I didn’t do a whole lot, writing just 58,640 words.
I put up 28 blog posts and that was about it, no books published for the third month in a row.
Let’s discuss it all.
I haven’t been for more than a month.
People stopped paying me to write.
It happened a long time ago on this site, but it happened just recently on Frelancer.com, the site I’ve been freelance writing on since 2013.
The problem was fraud.
At the end of August I worked for a woman that was in Mexico. She had a short novel and I edited it.
She paid me $360 to do that.
Three weeks later Freelancer.com took that money back, leaving me with $-115 on the site.
They told me that in 30 days they’d close my account and take that $115 from my bank account, as I’d withdrawn the original $360 weeks earlier.
The whole reason was that the lady in Mexico said that the site had taken $700 from her when she’d only wanted to do that $360.
She contacted her bank and reported it and everything got locked up.
It’s been locked up for about 40 days now.
She can’t get her money, I can’t get mine.
What’s sad is that she actually wants to pay me for the work I’ve done, but there’s some hang-up with the bank and the site and whatever else.
I was able prevent my Freelancer.com account from closing after 30 days and the money being taken from my bank account.
I did that by detailing to the support staff how I’d file a small claims lawsuit in Montana against the president of the company.
That individual would have to show up in Montana within five days of receiving that notice.
Considering that Freelancer.com is based in Australia, this might be tough.
Whether that or some other consideration was going through the support staff’s head, they extended my account to Christmas Eve, whereas usually with a negative balance it would have to close in 30 days.
I could prevent all this buy simply depositing $115 into the site, but since they stole $360 from me more than a month ago, I just don’t feel comfortable doing that.
So my days of freelance writing have stopped, and boy, it’s boring.
I used to do a lot of small writing and editing jobs, now I do none.
A lot more free time, but a lot less income.
National Write a Novel Month
It’s started, but boy, I don’t really care.
I mean…what do I have to prove?
I’ve written 82 books and they’re all currently on sale.
Who am I trying to impress?
Perhaps that’s just an excuse to not write 1,667 words a day, which honestly, I kind of dread.
- Writing 1,667 words everyday is hard.
- Making a story out of them is even harder.
- Crafting a story that people actually want to read is harder still.
- Then you’ve got to edit it and get a cover and publish it on Amazon.
- After that the real work begins – selling the damn thing.
It all starts with writing those first few words, and continuing to write them for 30 days or however long it might take to get that good story.
I’ve done it many times, to varying degrees of success.
Most of the time I do it, no one gives a shit. I have several books with sales to prove that.
Sometimes, however, something magical happens and things for some reason fall into place.
People not only buy the book, they actually leave reviews saying they liked it.
Making it even more sweet, these are complete strangers that you’ll never meet or know.
They actually like what you made up on the computer and then put out for sale.
It gives you a special feeling when that happens, and it all starts with writing those first few words.
So that’s what NaNoWriMo is about.
I’m past 25,000 words right now and the story is coming together.
A big worry, however, is that readers will find it boring.
I’ve gotten a few reviews on various books in the Mountain Man Series that are telling me that.
Maybe there’s not enough action, too much build-up, or a lot of talking that doesn’t really matter.
I like writing the historical fiction books about fur trapping’s history in Montana and along the Missouri.
Since I’ve sold 4,112 of ‘em other people must agree.
I’ve mentioned before that I’d like to get a 20-book series under my belt, much like Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander series.
I’m halfway there and by this time next month the book will probably be on sale.
That has a tendency to happen when you sit down each day and write, revise, edit, and of course, pace around, talk to yourself, pull your hair out and generally feel at times worthless or on top of the world, sometimes both at the same time.
That’s how you write a book, or at least that’s how I write a book.
I’ve done it 82 times now and Manuel’s Money will be the 83rd.
Not too shabby.
And what is ‘success’ anyways?
- If it’s selling millions of copies, getting a motion picture deal, and screwing every blond, brunette and redhead on the French Riviera, then no, I haven’t achieved that kind of success yet.
- If it’s selling a couple thousand copies a month, buying a house with your earnings, and putting away money so you can be a writer for the rest of your days, then no, I haven’t had that kind of success either.
- If it’s selling a couple hundred copies a month, paying your rent, and feeling like you’re a gosh-darn, true-to-the-T writer, then yes, I have had that kind of success.
Let me tell you something – it sure is fleeting.
And I can’t complain too much.
I’m no longer at the level of success where I’m just selling a few dozen copies a month, buying pizza or perhaps paying the power bill with the earnings, and of course still working the day job.
I did that back in 2013 and aside from the day job part, it lasted for a couple years.
Climbing the ‘levels of success’ isn’t easy, and if we do go up a rung or two, we often don’t know why.
In March of this year I saw my Amazon book sales explode from a typical 100 to 200 a month all the way up to 800 sales.
That trend continued – albeit on a slightly downward slope – for the next few months.
Then I got back to where I was at the beginning of the year – about 100 to 200 sales a month
What the hell happened?
I’m not sure, but I am sure you’re getting sick of me analyzing and questioning my sales and asking ‘why.’
I guess it affects your confidence when something like this happens.
Am I just a flash in the pan, a little blip on the radar and nothing more? Should I even keep writing at all anymore?
These terrible thoughts race through your head when you see your sales plummet.
Sometimes having something and then seeing it taken away is worse than not having had it at all.
Well…it kind of feels like that.
The truth is that I’ve achieved a lot, had a good taste of what success can feel like, and now I need to continue to work hard to get an even bigger taste of it.
Or I can just give up.
That’s what it really comes down to – you keep going or you don’t.
At this point I think I’ll keep going.
Boy, though, is it hard sometimes!
So far I’ve given $420 this year. For October it was like so:
- The Salvation Army
- Catholic Relief Services
- Montana Public Radio
- Feeding America
- Operation Warm
I could spend that money on the products and services that corporate America wants me to, but I choose not to.
Coming in November
It’ll be good to have that done with.
But then what?
Like I said, I’ll get done with Manuel’s Money and then I’ll probably tell you all about Rose’s Rage or Rose’s Retribution or whatever the hell I call it.
Now that book is going to be good.
It reminds me a lot of Colter’s Revenge, a book I was thinking about and couldn’t wait to write, even though I still had two books to write before I even got to it.
That’s how this book on the quarter-Cherokee, quarter-black, and half-white fur trapper named Edward Rose is going.
He was a real person, lived with the Crow for some time.
We first met him in Colter’s Run, a book I wrote more than a year ago.
Now he gets his own book, and my, it’ll be good. A real survival tale, not a lot of extra characters, just one man’s story of justice meted out in the cold winter of Montana in 1812-13.
It’ll be a good one.
And that’s about it. I don’t have a whole lot else going on.
Money’ll get a lot tighter as the holidays approach, my medical bills pile up, and my book income goes down.
But I’ll get by – I always do.