Tag: cash

Ten Things to Know about Being an Author – Part One

Since shortly after I was old enough to read and imagine my own stories, I wanted to be an author. My first story was penned in a spiral notebook when I was in third grade. The past four years that I’ve been living the dream doing this author thing have been amazing.

And instructive. And painful at times. Filled with discouragement and despair at other times. Even wrought with excitement to the point I soared above the clouds.

The higher you go, the further you have to fall.

And falling from such heights hurts. It might even kill you(r dream).

Traditional publishing is the slow track to being published.

By slow I mean, it takes years if you pursue one of the large publishing houses (which means you have to find an agent first). After you spend months writing, revising, editing and polishing your manuscript, the journey of ten thousand miles begins.

It starts with research. Which agents are looking for your style and genre? Which publishers would contract it?

Then the rounds of submission begin. Most of this is done electronically. This speeds the process of notification to three months instead of six to twelve. Many agencies won’t respond unless they’re requesting pages.

Talk about disheartening. It feels like tossing my life’s work into a black hole.

I wanted this for myself. I needed the validation. I wanted a publishing professional to confirm that my work was of a quality to be read and circulated.

Publishing with a small press is the fast track to getting work in front of readers.

Even though it was a small publisher who gave me my first fiction contract (and all my subsequent contracts until I began writing for Kindle Worlds), it didn’t feel like traditional publishing to me.

First of all, the submission hoops are simpler to understand and jump through. The turnaround time for notifying you of acceptance is shorter.

I started with short stories in answer to specific submission calls. This is the only way I’ve managed to publish in my dream genre (young adult fantasy).

The contracts are long but straightforward, and most of the small houses don’t offer advances. They split the royalties half and half, though, which I understand is a substantial raise over big houses.

You still get the benefit of several editing passes (story development, line edits and proofing) and a professional cover. On my stand alone titles, I’ve been consulted about the title and my thoughts and opinions were considered and employed.

Traditional publishing success is ninety percent about who you know.

Slush pile. I’m not sure the few manuscripts I’ve sent, although requested, actually met up with the agent or editor. Getting a query past this point is something I’ve only managed with small houses.

Could be my queries are weak. Or the agent wasn’t looking for the kind of story I was telling.

All I know is that hearing nothing is more depressing than a rejection. It’s like all your effort is meaningless to the agent or editor. Sure, they have a ton of work, but does it really take so long to send a four line email saying you aren’t interested?

If you can get an author to recommend you, I understand the odds increase exponentially in favor of a contract.

Small press publishing is fifty percent finding the right publisher and fifty percent telling a good story.

It will still take effort to locate the right press for your story. More small houses appear every month. Many of them will disappear within a year or two. I don’t send anything to a publisher that’s been around for less than a year. And I always check out their current and past titles.

I’ve started reading some stories from a small press that weren’t all that great. Then I see that the author is also the editor-in-chief. This looks like a new form of vanity publishing to me.

They started up the press so they could publish their own books.

I’ve also read a few fantastic stories that come from the same situation. The difference? I didn’t take a poll, but I think it involves professional editing and more skilled writing.

I don’t want a bad story to be published. This is what kept me from subbing manuscripts for years. I wasn’t good enough. Even reading the first fiction short that Roane accepted makes me cringe a little.

Indie publishing requires both entrepreneurial finesse and cash reserves.

Independent publishing makes you the boss of it all. You’re the captain of the publishing ship.

If you want, you can churn out a story and upload it to Amazon with a thrown-together cover. Maybe you’ll sell a few copies.

But if you want to be a professional author, act like one. Make a business plan. Plan a production schedule. Give yourself deadlines and then meet them.

To succeed, you need to learn the business. Locate professional editors and hire them. Listen to their comments and improve your stories.

If you don’t know design, hire a cover designer. You can hire someone to format the interior of the book. You can even hire a publicity representative to plan your marketing campaign.

All of that costs money. Plan on investing anywhere from $500 to $1500 from your savings per book. Then do the math and find out how many copies you have to sell to break even and make a profit.

I still haven’t broke even on my indie novella Reflections from a Pondering Heart.

This is only FIVE things you need to know about being an author. I’m guessing 900 words is more than long enough for most of my blog readers.

Come back on Thursday to learn the other five things.

Which of these seems most obvious? Most important? Most discouraging?

How the Crazy Cash Lady Got that wad of Cash

Smells like Shopping
Smells like Shopping

If you recall my fantastic test drive date, you might recollect that my husband had conceded to giving up his truck as long as I purchased a vehicle with a similar tow rating. How did a test drive lead to the crazy fan of cash you see me holding? Let me tell you the tale.

After driving the Durango, we decided to list my car (2007 Acura RDX) on Craig’s List to see if we’d get any nibbles. If the car sold, we would take his truck (2005 Dodge Ram 2500) in for trade. Using that and the money from my car, we would be able to purchase the beautiful 2014 Dodge Durango Limited outright.

The next day, my husband has the Acura on Craig’s List. Yes, this is the same man who took two months to hand off the house listing papers to me. You guessed this is the same Mr. Wonderful who ten months later has just finally listed the house on Craig’s List. Yup. Very. Next. Day.

He gets two emails within hours. Two days later, he’s driving the car to work because a dealer near his office wants to make an offer. That same day, he gets two more offers. One guy emailed him a picture of the pile of cash he intended to pay with.

Safe to say we will be able to sell my car, right?

Before we listed it for sale, he did the Edmonds and Kelly Blue Book valuing. As you know, there’s always a broad range and no one’s car is rated in “excellent” condition. Our range: $15,500 to $17,900 (or something similar). We listed it in the middle $16,900 and agreed $16,000 was the lowest we would go.

Less than a week later, a young guy (seriously could NOT have been over 25) and his friend show up driving a Cadillac. This is the guy who sent a picture of his cash. His first offer was $15,000 “And here’s what that looks like.” Yada, yada. Who does that?

“We said we weren’t going below $16,000,” I remind my husband. He forgets things sometimes. Don’t we all? (This is me giving him the benefit of the doubt, not being mean-spirited or controlling.)

I guess a stack of 150 one hundred dollar bills can be mesmerizing. He asked for $15,500 and the guy snapped it up. Of course, he’s going to sell it for $17,900 to someone else!

Mr. Moneybags only had the $15,000 out and ready to spend after checking that my car was indeed awesome and in as close to “excellent” condition as a vehicle could get. My husband is meticulous about automobile upkeep – inside, outside and under the hood. The guy opens up his trunk, where he has a briefcase.

He pops it open and – I am not making this up – it’s full of $100-bills, neatly bundled by $1,000 stacks. It was like a B-movie. My husband smarts off, “Should I get out my plastic baggies filled with white powder?”

It was indeed that cheesy scene. Real life is crazier than fiction – and doesn’t read with quite the same verve either.

I counted the money. I still wanted $16,000. With all those people lining up to buy my car, I believe we could have found a buyer to pay that price. Obviously, Mr. Trunk-Full-of-Cash could have coughed up another five Benjamins.

And there you have the story to accompany the crazy cash lady photograph.

What’s the most cash you’ve ever held in your hand? Do you have any car buying or selling tales to share?

(Special thanks to Kelly Roberts for the epic caption beneath the picture.)