cimorene12's journal: change or die

Where are you and where are you going?
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cimorene12
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cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:54 pm

I've been inspired by the 200-250 post rule to FI. I'm also undergoing some major lifestyle changes right now that I can't put on my blog.

prosaic's journal
Prosaic, who is both here and on Mr. Money Mustache, wrote about her experience with self-publishing. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3764&hilit=prosaic There are a handful of other people on here who have also self-published (riparian and Spartan_Warrior come to mind), besides Jacob obviously. It convinced me to get into it - or at least give it a good college try.

I thought that self-published authors were like Amanda Hocking, who could turn Red Bull into finished fantasy novels in two weeks. I definitely cannot write at that speed (particularly with something with complexity), and I ignored self-publishing for a few years after it became apparent that authors could actually make it.

Prosaic's journal on Mr. Money Mustache made me change my mind, especially when she pointed to other resources. I went the the boards of self-published authors and saw that prosaic was not unique in her experience as a self-published author. There are people not hitting the 6 figure per month take-home that prosaic is getting, but they are in a perfectly respectable position. These are obscure, not famous authors.

There's a lot of work involved in self publishing, and the failure rate is significant. Despite understanding that I could fail miserably despite inputting hard work, I want very strongly to give it a try.

Societal expectations

I am only able to make leap 2 (books) because of leap 0 (ERE).

The Monday after I'm done, I will start my new job and my writing career.
Last edited by cimorene12 on Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

DrSweden
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by DrSweden » Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:24 am

It sounds like you are very unhappy with your workplace. I think you will be much happier with your new job, however I don't really understand what it is. So you will work 15 h/ week. What will you do with the rest? Any neglected hobbies and so on?

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:17 pm

DrSweden wrote:It sounds like you are very unhappy with your workplace. I think you will be much happier with your new job, however I don't really understand what it is. So you will work 15 h/ week. What will you do with the rest? Any neglected hobbies and so on?
My new job is as an editor for a social media site. I'm planning on writing books with the rest of my time. :)

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by DutchGirl » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:26 pm

I'm very glad for you that you will be able to leave your old job. At the very least, you and that job (as it is, not as it was described) are not a good match.

If you are capable to sustain yourself on your new job, then hurrah: your parents haven't got anything to say about where or how you'll live.

Enjoy your new job & good luck with writing!

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by Ian » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:26 am

Always interesting to see someone else going the writing route. It's generally only lucrative in a few genres, but I think it's rewarding regardless of how much money you make. I hope you can get yourself in a situation that's conducive to that.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:39 pm

@DutchGirl
Thanks for the support! I listened to one of the people "I don't get along with" spread vicious rumors about me again today, so I thanked my lucky stars that I'd be gone soon.

I'm Asian and was raised with the idea of filial piety.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filial_piety
filial piety means to be good to one's parents; to take care of one's parents; to engage in good conduct not just towards parents but also outside the home so as to bring a good name to one's parents and ancestors; to perform the duties of one's job well so as to obtain the material means to support parents as well as carry out sacrifices to the ancestors; not be rebellious; show love, respect and support; display courtesy; ensure male heirs, uphold fraternity among brothers; wisely advise one's parents, including dissuading them from moral unrighteousness; display sorrow for their sickness and death; and carry out sacrifices after their death.
It's something I mostly tossed off when I left the house, but there are echoes.
Ian wrote:Always interesting to see someone else going the writing route. It's generally only lucrative in a few genres, but I think it's rewarding regardless of how much money you make. I hope you can get yourself in a situation that's conducive to that.
It will make me happy to write, even if I lose money trying to do it. :D I write anyways, pretty much every day using 750words.com. My job's been so draining that my writing has suffered in the last year. I look at what I was doing while still in college, and it was so much more (maybe 10x) than what I'm able to do now. I thought about writing on the weekends. After failing at that for a few weeks, I realized that I was too mentally exhausted to write as prolifically as I could just a year ago while taking 6 classes, writing two senior theses, and being a supervisor at my job.

I wrote on my recent vacation, and I was relieved to see that I could still write when I'm not worried about deadlines and politics. I'm trying full throttle for a year. My backup is to go into a certain kind of consulting that I'm qualified for by virtue of some certifications. I have to wait out a year noncompete.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:03 pm

Today I read a lovely website put together by an artist who used to be a lawyer.

http://www.departurememo.com/

It's very close to how I feel about leaving my company. A lot of it spoke to me, especially this panel:
https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3899/146 ... 5821_b.jpg

The head of the German team, who is a lively and excellent person, told me that he feels like Sisyphus. Every time he gets a task done, the boulder gets bigger. I know, first hand, how effective he is. I know how much effort he puts into his work, and I can see his excellent results. I told him that it's a feeling shared by almost everyone at the company. We are chronically understaffed, mostly because the CEO/founder believes that having 50% more than we could possibly get done on our plate gives us a sense of urgency.

Part of why I'm leaving reared its ugly head in an email sent to me today by a nemesis. She continued to twist the knife on a lie that she had made up about me. It was a lie that she spoke to me, her boss, and my boss about. I debunked it to both to my boss and hers, because there's objective proof that it's a lie. She has apparently decided to continue carrying the torch. I would feel more stressed out about it if I hadn't already signed the paperwork for my new job.

A funny part about it was that I went to my archnemesis/close friend about it, and he played the role of protector. "If she gives you trouble, I'll give her trouble right back." (Granted, it was a bug report that he originally found, so he stood his ground.) Only a few months ago, he was on the opposite end; I think that the key difference is that he trusts me to do my job and vice versa. I do not trust the current nemesis.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by DutchGirl » Thu Jul 17, 2014 3:07 am

cimorene12 wrote:@DutchGirl
I'm Asian and was raised with the idea of filial piety.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filial_piety

Ah, yes, that explains some of it.

I'm not saying that you should not take care of your parents, or listen to their advice.

But I do think that "filial piety" can go too far... If your parents get to decide what you'll do in everyday life, then your parents are living your life, not you. And I do believe that your life is yours, not something created by your parents just to please them.

It seems inefficient to me as it seems that parents decide what children do. So children do things that they may not want to do, but in turn forcing THEIR children also to do things that they do not want to do. I think in general, if you do something because YOU want to do it, you will be more driven and will be more succesfull than if you are doing something because you want to obey your parents' wishes.... This is in general and on average, I'm pretty sure some parents did actually steer their children in a more productive and happy direction; but I also believe many people suffer because they feel they have to obey someone else's wishes...

My dad became a farmer because his dad was a farmer and my dad was the second oldest son (the oldest son also became a farmer). The remaining five children were encouraged to become whatever they wanted to be and they have very different careers: one's a professional singer, two are working at charities, one's a doctor and one's an engineer. My dad is not very bitter about this, as he actually likes farming. But he ended this chain, and chose to give us the freedom to pick our own career.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:35 am

Cool! What genres do you like to write?

I saw that DepartureMemo site yesterday too. Very epic. I can definitely relate.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:03 pm

DutchGirl wrote:
cimorene12 wrote:@DutchGirl
I'm Asian and was raised with the idea of filial piety.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filial_piety

Ah, yes, that explains some of it.

I'm not saying that you should not take care of your parents, or listen to their advice.

But I do think that "filial piety" can go too far... If your parents get to decide what you'll do in everyday life, then your parents are living your life, not you. And I do believe that your life is yours, not something created by your parents just to please them.

It seems inefficient to me as it seems that parents decide what children do. So children do things that they may not want to do, but in turn forcing THEIR children also to do things that they do not want to do. I think in general, if you do something because YOU want to do it, you will be more driven and will be more succesfull than if you are doing something because you want to obey your parents' wishes.... This is in general and on average, I'm pretty sure some parents did actually steer their children in a more productive and happy direction; but I also believe many people suffer because they feel they have to obey someone else's wishes...

My dad became a farmer because his dad was a farmer and my dad was the second oldest son (the oldest son also became a farmer). The remaining five children were encouraged to become whatever they wanted to be and they have very different careers: one's a professional singer, two are working at charities, one's a doctor and one's an engineer. My dad is not very bitter about this, as he actually likes farming. But he ended this chain, and chose to give us the freedom to pick our own career.
Absolutely. It's hard, but I'm going to keep trying to forge my own path.
Spartan_Warrior wrote:Cool! What genres do you like to write?

I saw that DepartureMemo site yesterday too. Very epic. I can definitely relate.
I'll be trying my hand at romance. We'll see if that works out. All of my work tends to be tragic, since I almost always kill my protagonist by the end. American romance novels frown on that sort of thing, though death is something that is a constant presence in every foreign book I've ever read. Death makes a fair amount of appearances in American literature, to be sure, but romance novels have happily ever afters, where they get married and have kids.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:44 am

As you probably know, romance is one of the best-selling genres for self-published writers, so good choice! Death-Romance sounds like a neat twist. :D A lot of my stuff tends to have a tragic spin to it, too. Are you planning on doing novels, novellas, short stories, series? Do you have a backlog of stuff built up you can release over time while you work on new stuff? In retrospect, I kinda regret jumping into it without a portfolio of finished stories already. I've been sort of publishing things as I finish them. I wish I had finished a few first, then released them over time while working on new stuff to maintain a more even output. As it stands, I haven't released anything in almost a year while working on the next book in my thriller series, so anyone who might have learned my name from my earlier releases has probably long forgotten me. :lol: Live and learn.

Anyways, good luck to you! I look forward to following your journey.
Last edited by Spartan_Warrior on Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:29 pm

Spartan_Warrior wrote:As you probably know, romance is one of the best-selling genres for self-published writers, so good choice!
Yes - I've spent so long doing the research about writing...but not writing yet. Researching the industry and the right moves falls in line with dreaming...actually writing is real work. ;)
http://authorearnings.com/wp-content/up ... type-5.png
Something that has given me a lot of courage is the reports of how much people can make.
http://authorearnings.com/wp-content/up ... -price.png
From http://authorearnings.com/july-2014-aut ... gs-report/

(Originally, I just tossed them in as image links...like I wanted to do for Project Sisyphus...but the forum software won't let me put in images that are too large.)

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:34 pm

Today, my boss read my resignation letter.

I am sad about leaving the company, and I am mildly scared. But I know that I'm leaving to give my plans a real shot, and I'm moving forward.
Last edited by cimorene12 on Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:46 pm

Boss
My boss asked me - in a slightly more settled fashion than yesterday - why I was leaving today, during our meeting. I talked about how many years I had put into writing (which is true). I talked about my desire to travel, and all the languages that I speak but don't use. I told him that my friends were teaching English in Malaysia (through Princeton in Asia), Honduras, and Spain; I've watched them fly by me. They probably have less money than I do, but I've spent a year of my life working at a software company. I'm ready for a change.
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cimorene12
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:11 pm

Today included the normal bustle of work. At lunchtime, I was in the break room at the same time as my mentor. I asked him how serious he was about getting out, and he said that his wife wouldn't let him leave because they live paycheck to paycheck. He makes probably twice what I do, and his wife is a bank manager. And yet...

Intellectually, I know that about half of America lives paycheck to paycheck. http://time.com/2742/nearly-half-of-ame ... -paycheck/

With him though...it feels different. He's a bit of a penny pincher, and he packs his own lunch instead of paying $2.50 for it downstairs (yeah, I totally don't cook for myself). He told me he had run the numbers 3x before committing to it. He had a flip phone until a few months ago. When his wife insisted that he get a smartphone, he chose the one that cost a penny. (Which is a gimmick on the part of AT&T, I know, I know.)

His wife is extremely appearance conscious. She got rid of their really nice barstools because they didn't match the decor. (They were wood. It was neutral. She got rid of them. Well, they ended up with one of our devs.) She is the reason that he just got a fancy Lexus SUV which he hates driving ("it's for the kids!"). It was easier to get the kids in and out of his old normal 4-door. When he was buying his wife leather gloves that could do touchscreen stuff for Christmas, he asked my former officemate where she got hers. When the officemate said Target, he said, "Don't tell my wife!" A year ago, they moved to a bigger house with a pool.

He told me that his kids cost a lot. I know, from a comment he made about childcare FSAs, that he spends about $25,000 a year on his kids' preschool. They do other stuff, too, like soccer. His wife refuses to take them about of preschool (it was an argument that had already happened). He said that when his oldest hit elementary/kindergarten, he'd have more flexibility.

I know that I'm hearing only one side of the story, but his situation does not sound good. He is the definition of a wage slave. He's a smart guy, but he does not know the ERE way. I'm sure there's other spending, but $25k on preschool is a HUGE expense. Mr. Money Mustache lives on about that much every year, and that's still way more fancy than Jacob.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:26 pm

I would like a small rest before I go full throttle on being a self-published author, and I'm going to give myself one.
Last edited by cimorene12 on Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Chad
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by Chad » Fri Jul 25, 2014 6:29 am

cimorene12 wrote:They wish me well (as much as they can when they don't think I'm in earshot), even though they don't think that I can do it.


Someone has to do it. Why not you? Good luck.

Oh, and I love the title of your thread...change or die!

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:40 pm

@Chad - Thanks :D

Boomerangs
Someone was worried that it would be hard to replace me, and I told him that I would be replaced by a bigger, better model. He and the kahuna think that I will come back (he is a boomerang, actually). I won't.
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:35 pm

size=200]Kindle Unlimited[/size]
Only a week ago, Amazon made the big announcement of Kindle Unlimited. To me, it was worth more than their hype about the Fire Phone, but it didn't get as much buildup. I'm already reading about people using it to their advantage, and some authors are reporting declining sales. Others are reporting increasing sales.

I found this guy today: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2 ... lustrated/

His kid (age 4, still illiterate) wrote and illustrated a short book with the end goal of affording Plants vs. Zombies. He talked about it briefly on kboards, and the kid (now 5, after the dad dragged his feet) has made ~$200 in the first two days.

I want to jump on this. Yeah, some of that is marketing by a published author. Some of it is novelty value. His child is outselling some Dr. Seuss books. He's ranking #5 (right at this second) in the Amazon Hot New Release in Children's Books. http://www.amazon.com/gp/new-releases/d ... 155009011/ Right now, it's pretty much older people cooing at how cute this book is - but if you can sell it, then you can make bank. The kid's dad is putting this in his college fund.
Last edited by cimorene12 on Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:54 pm

Under the Surface
There's a scene in Harry Potter 5 that talks about how much is under the surface.
“Don’t you understand how Cho’s feeling at the moment?” she asked.

“No,” said Harry and Ron together.

Hermione sighed and laid down her quill.

“Well, obviously, she’s feeling very sad, because of Cedric dying. Then I expect she’s feeling confused because she liked Cedric and now she likes Harry, and she can’t work out who she likes best. Then she’ll be feeling guilty, thinking it’s an insult to Cedric’s memory to be kissing Harry at all, and she’ll be worrying about what everyone else might say about her if she starts going out with Harry. And she probably can’t work out what her feelings toward Harry are anyway, because he was the one who was with Cedric when Cedric died, so that’s all very mixed up and painful. Oh, and she’s afraid she’s going to be thrown off the Ravenclaw Quidditch team because she’s been flying so badly.”
It's not about the nail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EDhdAHrOg
Last edited by cimorene12 on Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:10 am

Will certainly be interesting to see how Kindle Unlimited affects the Kindle/self-publishing market. It definitely didn't get any hype; in fact, it kinda hit me out of nowhere, which irks me. Not sure how I feel about Amazon devising an increasing number of ways for indie authors to give away their books for nothing or next to nothing. I'm also very wary of the fact that there's no defined payment rate per KU download. With my current rate of sales, I don't foresee it affecting me immediately, so I'm taking a wait and see approach. The whole thing has made me cognizant all over again of the fact that this entire self-publishing deal kind of exists solely by Amazon's good graces. If they ever decide we're not profitable anymore, they could end the program or cut the regular royalty rate to nothing at pretty much any time and kill the whole golden goose.

I do think, however, that the independent publishing cat is now out of the bag and that other solutions would fill the void if Amazon did anything too stupid. That's what gives me some amount of faith that they'll toe the line and keep this profitable for both themselves and their suppliers (us).

So we'll see.
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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by Chad » Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:15 am

Spartan_Warrior wrote:The whole thing has made me cognizant all over again of the fact that this entire self-publishing deal kind of exists solely by Amazon's good graces. If they ever decide we're not profitable anymore, they could end the program or cut the regular royalty rate to nothing at pretty much any time and kill the whole golden goose.

I do think, however, that the independent publishing cat is now out of the bag and that other solutions would fill the void if Amazon did anything too stupid. That's what gives me some amount of faith that they'll toe the line and keep this profitable for both themselves and their suppliers (us).

So we'll see.
The good thing is the overhead for Amazon concerning self-publishing is really low.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by jacob » Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:02 am

Chad wrote: The good thing is the overhead for Amazon concerning self-publishing is really low.
They even make the author pay the wiring fee (11 cents for my book) whenever someone buys an ebook.

I wouldn't worry about Amazon. There are many other venues for self-publishing both in electronic and paper version. Amazon is simply the biggest, currently.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by Chad » Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:01 am

jacob wrote:
Chad wrote: The good thing is the overhead for Amazon concerning self-publishing is really low.
They even make the author pay the wiring fee (11 cents for my book) whenever someone buys an ebook.

I wouldn't worry about Amazon. There are many other venues for self-publishing both in electronic and paper version. Amazon is simply the biggest, currently.
The "moat" around e-publishing isn't that big or deep, so I agree, it's not a huge concern. The 11 cent wiring fee is still better than the contracts from traditional publishers.

I'm anxious to hear about cimorene's experience going forward.

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Re: cimorene12's journal: change or die

Post by cimorene12 » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:58 pm

Chad wrote:
jacob wrote:
Chad wrote: The good thing is the overhead for Amazon concerning self-publishing is really low.
They even make the author pay the wiring fee (11 cents for my book) whenever someone buys an ebook.

I wouldn't worry about Amazon. There are many other venues for self-publishing both in electronic and paper version. Amazon is simply the biggest, currently.
The "moat" around e-publishing isn't that big or deep, so I agree, it's not a huge concern. The 11 cent wiring fee is still better than the contracts from traditional publishers.

I'm anxious to hear about cimorene's experience going forward.
I'm anxious to see about my own experience going forward. I'm aware of survivorship biashttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias, and I know that seeing successful authors is seeing the tip of the iceberg/head of the pack. I could fail massively, and I'm willing to take that risk. Writing is one of my major leisure activities, and I've spent years doing it for free. If one person buys or borrows one of my books, it'll be a mark of validation for me.

Jasinda Wilder
I've been mixing work and play by studying the books of one of the major, hugely successful romance authors. She has an interesting story, and she doesn't have the greatest of financial management skills.

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/couple-re ... ce-novels/

She makes you feel things. Her novels are bog standard romance novels, with tall, young billionaires and pretty but impoverished female leads. Something about the way that she fleshes out the female characters is very different, and I'm struggling to understand what it is that sets her so far above everyone else. I can feel it, and I've read hundreds of romance novels. Part of it is that she's actually the co-author with her husband, which is something that she shares in common with Elizabeth Lowell, the founder of the entire romantic suspense movement (or what happens when a romance author and mystery/thriller author are husband and wife). I think that books written by a wife and husband turn out better.

Awful books
I've also been reading other romantic fiction. While some of it is good and compelling, the vast majority try to be over the top in a way that makes me cautious about the sorts of novels that make their way onto Amazon. The top selling romance anthology at the moment is this dreadful setup with a male protagonist who is a sociopath and a female protagonist who is basically the neediest person you can imagine. It's the only romance novel that I haven't finished. Ever.

Audiobooks
It looks like Audible will get even bigger with Kindle Unlimited, as it extends to audiobooks as well. I'm planning on getting some voice actors to record my books on ACX, and I'm mostly contemplating Amazon's deal with the devil, whereby they get exclusive rights to distribute my audiobooks for 7 years if I don't pay upfront and split royalties instead.

Bootstrapping
I've been wavering a bit on how much I should sink into this venture. In some ways, it's a way for me to wait out my noncompete. In another way, it's me following the dream that I've had since I wrote my first book. (It was about Princess Peppermint. Don't ask.) I grew up as someone who wolfed down books. But when I told my parents I wanted to be an English major, they heavily discouraged it. Doing this is proving to myself that I can write books that people want to read. It's not even meant to be HIGH ART. I just think that it'll be fun and challenging.

In cash alone, I've got 2 years of expenses. I have another 3 years and change in investments. I have more or less decided to live off of the proceeds from my part-time job and put a year's worth of my cash up for my publishing adventures.

I think my biggest upfront expense will be professional copyediting. It's funny, because that's my part-time job, almost. I also know that it's harder for the author to see his/her own mistakes, though, and I've been told time and again that it's an essential expense.

Translations
The foreign market is very strong, especially in Germany. France is a good market, and so is the UK. I have a degree in Spanish, and I can speak and read it at the university level (as in, I attended a university that only taught me in Spanish during a semester abroad. I scored the highest that you could on their proficiency exam during my orientation). I am just good enough to know that I'm not native, and I'll be hiring someone else to do the first translation; I think that I'm going to step in as the editor for my translations.

I read French at a university level as well; I was taught to read French when I was 7. My accent is strong enough that you can tell I'm not a native, but my accent is not American. I am absolutely prone to anglicisms in both languages, and I'm not good enough to translate whole books on my own.

I'm having the most trouble with figuring out how to do German translations. The difference with German is that, though it's the hottest market for romance in Europe, I can't personally supervise the quality of the translation(s). I need someone I trust to oversee my German translations.

Cart before the horse
And while I think about all of this (and setting up my website with a keen eye on everything I know about psychology), my first priority isn't any of this. My first priority is to write books while feeding myself by holding down a job. If I am not writing prolifically, all of the musing in the world about the peripherals will not save my literary career.
Last edited by cimorene12 on Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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