As you know if you’ve been reading a bit here, I’ve decided to start writing again.
Not on a novel, but on a … short novel. Something in the vicinity of 30K-ish words, which seems to be what I can handle without grinding to a halt.
The past few weeks I’ve been doing a consistent 500+ words per day on it.
So time for celebration, eh?
Well, that depends.
As you also know, if you’ve been following my reflection on this and related topics, I’ve been thinking seriously about making this into a series, if I can finish each story and keep finishing the next on a regular schedule – unlike my attempts at writing novels for about 20 years.
It remains to be seen whether I can keep up with this new format, which is really just a longer short story or a shorter novel, designed to fit better to the time and energy and persistence that I seem to have (or lack, if you will).
As you also know, if you’ve been following etc., I’ve been thinking seriously about making this series into another passive income stream, like publishing it as an ebook-series in some of the great markets (which means Amazon.com and a few others whose names seem to elude me).
Not because I want to be ‘passive’ for the rest of my life, but because it seems a more secure bet to
- have at least some assets that make me money while (almost) not spending my time on maintaining them.
- And because it’s more fun to write fiction.
Definitely more fun than, say, webdesign and web solution consulting, which I currently do for a living.
But what you don’t know is that I have been thinking seriously about the viability of doing this story-series in this way, if the financial goal is to build an additional asset to earn me income.
It’s an old discussion with myself that I had back in 2011, when I first contemplated trying ‘to get rich on ebooks’ as was the craze back then.
It now seems like I was just not a grumpy old man back then, when you read some of the latest analyses about where the market is going. Three trends seem to be emerging:
- Amazon is taking over all English-speaking ebook markets, setting more and more the rules for pricing, for publishing and for promoting.
- Ebooks (that quaint hybrid of a physical book and digital medium) seem to have plateaued sales-wise, because there are now millions of them and so the markets get more and more crowded.
- Other forms and formats of entertainment-technology are in rapid development, all the time.
So what’s the upshot?
I’m not sure, but it doesn’t seem to be awfully secure or fun making a major income stream from this day on dependent on a growing corporate de facto monopoly who can and will change their terms any time.
And on a medium which for all intents and purposes might be on the way out quicker than anyone of us could imagine – that quaint ‘electronic book’.
The last part is just a guess. People rave about how ‘print is not dead’, for example, and I tend to believe them. There will always be a niche for print. There might conceivably be for ebooks as well.
You don’t really pay for the bits, of course, but for access to the major market place where everything is at your finger tips with one click.
Authors think people buy their ebooks when in reality Amazon terms say that consumers rent the right to read a bookified story in Amazon’s near-monopoly distribution system, where they can also buy pretty much anything else.
So why not buy access to this romance story you dig, while you are at it? It’s like candy near the counter of supermarkets …
So … that upshot …
I think at this moment … that I still feel uncomfortable throwing myself into the arms of a coming monopoly with so many caveats, at least in my opinion, attached to its services.
No matter if I just want to create a 25 percent or 30 percent of my needed income-stream down the line, and not a full income-stream.
But on a deeper level there is something else going on, although I don’t quite know what it is.
There’s something about feeling iffy about selling information, fiction, bits and bytes in virtual blocks. Like … I wasn’t meant to do that, in any form.
That’s crazy, of course, isn’t it?
I mean, if I can make a buck, even with effort and risk, on an existing market – in a way that is definitely supposedly probably more fun than web-designing, why shouldn’t I try?
Maybe … because I feel deep down I want to create, and make a living from, something else … down the line?
Something else that should replace selling all of my time for money as is the case right now?
Something which might even have those qualities of purpose – and definitely more passion – which so far have been very difficult for me to combine with any kind of income-generating activity?
But what is it?
I don’t know.
All I do know is that my expenses are going to gradually increase as our son moves in, in a few days or weeks’ time.
All I do know is that I don’t really have enough regular customers for my webdesign-business to cover all of summer’s income needs, not to speak of the rest of the year. And that I probably have to do a lot of cold-selling to get some more, which makes me feel … cold.
All I do I know is that at this fragile point in the time of my life, I don’t really have a good plan for that single big challenge that I didn’t ‘bag’ when I was in my 20s or 30s:
To create steady streams of income, which are more than tolerably fun to make and maintain.
And the clock seems to be ticking louder and louder.
In such a situation, I only have one thing to fall back on, I suppose:
Not necessarily metaphysical faith, but just … faith.
Faith that solutions will become clearer as I gradually work to find them.
That kind of faith is important. For it prevents panic.
And I don’t need panic right now, if ever.
So I’m going to keep writing, and adding illustrations now and then – even if I don’t know how or if I will ever monetize it. Even if these doubts have crept in for the nth time, I’m going to keep up my daily word-count: 500 words. Approx. 15 min writing. On stories.
Because it is definitely necessary for me to create and tell stories, consistently. I know that by now. Maybe it’ll lead to nowhere, financially and in other respects.
But I know it has lead me away from what I feel is my soul, every time I have neglected storytelling or tried to make it dependent on other factors. Every time I have said: ‘I shouldn’t tell stories because x, y and z’.
I should tell stories first and foremost because I have to. Like I should breathe because I have to.
Not because of money, fame, or anything else. Those things are nice, if I can associate them with storytelling, but now that all that nice planning for that has become fuzzy again, I don’t want to stop writing.
I can’t and I shouldn’t.
That’s all I know for now. And it is enough.