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Careful What You Wish For

My kids and my husband are all extremely supportive of my venture into the publishing arena. (Read: they’re asking me WTF took me so long, whilst cheerfully telling everybody they know about the book.) As it turns out, my oldest son has kept up a long-running conversation with a very high profile author in the field, and when I sent my manuscript to the son, he forwarded to the author.

Said author volunteered to read and critique.

Um… holy shit?

Since I wasn’t a direct part of the conversation I don’t know if it’s kosher to mention the author’s name at this point. I’ll tell you he’s published well over 100 books (I think 140 at last count), has won several awards and been nominated for the genre equivalent of the Oscars. I’ll also tell you he’s been one of my favorite authors for eons. How do you think my son found him in the first place?

He’s an older man and still writing his own work, so he said allow about a month. No problem: that’ll be about the same time it should theoretically hit the bigger outlets, and by that point I’ll hopefully be too far into the second book to walk away and cry in the corner. Much.

My kids grew up with books in the house, and with me writing. There was a standing family joke for eons:

Q: Mom, do you have a pen and paper?
A: (in mumble to self) What a stupid question.
Revised Q: Mom, can I have a pen and paper?

Every once in a while all four kids would literally say it at the same time. Even now that I’ve gone digital, I tend to keep pens in my purse and paper nearby. I can’t take paper in to work, so it’s not as handy as it once was, but my house is still a repository for countless notebooks and loose leaf and so on and so forth. When I hit a proverbial wall on the digital end of things, all it takes to end it is to pick up pen and paper, and it’s not long until everything starts clicking again.

Exciting as it is, I’m also realistic. Half of all self-published authors bring in less than $500 a year (cited here and here), with the average about $10K a year. Now I personally wouldn’t mind an extra $10K a year, but I sure couldn’t live on it. Besides, that average is hugely skewed, like the average American income is skewed by a handful of bazillionaires, any one of whose fortunes are equal to the combined government budget of entire midwestern US. There are a few ebooks (think Fifty Shades of Blech) that dominate the numbers and the others are probably closer to the $500 mark than the $10K mark. So yeah – it’s possible to make a living self-publishing, but until I’m bringing in six figures or more for at least a couple of years running (excluding anything after decimal points) I’m not quitting my day job.

That said, I have a family who’s firmly in my corner and an older sion who’s savvy as heck about marketing. He literally outlined a plan for me today on how to get my name out there. Looks like it needs to wait until it hits the bigger markets, though, because I couldn’t get a clear answer on which formats go with which readers. I’ve got to get my ass Chickenin gear and get the print version together, too, but I think I will be waiting on that until I get a little more feedback.

Chicken? Who, me?

Whatever makes you say that?

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