Insecure Writers’ Support Group: Like a circle within a circle…

Goodness! I’ve been so busy lately, I almost lost track of time! Today is actually the first Wednesday of October, which means it’s time for my Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. For those of you who are familiar with IWSG, it’s a monthly bloghop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, where we share our writing insecurities and encouragements with each other.

For more information or to sign up (you’re more than welcome!), please click here.

Also, if you’d rather read this post on WordPress, please click here.

My Insecurity

My biggest insecurity this month is one I’ve been able to push aside for the most part, but once I’ve started looking at it, it’s actually a big one. 
See, recently I decided to take this writing gig full-time. (Long story, but don’t worry. I didn’t quit the day-job either.) The biggest difference that this decision has made is that I’m actually devoting most of my day to either writing or marketing in an attempt to bring in money. 
The thing is that I started doing this with $100 in the bank, which is currently stuck there because Payoneer has a $200 pay-out limit. 
So. Paid marketing platforms are out for me at the moment. As is basically anything I want to do to my books until my money is out (because I need to pay for my Adobe programs.)
And while my advertising for beta-reading, mentoring etc on Fiverr by far gets the most clicks, I think people might be scared of booking me when I have no reviews. (Annoying, because I’ve done six years’ worth of critiques for my blogging buddies already, so I have the experience.) 
Which means that right now, I’m pretty much stuck. I want to refresh two of my three books to get more readers for those… But… I either have to pay a formatter (which I can’t.) or use at least Adobe Acrobat. (Which I can’t.) 
I have $4 stuck in Fiver at the moment (because they have a $50 pay-out limit) and I can get $1 more to try out a $5 marketing spree (I can use the $4 as credit). But there’s little point to doing that until my books are updated. I need every dollar to go to maximum effect. So I can’t just spend $5 on something I don’t think will make a difference until I have everything in place that I need in place. 
So it’s a vicious circle. Because without effective marketing, I’m not going to sell more books, which means I won’t be getting $100 anytime soon. 
And EVEN if I make $100 in book sales, it’ll take at least two months before I get the royalties. 
*Headdesk*
Right now, the quickest way for me to get that $100 would be to make it on Fiverr, or if people pledged support on Patreon. (Because that would take until the end of the month.) Both will take time building up, though.
So yeah. It’s a vicious circle. 

Now for the IWSG Question…

When do you know the story is ready? 

Depends on what the story is supposed to be ready for. 
I know a story is ready to be written when I know the climax and ending. 
I know it’s ready for editing when I no longer feel as if every word in the draft is precious and needs to be protected at every cost. 
I know it’s ready for publishing when I spend an hour moving a single comma around. (Or some such.) 
What about you? When do you know a story is ready? Thoughts on a way for me to break my vicious circle?
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Update Day: Hitting the Reset Button

Hey everyone! Today is the last Friday of the month, which means it’s time for another Update Day!

I thought I’d do things a bit differently, which means…

Tada!

Vlog post.

To sum up for those of you who haven’t the time to watch the vid:

This month, I decided to stop moping around and approach my writing career as if it’s already my full-time job. My thinking is that I’m a business person anyway, so I might as well turn this writing thing into a business.

Making this work meant I had to rethink the way I’m going about this.

So…

TL:DR:


I’m hitting reset on my goal. 

My five-year goal is still $7500 a month, but now it can be from any writing related activity, whether it’s me actually writing, or me using my writing expertise in some way.

I’m starting over. 

This is actually year three, but the change is so major and the mind-shift so big that I decided to start again. So September 2016 is month one of Year One. I basically did this, because I want to track my growth. And since my income basically flatlined for the past three months, I thought it would be a good thing to start since this major change got brought in.

I’ve been keeping track since 6th (which was when I decided to kick things up a notch), so that’s enough for me to actually get some stats in.

Speaking of stats…

I’m also going to change the way I report on my progress. 

I might get back to the to-do list eventually, but I can’t help feeling that people really don’t care about those all that much.

A lot of people have been asking me how I’m actually doing with my five year goal, so I will be reporting on my money coming in and going out, since this full-time-writer-with-almost-no-money-to-start-with thing is probably something that might interest a lot of people.

Which means that I’ll be posting monthly stats for the year. Two, in fact, but I’ll explain more in a minute.

So how did I do? 

Basically, this full-time thing has two components: Me selling stories and services I already have, and me creating more stories. For ease of reference, I will call these Marketing and Writing. 

Marketing


Since my marketing results can only be measured in terms of income, I’m keeping track of that instead of the hours I’m putting in. 
My income basically gets divided into three groups: Income from previous months (since there’s up to a 3 month delay on royalties etc), income earned within the month and income generated for the future (so I’m keeping track of books I sold today so I know how much I’ll get in three months.) 
I set my goal for Total Income Generated. Which means that if I say $100 is my goal, I’ll see that goal as achieved even if $100 came in only from previous months sales etc. 
Since I’m also concerned about my income’s growth, I’ll be keeping track of how much income I generate within a month and for future months, separately. So there will be a separate graph, where the goal line is calculated by subtracting my Income Generated Goal from the amount that came in from previous months. 
Okay? 
Okay. 
So first, let me look at income generated in past months vs income generated within this month and for future months.

Basically, the income accrued in previous months is money from Patreon (which is currently around $10). 
As you can see, most of my money generated this month was for current or future earnings. Let’s see how those look. 

So since starting this whole exercise, I’ve critiqued one short-story on Fiverr, and actually sold some books on Amazon (which is definitely an uptick, because my book sales have basically been dead lately.) The Patreon income is basically the $10 from patrons who’d signed up before and $1 from a new sign-up. It will show up again next month as income accrued from previous months, since every month’s subscriptions only actually hit my account in the following month.
Goal for October: 

It’s such a nice, round number, so for now, I’m keeping to $100 as my goal. Fingers crossed that I actually hit the line next time. 

Writing

This month I basically set writing goals as I went along, which is why my goal line keeps jumping up as I hit my targets. 
I basically only started writing on 11 September, and then only sporadically. Then, on 24 September, I started timing my writing and trying to write every day. The effect on my daily word counts are quite staggering….

Let me put that into words real quick. I wrote over 16k words this month. 10k of those were written last week.
Goals for October: 

I have three big ones: 
1) I want to finish this draft of Book 3 of The War of Six Crowns before the end of the year, which means I’ll basically be chasing NaNo targets every month for three months. Thanks to timing myself, I know I can type 2k words in 80 minutes. 
2) I want to write the story I have in mind for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group competition. 
3) I want to re-format and update my currently published books, specifically The War of Six Crowns to prepare for the new covers I made for them. 
There are, of course, more goals (we’re talking about me, here), but these are my priorities. 
How did your goals go? What do you think of this new format for my Update Day posts? Are you interested in the outcome of this experiment of mine?