Back at the keyboard

OK, so my 2 years of job experience has taught me a few things, most prominently that I’m not cut out to be the mom that works 50+ hours outside the house with little chance of building real wealth or independence.

About a month ago, I set off on a vacation with my kids. I knew I was tired, I knew I needed a break and the annual family conference is something we look forward to all year long.  This is the one week a year where I et to visit with my soul sisters, surrounded by our children playing word games, visiting and attending workshops that help us parent in line with our principles. This conference feeds my soul all year long and ever since the first one I attended in 2011, I knew I had found my tribe. I will never miss one.

Except this year. I actually slept through pretty much the entire thing.

My kids were busy shuffling off to hotel room slumber parties with their friends, attending funshops and swimming in the pool.  My girlfriends were happy to chip in and keep them safe, kids travel in packs and there was plenty of help, unlike at home. It was clear that I needed to rest, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  When it was my turn to supervise the kids by the pool, I could barely stay awake.  I’d sleep, wake up and text my kids, meet them for a meal, visit for a few minutes with friends and then go take a nap. I only made it to one workshop at the conference.

I returned home and jumped right back into work, with a meeting at 7am the day after we returned.  Only I couldn’t stay awake.  I took off another couple days to “recover from the conference” only I didn’t. And I was worried.

Here it is a month later and roughly 12 doctor’s appointments later. I have used up all of my sick pay and aside from an ulcer near my vocal cords, likely caused by reflux. I’ve been diagnosed with GERD but other than that here’s nothing they can find wrong with me.  I still have more tests and my energy level is up a little bit but not exactly like a normal person.  I’ve been put on a very restrictive diet (seriously, no cheese, no fried foods, no citrus fruit, no tomato sauce) and had cameras stuck up my nose, vampire-levels of blood drawn, a chest Xray and other than the GERD all they’ve found was a vitamin D deficiency. Surprise, I live in Seattle. So I’m on a supplement for the D and a restrictive diet for the GERD.

I’m also not going back to work.

The one workshop I attended was from a friend of mine who has been publishing on Kindle. After six months she was making enough that her husband was able to quit his job.  Now she’ making more in one year than I’ve ever made in my four best years combined.  Another friend heard her give the same workshop at the last conference and now, after her first year at this she’s going to be making more than I have ever made in my best two years combined.

Writing has ALWAYS been my very best method of earning money.

Writing for Kindle is different than the writing I’ve done in the past. When you’re writing web content, you’re paid once and the material is often used by the purchaser to profit from for the rest of time (presuming it’s evergreen).  But when you write for kindle, you earn royalties for as long as it’s for sale.

  • If they can do it, so can I
  • I’m already a professional writer, now it’s my turn to profit indefinitely from my own work
  • Other people are making money from eBooks I’ve written as a ghost writer and I’m really annoyed that I’m not marketing and profiting from all of that work.
  • If they can do this, so can I

 

I know I spouted off earlier this year (or was it last year) about children’s books and I’ve written several but in order to profit from them I’d have to also have them illustrated. That’s a ridiculously complicated process and I have absolutely no artistic ability to do this myself. I’d have to invest in an artist for every single page. And the end result would be books that live in a genre that only occupies a very small percentage of the book-buyer’s market.

More money is spent on fiction than nonfiction. More money is spent on romance than on any other genre.

So I’m writing romance.

I tried this a little over a year ago and had immediate success, but I got a promotion at work around the same time, backed off and since then Kindle has changed the way they pay authors. My old approach wouldn’t work today. My books need to be longer, they need to look professional and I still need to invest in editing and cover design (still cheaper than a children’s book illustrator).

Writing fiction is harder than I imagined and easier than I imagined.  it’s harder because crafting a tight plot with subplots is complicated. It’s easier because you’re just making things up. Anything can happen at that’s pretty exciting.

It won’t pay off immediately. Like I said before, it took friend A 6 months to feel comfortable supporting her family this way.  I don’t know if the other gal is self-sufficient yet because I don’t know what her family’s expenses are but if I were making what she is making after 1 year I’d be more than stable.

Since it won’t pay off right away, I am still writing web content to make ends meet.  But the best part is that I don’t have to commute, I don’t have to pay for parking, I don’t have to spend 50 hours a week away from my kids and my home.

I’ve opened up a self-employed retirement savings account because I’ve never been employed by anyone who offered this.

I’m 100% confident that I’ve spent my entire life preparing for this.

Finally, I will not share my pen name with you or anyone else until I reach the 500k a year mark (which, by my estimates, should be in 2019*)

I don’t know if I’ll be making enough to purchase my house when my lease expires but I do know that this is the first bit of hopefulness I’ve had that I’ll be able to support myself after that.

*I know that sounds crazy but I actually compiled spreadsheets filled with data about what several other authors are making. Based on their release schedule, the numbers of books they have available and how long they’ve been writing. I was able to determine who to study and who to ignore. the key factors I have identified as being the “markers of success” are aggressive marketing and frequent publication. I’m a fast writer and I can TOTALLY do this.

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