On Bloglines and Realistic Expectations

First, I have to do a little dance ’round the office boogie because I just found out that MerchantCircle has made some kind of deal with Ask.com and Bloglines isn’t going away.  I will spare you from the sonnet of love I would like to write to Bloglines, oh thy beautiful feed reader with fantastic notifiers and the ability to save posts FOR LATER, but oh my holy lord, I am so happy it’s not possible to describe right now.  I hate all the other feed readers and haven’t really read blogs consistently since October when Bloglines announced they were shutting down.  We shall stick to a Happy Happy Joy Joy! and move on.

In other news, someone finally told me about a typo in Forsaken By Shadow (thank you Rachel), so today I got around to fixing that and adding in metadata to all my assorted files and got the new versions uploaded.  No idea whether that will improve my searchability, but it was a small enough thing to to, so I figured I might as well try.

So I’ve been really honest that I’ve struggled with the Green-Eyed Monster this year as some of my compatriots have had astounding successes as I continue to plug away at my multiple jobs like some kind of psychotic Energizer Bunny.  In the face of people making in a month what I make in 3 across 3 jobs, making half what I make in a year, or just being Joe Konrath and breathing (I do not, btw, have any expectations of Joe’s success, but his is often thrown out there), it’s often frustrating and difficult to put aside.  Their road is not mine.  They have multiple titles out, and they don’t have the demands on their time that prevent me from doing the same at the same rate.  Or they’ve simply been at it longer.  It’s often really hard to keep my eyes on my own paper, as Myra McEntire’s agent Holly Root is apt to say.

But I got to thinking about things today.  I want to make a living at writing.  That’s always been my end game.  And I have continued with the multiple jobs, despite the toll on my sanity, because the online teaching is, I believe, going to be my gateway for being able to ultimately do that.  Online classes, while a massive pain in the ass to create and refine, are really quite easy to teach once the class is set up.  It is the only reason I have managed to pull off what I have the last three years.  The multiple job thing would actually be not too hard if I hadn’t constantly been in class writing mode for almost all of that time (that would be the sanity-taxing part).

My university is bursting at the seams, boasting record enrollments both university-wide and in my department.  We have over 500 psych majors, almost double the number we had just a few short years ago.  And there is not the classroom space or the faculty to handle them.  Distance learning is pushing hard for an entirely online psych major, so that’s going to be first up on the new department chair’s plate once he/she is hired.  So it is just a matter of time before they create a full-time online position.  As I have the most online teaching experience in the department and am actually the ONLY faculty member who PREFERS to teach online, it would seem that I am a shoe-in for such a job.  This would serve three purposes: 1) it would keep me in a position with benefits, always worth their weight in gold,  2) it would get me out of my massive, time-suck of an evil day job, and 3) it would allow me to save $700 a month in day care costs when we have a kid.

What does all this have to do with writing?  Well I got to thinking that in order for me to take this hypothetical job (which would pay slightly more than my pre-promotion salary), I would need my writing to replace the income I currently earn teaching half-time.  My goal, therefore, is to be making about $15k a year off my writing.  That’s only $1250 a month.  Even if I continue to sell at my current rate and don’t experience a multiplicative surge at having multiple titles out, if I get out another 4 titles in the next 2 years before I have a kid, I will meet my goal.  And given that, other than Devil’s Eye, all those planned titles are full length novels that will take advantage of the $2.99 price point rather than being 99 cents or $1.99, it seems even MORE likely that I will be able to make that goal in the next 2 years.  Which makes me feel like I’m a lot more on track than I’ve felt all year.

I don’t HAVE to make $10k a month for my writing to be a success and allow me to get out of the heinous Evil Day Job (though, of course, that would be awesome).  I don’t have to have the amazing, crazy numbers to meet my own goals. And THAT’S what I need to remember when these other folks’ successes pop into my line of sight.  I’m on track for me, on my timeline, no one else’s.  And that’s okay.

17 thoughts on “On Bloglines and Realistic Expectations

  1. I feel your pain (and your jealousy, lol). The difference is that I actually like my day job. But wouldn’t it be sweet just to write and do nothing else unless you just wanted to? But, although I’m a little envious of the ones doing extremely well, I don’t begrudge them their success at all. I’m really happy for them, and I know you are, too.

    I always tell everyone that I have no idea how you can have so much energy and do all that you do. :0)

  2. Definitely feel your pain and your jealousy. Does it make you feel better that I’m jealous of you? We’re all at different stages. I started at the same time as Zoe Winters. I left the writing world to get my graduate degree. When I look at Zoe and think of all she’s accomplished in two years, it kind of makes me want to rip my hair out. My masters degree was worth it, but at the same time, how I would love to be where Zoe is at right now.

    So yeah. I definitely feel you. I’m doing as much as I can given my full-time job, and hoping that it will work out in the end. People seem to like my writing, it’s just all about getting the word out there. And it’s pathetic that four months into my return to the indie publishing world, I’m getting tired of the marketing and talking.

    1. Wow that’s so strange. It never occurred to me that anybody would be jealous of ME! (oh hey look, it’s snowing at WordPress again…)

      Yeah there is definitely still a part of me that wishes that the dream of being able to write and have somebody else take care of the detail could be a reality because really, I hate marketing…

      1. Yeah, the problem is that whole “someone taking care of marketing” doesn’t happen for most authors, right? So I guess we gotta deal. Take the good with the bad and be glad we have the good in the first place.

  3. Hehe, it’s snowing on WordPress again. 🙂

    I’m with Belinda, and am jealous of you as well. And several other friends who are at the same stage you are. But you know? I’m getting to the point where I’m okay with the fact that some of the people who were at the same stage I was at a couple years ago have gotten publication contracts. Others who were there with us have dropped out of the biz entirely. And I’m just going to have to keep plugging away at it until I get where I want to be.

  4. I’m sorry I make you want to rip your hair out, Belinda! If it makes you feel any better, Amanda Hocking has only been doing this for 6 months and she makes more than me and has gotten into the top 25 of the overall Kindle store when I haven’t even goten to the top 100 yet. (close but no cigar). So there is always someone higher up the chain to feel envious of! (I know, huge comfort, right?) 😛

    One challenge for me is that I’ve had 33 McJobs. I REALLY can’t work for other people. I HAD to make a way to make money on my own. I think the fear and desperation of the reality of that situation has driven me pretty hard.

    Also, one of the things that was my greatest weakness (unable to work for others), has been one of my greatest strengths in this endeavor. Because I have had massive amounts of TIME. This is all I’ve been doing. Writing and marketing (with that brief three months where I obsessed about Michael Jackson’s death. But then I went back to work.)

    And I am INCREDIBLY grateful for what I’ve accomplished. It still hasn’t totally hit home that I am making a living writing fiction. But I also know it could dry up and all go away, so that pushes me harder to keep building. I guess I’m trying to outrun the fear, but it’s definitely there. I am in no way resting on my laurels and soaking up the good life.

    Also, Kait, another reason I think you might be having some trouble is that… while your fiction is GREAT, it’s also unusual. You have these species that no one has ever heard of. It makes you less searchable at places like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Couple that with your huge time constraints where it’s hard for you to get out and actively market a lot to make up for that, and you can see why things might be a little slower for you. But I believe you’ll get there. You’re just in this crappy place right now where it’s hard to gain traction for those two reasons.

    But we all succeed at different rates… i.e. see Amanda Hocking blowing out of the gate and selling hugely in 6 months, where it’s taken me 2 years and I’m “still” not at that level yet. But Amanda has a LOT of books out. In fact, she inspired me to get a lot more serious about building my backlist and spending less time social networking on the Internet because of what a time suck it is.

    Sorry this is so long.

    1. You make a good point. The thing that I think will (ultimately) help me stand out is definitely not helping me be found at the moment. I confess, I totally made the villain in my current WIP a vamp, just so I could capitalize on that search term when I release it…

      The biggest frustration is just the lack of time. It’s HARD to keep my brain in the game because, dude, it’s been a long year and I am TIRED. I’ve moved so far past what’s in my reserve tank, I’m running on fumes at this point.

    2. I want to rip my hair out… with love? Haha. It’s not a bad thing, it just spurs me to keep going. I’m tired after four months and I have a full time job I can fall back on. This is what you’re doing full time and I just can’t imagine it. I think I’d cry. A lot. So much riding on the fact that people like what you’re doing and are willing to pay for it… so stressful. I’m surprised you don’t unplug from social networks more often.

      1. LMAO @ “rip my hair out with love”. And I did take a internet sabbatical for most of October. And I’ve dialed back a lot on blogging and social networking. Most of my social networking now is just “what I personally want to do.”

  5. I was having a tizzy moment last night, along similar lines. I heard about another indie author having an agent approach her to rep the book, and it really made me envious. Her book was full of technical flaws, and someone wanted it anyway.

    But my loving husband helped me remember that it’s all about the joy of writing, not super stardom. So long as I’m having fun, then I am a success.

  6. Great post, K. Just as the writing process is different for each book, complete with new quirks and struggles, everyone’s writing life is similarly different. Comparing yourself to anyone else will only hurt you (although this is of course easier said than done).

    I’m incredibly proud of all you manage to do and how hard you work. I’m glad you’re getting back to feeling that way, too. 🙂

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