Business to Business

When I first moved to Kidwelly, I tried to get a job with one of the local businesses. One of these businesses even gave me a trial shift. I didn’t hear back from them, until yesterday. It’s been months, but I guess with Christmas around the corner they’re looking to hire some extra hands.

This reminded me of an idea I’d considered a while back. Offering my extensive experience to businesses as well as private individuals. My workload is full at the moment, but with winter coming, and gardening work becoming unnecessary, I expect I’ll be needing other kinds of work to maintain a steady income.

I’ve been doing painting jobs, assembling furniture, etc. which has been great, but projects like that end. Once the walls are painted, the new furniture assembled, the curtains hung, the carpet laid, the cracks filled, or whatever other work I’ve been asked to do is done, there’s nothing else to do but hope they find more work for me.

20181017_114756[1]

I’ve already begun making contacts among the local rental property owners and done some work for them. I’ve done handyman work for other local businesses too, gardening. I’d be more than happy to do more of the same, but it never hurts to have more to offer. I am, after all, a true jack of all trades. It would be a shame to leave some of my skills untapped.

So here’s my thinking. Local businesses can hire Odd-Job Antony, just like they might hire a plumber or an electrician, to do a job for them. This might be to cover for an absent employee, or to help with the Christmas rush, or even to do some handyman work. Either way they don’t have to employ me permanently, or even put me on the payroll. I’m a contractor, not an employee.

Here’s what I can do. Even before I got my first job in retail, I was raised to believe that a little good customer service can go a long way. I wanted to be even better, so I studied interpersonal skills, body language, and sales techniques. This served me well as I tried my hand at telesales as well as face-to-face sales positions, bar work, and even a supervisor role at a laser-tag arena.

I ended up back in retail again when I moved to America. I also got my first opportunity to work in a kitchen. It was just a McDonald’s, but it was a start. I got back into sales after that, and found I was good at over-the-phone debt collection. I only quit that job because I had to move. I found out I wasn’t so good at car sales. At least, not then. I’m a little curious if I could now with all I’ve learned since.

I started looking for other ways to make money. Particularly after I got a taste of management and corporate-ladder climbing. I started reading about self-improvement, leadership, entrepreneurship, and marketing. It got me a promotion to the marketing department of the communications company I was working for at the time. It gave me the opportunity to see how demographic data was used to increase sales, and even train people how to sell.

rsz_rafal_olechowski_istock_thinkstock_customer_service_0_1

I learned so much about business and management that I want to try starting my own business. I once spent a whole evening finding names and contact info for 200 people with the intention of inviting them to a tarot reading provided by my ex-wife, but she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of cold-calling strangers. In hindsight she was probably right, but it was kinda fun gathering all the information.

If you want I can tell you more about that little business venture, but it will have to be in person, or a least a private message. I started writing and blogging after that, inspired by the books I was reading. Hoping that the key to building wealth was writing. When I came back home to the UK I went back to working in bars and hotels. Until I moved to Kidwelly.

I found it hard to generate an income from writing and blogging, even using every social media marketing trick I learned. Local jobs were hard to come by, but I applied for every one that popped up. None of them panned out. I noticed though that lots of people were asking for help on the Kidwelly Noticeboard groups on Facebook. I realised there was a need that I could fill, and that’s why I started Odd-Job Antony.

To summarise. I’m a customer service and sales expert experienced in bar-work, retail, hospitality, entertainment, marketing, blogging and entrepreneurship, as well as being handy with a paintbrush, trowel, saw, hammer or screwdriver. In fact, if you can find something I can’t do, I’ll knock £10 off the next job. That’s a free hour doing anything you want. You could even use that hour to train me up if yo like. Want to try me?

Advertisements

Time to Commit

I think it’s time to take the stories down. I need to make this website all about the handyman work. The fiction distracts and detracts from the new direction I’ve taken. So, to that end, I’ll be taking it all down. From now on every page will be related to the Odd-Job business. I won’t take down the old blog posts, they show my journey if anyone is interested, but future blog posts will mostly be about how the business is doing.

It won’t all be business. Sometimes I just want to write about something that’s on my mind. I’ll try to avoid anything controversial, but hopefully these random musings will get people to know me better as a person. I’m a firm believer that people tend to work with people they like. You could be the most talented, experienced and professional handyman in the area, but if people don’t like you they won’t hire you again.

I don’t put on a show though. Part of the reason I prefer working for myself instead of any other job I’ve ever had, is that I can just be myself. I don’t need to conform to what some manager with no training thinks the customer wants. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very nice to people, but not because I’m being told to. I’m nice because I like to be nice. It feels good to smile. It feels even better to make others smile.

I won’t tell you I can do something if I don’t think I can or I’ve never tried. I will tell you up front if I have no access to the resources necessary for the job. If I haven’t done something before, but I have a good idea how to do it and I’d like to give it a shot, I’ll tell you that too. I prefer honesty to making promises I can’t deliver on. I do like doing new things though. It’s how I get more experienced, after all. Plus, it’s way more fun doing something new than doing the same boring old things all the time!

Things I really can’t do at the moment includes anything that involves driving anywhere or transporting stuff (I don’t have a van yet), going up to a second storey on a ladder (I really don’t want to die or be severely injured for £10 per hour), or raise an army of the dead (I could never find any decent necromancy classes). I’ll try my hand at almost anything else, but please bear in mind that I’m an enthusiastic and helpful amateur, and not a tradesman of any kind. Most of my experience before I started has been from helping out friends and family, and maintaining my own house and garden when I lived in the US.

I’ve been doing a lot of gardening for people, including mowing lawns, strimming, pruning, weeding, trimming, planting, and even burning the garden waste. That season is drawing to a close though. Luckily I’m also getting a lot more DIY jobs like hanging shelves and curtain rails, painting fences, sheds and staircases, building furniture (from flat pack and from scratch), disassembling furniture carefully for re-assembly elsewhere, and I’ve also helped clear out a junk room and walked dogs (though that’s not really DIY).

I’d love to get more jobs that involve making something. It could be anything from helping to make toys and clothing (did I mention I can sew?) to a new partition wall in your house. Anything I don’t know how to do, I can learn. If the client knows how something is done, and just needs an extra pair of hands to do it, I’ll be happy to learn from them. If not I can do the research and get back to them. I’ll show them what I plan to do, making certain it matches their vision and figuring out together what needs to be changed.

Since my overheads are low (I’m living with my parents rent free and I don’t have a vehicle to maintain), and I’m not a certified tradesman, I can keeps my rates low too, though I do appreciate it when a client feels that my work and my time is worth a bit more. One client that did so without any prompting from me said, ‘If I pay you a decent wage then you’ll keep coming back to me’. He’s absolutely right. If I have a scheduling conflict and I have to chose between client that only pays my base rate and him, I’m going to pick him!

It’s getting so I’m busy every week now, which is great. With luck and kindness, I’ll be able to start saving up for my own place, or a cheap vehicle, soon. It’s been slow going at the moment while I invest in more tools for the business, work clothes, bus travel (I have a client I visit twice a week that lives out of town), but I’m trying to cut back on these expenses so that I can begin making some real head way.

I’ll keep you up to date on my progress when I can. I’ve been so busy that writing this post has taken over a week to write! To be fair, it’s not just the Odd-Job business. I’ve also got a Games & Geekery club started in Kidwelly that’s branched into Family Games Day and a Warhammer group too, plus there’s my personal life. I won’t talk about that here though. Local geeks and gamers are welcome to join the Facebook Group. I also have a WordPress site for anyone to enjoy.

If you want to know the more personal stuff, you’ll have to know me better 😉

I’d best wrap this up and get this out, or it’ll be another week before I do. Before I go though, I have a few easy questions. Just to see if you’ve been paying attention.

  1. What’s my basic hourly rate for any odd-job work?
  2. What did I think I could make a career out of before I started Odd-Jobbing?
  3. What else have I been up to in the community that’s been keeping me busy?
  4. Why are my rates so low?

Can you find all the answers? (Hint: they’re in bold!)

Thanks for following, and have a great day! 🙂

 

Odd-Job Antony!

 

I have put the idea I had while writing ‘The Hunt Continues‘ into effect! I am now an odd-job man!

My first gig starts on Tuesday (unless another client asks me to work in Monday)! They’ve asked me to clean their sunroof, dig up some bushes, bag up the mulch on their flower bed, straighten up a leaning clothes-line pole and paint the bathroom. I won’t be able to get it all done in one day, and that’s fine by me. I’m really looking forward to it.

One of the things that seems to be missing from modern employment is a feeling of having actually accomplished something. Some jobs may have certain metrics you’re expected to reach, and if you do you’re expected to keep going. The job isn’t ever ‘done’. You don’t get to sit back and admire your handiwork. When you get up tomorrow, there will be more of the same repetitive work to do.

As an odd-jobber, I’ll be able to see my progress, check each job off as it’s completed, and then do something else! It’ll will also feel better to be doing something physical. We all know the health benefits of exercise, but it always seems so boring and purposeless. This way I’ll be walking to the client’s home and doing physical activity of some kind with a clearly defined objective.

Accomplishing things feels good. Helping people feels good. I may not make a ton of money, but that’s not what this is about. It’s about being the best me I can be and feeling good about myself. I also like writing, but I have a feeling that I’ll feel more motivated, energised and happy if I’m also doing something physical, helpful and productive.

If I can make enough to get by with odd-jobs, and possibly a local part-time job (if I can find one I like) to keep a roof over my head and pay for groceries, then everything I make from writing can be reinvested into marketing my books, improving my website, and investing in myself to become an even better writer. By the time I’m too old to work odd-jobs anymore, it is my hope that the passive income from royalties I will fund my retirement.

What I actually want is to start my own publishing business, but I’ll start with my own place and full belly and see how it goes from there! One of the ways that I might be able to generate additional income is by posting ads on this website, or by participating in affiliate marketing (in which case I’d be actively promoting certain products an services in an attempt to earn commission). I’d rather not to that.

I’d also rather not crowdfund. I’ve tried it before, but my heart wasn’t in it. Partly because I feel like I need to offer something tangible to feel like I’ve earned the money. Doing odd-jobs to raise the money I need to get by feels right. I’ve tried offering writing services too, and I’m still willing to do that, but it’s a very hard market to break into, with a lot of competition.

I’ve also seen websites earn income by offering ‘products’. Usually these take the form of a slick video course, a pdf format e-book, or a package that combines the two. Something like that may be interesting, though I’m thinking my ‘products’, if I ever do such a thing would probably be campaigns for role-play games like D&D, Pathfinder, ShadowRun, or even the upcoming UbiquiCity roleplay system. Perhaps. We’ll see.

One step at a time. I’m just excited. One thing I may do is set up a separate website just for the odd-jobs business. That might include ads and product reviews (ie. affiliate marketing) that would fit the home, gardening, decorating and DIY theme. I’ve already set up a Facebook page for Odd-Job Antony. It would help to have a website associated with it.

I’m going to look into that idea a little, and also research what I should be charging. The clients I’ll be working for on Tuesday asked me what the ‘going rate’ was for odd-jobs, and I realised I have absolutely no idea, so I’m going to research that a little too. I had been thinking that people can pay me (or barter with me) for whatever they think the work is worth, and what they can afford. It would help to have a basic idea of what others charge though.

I’d best get on with it. Have a great day 🙂

 

Merry Solstice/ Christmas/ Kwanzaa/ Hanukkah/ Saturnalia/ Festivus

In recognition of the festivities, I’m offering a £10 discount on all my rates from now until the end of the year!

That means blog articles are now £40 (instead of $50) per 500-600 words, and my normal rate of £25 per hour for ghost writing short stories, novellas and novels is now reduced to just £15 per hour!

What is Ghostwriting?

Let’s say you’ve always wanted to be a published author. Nothing would make you happier than to see a book with your name on it being read on the train, or being sold in your local bookstore, or on a shelf in the library. There’s only one problem. You hate writing. It’s just too hard and everything you try to write seems stupid and childish. Don’t worry, you can just hire a ghostwriter to do the hard part for you.

As a ghostwriter I can write any story you want. If you don’t have any idea what sort of book you want to write, I can help you figure it out. I have a ton of ideas just waiting to be made into stories, but if you’d rather use one of your own, that’s marvelous. 🙂

You may even have written other books yourself already, but there’s this one story that’s been bugging you for years and you can’t figure out how to finish it. I can help you with that too. I’ll use your outline and whatever you’ve written so far and get the story going again.

Why does it cost money to do this?

The story I write will be yours to do with as you wish. I don’t want an author credit or any of the royalties. It’s 100% your story, and any and all money you make from it will be yours. It could become and international best seller, and make you a millionaire, and I would have no legal entitlement to any of it.

Whatever you choose to do with the story is up to you, it’s yours. You can have it edited, changed and rewritten to suit your own needs, and I won’t bat an eye. You can then submit it to prize-winning contests, have it published (either through self-publishing or traditional), or even sell the story to a movie studio to become the next blockbuster hit!

Of course, you don’t have to make money off the story I write for you. If you like you can commission me to write you a unique, one-of-a-kind book, just for you. You could even have me include a loved one as a character in the story and give it to them as a gift.

If you do choose to use the story as a source of passive income though, then the money you pay me is your initial investment. It also means that I can do this full-time, without being distracted and exhausted by a time-consuming and low-paying traditional job. I simply don’t have the time to do this while also working as a minimum wage employee.

What exactly am I paying for?

I have loved reading and telling stories for as long as I can remember. I was raised on amazing stories from fantasy, folklore, science fiction and history. Over the years I developed a fascination for the art of storytelling that borders on obsession.

In later years the childish sense of the fantastic and whimsical has been tempered by disappointing reality. This too has influenced my writing, adding a layer of cynical realism to the magical and futuristic worlds I created. I still write the fanciful and idyllic from time to time, but I find that a touch of real pain and conflict makes the characters far more relatable and interesting, don’t you?

If you would like to see some samples of my work, there are a couple of short stories on Amazon published in my name, and also a first-person sci-fi story called Hermes925 that you can find right here on this website. The two short stories are Dead Letter and Murder Inc. The latter of which is part of an anthology called UbiquiCity. You can also observe the ongoing fantasy adventure I write as the GM for an RP group on Facebook called The City of Gate.

What sort of things will you write?

Pretty much anything. For myself I tend to write sci-fi, fantasy and horror, but I don’t mind writing romance, westerns, comedy, self-help (and other non-fiction), and any other genre you can think of. As I’ve hinted at earlier, I’ve already written campaigns for role-play adventures such as D&D and ShadowRun. Ask for something really weird and see what I can come up with. It’ll be fun!

If you need a screenplay or script, It’ll be a new challenge for me, but I’ll give it a try. I’d likely write it as a story first, then try to adapt it. If you’d rather have someone with experience do the adapting, I’d be more than happy to just write you the story and let you do whatever you want with it afterwards.

I think I’ll just save my money and write it myself

That’s awesome. If you want to bounce any ideas off me or any other members of the Creative Writers Facebook community, just ask. If you get stuck, we can help (and it’s completely free). If you try everyone’s suggestions and your story still isn’t going anywhere, you’re welcome to talk to me again about ghostwriting it for you.

You’ve convinced me. What’s next?

If you’re ready to discuss ghostwriting your project, or have some more questions, just contact me using the email form on this website, or you can track me down on Facebook and message me, or or my sadly neglected Google+ profile and chat via Hangouts. You could even use the comments section of this blog post if you like 🙂

I hope to hear from you soon. Have a great day 🙂

 

The New Plan – Operation Freelance!

After talking it over with a very smart friend I’ve decided to offer blog articles for £100 each, and £50 each for short ones.

I’m offering Ghostwriting and Co-Author services too. If you have a great story idea but don’t think that you could do it justice, then I can help. You may even have started writing it yourself and got stuck. You can hire me as a Ghostwriter, in which case the book has your name on it, and you get to keep the royalties, but you pay me for my time upfront. Or, you can let me take a Co-Author credit, both names are on the cover, we split the royalties 50-50, and it costs you nothing.

hypnotoad

I’m hoping to build up a client list as quickly as possible. I need to be a full-time writer. I’m going nuts. I’ve been trying to build my profile, and my reputation. Take my time. Do this right. Work wherever I can to survive while I make myself look great online. The problem is that the job I’m doing for money is taking all my time, energy and motivation.

I didn’t realize when I started working nights how lonely and depressing it would get. I needed some time to think, but now I’m ready to rejoin the world. I could just get another shitty job doing bar-work, retail or call centre customer service, but I really don’t want to have to. I want to write. It’s all I want to do, and I’m good at it.

I got my start as a blogger writing geek-culture articles for a WordPress-based website. The articles I’ve written for them seem to have gone, but I saved a few of my favourites and re-blogged them on Games ‘n’ Geekery. A geeky website of my own I created using all the skills I learned while working for them, and a few tricks I’ve picked up since.

They didn’t pay me anything, but the experience was invaluable. I learned how to use WordPress, how to make a good-looking blog article, and that I could churn out an original 500-1000 word article, including research, links, pictures and video, every single day.

ubi-ad-300-square

I used what they taught me to create this blog, and others. The Hermes925 serialized story that I’ve been posting to this website attracted the attention of Tod Foley, who recruited me for the UbiquiCity project. The writer team would video conference online to talk about our ideas and world-build together, then we each wrote a short story that fit into the world we created. My short story, and the others, are now available on Amazon as part of the UbiquiCity anthology. The accompanying RPG sourcebook will be out soon. It was a fun project. 🙂

I got the opportunity to ghost-write a story for someone, and that was fun too, but the client put the project on hold before I saw a penny for the work I did. I definitely learned a lesson there, but it put me off the idea of ghost-writing for a while.

I submitted a short story or two to contests and publications that offered a cash prize or payment if you were accepted, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that writing short stories for submission, especially if they don’t get accepted. Too much time and effort, for not enough guaranteed reward. If I write a good short story, I want some guarantee I’m going to get paid for it, and I certainly didn’t want to have to pay someone to publish it.

It’s about that time I got distracted by the Creative Writers group. It had only 32 members left, no admin at all. It occurred to me that I could test some of the things I’d learned about social media management and audience building, and also create the kind of supportive community I wanted to find. The group now has over seventeen thousand members.

FB_IMG_1492162261458

I even created an opportunity for group members. I’ve always been a ‘learn by doing’ kind of person. I learn best when it’s a necessary means to accomplish a desired outcome. In hindsight the Monolith project was probably a little too ambitious, but that was kind of the idea. Set the bar high and see if I could pull it off. I didn’t, but I learned a lot along the way.

The idea was to create a series of large anthologies, containing well-written stories, all conforming to the same theme. There would be no charge to submit and we would review the stories as they were submitted. That way we wouldn’t have to try and deal with a huge pile all at once after the submission deadline, and the writers would get feedback right away instead of having to wait. This also gave them an opportunity to try and improve their submission and try again.

We ended up with a lot of great stories, and a lot that could have been good if the writers had been willing to improve them. The project became a logistical nightmare, even with help from other admins in the group, and so the project was abandoned. However, I decided to test self-publishing anyway with one of the short-stories I had written. It sold pretty well for a short story, and I’m currently writing a longer story, hopefully a novel, inspired by the short story. It’s called The Haunted Story.

Dead Letter cover

It’s taking longer to write than I wanted though. I enjoy writing stories, but they’re harder than blog articles. I have several work-in-progress story-lines that I will to turn into books. A few of the ideas have already been mentioned in this blog. I know I can manage my time better, and be able to spend more time and energy writing my stories, if I can write full-time. The night porter job is an inefficient use of my time and wastes my creativity.

I could replace the hotel job by securing enough clients to write an article a day, just like I used to do. I’m a good writer, as you can see from this blog and my published stories. I’m more than happy to negotiate, especially if I can gain something else besides money, like cover-art, editing, or marketing.

I can do blogging, and it comes easily to me, but I’d prefer to write a book with you. I know from the previous experience that I write better and faster when I’m working for someone, and it gives me something to look forward to each day. Unlike my current job. At this point I’d welcome any opportunity to write for a living really.

So, want to write a book with me? If you don’t have any ideas, I can help with that too. I’m aware that some people just want to see a book on the shelves with their name on the cover. I can arrange that. I can also go to the opposite extreme and help you polish up and revise a story that you’ve mostly written already (and that wouldn’t cost as much). It’d be much more fun to bounce ideas off each other and come up with a great story together, but I’m flexible.

Please email me: antonym.copeland@gmail.com or leave me a comment if you have any questions, advice for new freelancers, or a project for me. Whether you’re a fellow writer with too much on your plate, a website manager that needs more content, or just someone that wants their name on a book, I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day 🙂

 

Opportunities for Growth

For those who read the previous blog entry, Unexpected Hope, yes I did bump into that lady again. I gave her another one of my business cards the very next day and I even saw and spoke to her again the day after that. She promises to email me. If you happen to be reading this, I’m still waiting 😉

In other news, the Creative Writers group is going extremely well. We had had a few fires to put out because too many people were joining that didn’t really belong there. I had wondered for a while how I might be able to make sure that everyone understands the ‘spirit of the group’ when I know that only a fraction of the members will ever read the group description or the pinned post, and join based on the name of the group alone.

I don’t remember now which of the other group administrators reminded me that you can set three questions for new members to answer. I’ve seen too many groups misuse this feature. They’ll ask a confusing question such as ‘Do you promise to follow the group rules?’, when the rules are only accessible after you’ve been accepted. I didn’t want to make this same mistake.

ca5347ee-19b0-4a91-84ae-9b614c705212[1]

I had posted a rant to the group after I had kicked out the trouble-makers to try and make sure we didn’t have similar trouble again:

“Creative Writers is a community of writers, wordsmiths and storytellers. We know the power of words. Some words can cause discomfort, and some writers are skilled at deploying these words for maximum effect.
If you plan to drop a verbal bomb in the group, please include a trigger warning out of respect for your fellow writers.

“If you happen to see a word or phrase that offends you, please remember we’re writers. We use words to illicit an emotional response. By all means, correct their grammar and punctuation, but demanding censorship goes against the spirit of the group.

“Having said that this is not the place to discuss religion or politics. You can submit any piece of writing for critique but bear in mind that we deal mainly in fiction and your opinion may be analysed as such.

“We are here to become better writers. To help each other, support one another and learn from each other. Competitiveness and attention seeking behaviours disrupt the spirit of the group and will not be tolerated.”

I boiled this rant down to the following three questions (I copied this from a membership request, so it also includes the answers I’m looking for):

  • Do you understand that this is a place for fiction, and not religion or politics?

    Yes 🙂

  • If you post anything that could be deemed offensive, are you willing to include a trigger warning?

    Yes.

  • Are you looking for a supportive group of fellow writers, willing to help others grow and develop your own craft?

    Yes!

As long as the member answers ‘Yes’ (or some synonym of it) for all three questions, they’re in. If they only answer one or two of the questions, or they reply ‘no’ (or some equivalent response), they are declined. People who still haven’t even answered the questions are declined after a six-hour window of opportunity.  Despite this hurdle, membership continues to increase at a rapid pace.

It seems like we’ve regained the ‘spirit of the group’ I had established when I took over. Finding a way to quit the day job and do this full-time isn’t so pressing anymore. We’re still creating a Kickstarter page, but the focus has been switched from payroll to our product. Which is only right. We’re asking for £3,000 to cover production and marketing of the Monolith Anthology.

 

Plant Cover with Biondi font
We’ve gone back to this cover

 

My original plan, after all, had been to produce Monolith for as cheaply as possible so that all the writers and other contributors can get a fair share of the profit. If I could do it without putting any money in, I would, but my team tell me that this is just as unrealistic as hoping to raise enough cash to pay each administrator $5,000 per month for 6 months! They make a good point.

With all the time effort and passion I’m putting into the Monolith project, including the Creative Writers group and Creative Writers’ Press, I worry that Laura, my girlfriend, is getting neglected. To that end, I’ve been asking her what she’s really like to do with her life. She said she’d like to travel more. At first, this answer made my heart sink when I realised that it would be a long time before I could afford to buy flights and hotels all over the world. Then I watched this video:

I often watch TED videos while I’m working on Monolith, to keep me motivated. This video helped me to realise that travelling the world doesn’t need to mean expensive hotels and flights to every destination. You can travel on a shoestring if you don’t mind roughing it a little, and I have a tribe of over 7,700 Creative Writers to ask for help.

We’ve already had members offer Laura and I a place to stay in Holland, Iceland, Pakistan, Canada, South Africa and several states in America. I don’t have a lot coming in from Patreon subscriptions, but it would be enough to keep my phone data active, and as long as I have power and internet access, I can write anywhere. If it gets too hard I know my family would welcome me back.

We’re not running off immediately (much as I’d like too) we’re currently aiming to start our adventure next year after Monolith has launched, which will hopefully provide an additional trickle of income. In the meantime, we’re going to save up and do our research so we can do this as safely as we can. It will still be risky, but it’ll be a great adventure, an amazing experience, and I’ll have some great stories to tell. I may even end up with my own TED talk!

 

 

 

 

 

Redefinition

The original intent for this website was to be the public face of my professional writing career. A sort of interactive portfolio. I included Hermes925 thinking that the ongoing story would encourage repeat visits and help me build my brand. I also thought that some day I could finish it and publish it, and have enough online notoriety to get picked up by a traditional publisher that would pay me for the story and help me distribute it.

I realised not long after though that posting the story on my website could possibly be considered ‘previously published’, and would exclude my story from eligibility for almost every publisher I looked into. Crap. If I wanted to actually make money from writing I had to shift my focus away from Hermes925 and look into other alternatives.

I searched online for writing jobs, and writing gigs, and contests, and magazines accepting submissions. All the traditional jobs seemed to be for bid-writing, technical writing or social media content writing for boring businesses. Nothing creative. There were a few gigs that seemed more than a little interesting, but the amount of research, time and effort necessary to write what they were asking for seemed to be more valuable than the money they were offering.

The contests were interesting, but if you don’t win you get nothing. It also bothered me that all of the gigs, contests and magazines would then own that story for the pittance they were asking. You’d never be able to use that story again. It was gone. If I could use the same story for several gigs it might have been worth it, or they paid royalties.

As luck would have it I discovered that one of the writing groups I was in (called ‘Fiction Writing‘) was compiling an anthology called ‘A Horror of Words’, and the theme was ‘ghosts’. I used to love writing ghost stories, so I gave it a go. The group was very supportive and gave me some great feedback, but ultimately my ghost story was rejected.

I’m glad it did, because I realised my story would work better as a longer, deeper, more three-dimensional narrative. I also realised that there was no reason I couldn’t do exactly the same thing the ‘Fiction Writing’ group were doing. I had recently taken over admin duties for a group called ‘Creative Writers‘ that had been abandoned. It had only 32 members and was about to be deleted, but it had already begun to grow, rapidly.

I’d also recently learned that Amazon now offers a printing-on-demand book publishing process, in addition to the Kindle book publishing. I could make a book. I wouldn’t need to pay a bunch of money up front to a ‘vanity press’ that would print my money whether it was good or not. I could do that for free and Amazon would just take a cut of my profits.

Of course, I know that my book won’t sell unless it’s good, so I still need proof-readers and editors, and mentors. I know my writing is good for me, but it needs to be good for others. There was already a great feeling of collaboration between the Creative Writers, so I proposed the idea of creating an anthology together. We would check each others’ writing, and encourage each other to get better.

It was a very popular idea, and there were several great questions that came up that helped me improve the initial idea. The anthology series will be called ‘Monolith’. Book one is going to be called ‘New Beginnings’ and every story in it will share this theme in some way. Submissions need to be 2000-10000 words and be submitted between June and August. Besides that, any genre goes, and you retain rights and ownership of the story.

The admins and I wanted to make a project that we would want to write for ourselves, and it continues to grow and evolve. The latest example of that is a new WordPress page I’ve put together, the Creative Writers’ Press. The hope is that, once we’ve playtested the process with Monolith and ironed out the kinks, we’d be able to offer to publish other books written by the Creative Writers.

This new website has a blog also, and I’m currently thinking it would be a great way to highlight interesting subjects that were discussed in the group that some of the other members might have missed, and articles on writing, and about the spirit of the group. Creative Writers Press is soon going to become my professional face as a writer and publisher.

This page has been great practical experience, but it’s been bumped. However, this could be a good thing. It would allow me to write a little more personally, and less professionally. I haven’t really done a good job of keeping it professional, but there was always the thought as I was writing that some future boss, publisher, or patron of the arts might be reading this.

The atmosphere of this page may change a little. I may speak my mind a little more. If you’re a family member who would rather follow my entrepreneurial efforts as a writer, you may want to switch your subscription to Creative Writers’ Press. 🙂 Go there now!

If you’re still following this page when the next article is written, then I will assume that you’re not the sort of person that would be intimidated, offended or appalled by frank and honest opinions and topics including (but not limited to) sex, nudity, marijuana, heavy metal, gender-fluidity, faeries, demons, witchcraft, success, business, marketing, money, Science, technology, self-improvement, personal development, depression, bipolarFB_IMG_1492162261458 disorder, rebellion, identity and/or freedom. 🙂

It’s going to get real! Either that or this website will get ignored completely while I focus on other things (which is probably far more likely).

Have a great day 🙂