Working Season from September to June

I’m at a crossroads. There are several options on the table, and I’m not sure which to take.

The question that has badgered me all summer is: What do I focus on between September and June?

More clearly put: What do I focus on in these 10 months to either deliver me to or reduce the distance between where I am and where I want to be?

Part of getting there is increasing my income. Writing alone won’t do it, so I’m looking for a full time job. Apparently, everyone is looking for workers because workers aren’t returning, so getting a job shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

Working 20 to 40 hours a week reduces my computer time, so that means focussing on what is vital to my writing and publishing.

Setbacks

We all have them. It’s how we respond to them that matters. On the morning of Sunday August 21st, I turned on my computer and received this message: I am dead.

Okay, it wasn’t that exact message, but the meaning was the same: the hard drive was dead. My last major backup was in late April. However, I backup current files I’m working on, such as the novel I completed only two weeks earlier, through other means, so that and a few other files were saved. But the book covers I was working on were lost.

I could have cried but in my more than five decades on this planet, I learned tears don’t help. They only make my vision blurry. Instead, I took on this attitude: I did it once, I can do it again. And this time, I’ll do it better.

Ten-month Plan

It’s simple. It’s doable even with a full time job. It moves me in the direction I want to go.

1) Write 500 words a day to complete the next book.

2) Market, edit and publish Dragons in the Dungeon. Notice I wrote market first. I’m already marketing this fantasy novel on my McGyver website and other places. In fact, the week I started writing the first draft, I started marketing it. It will be published March 23, 2023. I chose that date before I reached 10,000 words. [Book Cover Image to the Right: It’s my first recreation of the lost covers samples I had designed. I like the concept. It still needs work, but it’s better than my first attempts.]

3) Market and publish this fall a novella submitted to Quarter Castle Publishing. House of Songs by John D. Grant is a story that straddles the real world and the fantasy world.

4) Edit, market and publish next spring a novella submitted to Quarter Castle Publishing. It’s a glimpse into the past when every-day life was simpler in Nova Scotia.

Social Media

While this list of four items seems small yet mammoth, I believe it’s doable. What’s not doable are these four items and lots of time on social media. Blogs won’t be completely ignored. I’ll pop in now and again, but I won’t be posting once or twice a week like I used to do during winter months.

Marketing

I’ve tried many new things to increase books sales in the past six months. I’ve read many articles and started following a few people who not only shared their marketing knowledge but encouraged listeners to be prosperous in their own life and not settle for what others tell them. After all, one cannot successfully market if they don’t know what they want, feel they don’t deserve anything more than what they have or don’t understand how to make life better.

The marketing I found that worked best didn’t take much time at all. The marketing that took lots of time (like making podcasts and writing posts for Medium) didn’t do anything. Crazy that less generated more.

One reason I want to get a job is to finance the launch of my next book. I plan to spend $500 on promotional ads, probably a total of $1,000 in the whole launch campaign. I believe it will pay off big time.

My reasoning for this is, I spent about $300 to launch Northern Survival. Not only did I recoup that money within three months, the initial push gave the book enough momentum to generate sales almost daily. It is my best-selling book. In total, 886 books have been sold and 126,884 pages have been read by Kindle Unlimited members (this translates to 505 books for a total of 1,391 books sold).

Northern Survival

Not counting the sales during the launched of the book, August saw my biggest sales month. It beat July. And July beat June. June beat May. The little marketing I’m experimenting with is paying off.

I believe a $500 investment in the launch will do even more for Dragons in the Dungeon. They say it takes money to make money and in this case, I believe they are right.

Wrap-up

I was a week without my computer when the hard drive died. Then I spent several days installing programs I regularly use and creating some sort of organisation of files I need to proceed on the current projects. Now it’s catch-up time.

I’ve got a book review and an author interview coming up on this site on September 9th and September 15th, so I thought I’d wake up my blog. I wrote the two posts back in May (I think) and put it on the schedule. The book will be released September 15th. So stay tune for that. It’s not me nor my book.

While I should be at the camp this long weekend, taking in the sun and saltwater and paddling around in my boat, I’m here due to circumstances out of my control. But given I’m still behind schedule, it’s not a horrible thing.

11 thoughts on “Working Season from September to June

  1. Wow Diane, that’s a lot. And ouchie on the hard drive crash and losing your cover. That is painful. I’m wondering why you are choosing to look for a a physical job rather than maybe freelance writing. I’m finding myself at this same crossroads right now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • A physical job will pay more in the short term. It’s regular. I can bank on it. I’m looking for a job that gets me moving more. I sit down enough while I’m writing/editing. I did freelancing for about 10 years, so I’m familiar with what happens.

      Freelancing can be great, but my heart isn’t in it anymore, and that’s a huge thing. Also, did you know that I could make $20,000 from freelancing and places like banks won’t look at it?

      Back in 2010 when I was writing regularly for magazines and newspapers (even had a weekly genealogy column that was about five years old), the finance department where I bought my trailer wouldn’t look at that income. Instead, they looked at my part time job (about 15 hours a week) at a pizza joint, where I made less. They said freelancing wasn’t good enough, or something like that. Basically, it could end tomorrow. I told them my pizza job could, too.

      Steady money is one part. The other part is, I find it difficult to bounce between projects. When I’m editing for someone else, my own projects get neglected.

      Freelancing is a lot of work. There’s reading publications to ensure the story idea I have will fit. Then it’s studying the style of the publication, then crafting the query. When I was doing it full time, I had a high success rate. It would take me more than a year of focussing just on that business to get that success rate again. I’m not willing to put in that time.

      Getting a dead end, meaningless job is better. The pay is great. Heck, minimum wage is outstanding, and I’m applying for jobs that pay more than that. I live frugally, and at this age and at this stage of the game with basically no debt, everything I make is extra money. PS: I hate debt. It’s why I only went into it when I had to, and I paid it off as quickly as possible. I’m five years from officially retiring from the work force though I will probably keep writing until I’m 90.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for sharing this Diane. I totally get you. You gave me good food for thought. Yes, good to get off our writing bums too, and a reason to get out. I may think about this. As for credit etc. Lol, what a joke, we are unrecognized as money earners because we’re writers unless we’re Stephen King. Thankfully, my husband left me in a good position, with zero debt as that was his motto to never owe money. Funny enough though, did you know that it doesn’t even matter how much money you have in investments if you’re looking to rent somewhere? Ya, when I lost my husband, I was considering moving somewhere else. I was warned if I don’t have earnings to show I may not get accepted. What a joke. I decided to stay in my same comple x and switch to a smaller unit. Because I’ve been here 8 years, everything was fine. Also, as long as I’ve been married, we’ve had a nice line of credit which we only used temporarily when we were building or renovating a new home. I just got a letter last week my credit line has been taken away. What a world!

        Liked by 1 person

        • A WARNING to everyone who is retired: If you have a line of credit, keep using it. Never let it get to zero. This is from my sister who retired a few years ago. She was told this, so even though she doesn’t need it, she might one day, so she keeps a balance. She and her husband have Canada pensions plus great work pensions. They have their own home on a large piece of property. It won’t matter. Once we are not actively employed, the bank closes the line of credit once it reaches zero.

          Debby, is this what happened to you? Banks are very nasty.

          I did not know that about investment money, but I don’t invest in stocks, so it won’t affect me. Anyone reading this who does, remember this.

          If you have any questions about freelancing, I don’t mind answering. I ran a night course on this topic many years ago. I think I still have the outline and notes. I was fortunate in 1997 to have met a wonderful lady who taught me the basics of freelancing. She was a huge part of my success.

          Getting out on a regular basis keeps us going, keeps us moving when we’re over 50. It’s good for the body. It’s not like we have to work 50 hours a week, take care of three kids, do the housework, help kids with homework, take kids to the rink, bake, do laundry and buy groceries. That’s a chore. Working 20 to 40 hours a week at this stage will be enjoyable. If it’s not, I know how to quit.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks for sharing your info Diane. Yup, we hadn’t used our line of credit for over 5 years and after I closed off my husband’s banking business, of which I kept our joint bank account where the line of credit was on, I recently got a letter stating that my line has been closed. Banks are VERY NASTY. I learned this a few years ago when my single mother sister owned a home valued at a million dollars and needed a 25K loan that had NO mortgage on it, they wouldn’t lend her the lousy 25K with her house as collateral because she wasn’t working at the time. Canada the great! My ass. 😦

            Liked by 1 person

            • I lost trust in banks many years ago. I have the simplest account one can get and pay only $4 a month, so I can receive and send money. I plan to never get another loan. I’d rather do without. Not giving your sister $25K is insane. Obviously, they felt they couldn’t make enough off of her to ‘risk’ the loan. Canada used to be greater. I’ve never considered living in any other country until last year. But all my family is here, so I’m here for the duration of this life.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Agreed on all counts. Yes, Canada has caught the virus of the world it seems. Me and my husband were seriously considering moving to Mexico. But when we finally got serious about it, God took him from me. I don’t feel the courage to make such a big move on my own at this stage of my life.

              Liked by 1 person

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