Archive | May 2012

The Starving Artist

Let’s face it: like me, before your writing career takes off, you will need to support yourself somehow. This will require a lot of hard choices. What are you willing to sacrifice for your writing? If you work full-time, it’s a lot harder to write. If you don’t work full-time, it’s hard to survive, but it can be done.

First, cut down your costs. I have roommates, refuse to buy a car, live in a city with low rent, and live cheaply. Government programs help with food. No shame here; our taxes are helping the arts. I have a free bus pass (my old college ID). This brings my costs down to about $400 a month.

I also don’t have anyone to support. That helps a lot.

Next, find a part time job. If it sucks, find another one. Your happiness directly correlates to your productivity. If you are constantly thinking about your abusive boss, you won’t be able to write (except maybe a revenge fantasy). Abusive jobs are just like abusive relationships; get out as soon as you can. No excuses. The goal is to find a job that pays well, has few hours, and has low stress. Use your connections to find this job; sadly, applications only do so much.

You’ll need to save up some money to pay for copy editing and book covers, and also other random expenses you can’t see coming. Do not live paycheck to paycheck, that will end up costing you more money in the long run. Being poor can be expensive.

I’m a supervisor at a market research company and work three days a week, six hours a day. It gives me time to write. Plus I was able to see The Avengers trailer before anyone else.

Limit your drinking (and other drugs and partying). Yep, drinking, at the very least, costs money you don’t have. Note: The drunk artist is mostly just a drunk.

Other options:

1. Find someone to support you (Can you say sugar daddy?).

2. Save up money at a full time job, and then take time off to write.

3. Blaze your own path. There is always a way.


About My Other Books: House of Cabal

The Forgiving isn’t my only book in the pipeline. Here is a my pitch for House of Cabal. (Don’t you love writing pitches? Ugh.)

If you knew how to stay young forever, would you share that knowledge with the world, or would you keep it a secret?

House of Cabal is an epic that centers on a secret society that has discovered the means to never-ending vitality.

Episode One begins fifteen years after the fall of the House of Cabal estate, when a bestselling biographer interviews Everett Grimes, one of the few survivors of the estate’s collapse. Without permission, the biographer is put under hypnotic regression and relives Everett’s experiences. Meanwhile, two other survivors abduct Meredith, the biographer’s wife, to take control of the biography and the world-changing information contained within.

In Episode Two, Meredith must escape her captors to save herself and her husband, while unraveling the House of Cabal’s mysteries.

Equal parts thriller, human drama, and speculative fiction, House of Cabal explores the themes of identity and mortality while demonstrating how far people will go when they believe their cause is just.

Well, that’s the pitch. Any thoughts?

Updated Cover

After some feedback, here is an update on the cover. I took out the bees and other insects, the ABC, and page number from the original illustration.

Thank you everyone for giving it a look.

I’m not sure I like it better. It now has a little less horror.

Book Cover

Here is the mock-up of my cover for The Forgiving. I have awhile to figure out a cover (still need to finish the book), but I felt like giving it a shot.

Book covers can be a huge factor in how many books you sell. If I had all the money in the world, this probably wouldn’t be my cover, but all things considered, I actually really like this. It doesn’t feel amateur to me, which is my main goal for my first book.

It doesn’t depict the literal plot, but exemplifies the theme. It’s also a strong image, if not a bit overly complex. If I get a great review quote, I might run it along the bottom.

I got the image from

Give the image a click to see it full size.

Do you guys have any thoughts?

Book Episodes

Progress: The Forgiving is 37,500 words now, aiming for 42,000, might end up being about 45,000.

As my horror novel comes closer to completion, I’ve been thinking about how I want to release the book I’ve already written. As an indie publisher, I have complete control over the rollout, so let’s get creative.

I’m thinking about splitting up my novel, House of Cabal, into at least two episodes. Here are some of the pros to this:

  1. Each episode would still be over 50,000 words, a comfortable size for release.
  2. I could sell each episode for a dollar, a more attractive price point.
  3. I could give away the first episode for free on Smashwords to anyone who requested a coupon.
  4. This would give me more books in my back list.
  5. It would help make the next episode a little less daunting. 50,000 words is a lot easier to handle than 100,000+.
  6. Lower editing cost per book. Most copy-editors charge by the word, and so editing 100,000 words is a big investment for a beginning writer who should only charge a dollar for each book.
  7. Later I could sell the episodes together as a single volume.

The Cons:

  1. Each episode might not provide enough resolution for readers.
  2. The episodes wouldn’t be able to stand alone and be purchased out of order.
  3. More book covers to create or pay for.

It seems like there are more pros.

I still think I’ll release The Forgiving first, and as that rolls out, I’ll start writing episode three of House of Cabal. Having my first book be a complete story, not a series, seems like a wise idea. As the first two episodes of House of Cabal are released, I should have time to complete the third episode.

That’s the plan right now anyway. We’ll see if this plan changes after I’ve finished The Forgiving and done more research on book releasing.

Happy writing.