OKAY so I have some further thoughts.
If you’re catching up basically, I’m fully retiring from trying to make my creative life financially sustainable and or a part of my actual income. What that means for the moment is this.
- I won’t be doing the most to self-promote or get folks to buy my kindle stories. I may put some more things on Kindle but I’m not going to go nuts to promote it.
- I am closing my writer FB page. The cost in terms of time and money I’ve paid hasn’t been worth it in terms of returns.
- I’m not going to keep trying to hustle this way.
The part of this that is difficult for me is that I am a hustler. I’ve never made enough income to thrive from any dayjob so, I hustle. I’ve worked PT, done survival sex work, back in the day I worked FT for a content mill churning out hundreds of words for pennies. I’ve written catalog text, porno, custom porno, I wrote custom erotica for a sex worker it was some weird Mary Sue shit she sold some customers, I sold foot photos, smoking fetish videos, I’ve done a lot.
In the last six years or so, I fully believed I could make my creative life financially sustainable. I took classes, I did a lot of research. I tried freelancing on a larger scale, I shopped around for an agent a bit, I shopped the stuff I’m writing over at Patreon, I tried offering affordable stories on etsy, I’ve tried using the pay thing on Medium, I spent $$ on advertising, etc etc etc.
Every creative hustle I’ve tried has cost me and I’ve not profited. I really worked hard at figuring out what my needs were for these endevours to work for me both financially and ethically.
- It was absolutely necessary for me to keep the pricing structure on my work accessible. Save for when Milcah and I released SCLAB 2.0 everything else I’ve sold has been in the 1-5$ range.
- I knew I wouldn’t make more than say 4$ per hour but I was very invested in hustling up enough money to equate to something.
I succeeded at #1 but, frankly that didn’t matter in the end.
I also tried very hard to offer a wide variety of content. I write a lot of things. I was very focused on offering things for the disparate parts of my readership. Social justice stuff for the folks who’ve found me through that, fiction etc etc. That also was a failed thing.
Now let’s talk about why it ain’t work.
First problem is me. Yes it is. What I do in general, ain’t it. That’s okay. It sucks but, what am I gonna do? This is not necessarily a quality problem. It is a multi-tentacled problem.
When I’ve had my shots at the lit world mainstream, they have always come with heavy prices. A publisher was interested in some self care stuff but, they wanted it without the emphasis on marginalized people. They wanted, something they could put a smiling instagram ready face on that was not what I do. They wanted shiny not challenging. I passed.
Back in the day, when I was a lil fatty blogger. One small publishing house wanted my body politics book. Except, again they wanted Smiling Gently Leading the way Negress and not the meaty bloody part of my content. I am not said negro so….no.
For the urban fantasy Daiyuverse adult novel I shopped, well yanno I had a nibble of interest from one agent who then said, there wouldn’t be a market because it was too many things. Too queer. Too Black. Not enough white people. No market. They passed. A few others did too.
In terms of my other work. A lot of people find my social justice work highly offensive. I am fully aware that I am not good for folks who are just discovering anti racism or any other social justice thing. I’m just not. That is also okay. It isn’t lucrative but it is okay.
The other part of the me problem is that I already work a full time job. Until we moved, my work days usually topped out with commuting included to about 16 hrs or so and I had to stop pretending to be abled enough to do it. I am not. I was not.
These days, my dayjob days are in fact shorter. However, the way my health works. I cannot put in full time hours on my creative life. I’d love to but I can’t.
So there is a me problem here. The life I was trying to design is not going to work out for me. And that’s okay. It hurts. It sucks. I feel very rejected but I’ll get through it.
There is also an audience problem.
My biggest fans are also poor marginalized people. I love my people. YOU YEAH U I LOVE U.
I also understand that because I haven’t/am unable to catch on with a more privileged audience in any meaningful way, ALL the above hustling ain’t for shit.
Through my failed fundraising for myself or other people, the extensive years of statistics I have on how my work performs, etc I understand that fetch ain’t gonna happen.
My hustle retirement is also me accepting that there is a crucial link and proximity to things like but not limited to:
- social capital
- access etc
that will not happen for me.
I’ve been trying to make it happen for more than a decade and y’all, it ain’t goin to happen. I have accepted this finally in a way that feels solid. My heart is dragging. I recently laid out how my last fundraiser failed and as I keep saying it comes down to this one thing.
For whatever bunch of reasons, folks don’t fuck with me like that and I have to accept it so I can move on.
That’s it for right now.