Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Art of Deadlines

My Kindle Worlds titles are officially no longer available on Amazon. We all knew it was coming, but I didn't know that I would also be getting a parting ding to my author ranking to go along with it:

So with Kindle Worlds officially kaput, I've been thinking about all of my new projects in progress. My mind doesn't focus on characters or linger on plots twists, but delves into the business side of writing. The next project needs a good launch, so I have been considering giving myself a hard deadline to get it out. I always set deadlines for myself, but the thing with being a freelance writer working on your own projects is that all of your deadlines end up being soft. This is because you pick up a new client, you suddenly get swamped with one-time gigs, or you simply don't feel that your project is quite ready yet. And there's no one to hold you accountable for your deadlines--unless you announce them to the world.

I'm considering putting the next project on pre-order so that I have a hard deadline to meet. It also helps so I can work with all of the marketing options that could generate buzz, and so I know that I'm continuing to move forward with my career. The only question is: which project will it be? Right now it's a toss up between Pieces, which is being released in pieces (ha ha) on Patreon and Wattpad. Putting this project on pre-order for the ebook would give me a strong deadline to complete it, but the problem with this one is that I still don't know how long it will be. I always aim for 100 pages for a poetry project, so I still have awhile to go. And since this project was released for free, I would need to come up with some sort of additional value for grabbing the completed book other than the convenience of having it in one place.

I could also go with something totally new--maybe even something that I've never talked about before. I don't actually think I have a project I've never talked about, but you never know when inspiration will strike!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Continuing Education and the Freelancer

I might have mentioned before that I was in the middle of getting Hubspot's Inbound Marketing certification as well as some other pro certifications. It's a little while later and I'm still at it, but that's mostly because I couldn't get the inbound marketing course completed before they changed it, which sent me back to the beginning of the new version. Hubspot has also released a Social Media certification course, which I jumped right into as soon as it was released. I'm hoping that these certifications will make my resume a bit more desirable, because as much as I want to make a full time income with fiction writing, I know that it's better to keep my options open.

The only thing I'm wondering is: will these certifications actually make a difference in what recruiters and HR pros will think of my overall appearance on paper? After all, these courses are teaching me everything I already learned about marketing and social media just by jumping in head first years ago. It's a great refresher, but the only new knowledge I've gained so far is how to put actual marketing/social media plans on paper (or in a spreadsheet). The rest I've already done, tried, failed, and succeeded at. I will stress that I haven't completed either course yet, so I may gain some more new insights into these topics--and I'm very grateful that these courses and certifications are free, because there are many more certifications that are just as desirable to slap on a resume that charge $100 or more to take the test.

These certifications have become a top priority, even in the face of being a little behind on my Camp NaNoWriMo project for July. It's a small sacrifice for (hopefully) a bigger chance at better things to come.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Holiday Work Magnet

It never seems to fail -- as soon as I sit back and relax with, I don't know, a hot dog or whatever holiday-related goodies I have on hand, it happens. I get that ding on my phone telling me I have work to do. For the past year, I rarely get work on certain platforms (Fiverr, Guru, etc.) unless it is a holiday. You read that right. I seem to get loads of work almost exclusively on official U.S. holidays. If everyone else gets the day off, I'm at my computer typing away. I'm wondering if this happens to all freelancers, or is it just me?

I know that the biggest reason this happens is because I have many international clients. Don't think I'm complaining -- I love the fact that these clients trust me with this work, and if you have ever worked with Fiverr, you know that the world domination map on where you've sold a gig is kind of cool (I'm at 5% world domination so far). And there wasn't a big holiday in June, so I was waiting for an influx of work to come my way. I just find it curious that even for those who are outside this country, why would they choose to hire me on the day where it's likely, if I was a normal person with a normal job, I wouldn't be available? Am I just that awesome, or am I just really bad at hiding the fact that even if I did have the day off I wouldn't be doing anything different anyway? A riddle I must unravel...

Friday, June 29, 2018

Trying On Pieces to See What Fits

I don't know about you, but when it comes to shopping for clothes, I hate trying on things. I avoid it as much as possible, and that's why every few years I become a walking billboard for a single brand. Until, you know, that brand decides to change the way they size things.

But trying on projects to see what I want to tackle next is kind of fun. I've spent most of June going back into the unfinished archives to see what I want to work on in July's Camp NaNo session. I've picked one that I've worked on during other NaNo months: Small Town American Life. This time I'm going to try for a page goal instead of a word count goal, just to see if I'm more or less motivated to get a win. So if I can write 60 pages in July, I should be good to go with a solid draft--and for once, it should be a little long which is a big help during the revision process.

Are you planning on writing something for this Camp NaNo session?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Dear Literary Journals: You Can't Have it Both Ways

The writers today that are sticking to some of the tradition of the publishing industry by submitting poetry, short stories, and essays to literary journals know that the landscape is changing. Some literary journals have moved to an online-only format; some newer ones never had a print edition to begin with. More journals are moving from only accepting regional authors to accepting writers from around the world. But there's one shift that really getting on my nerves -- reading fees.

Don't get me wrong. I can sympathize with any publication that's barely hanging on financially to keep publishing the work that talented writers send in, but the fact that I spent hours yesterday looking for new places to submit and could find only a few without a submission fee is ridiculous. It's not the reading/submission fee that I oppose--what is making me want to pull my hair out in frustration is that almost all of these "please pay $2-$5 to submit your work" publications also do not pay writers they publish. Let me say it again: THEY DO NOT PAY WRITERS. You as the writer get to pay for the privilege to grace their publication. And I'm not the only one that sees this as a problem, as you can see (article is from 2015, but the problem is only getting worse).

The big, fat secret that's staring writers in the face on this topic? A writer could publish anything they want on their own platform (social media, blog, website) and with a good marketing strategy could get just as many views--without having to pay anyone a dime if they don't want to. Yes, you don't get to say "this was previously published in" but unless your audience is a bunch of fellow writers, is your audience really going to be that impressed that some other publication wanted it first?

All of the major names in the literary world still let you send in work for free, with the exception being contest entries, but those are often fair because of the chance at a large amount of prize money. Keeping these submissions free is a good thing, but writers know that the well-established publications want to see that you've made it into the smaller publications first. I know they'll say it doesn't matter if you've been published before, but no one really knows what's going on in the minds of any particular editor. I would say that it does matter to some of them.

Here's the thing, literary journals: I would gladly fork over $2 for you to read it if there was a chance at being paid for all my hard work. I'm not talking earth-shattering prizes, but $50 seems reasonable for publication. You give the sob story that you're barely holding on, and the only money you make is from these submission fees. So what counterargument are writers supposed to give? Well, here's our own sob story--no one values the written word as much as other professions, so we are constantly being told our work is not worth the money we ask for it. So, dear reading fee journals, it comes down to this: the prestige you try to portray is not worth the money you are asking for it. Go find some other poor sap to pay you for their next rejection letter.