Making Money Mondays – More Revenue or Lower Overhead?

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rainbow-mickey-mouse-head-icon-disney-pin-7af6320b15e0f2e9d987fa48915ca897Before I get to the topic of the day, I just want to say what I am sure all of my cohorts here at MW are feeling. Our hearts go out to all the families and victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting this weekend. I won’t get political here, this isn’t the place, and I won’t get political today, because it’s not the day. But I’ll just say that from all of us here, please accept our condolences, and know that we believe through the power of words we can all work together to make the world a better place. Please be kind to each other and take care of one another.

Now, with ConCarolinas behind us, and my most profitable ConCarolinas ever, for the record, let’s look at two different concepts in improving your chances at making a living as a writer.

There are two ways to live like you’re making more money – either actually make more money, or reduce your overhead. I can only do so much to help with the first one, so today we’re going to focus on the second, and look at some ways to reduce your overhead at conventions, whether they’re your home con or one you travel all the way across a continent for.

 

1.Get a good Water Bottle – Dead serious. This seems like a no-brainer, but just carrying a good plastic water bottle can save you anywhere from $5-10 per day. I use a nice one I got at a Magic tournament. It has the Star City Games logo on it, and it was free, which is my favorite price. Every time I fill it up, I’m not buying a $2 soda from the drink machine, or a $3 soda at the bar or restaurant. If $10/day doesn’t sound like much, let’s remember that I do as many as 12 three-day conventions each year. That’s $360 per year saved just by carrying around a water bottle, or if you’re like me and are helped by equating dollars to real-life expenses, that’s almost a truck payment saved over the course of a year.

2. VistaPrint sales & volume buys – I’ve printed a lot of postcards this summer. Like 8,000, a lot. Between Modern Magic postcards, Falstaff Books postcards, and postcards for ebook downloads, I’ve done a lot of printing. I’ve also printed about 4,000 business cards and 3,000 bookmarks. I shop the sales pretty religiously, because between VistaPrint and OvernightPrints.com, the two companies I use, one always has a 40-50% off sale. You usually have to buy in bulk to get the best discount, but that’s what I want to do anyway, so as to save on shipping. Remember, two five-pound shipments costs way more than one ten-pound, or even fifteen-pound package, so buy as much product as you can afford in one shot, then you’ll get the lowest price right out of the gate.

3. Split costs – The first couple of years I did conventions, I always took a room at the con hotel and always took a room by myself. I was accustomed to traveling for business on a company card, and I’d gotten pretty comfortable with my own space in a hotel room. You know what? It’s a lot more cost-effective to put two or three people in a hotel room that reasonably accommodates four, and that lets you get the word out more places, because you can afford to do more conventions when you’re paying $50/night instead of $150! It  is important to find people you can travel with, though. And if you snore, warn your roommates. 🙂

4. Bring your own breakfast (and booze) – This is one I learned at Dragon a few years ago from Misty and Laura Anne Gilman. A box of Pop-Tarts and Mountain Dew gets me through a week’s worth of breakfast, and if you’re staying in a hotel that doesn’t provide a free breakfast, can be a real savings. The same goes for toting a flask of your favorite adult beverage. Just be discreet with that one, hotel bars are where we get our work done, and they sometimes get testy about that sort of thing.

Those are just a few of mine – what have you got? What do you do to lower your overhead for conventions or everyday living that helps you focus on your writing instead of freaking out over bills all the time?

Please remember that submissions are open until Wednesday for the Falstaff Books Anthology #WeAreNotThis – Carolina Writers for Equality. This will be a charity anthology fighting HB3nd supporting Time Out Youth, EqualityNC, and Queen City Theatre Company. For guidelines go to the Falstaff Books website. 

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