As I’ve been saying for almost a year now, I’m quitting my day job as a consultant and going full-time into writing. I will be living the dream.
Now, just as in Empath, Lauren begins to have second thoughts after making a brave, bold statement to face the Anghenfil, I’m faced with the thing I boldly stated I was going to do, and I am fucking terrified. But that’s a different blog post for a different time.
I wanted to shed a little light into my own situation, because so often I see other writers who do nothing but write and I feel very jealous. But also, their situation is much, much different than mine, and so just like the #1 Writing Commandment, Thou Shalt Not Compare Thy Numbers to Other Authors – well, you get the picture.
My situation is pretty interesting, in that I’ve unknowingly put myself in a good spot to actually quit my job. I bought a house 3 years ago which increased in value so much that it will give me a huge payout when I sell it. Because I’m moving from one of the most expensive places to live to a relatively cheap place to live, the profit on the house sale should allow me to purchase a house outright.
Yep, that means no more (or significantly less) mortgage for me.
Similarly, I’ve been in the process of unburying myself from debt over the last 8 years. School loans, remodeling costs on the house, even my car – all should be paid off by the time I say goodbye to my company. That’s huge you guys – not many people can say that they’re completely debt-free.
In addition, I’m single. I ain’t got no man (thank God), and I don’t have any human children. My dogs are getting up there in age, and so I anticipate higher medical bills coming soon, but other than that – I don’t have to worry about anyone else but me.
And I am not a real frilly person. Since my DC-level mortgage is so high, and I’ve been unburying myself from debt, I have been living within my small means for a long time now. I don’t buy things, I don’t go on trips, I don’t do designer clothes. So basically – there’s no change in my life if I suddenly don’t make much money.
So all of that is to say that my income requirements are about to be super-low.
Beyond that, my idea of “quitting and becoming a writer” is not sitting behind a computer all day, staring wistfully into the distance. It’s Hard Work. It’s getting up at 5am and driving 200 miles to work a comic-con all day, then packing up and driving 200 miles home and getting up the next morning to do another 30 miles away. It’s making strategic decisions with time and money that will bring the most bang for the buck. It’s doing the work of 5 people – and still finding time to write amazing books.
It’s also identifying alternative sources of revenue. I’ve got Adsense on my blog, I use Amazon Affiliate links. I have a Cafepress store. All of these things will bring me money. SGR-P has a brand new marketing and editing service offering. That’s also going to bring me some money.
It’s getting in my car and driving to 32 different cities to sell my books. It’s being shameless at Comic-Cons and asking every single person that walks by if they’re interested in a new book. It’s dealing with rejection from local news organizations that don’t want to talk to an indie published author.
I’ve had a couple well-meaning friends say to me, “I hope this works out for you.”
Hope has nothing to do with it, guys.
I started in DC as a fresh-faced college freshman with about -$15,000 to my name, and in 10 years, I’ve built everything that I have by myself. After college, I’m the one who made the connections to get every job, I’m the one who is paying my mortgage. I did everything myself.
I see publishing as the same kind of challenge. I can build my media empire the same way that I built my consulting career, by developing smart relationships, putting in the hard work, and not comprehending any other option but success.
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