Making Money Mondays – When it’s okay to work for free v. Dying of “Exposure”

It’s an adorable life cycle, kinda like that of a butterfly. A new writer is born, writhing around in their own personal primordial ooze, crawling through the muck of leaning to write, creating their own crap, wallowing the great quagmire of unpublished work, until one day, one shining, fateful day, they begin to break out of their chrysalis of obscurity and merge as a glorious monarch butterfly of a midlister, and everything is all rainbows and unicorns forever and ever, amen.

Yeah, right. You know better. If you didn’t know better, you would after about fifteen minutes poking around here. You know that the life of a professional, or semi-pro writer is hard, and the road is brought with peril. At every turn, there are “opportunities” that can do you more harm than good, and “friends” that are more exploitive than helpful.

I’ve talked before about anthologies, and how they […]

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Making Money Mondays – Reaching People – Email Lists

I promised months ago to talk about building an email list, and now I’m finally getting back to it. Sorry, I’ve written a few books since then. But don’t worry, it’s still all valid.

Let’s start by dealing with a few basic ideas about mailing lists – Yes, you need one. Yes, it will sell books for you. Yes, you need to mail the people on it regularly. Yes, you want to engage with folks on your mailing list. Yes, it’s okay if it’s all about you, but it’s great if it’s about other folks, too.

So how do you build one? Let’s start with the basics – you need to start working on building a mailing list before your book exists. It won’t have very many people on it, and they might all be your friends and family, and you might not ever send anything out to them, but […]

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Making Money Mondays – Managing Your Capacity

Hey there! This post is going up a little later in the day than normal, because of this very topic, which is how I thought about it. Convenient, right?

My cat exceeds the capacity of this box.

Everything has a capacity. Cups get full, balloons stretch to the point of almost bursting, hotel rooms overflow with alcohol-soaked bodies, etc. etc. etc. You as a writer and a businessperson have a capacity as well. There’s only so much stuff that you can take on at any given time. You only have so many spoons, or so much bandwidth, or whatever metaphor you like. But the point is that you have a limited capacity for productivity.

And you have a lot of crap to do.

A LOT of crap.

You have to write. You have to edit that last thing you wrote while you’re writing the new thing. You have to […]

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Making Money Mondays – Saying Yes

My current working environment.

As I’m sitting here on a Sunday morning, wiping sleep from my eyes and trying to get the cat situated on the desk in a way that interferes with neither my typing nor my Pop-Tart ingestion (a pretty critical part of my morning), I was wondering what to write today. I’m also sitting here for a few minutes writing while I let my back rest from lugging boxes of books down from the front room to my office so I can prep for a small appearance/signing I’m doing this afternoon with Gail Z. Martin, J. Matthew Saunders, and Stuart Jaffe at a library here in town.

So my aching back got me to thinking, as I often do, “What’s the point of all these appearances?” It’s not like I make a ton of money at them. Wouldn’t I be better off sitting at home writing […]

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Making Money Mondays – Self-Publishing – KDP Select Report

Hello to the future! Thanks to the scheduling feature on WordPress I’m able to write this post on Wednesday and have it post on Monday, because I’ll be at Dragon Con Monday rushing from panel to panel and will not be able to make a blog post. So hello, future friends!

This week we’re going to talk about something very specific to self-published or very small press authors – KDP Select (or Kindle Unlimited). For the purposes of this program, many small presses are treated just like self-published authors, so we’ll refer to them all the same way. Larger presses have different levels of access and different ways of dealing with Amazon, but that’s a little more about how the sausage gets made than anyone actually wants to know. Also understand that nothing I’m going to talk about includes my Black Knight Chronicles series, we’re only talking about my self-published/Falstaff […]

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Making Money Mondays – Why Writing to Market is a Trap (or the best thing ever!)

I know, I promised I’d talk about mailing lists, Mailchimp, and BookFunnel, but that’s gonna have to wait a little bit.

Yep, that post title is clickbait. But it does describe what we’re going to talk about today – Writing to Market and when it’s a good idea. And when it’s brutally stupid. Because like so many things in life, the answer is “it depends.”

Some of the few questions where the answer is NEVER “it depends.” Just for a giggle before we get going –

Should I put my finger there? The answer is almost always NO. Should I try this exciting new piece of sushi prepared by the student sushi chef? Again, NO. Two words – Puffer. Fish. Things you do not do with rookies – eat their sushi, let them pack your parachute, summon ghosts, build pipe bombs. Should I climb or jump off this? If you’re […]

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Making Money Mondays – Cultivating True Fans Through Patreon

I’ve been talking about this concept of True Fans for a while now, and if you’re tired of reading about it, just hang out for a bit, there’ll be new content tomorrow at the latest. Because this is important stuff, especially for someone who wants to make a living as a writer. I often say that I’m nowhere near the best writer out of any group of my friends, but I’m pretty successful. I measure that success in whether or not the bills get paid, because this is how I feed my family. I no longer have a day job, and at this point I’ve worked for myself for too long and I’m pretty much unfit for any other work environment, so I’d better make this work. So I’m not going to try to teach you how to write. There are lots of people on this site who are better […]

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