You gotta spend money to make money

IWSG badgeThis post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. The awesome co-hosts for the the October 7 posting of the IWSG will be TB Markinson, Tamara Narayan, Shannon Lawrence, Stephanie Faris, and Eva E. Solar!

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m broke as hell.

Most of my life is spent living hand-to-mouth. Paying my bills each month is a ‘will she or won’t she?’ sort of adventure. My cupboard is full of Ramen noodles. I don’t own a car, because cars are too expensive (but luckily I live in a big city with extensive public transportation). The fact I have internet and a laptop shows you my priorities–though I constantly have nightmares about my laptop dying and not being able to replace it. The words ‘expendable income’ sound like a punch line to me.

But I’m an author, and I need to self-promote. Uh oh.

Blog tours are expensive!

Ads are expensive!

Swag is expensive!

Do you think your publisher just ~gives~ you a whole bunch of your books to schlep around to appearances and sell to people? HA! (Unless you’re a huge name and they’re already making money hand over fist on you.)

A convention? In another city? Where I have to stay at a hotel? Buy swag/books for? And the entry fee is hundreds of dollars? DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH RAMEN THAT IS?

The truth is promoting yourself when you don’t already have a comfortable income isn’t easy. I’ve gotten a few (meager) royalty checks and mostly just turned them right back around into advertising/promotion. The theory is that someday your royalty checks will be big enough you can do that AND have money for bills and Ramen and maybe replace your laptop if it breaks down. To get bigger you gotta spend money, so you can make more money to get bigger. Until then…well, I’m really good at being poor.

‘Starving artist’ isn’t just a clever turn of phrase.

By the way, my novel The Wicked City is up for best urban fantasy at The Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Awards. Being nominated was free for me, and it’s free for  you to vote! I’d bribe you with cash, but well…want a pack of noodles instead?

19 comments

  1. I completely sympathise. We live the same way. We don’t have a car, and my laptop is on its last legs, but I cannot afford to replace it. This worries me constantly: how can I make money without spending it? The answer is by being clever, by doing something brand new that no one else has thought of before, by breaking the mould. Thus far, I’ve found that’s far easier said than done. I’m still waiting for my clever idea!
    (Oh, and calling in favours, and getting mates/family rates whenever you can!)

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    1. That’s how I live too! It’s much easier said than done, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right? Hopefully someday it will be much easier for both of us. Thank you for stopping by!

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  2. Wow, that’s really tough and one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to accomplish much on the writing front–I’m so busy writing for money! I don’t do well with poverty–been there, and it really scared me.

    I voted for you! Good luck and hang in there. This too shall pass! At least you’re chasing your dream with everything you’ve got. And yes, conferences are CRAZY expensive!

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    1. It’s scary no matter how long you’ve been in it, trust me. I just try to hang on and do the best I can, cut corners where I can, and be as resourceful as I can.

      Thank you so much for the vote! And thank you for stopping by!

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  3. Not only do I understand the Ramen thing, I’ve found a store that sells in packs of 10 for a dollar! The worst part of being a “starving artist” is the part where we actually have to worry about starving . . .

    But it WILL turn around someday. You’ve got such a positive attitude and a great outlook!

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  4. Keep going! This is the sad hard truth, but we all hope that it eventually leads us to our ultimate goals. I hope you’re getting royalties that are enough to reinvest and buy more than ramen, and soon.

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  5. I’ve been there, believe me. The fact that I’m not is merely an accident of stumbling into a better financial situation. The good news is, when you’re broke you can get REALLY creative. Even now, years after those hard times, I still watch every dime and look for ways to save wherever possible. I applaud your commitment.

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    1. Thank you! When you’re broke you learn to be resourceful and I think that’s a skill that sticks with you for life. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but when I’m down I don’t panic much because I already know how to navigate those waters.

      Thank you for stopping by!

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  6. I hear ya! I keep reminding myself that my writing is a business, and that it takes most new businesses five years to turn a profit. But I am getting really good at watching the money go out- I just hope soon it will turn around (for both of us!).

    Good luck and happy IWSG day!

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  7. The title of your post is right on. It does take money to make it. Some things you can do for yourself. I know people (not me) who are creative enough to make their own swag. I’ve organized my own blog tours. But some promo does cost. Just make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Good luck!

    Diane
    IWSG #94

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