, or break them down and sell individually at $.099 each (a dozen stories brings in $11.88 that way).

I haven't done this before, so I'm willing to pay $10 for the experiment.

Kizmet   ·  March 24, 2011 3:36 PM

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