Tag 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!

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?

 

That Time Again: Writing Update for June 2016

Summer has arrived with a vengeance this week!  Yesterday was 91 degrees here with dewpoints in the 60’s and intensely oppressive.  But I love the longer days of light and feel more energized to write during the summer.  I promised myself last December that I’d do a better job of posting updates about every six months or so, whether or not anything had changed. While nothing extraordinary has happened since last December, nothing terrible has occurred either.  Not that I lead a boring life, or maybe I do….

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Perceval Novels:
More reviews at Amazon for Perceval’s Secret and I’ve asked several other book reviewers to review it for me. Charles Ray gave it a nice review here. Sales continue to be slow at Amazon, and none at Barnes & Noble or Kobo.  I found the novel on sale at an online store that I had not asked to sell it, but learned after contacting them that they have a selling agreement with Kobo.  If you have not yet bought your copy (only $2.99!), please do, and give it a read.  The reviews continue to be good to excellent!  I’d love to hear from readers through reviews at Amazon and B&N, or at Goodreads.

As for the other novels in the series, I’ve pulled out all my files for Perceval’s Shadow, the second novel in the series. My plan is to revise it this summer, then move on to finish the first draft of Perceval in Love, the third book (I have half the first draft done already).  I continue to write notes as I’ve gotten ideas about the other novels.  I’ve decided to definitely set Novel 4 in America as a contrast to Evan’s life in Austria.

Marketing:
Working as hard as time allows on marketing and promo for Perceval’s Secret this year.  Doing a lot of research into free marketing and promo, especially online.  I need to talk more about the novel and hand out the postcards for it far more than I do.  Still need to utilize the marketing/advertising tools at GoodReads, LinkedIn and Publishers Marketplace.  Time has not been kind to me.  I continue to promote the novel on Twitter and Facebook.  I’ve been writing more posts at the Perceval Novels Facebook page, too.  Please go and like it, and visit often for updates on the novels.

Indiegogo Project:
The credit card debt I’d been carrying from production, publication, and marketing expenses that I incurred to publish Perceval’s Secret as an e-book has been transferred to a different credit card to take advantage of 0% interest for 15 months.  I’m now paying off the principal rather than having the interest eat into my payments, and I continue to pay more than the minimum each month.  This has been a huge step in the right direction.  I’ve also been revising my Indiegogo project — the website has changed the format for their project pages. I have it about half ready to launch now, and need to record videos for it.  I hate asking for financial help through crowdsource funding, but I don’t have the resources to deal with this all by myself.

Short Stories:
I continue work on the science fiction short story, Light the Way.  I’ve taken down the two stories that were on Wattpad, The Negligee and The Light Chamber, and will be revising The Negligee. I had one of those “lightning strikes” of an idea for that story, and I’m eager to work on it.

Essays:
At the end of last year, I decided to stop writing “Word Power” essays monthly for Mensagenda. It was a volunteer gig, and I really need to bring in more money with my writing. I continue to write posts at the Eyes on Life blog (as Gina Hunter) and here at Anatomy of Perceval.  My focus at the Gina Hunter blog has become a bit fluid: I continue to write “The Successful Patient” posts, but in addition I want to focus more on the experience of being one of the Working Poor, so it’ll be about economics, money, working, etc. I think.  Life as one of the 98%. This is still in development.

Paid Gigs:
I’ve written two essays about my personal experiences with classical music for ClassicalMPR.org so far this year.  I will continue to pitch ideas to them.  In addition, I continue to search for other places that will pay me to write about subjects that interest me (or that will pay for fiction).

Yager Editing Services:
I finally launched the website for this small business at the end of March.  Not long after, I received what I thought was my first project proposal for proofreading, but it turned out to be a guy trying to scam me out of about $3000.  Fortunately, I figured out the scam so I didn’t lose any money, but it was a very depressing and discouraging experience.  These scammers believe they don’t hurt anyone because they’re actually stealing from big banks, but that’s not true at all.  I was excited to have work for this business that would bring in good money that I really needed.  This scam hurt me a lot.  I’m not giving up, however.  I just stopped marketing and promoting the business. I know that I”ll need to ratchet that promo up again, probably at LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

The Successful Patient:
I’ve been thinking about this memoir project a lot, even though it’s on a back burner this year.  I continue to be amazed by how my mind works.  I’d like to get something down on paper this year, to get it started.  I think it’d be an excellent book to have out there and would sell well. Its structure still bugs me.

Part-time Job:
I continue to work part-time at the customer service job this year. I’ve expanded that position into receptionist work at the same employer and am looking forward to a raise in July. I really enjoy the receptionist work, and I’ve been thinking that if I need to find a fulltime position, I’d look for a receptionist position (or maybe an editorial assistant).

Reading:
For 2016, I signed up at GoodReads for another Reading Challenge and chose 36 books to read over the year.  There’s a mix of books on the list of fiction and nonfiction, science fiction, mystery, and literary, books in my personal library, at the city library and on my computer.  A friend gave me an e-reader last December that I’ve loaded with ePub books.  It doesn’t accept Kindle books.  I find that I still prefer to read printed hard copy books, and I especially like to read on my work commutes.  How I’d love being paid to read!

Health Update:
I had several sick days in April with lung and GI issues that was apparently an allergic response to something in my living environment.  I’ve since begun a deep and thorough cleaning of my apartment, and my health has improved.  Otherwise, with autoimmune diseases, the most frustrating symptom is fatigue, and that’s been especially intense this year. Fatigue challenges my schedule every day.  I’m doing a very slow taper off prednisone to insure that I won’t have any disease flares, but I’m still experiencing muscle pain and joint pain that responds to heat nicely.  I’ve gotten out my yoga DVD, I’m walking a minimum of 30 minutes each day, and I’m figuring out where in my schedule to put the yoga and my Falun gong practice.