Tagged: Series

Nine Days to Volume 1

Another day, another 2400 words. . .

I’m almost finished with volume 3, finally. This volume has been absolutely kicking my ass in terms of desire to finish it. I think a lot of it is my attitude towards the whole thing and generally just not feeling well. That said, I’m kind of okay with the way things are going, I hope I’ll be able to get more done over the weekend, though.

I’m really excited about getting the first volume published and, hopefully, getting ahead of the curve so I can have things lined up in queue and ready to go. I’m going to forgo graphic because it hasn’t really changed at all– I was just cleaning up stuff in preparation for posting it.

Instead, I will share with you what I’ve been using to help pull myself out of my funk. . .

Some time ago I punched ‘self discipline’ into a search engine and came across someone named Brian Tracy. Boiled down, his system is pretty straightforward.

The idea is to grab yourself a spiral bound notebook and write down ten goals. You do this every day in the frame as though you’ve already completed them. So instead of “I will make 20 dollars every day.” You would write your goals as “I make 20 dollars every day.” This works on your subconsciousness because while /you/ know you might not currently make 20 dollars a day, you’re giving your mind a command that says “I want this.”

Now, while you’re going through your day, while you’re sleeping or taking a long shower (god I miss those), your mind is working on how it can get you to a point where you’re making 20 dollars per day. Pretty straightforward, right?

Yes. That’s the whole trick to this. It’s ridiculously simple but also pretty effective.

Brian prescribes that you do this first thing in the morning when you wake up so it affirms your desire to do the things you’re setting yourself out to do. The other trick to it is that you write down the same goals daily, without referencing the previous day’s writing. You don’t have to get the same specific order down, you want the intent. You want to cement those goals in your mind. Because of this, you usually want to give yourself a time frame to accomplish these things.

I’m going to expand on this tomorrow, but McDonalds is closing here in 2 minutes, so I need to go find someplace to sleep, in the meantime, here is what my goal list looks like:

  1. I make 150.00 for every patreon post I make by January 1
  2. I have 2,000 dollars saved up to move by December 1 (because winter sucks!)
  3. Daily, I write 2,500 words without fail by January 1
  4. I have a stable address (preferably in a different state) by December 1
  5. My passport is in hand by Jan 18
  6. I published 2 volumes of the Dragon Slayers by September 15
  7. I wrote 2 full novels by January 18
  8. I have an emergency fund of 2,500 dollars by March 1
  9. My time management skills have improved greatly by Jan 1
  10. I have sold 500 copies of my work by January 18

Pretty simple, I know, but in 5 days I went from being monstrously apathetic to having some direction and, most importantly in my position, hope. . .

That, more than anything, is invaluable.

Ten Days to Volume 1

Welp, here we are with day 1 progress:

5,700 words on volume 3! Almost finished with it, I’m going to get chapter 5 polished up and polished off, then post it up first thing tomorrow– or maybe tonight if I get really ambitious. I also got a bit more planning done on volume 1’s revisions, I’d say I’m about 28% done with that, which I’ll get more done on when I can devote myself fully to it as I have with finishing volume 3’s main arc. The interludes will probably be done over the week as I can get a few words in here and there, but I really want to get volume 1 set up and done as polished as I can make it.

I’ve actually been reading some stuff about goal setting and how to get things done, including long term planning and getting motivation going. I’ll share those tomorrow, but McDonalds closes in 15 minutes, so I doubt I’ll be able to get it put together.

That said, here’s the progress wheel for today:

 

Aug21Goalwheel

Eleven Days for Volume 1

So, it’s been incredibly hard to get myself writing. . . As in, I didn’t get much of anything done last month at all– between the depression and feelings of hopelessness (I’m all right now, I’ve had a chance to get my head sorted out. . . I’ll be all right) but in this, I understand that I haven’t really been keeping my end of the bargain here– I haven’t finished Volume 1 as I wanted to!

This isn’t cool and it isn’t acceptable. So, I decided what I’m going to do this month is lay out my plan and do daily updates on it until I get the first volume cleaned up and published. For the sake of completeness, I’ve included my handy daily goal wheel which will get updated as I add to the goals.

The daily goal right now has been to get volume 3 finished up but that hasn’t happened! I’m going to keep working on it, but in the meantime, I’ve set up a rough plan to fix the volume up and give it a cohesive self-contained story that people will enjoy and be aroused by– naturally.

So, I’m going to get started first thing tomorrow and I’ll post an update this time tomorrow night along with the updated graph might have fallen off track, but dammit, I know I’m better than this. I’m also hoping someone will learn something through this, so let’s find out!

Oh, and I also plotted out a pilot for a serial. . . You can expect to hear more about that this week, too.

So, here’s the graphic. Shaded areas show completion:

 

Aug20Goalwheel

Let’s Make Money Part 3!

Welcome to the shallow end of the pool!

Introduction
So, we’ve been going over preambles, questions to ask yourself (these are important, don’t get me wrong!) and all that happy go lucky bullcrap, let’s put some of this stuff into practice. In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to make money writing from day one.

It’s not going to be professional freelance wage, don’t get me wrong, but you’ll make some cash and (perhaps more importantly) start building samples and clips for your eventual portfolio. The images you’re going to see here taken in one day unless otherwise marked, just to illustrate the point that you can make a buck right away.

First, let’s talk about goals.
When you’re writing for money, you’re opening yourself up to the vast and wild world of the Internet marketing scene and all the antics that come with it. The Internet thrives on new content (and kitten images), so it’s no oversimplification to say that your skills (and the income earning potential of them) is virtually limitless.

So, start with a goal. How much do you want to earn a day? A week? A month?

Since we’re starting small (like my self-confidence), we’re going to set the relatively modest goal to build on. Remember, this is day one. There’s no reason on earth we can’t make more than this, but we’re assuming an absolute cold start.

Sites We’ll Be Using:
Fiverr.com
iWriter.com
BlackHatWorld.com
WordPress.com
WarriorForum.com
Paypal.com

Be forewarned: This method is going to suck a bit at the start. The idea is to get our boots on the ground, laces tight and start there. We’re working towards a long term goal here, eye of the tiger and all that.

Grab yourself your favorite drink and let’s do this…

Step 1: Set up the passive stuff
Passive stuff in this case refers to setting up some accounts that’ll allow our potential clients to come to us. It also means that whatever wait time these accounts need, to clear or get set up, will have elapsed by the time we’re ready to use them.

Paypal.com
If you don’t already have a paypal account, get one. Seriously. This isn’t negotiable. On the road to making money writing, Paypal is the defacto standard for getting paid. Love it or hate it, everyone has their own opinions… If you’re in the US, grab yourself an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and open up a business account with them. It’s going to take 90 days of having your account in good standing before you’ll be able to get a debit card for the account. You’ll want this so you don’t have to go through this other nonsense…

OPTIONAL:
If you don’t have a bank account, grab yourself a Greendot card (right now, they don’t cost anything to activate, so you can walk in with a 20 dollar bill and walk out with a debit card and, most importantly, a direct deposit bank account number. You’ll be waiting 7 to 10 days before the card arrives in the mail, but that’s not a huge deal. You can deposit your earnings from Paypal into your greendot card via bank transfer. This’ll take 3-4 days, usually.

 

Fiverr.com
You’ll have to do your own research on how to make the most out of Fiverr, but essentially a gig (job) on Fiverr is worth about 3.91 after paypal fees and the 20% (!!) that Fiverr takes out of the transaction. There’s a reason you’ll want to set this up which I’ll get to in a minute. Once you have an account here, open up as many gigs as you’re comfortable doing.

I set gigs for copy writing, articles of various lengths, blog posts, and reviews for amazon ebooks. These gigs will need time to be approved and time to mature (IE: be seen by people). After this, we move on to. . .

BlackHatWorld.com
This is where we’re going to earn our ‘next step’ income. For now, set up your forum account and keep the tab open.

WarriorForum.com
Same with this, but you can close the tab for now.

WordPress.com
Same with this.

iWriter.com
Now… this bastard. We’re going to set up an account with these guys and mix ourselves a gin and tonic as we grab the lube off the ‘naughty shelf’. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m not a fan of these guys, but if you want to make money writing right now, this is a way to start right now.

With me so far? Yes, it’s a bit of front loading, but it’ll pay out in the long run.

So this is what we’re going to do…

 

Step 2: Opportunities
Hop over to BlackHatWorld and check out the ‘Hire a Freelancer’ section. Browse through for anything that looks doable to you and post a reply to the thread. These jobs tend to run the gamut from writing short blog posts to articles, code or anything else. Put a replies up with some kind of contact information (setting up a ‘business’ skype ID for this is pretty useful).

ImageFrom here, we wander over to the freebies section and post a freebie thread offering 5 free 300 word articles in exchange for reviews, tips and referrals. Here’s the thread I created and got replies to in about 10 minutes. BHW is /very/ busy, so you’re going to get a lot of replies. The fact that you’re offering free stuff makes it a no brainer. We’re not going to do these right away, this is for reputation building and we can spend a bit of time on it without loosing any traction. The idea of this entire method is efficiency and forward momentum. Give yourself a couple days and do these in your free time, like when you’re waiting for the bus or your drug dealer.

 

Image

 

By the end of this, I found a hand full of gigs to do, did them and walked away with about 10 dollars for almost no work on my part which is awesome. I also got some leads for potential future work this way.

30 minutes in and 10 dollars up.

Hello kitty approves.

Update: by the time I finished this article, I’d scored 2 more jobs for a net total of 60 dollars.

Day 1 Success.jpg

That deserves another cheerleader:

Image

 

Step 2.5: Time for Some Soul Crushing Tedium
While we’re waiting for replies to these gigs and things, we’re going to hop on over to iWriter and do up some articles. iWriter pay is notoriously craptacular. Even their premium writers make peanuts for the amount of labor involved, but the idea here is to generate samples and make some income on the side.

You’ll need to make 20 dollars before you can cash out of iWriter, which comes at about 2.42 per article, so while it might not be worth it, it’s a necessary evil. You’re being paid slave wage for quality work, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best. Some buyers will tip for high quality work and will request articles from you again and again.

I’m not in the habit of doing this and you certainly shouldn’t get into the habit of doing it with your real clients, but once we’ve written a few articles, we’re going to use them to build up our sample page on our WordPress blog which we’ll show to future clients.

The upside of iWriter is that once you hit 20 bucks, you don’t have to wait for payment and you don’t need to feel bad if you get responses to your blackhatworld postings. As an added up side, we’ll automatically have the 20 dollars we need for. . .

 

Step 3: Setting up the Inner Warrior
Good god will this never end, I hear you saying. We’re not done yet!

We’re going to mosey on over to the Warrior Forum and open up a Warrior for Hire thread under the appropriate sub-section (it’s under WSO). This is where we’re going to advertise our services for real money. Price yourself competitively but appropriately to your skill level and goals. When asked for samples, link people to your WordPress blog and try to be active in the community otherwise, with a link to your thread and even your blog in your signature.

 

Step 4: Make Your Blog Work for You
Your blog is also a great place to set up a sales page to offer your services. Think of it like your hub where you can show off samples, sell customers on your service and make the actual sale. Paypal provides the code that allows you to set up all kinds of pricing options. They’ll handle payment processing (via creditcard or paypal) and send you an email when a sale is made. To take advantage of this, you might need a premium blog, but with a little bit of google-fu, you can find ways around that, too.

 

Step 4.5: My Brain is Burning: More Blog Stuff
Now that our blog is set up and we have some kind of sales page… here’s what we’re gonna do with it: we’re gonna cheese the fuck out of it. Why? Because being broke sucks. We’re going to go through our Fiverr gigs which, by now, have been approved but probably don’t have any orders yet. I’ve been having some pretty craptacular luck getting orders, but the impressions (the number of people who’ve actually seen my gigs and read them) has been pretty good. So I decided I’d throw up a link to my writing samples blog. This turns my gigs into little mini-sales pages and helps build up ‘link juice’ with relation to your name.

Image

From Fiverr

Step 5: ???
So this is pretty much the absolute basics of making money writing. In less than 24 hours you can get your feet under you in the shallow end of the pool. You’ll make some money right away with very little effort (or a whole lot) and start building a portfolio to hook higher paying clients.

 

Step 6: Profit
From here, we’re going to build our clients. The SEO and Internet Marketing crowd are always in need of good quality content, but they don’t always want to pay ‘professional’ rates for it. Strike a balance, get your feet under you and get mobile while you’re looking for those high paying opportunities.

This is also the stage of the game where we’re going to start researching high quality markets that are harder to break into. The reason we’ve gone with IM sites as opposed to more popular ones, like oDesk or Freelancer.com is because those markets are super, super saturated and can take days or longer to get any work.

Plus, if you’re building your skills from scratch, you’re going to want to get started and get feedback quickly. This method ensures you’ll get that feedback, referrals and other such goodness going on. You might not make a mint, but you’ll get yourself established.

 

Conclusion:

Well, I hope something I’ve said in this post has been useful for you! When it comes to making money writing, you really can’t go wrong with some of these (reasonably basic) tactics that’ll get you started on your path to riches. It’s not a complete method because, ultimately there is no one size fits all tactic. I’ve used this method to decent effect and I advocate it because it’s simple and gets you rolling, you can build on it with a little research and patience. Agree? Disagree? Have a better method? By all means, post it in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Dragon (S)Layers Volume 1 Pre-Planning! Woo

So as I was trying to get some of my client work done, I started thinking about how I’m going to get Volume 1 up and on Amazon and a few things came to mind.

This is going to be a semi-self contained volume that introduces the characters and gets the ball rolling on the story (duh), so it has to be interesting enough for people to want to pick it up and read it and go on to buy the next volume.

From the reviews it’s been getting on Lit-Erotica (link below), the general reception has been fairly positive but it’s going to need some editing for content, flow and pace. Additionally, trying to squeeze in a complete story arc would probably be a really good idea if I want to show that I can tell a story.

At least I won’t have to worry about hitting the target release word count; combined, all the individual parts of Volume 1 total 34,586 words. My goal release count is 30,000.

What are our other goals?

25 Reviews attached to the first volume in 1 month.

I’m going to be advertising this on my usual haunts to get people to review it (honest reviews, obviously) and see about building up from there. I think it’ll be really important to getting more exposure. I also plan to bug the hell out of people on my blog and my Internet friends to leave their honest reviews about it.

4 Pieces of insert art. (optional)

I’m a HUGE fan of insert art that used to be included in fantasy novels. That said, I can deal without it if I have to. Money is a bit tight this year, so maybe I’ll hold off on that until I’m prepared to do a print run. (Wouldn’t that be awesome?)

Sell 500 copies within 12 months.

I think this is a realistic number. Even if I -gave- these books away or sold them for 99 cents, 500 copies sold would be a fairly easy number to reach and I think it could do a lot for my confidence.

Put together a marketing plan.

A lot of self-pub authors think they can just offload their books and make tons of cash right from the get go. The realities are often very different. Especially in a target niche so saturated with content; sex sells, but good -God- is there a lot of competition. This is why my series, marketed as an erotic fantasy adventure hits a few different notes.

I’m not trying to be everything to everyone, but right from the start, my story sets itself apart by introducing unusual characters, an unusual situation and an epic-esque scope. So is it fantasy with a lot of sex or is it sex with a fantasy backdrop? Not really the point, but it’s easier to tell you that it’s not another ‘Debbie does the pizza guy’ story. (Not that there’s anything wrong with pizza <3)

Some ideas I’ve had for pushing this is through my usual publishing channels in comments and in the content I publish, forums associated with the community and such obviously. Another thing I plan to do is poke around for book review sites and see if I can get some reviews from them and, finally, looking for ‘top reviewers’ on Amazon to see if I can get one of them to take a look at it.

Second volume and ancillary e-books.

WHAT A TWIST! I’m going to keep putting together the second volume and try and get Breaking Diamonds ready for prime time so I’ll have 2 books out there instead of 1, and then 3 instead of one… See how this works? Leap frog the content enough that I’m producing and releasing something every 30-45 days without falling behind in my client work or burning the hell out. Yes, I can pump out 10k words at a stretch if I push myself, but that’s not sustainable.

Set up a MAILING LIST.

Because of the kind of client work I do, I see a lot of emphasis put on mailing lists and such. I’m beginning to understand why and I think it would be a good way to encourage people to get involved with my burgeoning author platform, I’m just not sure I have the gumption to maintain it like I’m some kind of social media guru. I’m going to see what I can figure out about how to make this work for my goals, but this seems kind of important.

Linkage!

My Lit-Erotica profile

Be forewarned, dear reader, what you see on Lit-Erotica is -DRAFT- material. There will be plenty of revision and polishing before I go full bore with marketing it, and furthermore the story will be edited to reflect lessons learned on LE and other sites as well as personal tastes/observations.

So! All that said, it’s 0900 and I need to get to work. Seeya later!