A moofable feast.

Be brave enough to burn and you'll be brave enough to fly.

I say it’s my birthday.
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alexandraerin

It’s been a mixed week, with some great highs and pretty sweeping lows. If you want to help give me a boost as I enter into what I really intend to be an amazing year for me as a writer, you can give me a gift in any of the following fashions:

  1. Help send me to WorldCon! It may or may not make the world a better place (this statement has yet to be evaluated by the FDA), but it makes the sad puppies howl and the rabid ones foam at the mouth. http://www.gofundme.com/ae2worldcon
  2. Support me on Patreon! You’ll get a ton of original content every month, and help me pay my day-to-day living expenses. http://www.patreon.com/AlexandraErin
  3. Buy me something nice! My Amazon Wishlist has fun stuff, necessary stuff, big stuff, and little stuff. https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/3K5TGO7OL84A8
  4. Just throw some money at me. Money: I need it to live. http://www.paypal.me/AlexandraErin
  5. Buy a DRM-free copy of Angels of the Meanwhile. It doesn’t benefit me directly, but goes directly to one of the most important people in my world, Pope Lizbet. It’s a phenomenal collection of poetry and prose that I am honored and proud to have brought to life, and not enough people seem to even know about it. Honestly, if one thing in this list could blow up overnight, I’d like it to be this one. http://www.angelsofthemeanwhile.com

 

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/733608.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.

Now We Are 36
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alexandraerin

I have had a seriously up and down week. However, the week is at an end. I had two weeks in a row of updating Tales of MU twice a week, following a schedule. My fiction-writing word count is over the proverbial nine thousand, as they say dans la belle internet. I got a shiny check for $25 and a contributor’s copy of Circlet Press’s Nights of the Round Table, a book I wasn’t even aware was getting a print edition. (They probably told me, but I’ve been incommunicado. Sorry!) I started a new story that is a lot of fun to work on, wrote a poem of which I am very proud, and issued a challenge for writers.

It’s a good week, and a good start for the year.

Back in May, I had an introspective late night moment on Twitter when I was on the verge of giving up on everything, and I decided instead to double down, to stop listening to the critical voices within and without, and to do the things I wanted to do, that I knew I could do. I reflected on the fact that I was almost 36, an age that is a perfect square, and that a year later I would be 37, a prime number; perfect, going into the prime of my life.

I said that this was going to be the year that people sat up and took notice of me, this was going to be the year that I retook the title some people called me back when few knew who I was, that of “most prolific author on the internet”… or one of them, anyway. The internet is a big place.

I don’t think I said it in so many words, but part of the subtext was: this is the year where I start making enough money to actually live off again.

The stuff with my phone has been discouraging. The fact that my personal Patreon did not immediately catch fire when I announced my big plans is also a bit discouraging, if not fully unexpected. I had hoped that my short story reprint-a-thon in the days leading up to the end of May would give me a boost, but it really didn’t. I have the impression that few outside my existing supporters paid attention to it.

I’m not sure what to do about that. That’s really my biggest obstacle. Back in the day I spent money advertising Tales of MU and it found the right audience and caught on, but I did the same thing with previous projects and they didn’t. There is no magic formula for success. Among the reasons that I decided to self-publish, ages ago now, was the fact that all the platitudes about every manuscript finding a home if it’s good enough are just platitudes. There might be a right place for your work, but you might never find it at the right time. There could be audience demand, but it might not be concentrated in the way that any publisher would feel confident trying to reach it.

You can do everything right and still fail.

My decision to go my own route was not based on any notion that it would assure success, because this is true no matter what you’re doing. Rather, the idea was that it would make success or failure less of a binary. Whether I ever made a living, or any money at all, my work would be out there being read.

And my work is out there, being read.

And I have made money at it; I am making money at it.

And for a while, I did make a living off it.

As a wise weirdo once sung, “I’m going to go back there someday.”

At least that’s the plan. If I don’t make it… well, like I said: you can do everything right and still fail. But by the same token, even if I fail, I can still do everything right.

We’re a third of the way through the month. Coming up in this month, there will be more Making Out Like Bandits, more Tales of MU, more humor and satire, and a wholly original short story. Some of it (the further installments of Making Out Like Bandits and likely the short story) will only available to my patrons. Others will be freely readable for the public, like Tales of MU.

As I very recently observed on Twitter: if 1 in 1,000 people who like my work can afford to pay me a $1 for it, what I want is more people reading it, not for the 999 to feel guilty about their lack of support. Guilt and shame are powerful weapons but terrible motivators. If you read my work, if you like my work, I want you to feel proud of that, and of me. I want you to brag about me, to boast about me. I want you to see your friends and followers who haven’t yet heard the good news as one of today’s lucky 10,000, as they say dans la belle xkcd.

It’s true that I need more money. But the horse comes before the cart, and the horse here is made out of eyeballs and the cart is made out of money. Okay, that’s kind of horrific. It’s like a political cartoon drawn by Hieronymus Bosch. Never mind the horse or the cart. The point is that in the process of writing this, I have figured out that I should be focusing on building my audience and letting the money follow from that, rather than haranguing everyone in earshot for dollars.

Thanks, internet. You’re a real pal, you know? Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re an awful cesspit of ignorance and hatred.

Anyway, long story short: happy birthday to me. This is now officially (well, not officially, but you know) my year. If you want to do something nice to help me ring it in, I posted a list of suggestions in the middle of the night: http://www.alexandraerin.com/2016/06/i-say-its-my-birthday/

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/733761.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.

Just hit me…
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alexandraerin

…that I have three actual honest-to-goodness print books in my house that I didn’t publish myself, but which nonetheless contain my name and my works. They all arrived at some point in 2016, mostly during a period when I was agonizing over my life choices and career path. It’s a funny old world, when you think about it.

The books in question are:

  • The 2016 Rhysling Anthology, containing my nominated poems “Institutional Memory” and “Observations from the Black Ball Line Between Deimos and Callisto”. (http://amzn.to/1ZE4F7X)
  • The 2016 edition of The Martian Wave, containing “Observations from the Black Ball Line Between Deimos and Callisto”. (http://amzn.to/1YhSfEi)
  • Nights of the Round Tablea Circlet Press anthology of Arthurian erotica, containing my very long short story, “The Giving Game”, which retells the story of Gawain and the Green Knight as a bisexual polyamorous romance.

It’s possible I should be creating a trophy shelf of the sort some authors have, but the fact is, I wasn’t particularly pursuing print publication when I wrote or submitted these works. I wasn’t aware The Martian Wave would have a print edition. I knew it was possible for Circlet Press to take their books to print, but they’re primarily an e-publisher and the print edition is not something they announce when they solicit submissions. At the same time, I also feel like I have enough stuff in my house and in my life, and I don’t feel a strong connection to physical books. For accessibility and ease of use, I mostly read electronically.

But I know there are people who enjoy having a physical object, enjoy that tangible connection to artwork. So I’m going to try something out here: at the end of the first month in which I have 100 sponsors on my Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/alexandraerin), I will do a drawing of all the people who were paying sponsors that month. The winner will get my copy of The Martian Wave, with my signature on my (Rhysling-nominated!) poem.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/734051.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.

Hold The Phone
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alexandraerin

So, I’ve been intermittently anxious and miserable about phone-related difficulties pretty much since leaving WisCon, when my rapidly declining phone began to crash. I got a replacement, I got a case for the replacement, I dropped the replacement while putting it into the case, the screen shattered, and that’s what you missed on Glee. (GLEE!)

I wrote about how I felt about that yesterday, and also said that I’d looked at the options and concluded that an insurance claim was my best bet. Deciding that didn’t make me feel any better, and today I thought about why.

It basically comes down to: I don’t want to pay a deductible of $50 or more for a phone that might well be a refurb, won’t necessarily even be the model I picked (and will be paying for), and certainly won’t be the same color. I had just started getting this phone trained to work the way I like (minimal notifications, no autocorrect or spelling suggestions, no auditory or haptic feedback on most things), and it was starting to feel like it was mine. Transferring stuff of my dying phone to this one was an ordeal, and while transferring from this one to an insurance replacement would likely be a lot easier (because it’s brand new and fully functional), but, you know, at this point I’m invested in this one.

My manufacturer has a standing offer right now that I think of as “I Can’t Believe It’s Not A Recall!”, whereby in exchange for believing them when they say that the screens on this phone are totally made of impact-resistant space-age materials, they will replace any shattered or cracked screen on any unit purchased within a time frame of now-ish, no questions asked. I found out about this while looking at my options yesterday, but I rejected it because it requires me to ship my phone to them, and thus be without it for “4-7 business days” (or a week to a week and a half), whereas the insurance claim can be processed within a day and they’ll overnight a replacement without waiting for the old one to be returned first.

But that’s instant gratification. I could have a phone tomorrow, but it won’t be my phone. Not the one I picked, not the one I’m paying for, not the one I’ve been getting used to and customizing. I mean, there’s probably a good chance it would be the same model. Probably. But if it’s not, then I’m stuck with a case I can’t use, and have to wrap my replacement phone in bubble wrap until I can get a new one.

And as much as the thought of being phoneless for up to the better part of two weeks is not a fun one… I do it, and I’m done. I have my phone back. It fits my case. I can use it, theoretically, for years to come.

I can theoretically reactivate my old dying phone for the time being, but I’m not sure I honestly need to? I’ve gone more than two weeks without using my phone as a phone, even for texting. I can also send and receive texts through my carrier’s website. Most people who have my phone number don’t necessarily expect me to be easy to reach by phone anyway. I can use my tablet for a lot of the things I would use my phone for, and to the extent that it works, I can use my deactivated old phone for most of those things, too.

I keep thinking, “Well, this isn’t an ideal solution.” But I’m not sure why we always look for ideal solutions, when the fact that we’re looking for a solution is a strong indication that we’re not in an ideal situation to begin with. The ideal solution is that I didn’t drop my phone, or it didn’t break the screen when I did, or that I developed the ability to telepathically communicate with wireless networks and/or repair objects by thinking hard at them. (It is my birthday, universe, so if you’re feeling generous, you could help me cross a couple items off my superpower wishlist. No? Okay. Worth a try.)

Of the solutions that actually apply to the situation, this is the one that works the best. I mean, I can’t promise that the lack of a phone and background anxiety about it won’t weigh on me in the coming weeks. It can and probably will. But right now I’m kind of in the “soft launch” phase of pushing my career to the next level, and while I keep thinking how inconvenient the timing is that I’m dealing with this now… it’s really not a bad time.

And even though this means my phone problems are stretched out another few weeks (I’m not going to mess with this until Monday), honestly, just making this decision and having it be my decision, just claiming ownership of this phone I picked out and bought… it makes a huge difference in how I feel. The loss of my old phone’s functionality and the damage to this one were things beyond my control. This is a choice, though. It’s me taking ownership of the situation. And that right away makes me feel better about it.

 

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/734242.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.

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