A year? A year of this? You’ve got to be shitting me. No way, no fucking way I’ve pulled this crap off for a whole year. I mean… damn.
So, yeah, I just double checked my calendar and it looks like time doesn’t lie; unless you’re pounding vodka, then time will lie to you all day long. One year ago my contract on my current office job ran out, and instead of throwing myself back into the pool of workers fighting for another gig they didn’t really want, I decided to do what I do best: Make a reckless, impulsive decision.
I decided to actually try to live off being a writer.
To say that the year that followed that decision has been a wild ride into uncharted territory would be both cliché and an understatement. It was more like waking up, still a little drunk, at a strange location with no idea where you are and trying to walk your way back home. Not that I’d know what that was like or anything… oooh look, new paragraph!
I’d love to share some unexpected insight on what the process has been like, but the truth of the matter is that I’ve already been trying to do that regularly with my blogs. I’ve learned about the unexpected effect working for myself has on my drive, how much I miss small pleasantries about the office, and that there are often hurdles you undertake when being self-employed that have nothing to do with your actual job.
To be totally frank, I was very much tempted to make this whole post into a victory lap. Talking about the books I’ve release (and have impending) as well as the additions and renovations to site, topping it off with the new web-serial y’all seem to be greatly enjoying. But then I realized, all that shit is old hat. It’s already done, read, enjoyed, and moved past. The thing I can do most in line with the spirit of self-employment is look ahead, to what’s going to get bigger and better in the next year that I spend trying to keep this utterly insane dream job of mine afloat.
So, assuming I manage to keep treading water and make it another year as a writer, here’s what you can look forward to:
1. I’m Starting a Publishing Company
This has been a long-time coming, and I’m still a few months away from where I need to be to make it viable, but it grows more inevitable with each day. To be clear, my plan is not to try cutting a chunk of the market for myself out and court other authors, at least not yet. The company is coming because: A) I self-publish a lot of my work, and doing it under an actual incorporated umbrella opens up more options for me; B) It makes handling taxes and deductions a lot easier; and C) One day, perhaps in another year, I might feel adequately skilled enough to take on other authors who are looking for my unique kind of publishing style, and building a brand early doesn’t hurt. Additionally, as I take on other projects, like Starter Serials but less philanthropic, I want to have an existing organization to classify them under.
Really the bottom line is that doing this leaves me a lot of options for growth, and that is a huge thing for me personally. I loathe feeling stagnant, and as a result I am generally bummed out if not actively working on some project or plan. It helps keep my productivity up, but sometimes the business is what needs that attention. I don’t know where this crazy ride is ultimately taking me, I just know I want as many routes open as possible.
2. Fan Content is Getting Upgraded
Fun fact: though I don’t currently do much with it, I do own SuperPowereds.com. I’ve had it for a while now, and when moving from Digital Novelists to DrewHayesNovels, I seriously considered making it my central domain. The reason I didn't is because as much as I love SP, I won’t be writing it forever. In fact, I already know the web-serial I’m writing when it finishes. Sooner or later it will end, and when it does I wanted to have a site where new stories and content didn't seem out of place.
Now the Fan Content readers are creating, on the other hand, would be right at home on a place like that. My plan is to build out SuperPowereds.com into a site of its own, where indexes will link back to the chapters on here daily. In there, I’m also going to create a Fan Content area where the writers can post their content.
I’m sure some of you wonder how this is an upgrade. Well, the downside of SquareSpace is a very limited permission system. I have the choice of giving someone no access to posting things or access to everything on the site, not much middle ground. It’s led to me having to play middle man for the last six months, making the process a lot more complicated for the writers as well as myself. SuperPowered.com will be built on the WordPress system, which allows for very nuanced permissions. This will finally allow the writers to have the level of control over their works that I can we can all agree they deserve.
As a closing note to this point, I would like to say that while the Fan Fiction area has been booming since I opened the doors, our Fan Art area is pretty bare. Come on artists, you going to let these word-throwers keep running up the scoreboard?
3. I’m Moving Into Physical Merchandise
As some of you saw when I released NPCs, not only was it available on Amazon in print form, but I also had a limited run of signed copies available. To my tremendous surprise and delight, those nearly sold out (as of this writing there is one still remaining). That was not a blip on the radar in terms of what is to come; I’ve been learning more and working toward physical products every month. That’s also why I’ve been expanding my knowledge on image manipulation and done things like whip up and official Super Powereds logo.
From a book perspective, I plan to offer signed copies as often as possible. I can only keep so much stock on hand, but as it rotates through I’ll do my best to replace it. Right now all I have is NPCs, and new books will be added as they are released. Older stuff will be put up as I’m able to get it into print.
This also means that, sometimes a ways down the line, I might be able to actually put up a little SP merchandise. I’ll do it like I’ve done all my new ventures, starting small and seeing how the demand goes. Probably koozies and t-shirts, since I like the former and the latter is what most people ask me about, though I’m sure I’ll ask for your input when decision time draws near. I don’t have a defined timeframe for this yet, though I would like to try and have a few things, even if only samples, for whenever The Pen and Cape Society does their first con.
4. More Fucking Books
I mean… obviously right? You guys didn’t even need to be told this. Writing is my passion, my hobby, my job, and my favorite activity. All the other stuff is fun and cool, but the writing is the backbone of it all. So yes, expect some new works from me in the coming year. Some will be sequels to things you liked, some will be new adventures in the same vein, and some will be whole new enterprises going in styles and directions I’ve never done before.
That’s the best thing about a job like this. No one year will ever be the same as the ones before it. This one is gone, and I can’t wait to see what the next one holds.
When I do make a company, I promise not to be as evil as the one from today's Youtube Break. If you've never seen the show its from, Better Off Ted, then you are missing out.