Category Archives: Business

A Brief Hiatus

At least, I hope it will be brief!

On Monday, I begin a new job.  It’s fulltime. And for the first three days, I’ll be at the headquarters office in another city for training. This past week I’ve been busy trying to get my life organized and finish up some things so I won’t feel that I have lots and lots hanging over my head during the next few weeks. I have several blog posts in the pipeline but need more time to finish them, and I’m running out of time this weekend.

Transitioning from part-time work to fulltime will involve a major adjustment, I’m certain, in all areas of my life. The schedule will be the first big adjustment. I expect to be especially tired for at least the first month. I have no idea at this point how much writing I’ll get done, but my plan is to write blog posts at a minimum and perhaps return to journal writing. Getting enough sleep and my health will be my first priority during this transition.

Generic Office Receptionist (Not me!)

The new job is far from writing or anything creative — I’ll be the firm’s front desk receptionist, work I was doing at the part-time gig and really enjoyed. Having a regular paycheck will be most helpful in getting me back on solid financial ground. It won’t be enough, especially before July, to pay off the debt from e-publishing Perceval’s Secret, so unless I win the lottery some time soon, the GoFundMe fundraising campaign will continue. I also have substantial personal debt that I’ll be paying off for a long time.

I will be reading a lot during this transition, however, and I’ve already gotten some ideas for how to solve various problems with short stories I have in draft form. In the meantime, please watch for my return, and please help by donating to Taking Perceval to the Next Level!

Update: Taking Perceval to the Next Level

After 27 days, my Taking Perceval to the Next Level fundraising campaign at GoFundMe has raised $530. I need another $8370 to meet my goal.

My deadline for paying off the debt is May 30. The $0 interest promotion ends shortly thereafter and I’ll be back to paying off interest as well as the principal.

I’d love nothing better than to put this baby to bed sooner rather than later. Not long after I launched this campaign, I received an e-mail that still haunts me, calling this campaign “online begging.” Perhaps it is. Or perhaps it’s an opportunity to be generous, to do something nice for someone who is in need, or to invest in a writer who’d really like to get Perceval’s Secret published as a paperback.  That won’t happen until I’ve paid off my debt.

Taking Perceval to the Next Step GoFundMe Page

Click HERE to donate!

At this blog, I have an Appreciation page where I’ll list everyone who has helped with donations. I’ve run a promotion with giveaways at Facebook, and I plan to run another one soon. I’ll let you know when the next Facebook promotion goes live.

In the meantime, please consider a small donation to this campaign. Every little bit helps!

Thank you!

C. C. Yager

Taking Perceval to the Next Level

230px-gofundme_logo_april_2012This past Monday, I launched a crowdsource funding campaign at GoFundMe to raise the money to finally, FINALLY, pay off the debt I’ve accumulated from the publication of Perceval’s Secret as an e-book. As part of this campaign, I’m also raising money to publish Perceval’s Secret as a paperback, and to pay the fee for a review for it by Kirkus Reviews.

Taking Perceval to the Next Step GoFundMe Page

Taking Perceval to the Next Level GoFundMe Page

My regular readers may remember that in the fall of 2013 I launched a crowdsource funding campaign at Kickstarter where their policy is not to pay out any of the funds raised unless you make your goal.  I raised over $3000 but did not make my goal and therefore did not receive any of the money I’d raised.  I published Perceval’s Secret in March 2014 and have received wonderful reviews at Amazon since. Sales have not been so wonderful.

But the debt never just went away, of course. I’ve been paying it off, a little every month, and as a result have depleted my bank account. I should have launched this campaign a long time ago, but it’s painful and embarrassing to ask for financial help.

I’ll promote this fundraising project for as long as it takes to raise at least what I need to pay off the debt. Please help me by promoting it to your friends and family as well.  There’s also other ideas to help, if you don’t want to donate money, at the project page.

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I’ll also be setting up a promotion on Facebook for this fundraising effort. Go to The Perceval Novels public page for the announcement!

And what will I be doing while this fundraising project is running?  I have a couple urgent writing projects, nonfiction, that I’ll be completing as I continue to work at my part-time job and search for a fulltime job. Fiction writing has landed on the back burner for the moment since dealing with paying for basic living expenses has taken priority.

Life has once again intervened to force me to set aside my fiction for a while. If, after perusing the GoFundMe project page for Taking Perceval to the Next Level you find it in your heart to help out with a donation, every little bit will help!

Thank you!

C. C. Yager

 

Establishing Priorities

Power of WordsThis is driving me crazy right now! How to establish priorities when several merit “first”?  I am left feeling exhausted. Nothing accomplished. The hamster wheel of frustration. It occurred to me, maybe others have had the same experience?  Here’s what I think I need to do:

Make a list: Commonsense, right? I am the kind of person who needs to write things down to get a handle on them. The problem is that I’ve been writing lists up the wazoo for the last 18 months and it hasn’t seemed to help. Or maybe I’m just looking at it wrong?  For example, I made a list of revenue-generating work tasks:  Yager Editing Services (my online freelance editing business), Part-time job, hospital volunteer? for networking, and Indiegogo crowdsource funding project.  What happened with this list? Well, I launched the website for the editing business and have been promoting it sporadically.  I need to promote the heck out of it, of course, and see if I can tap into my contacts to get referrals from them.  I have the part-time job. I decided against volunteer work of any kind, including writing for free (blogs are my only exceptions, and the Eyes on Life blog is in the Adsense program; wish more people would click those ads!).  The Indiegogo project has languished, mostly because I don’t want to make a video for it but I know the video would enhance the fundraising effort. This project is to pay off publication production debt I incurred for Perceval’s Secret. Paying it off has been truly killing my budget. An addition to this list: search for a fulltime job. Maybe with a fulltime job, my financial strain would ease.

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OK. I’ve been working on that list. I think what has been bothering me is that my writing (creative: fiction and nonfiction) has fallen to the bottom of my priorities list, as well as taking care of my health more. Generating revenue has been my first priority because I want to keep my apartment and eat.  The rest of my list includes in order: Marketing my writing (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GoodReads, get book reviews, maybe blog tour? contests?), Selling my possessions (eBay, Facebook, Amazon), Writing new stuff (freelance essays for pay, short stories, work on memoir, revise Perceval’s Shadow, transform Over the Rainbow screenplay to novel). And I have been working on each item on these lists, getting book reviews for example, and starting to sell my possessions (what a time-consuming process to document everything for the IRS).

My mind lives in a jungle of ideas for writing. I want to spend all my time writing.  Missing from any list I’ve made are activities related to supporting good health (walking, energy exercises, meditation, having a social life, taking care of my home so it doesn’t make me sick).

When I’m not writing, i.e. being creative, for several hours each day, I start to feel like I’m sick. My body feels the imagination’s frustration. My imagination just wants to play. I recently hit on a couple ideas for future writing projects that harken back to my childhood. That was a surprise. How do I channel all of this mental energy into productivity?

My thinking the last few days has revolved around re-arranging my priorities. I need to put my writing and health as the first two and revenue generation third.  After all, how can I work effectively if I’m not happy or feeling well? I hate getting caught up in the rat race of making money. But I do need to work a job in order to pay my living expenses. It’s really the pits being a member of the Working Poor, and I know I’m not alone in thinking that.

Photo: Michael Nichols/National Geographic

Photo: Michael Nichols/National Geographic

I reassure myself that I am doing everything I can to move forward with my writing, to sell my writing, and to earn the money to pay my bills, given health challenges. I’ve even been creative at times in how I’ve approached a problem or in a situation’s resolution. But I must acknowledge that I’ve still been ignoring my imagination and her needs most of this year, and it’s time to make a change for her.

Anyone else dealing with this issue of establishing priorities?  How do you deal with it? How do you reassure yourself that it will all work out for the best?

The Copyright Conversation

copyright symbol

Recently, I attended a potluck picnic of a bunch of friends, and at one point the conversation turned to the length of time that copyright is in effect for creative product such as novels, TV shows, and movies.  It began with one friend telling us about some new Star Trek fan videos that included some actors noted for their Star Trek characters like Walter Koenig who played Chekhov.  Paramount Studios, the TV and motion picture company that bought Desilu Productions, the original producing company for the show, had taken legal steps to stop any more fan videos from being produced.  Paramount owns the Star Trek franchise, and the copyright, which began with the original series in 1966.  Several friends jumped on Paramount for stopping fan creativity and fans using their creativity to “move the Star Trek universe forward.”

Paramount has the right to earn money by selling its product whether it’s a TV show, a movie, or licensing the rights to develop new TV shows based on the characters of an old one they own. They are in the process of developing and producing a new Star Trek TV show with CBS.  They have a new Star Trek movie coming out this July. It’s not like they aren’t using their property.  Since the original show was copyrighted in 1966 (I think), it’s been only 50 years, and far less from the other shows in the franchise like Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The pro-fan fiction friends wanted copyright to end much earlier than it does and for property like the Star Trek franchise to enter the public domain much sooner.  They weren’t against the protections that copyright offers, just that those protections last too long, in their view.  One fellow suggested that others could use the original work to “build on” with their own creations.

CCY_PercevalsSecretCvr_FNL-960x1280.131107As a writer who owns copyright on my writing, including Perceval’s Secret, I was horrified. I periodically do a search of the internet to make certain that my creative product has not been scavenged and sold to benefit someone else. And by scavenged, I mean sold as someone else’s work, with a different author name, etc.  It astonishes me how many people (especially those not involved in producing creative product like writing, composing music, painting, etc.) think that writers, composers, photographers, producers, etc. should not be able to benefit from creating their novels, music, photos, TV shows and movies, etc. for the current copyright period of life plus 50 years.  One fellow commented that well then a writer should write more books.  Hmmmmm.

Let’s review current copyright law which went into effect in 1978.  For works created and copyrighted before January 1, 1978, copyright protection has two terms.  The first term is in effect from the date the copyright is secured (by publication or registration) and for 28 years thereafter.  In the 28th year, the copyright may be renewed for a second term which has a duration of 47 years.  If not renewed, the copyright ends and the work goes into the public domain. Star Trek was created before January 1, 1978, and I suspect Paramount renewed its copyright when it came up for renewal in 1994. Paramount still owns the copyright until 2041.  For works created after January 1, 1978, the duration of copyright is the duration of the creator/holder’s life plus 50 years, and the work does not have to be published or registered for the copyright to be in force.  There is no renewal.  Copyrights can be transferred but revert back to the original owner after 35 years.

Most books are not bestsellers.  In fact, I, for example, will be happy to have midlist books that earn me a consistent, steady annual income in royalties.  That money is my payment for the years of work I’ve put into my writing when I earned $0, i.e. the last 20+ years. Going forward, one book usually doesn’t earn enough per year to make a huge difference, so writers generally do write more books (as well as other things like articles, essays, book reviews, etc.), each new book adding to the royalty income stream.  I have no idea how much a midlist author earns per year on one book, two books, five books, or ten books.  And it depends a lot on the market, of course.  Some books bomb.  Others do better than average.  As a writer, I DESERVE that royalty income as payment for my work, and I want that copyright protection to be in force for the legal duration. Taking that copyright away from me, for any period of time, is like robbery.

As a writer, I’ve also done “work for hire” writing, which is probably what Gene Roddenberry was doing when he created the original Star Trek series.  This type of writing is done under an employment contract of some sort, and the product  produced is owned by the employer, including the copyright.  When I do work for hire projects, I am paid a one-time fee for the writing project. This is how I worked with my clients when I was a freelance copywriter.  However, newspaper reporters are employees for their newspapers and their job, for which they are paid, is to produce writing.  The newspaper owns the copyright. Then there is the freelance writer who sells first serial rights to a magazine for an article or story but retains copyright.  There are several sub-copyrights that can be sold in publishing such as audio, digital, print, movie and TV, first serial (for publishing excerpts), and then by geography, such as North American rights, English language rights, foreign rights. (This is a very brief overview of a complicated topic.)

Of course, I suspect that my friends wouldn’t care much about any writing or TV show or movie that didn’t interest them.  But Star Trek? They were quite certain that for that, Paramount should relinquish its copyright so that others can develop that universe for free.

What do you think?