Thoughts on tax day

  • Posted on: 14 April 2008
  • By: MeiLin

OK, folks, here's the sitch. I just did our taxes. Without going into details, it's serious turnips and sackcloth time--I mean, serious to the point that I may have to stop writing and somehow find a job a disabled mom can do. I need your help so that that doesn't happen, and I'm not necessarily talking about dropping huge wads of cash on me. Not that I'd turn that down. Smile

If you're pondering buying me books, ponder sending money instead, or if you're buying for yourself or gifts, ponder buying yourself stuff of whatever kind through my Amazon link. If you haven't done the market challenges, get crackin'. They're free to you, they count toward chapters, and they raise page views and visitors here. That leads to more advertisers, and we really need advertisers.

When the husband and I were discussing stuff, we thought about the Perfoom Challenge we did here a few weeks ago, where I updated daily when you guys met a $100 challenge. You met the challenge in 48 hours. I'm wondering if income here might go up if I started updating daily--if I moved to AE's model and did updates 5x week and a bonus if a (much higher than current) target is met. I know I don't have the fan base to get $250/wk. You guys have been so fabulous to support such a new story at the level you're supporting it. But I have to take this to the next level, or stop and focus on stuff that makes us money.

What do you think? I'm grasping at straws here, and I'm under a lot of pressure to bring in more cash, some way, some how.

Comments

TheGrayCrayon's picture

Devotee

My vote is for 5x (or even 4x or 3x) a week with bonus story for donation. I think we might surprise you. But even if that doesn't work and you need to take a break to get your house in order I support you. Definitely don't want one of my new favorite authors becoming destitute.

Kleyia's picture

... with GrayCrayon. We wouldn't like you, or you storie, to disapear

Sonja's picture

I tried the five days a week thing, but it exhausted me (but that was probably because of medical reasons I think). I wish I could help, but I'm in the same situation as you readership wise, also trying to get out of it.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Well, that puts an entirely different spin on things, if you're having troubles. My readership is actually much higher than I expected at this stage of the game; according to teh googles I'm right around 500 visits a day, around 350 of them unique (the different is refreshers). And that's about twice what I expected less than two months in. I'm grateful for and amazed by the audience I have--and I need to expand it even so.

Try the marketing targets. I'll be curious to see how that goes for you. Perhaps we can brainstorm further over at Pages Unbound with all the other scribbling wretches. Smile

I, too, have medical issues, recovering from a near-life-ending condition two years ago. Well, actually, it did end my life; I died and was revived. It's why I am self-employed rather than outside the home; I'm able to make a fair living off our other web properties, and contribute nearly half of our family's income without much effort any more on my part (nine years' work before it got to that point). But this is requiring so much of my time that we're concerned.

General thoughts not prompted by Sonja's comment:

We want to make it work. Monday, when I was writing up the essay for my writer's space website, I gave it to the hubby for a look-see. He told me how proud he was that I was doing this serial, and I was floored and touched. Even though I sometimes make him out to be the "bad guy" here, understand that a writer couldn't have a more supportive partner than my man. This isn't about him demanding me to slave away gluing labels on bootblacking tins or some such.

I want to make him proud, I want to make good stories for you all, and I need to make this work. We'll figure it out.

Sonja's picture

How do you use google to see how many visits you get per day?

My main problem is that I just don't have a head for marketing, but I'm slowly figuring it out. Today I actually went through and found some likely comics that used P.W so I'm hoping to net some readers through those. Smile

Died and revived....scary! But glad to see you're still alive and kicking. Biggrin My medical issues aren't nearly as serious -- simply low thyroid (exhaustion) and a suspected hormonal imbalance which is on my to-do list to get checked out.

And there's nothing better than supporting husband.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Free and excellent:
http://www.google.com/analytics

I use it on all my websites. Watch your PW stats to see what's working for you; I try to keep it to a penny a click, no more than two. I need to go through and dig around in there myself for some likely campaigns. I have some experience at web marketing; I've been doing the online publishing thing in nonfiction for more than a decade, and I'm trying to put into practice everything I learned there, here. Building audience is building audience.

There's nothing simple about thyroid. It affects everything in the body, and I've struggled with it myself for years. Be gentle with yourself.

Sonja's picture

Thanks for the link!

Voyeur's picture

I think going with 3x/week update and having targets for:
50$ - Mon
50$ - Wed
50$ - Fri
etc.

may work better.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

According to Project Wonderful, for the first time the ads here are pulling in more revenue than is being taken out by my ads elsewhere: I'm running a net positive. We're talking pennies, and with PW it changes minute by minute, but hey! I'll take it!

TheGrayCrayon's picture

Devotee

i just reread the origanal post. am i to understand that if i buy my book through amazon through your link that helps you out. Cuz i buy like a book a week and i'd be happy to do it through the link.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

If you buy ANYTHING from Amazon through either that link or the links in the sidebar--even if it's not the thing linked in the sidebar, you can click on a book there and buy, say, a CD, or a 12-pack of chocolate bars, and I'll still get credit for the sale.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

Does the affiliate thing still work when I switch to, say, Amazon.de after clicking it? I've got half a dozen books I'd like to order through them (plus a CD or two, in all likelihood). I'd rather do it so you get some of that money, but ordering through Amazon.com would cost me in S&H, taxes, and probably also quite a bit of hassle.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

At this point in time, I'm only a US affiliate. The problem with me becoming an affiliate of the other Amazon branches is that they pay in foreign currency, and by the time I pay the money-changing fees, it wipes out whatever meager commission I may have gotten. Please don't buy through Amazon US on my account, fella! Smile

Katie's picture

Embodiment

has the amazon link gone?

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I must've gotten rid of it at some point and forgotten to put anything else in its place...
*rummage rummage* ... be right back...

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Good Omens arrived. Thank you again!

Sonja's picture

zomg good omens!

Crowley: An Angel who did not so much Fall, as Saunter Vaguely Downwards

Much. Love.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

It's amazing I haven't read it yet, as goony as I am for Mr Gaiman, let alone Mr Pratchett.

TheGrayCrayon's picture

Devotee

Hope you enjoy it as much as I have

sherinik's picture

I am a reading addict. No, seriously, you know those people who get all twitchy if they can't get chocolate, cigarette, go for a run, well, that's me with reading. And it has to be something that hits the spot - reading the newspaper just won't do it. I have about 15 authors that I have read every word they wrote and am deperately waiting for the next instalment (thank goodness for Pterry's prolificity, and LKH's too). But you and AE keep me going on a day-to-day basis. I hate Monday's because there's no update from either of you (I'm in Oz so that's Sunday your time).

BTW - another way I get my fix is by listening to audio books in the car, except it's really hard to find this sort of dark edged, not-shy-about-sex stuff in an audio book (except LKH!). Pterry, however is available on audio - Good Omens is on of the good ones, great characterisations (Pollution sighing "That would be wonderful" wistfully).

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I'm considering podcasting this, if I can get over my 12-year-old-like sniggering during the good bits. Smile

I'm flattered you include me in your reading fix! Thank you!

amiciaN's picture

Petitioner

Your donation counter currently reads $56/30. That means you "owe" almost two bonus chapters before the first one is written. It seems that you're generating enough support to raise the target to at least $50, possibly more.

Can you figure out how much time you spend on average writing this and then compare that to how much money you can make with your other online pursuits in the same amount of time? That would tell you how much you need to be making from this to "justify" the time you're spending and you could price the bonus stories accordingly.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

will NOT be $30. Smile The target will be what the market will bear. I didn't want to price it to my actual time immediately because it just wouldn't get met. As more people become readers, it'll become more likely that the target will be closer to what I need. I'm already further along than I expected. Right now, building audience (and keeping the advertising expenditures and income at least balanced if not positive) is more important to me than the dollar amount of donations. That will come.

When I wrote this blog entry, I'd just finished our taxes and we'd tallied up all the other money we owe, mostly in property taxes; the figures pushed me into despair. I honestly didn't know what we were going to do. Despite my squeeing over perfoom and lattes, we're pretty frugal, simple-living people. We don't eat out--I mean, we just don't--we have one older, free-and-clear car we rarely use, we don't go on elaborate vacations. In fact, we don't go on vacations at all. There's not a ton of fat for us to cut out once you cut the lattes and perfoom; we figured a total of $75 or so a month in extras we could trim that wouldn't be cutting into stuff like food and medicine, neither of which we can skimp on (though our food budget goes to from-scratch, which is always cheaper; we can't buy processed anything because of allergies). We don't buy clothes, and I shop for the girls at thrift stores as much as I can.

We made an offering to Erzulie Freda and I'm feeling calmer and more hopeful. She always comes through for me, if not in my time frame. Smile If worse comes to worse, we can sell our house. We are house-rich and cash-poor; I bought this place 20 years ago before the neighborhood was trendy, back when there were crack houses on my block. Now the property taxes are pushing us out; our mortgage is very conservative and we pay less than we would for rent, but the taxes, we just can't keep up with them. We really don't want to sell, but we can if we have to.

Anyway. I don't know why I'm explaining all this. I guess I believe in transparency. I got taken to task early on here for daring to ask for money to spend on perfoom (hence the inside joke here of "turnips and sackcloth"), even though most of the money I was getting here was going straight to advertising and defraying hosting. So I'm sharing this with you guys in that spirit.

TheGrayCrayon's picture

Devotee

Used it to get the first season of Due South on DvD (cuz it was such a great price). Hope this helps cuz i'm gettint the next season next week after my paycheck comes in.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

It helps tremendously. Thank you!

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

how big a credit do you get through the Amazon links? I'll be looking at some summer leisure reading soon, I think.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

The more items I "sell" in a month, the bigger a percentage I get; sometimes there are promotions where I'll get more for, say, grocery items (I know, Amazon does grocery, how weird is that). It works out to around 7 percent of the sales price on average. It can definitely add up, so I always ask people who buy at Amazon anyway to please do it through me. On our main website, for instance, we earned $700+ in December. Not sold $700 worth of stuff--our commission was $700. But that site's been on the air for a decade. (No, I'm not saying what site it is, I try to keep it separate from this as they're totally unrelated.)

Thanks for asking!

Nye's picture

Supplicant

I like the idea above of having smaller donation targets for extra stories MWF. You could always start by offering one extra day, and then add extra potential bonus story days if it works for you and seems to be working for your audience.

You may also want to think about little extras for people who donate like many web comics have. All donations over $x get an extra story or bookmark or insert-your-idea-here. Change the "extra" monthly or so.

You could also design more merchandise and take pre-orders to pay for the initial fund outlay. The artist/author over at aliendice.com has a new promotional item almost every month. I don't know how she does it or where she finds them. She's had imprinted cloth carry bags, keychains, enamel pins, stuffed toys, bookmarks, shirts, and a number of other things. You have a nice logo, so you could always start with that.

Hopefully you are already planning on selling your books, once complete, for sale as a complete download. AE does that, and there's Wowio, too.

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