Hustleverse and fails.

Buckle in babes. It is gonna be a lot.

For reference today I’m going to be talking about Patreon, Medium, and other specifically writing related hustles.

Before I get into my feelings, I really want to stress that yes, YES OF COURSE as I tell my patrons every month I appreciate the fuck out of them. They have fed me, helped me pay bills and they are great.

As far as the platform itself goes, I love Patreon. Very simple. I enjoy it in terms of the user experience.

My problems have more to do with eh, okay.

Let’s start with engagement with both my current audience, my social media audience, and other maybe or likely not interested people.

I’ve done (I’m looking at them) no less than six 4 question surveys in the last year.

The first survey was a single question survey posted on Patreon, Twitter, Tumblr, facebook and in my newsletter.

Would you be interested in occasional to bi-weekly shortish podcast type posts about writing as a Patreon perk?

100 views.

6 responses.

1 yes. 4 no. 1 no with a I can’t afford Patreon.

Across my social media, I have approximately 5k followers with probably about 500 overlaps.

I reran the poll several more times and got no further responses.

So that was useless time spent for me.

Another data gathering thing I did was via twitter specifically.

I posted this freebie read  and asked folks the same question and specifically asked for it to be shared. The tweet had about 250 impressions, 10 likes, 4 retweets, 0 replies and 6 clicks.

I have more data but the upshot of my promotional efforts, engagement efforts and more so asking my community for what I need, is failure.

At this point, I know how to use my technology. I do what a lot of the advice (as I am ALWAYS talking about) and frankly it ain’t gon’ work. I’ve been on this quest to figure out some kind of sustainability for my income and writing, and I just am not sure it is going to work out for me.

Part of the problem is who I am. I am a Black Queer Purple lipstick wearing loudmouth. I am not palatable on any level to a lot of people. I know that. Quite frankly, at this point I’ve given up trying to not do the work that works for me. I accepted that a long time ago.

That said, if you do some quick googling you’ll see that as it is, there is generally a lack of support for POC creators, Black women and femmes in particular. Our fundraisers go unfunded, we do a lot of heavy intellectual lifting, we deal with a lot of specific marginalizations that result in not much cash for most of us. The reality is that for every ONE funded, successful Black woman/femme author, there are hundreds of us struggling.

I think I’ve reached the understanding that unless something very drastic happens, I will not be one of those top tier folks. That’s okay. I don’t need that.

That brings me to this.

I can’t find the entry but really, the world at large, my network, is not super interested in my hustle and my work in general. This is something as I’ve mentioned before that has been a problem since I started. I work at it.

Some stuff I do:

  • I offer a shit ton of free stuff. Fiction, poetry, non-fiction. Social justice. Etc etc.
  • I ask my community for what I need. If you can’t buy, please share. If you’ve been here a while you’ve seen it.
  • Offer and create resources.
  • Make a variety of methods for support clear and available.

This shit takes time and effort. A lot of my time spent working on trying to upgrade my Patreon to give readers more bang for the bucks, to share literary work,  is honestly a waste.

With Patreon specifically, I am feeling really conflicted. I average around 40 patrons and the most number of folks who read the patron only stuff is less than 80% of those subscribed. What has happened is that over the last year, my patrons have steadily declined and I can see from the data that likely they weren’t interested in what I was offering but they might have been feelings support and they dropped off.

This leads me to a few things.

  • Folks don’t really like where Cycle 2 is going.
  • Folks don’t care about the work they just want to offer some support.

I have asked how folks are feelin and we already went over engagement so bloop. Except for a core of ride or die folks. I have a list and literally the most shares, thoughts and support come from about ten people who have been doing it for years. Y’alls are the real Gs and I am not talking about you.

#2 y’all. It just makes me feel bad. I appreciate and need the support so much, but I am not about that rookin folks life and don’t want folks paying for shit they don’t actually want. Part of why I was looking into offering extra goodies would be to draw in those folks who maybe don’t like urban fantasy but would want writing class downloads, exercises, AMAs etc. However, if there’s no interest it can’t happen.

The other thing is this. My Patreon project is a LOT of work. All in with everything else I do, I probably write about 7-10k words a month. 95% of those are free. 100% of that involves a lot of emotional labor. I work a full time job. I feel like I’m just burning myself down for nothing.

I have to play capitalism too. I have to eat. I also feel like my grand experiment in sustainability etc is just a big ole fail. I also get really depressed.

The depression is why I haven’t posted in a minute. I get discouraged when I go all in to help my community, show up and provide for folks and not very many people respond. I did this list of folks who need financial help and it took DAYS of me asking where THOUSANDS of folks could see and it was a struggle.

I get discouraged when I literally take the step of making EVERYTHING that I charge for seriously financially accessible. For Patreon in particular, my intention was not to set tiers but to leave it at, hey if all you have is a dollar per month you get this stuff too. My lit stuff at etsy is 5$ and under. And I can’t get shares or responses.

It hurts.

I’m discouraged. I’m tired.

And really, if people just don’t want what I have to offer it is fine. But, that also means that I will need to scale WAY back on what I give for free because, as much as my heart says to just give everyone everything, that is unsustainable and bitch gotta eat.

I have been doing some lit world submitting and that is good. I’m at a bit of a personal impasse I suppose. I’m sad because my dreams of things I KNOW I can provide and that would be a great value to folks cannot go forward if I cannot get the eyes and shit.

I’m accepting that my social capital does not translate well to my work as a writer.

I’ve accepted that for a lot of folks I’m just a big nope.

I dunno y’all.

 

 

 

 

Hilarity Ensued.

Okay if you read my last post, you know that I’m rearranging my hustle so I can work. TL:DR version is I’m very tired of providing a whole lot of free content and getting little material support regardless of what I ask for.

Ahem.

So first thing was a lot of sympathy. Messages, notes etc all expressing utmost sadness. I do appreciate it. The writing life is a hard fuckin hustle. Especially for someone like me for LOTS of intersecting simple and complex reasons.

Cool.

What did not happen?

Engagement with material I’ve offered for free and for paid medium users. Nothin. Nada. Fuck all. My current super check from Medium is a whopping zero cents. Between this here lil doohicky, followers at Medium, tweeter etc there are a good few thousand of y’all so honestly sometimes seeing all those juicy zeroes is just…..disheartening.

That said, I do find it dryly (bitterly) entertaining that instead of the free to do shares of shit I get a lot of advice.

Some of it is really bad.

First one, someone I’ve known for literal years suggested I take an internship that is for newbies who need to learn how to get published.

Bro.

BRUH.

HONEY BRUH.

I say this with love. PLS DO NOT GODDAMN DO THIS. Ahem….

I am in fact a professional. I know I am not slinging big dollar bylines but, I do my thing. I’ve been doing it since the late 1990s. I AM AN OLD. I SUBMITTED SELF ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPED WITH TYPED ON A FUCKIN NON HIPSTER TYPEWRITER. I skipped eating to buy stamps and paper. I know how to do publishing.

Yes, wanting to share an opportunity with me is great. However if it comes and it is very clearly not for me, yeah Imma feel some type of way. If it involves moving to NYC on a stipend, NAH I have a tiny family to care for and have a job, if it involves travel I can’t afford it.

Y’alls. I am very very open about my life. I work full time. Yes some stuff has changed since we moved.

Previously, my work days were basically up at 4:45 AM, out the door at six PM,  in the door between 5:30-6PM. Food and bathing and household shit until about 8 or so then attempts at sleep. On a good day I had maybe 2 hours of writing at home before I got too tired.

Currently, I have more time so I’m writing more stuff.

BUT I am still poor. I still have a full time job and a disabled partner to care for. This precludes me doing a lot of things because they cost money, don’t pay and cost time.

I don’t like capitalism but like everybody else I gotta play so I don’t starve to death and die.

Next thing. Do NOT approach me like we’re friends and try to sell me your super best seller marketing secrets. Do. Not. Do.

Look I’m not gunning for sympathy when I talk about these things. I’m open about them because it is a part of the writing life that is hard and just like every other broke fucker with a pen, I’m doing the best I can.

I face obstacles that I want to be open about. Some of them are of my own making. I say that because I have a big goddamn mouth and I acknowledge that my habit of talking about uncomfortable things especially in the context of the lit biz, turns some folks off. That’s fine. I’m not a universally loved flavor of human. Some of the obstacles are because I move around in the body I’m in, with the skin I’m in and that’s just how shit works.

I’m too old to believe that if I just find the magic formula, ALL THE CASH SHALL FOLLOW. I also don’t really want that.

Here’s what I want.

  • Write what the fuck I want.
  • Freelance a little bit with people I trust with my work.
  • Sometimes buy new underpants.
  • Read books.
  • Drink hot beverages.
  • Live.

Thing is, what’s important beyond just wanting to help is taking the extra second to think before you give someone something gross. Don’t insult folks who are in the shit, and know some shit. And yes, you might not mean it but sometimes offering up things that are not possible for people sucks.

Small lit life updates-

  1. Ten subs/pitches out.
  2. Two non response, one form rejection, one warm rejection.
  3. One solicited essay assignment turned in.
  4. MAKE THAT ELEVEN out, I just sent another poetry submission.

I have to go back in time so I can find some stuff to talk to editors I like about. This is the life, I ain’t mad.

Tools and Whatnots.

Let’s talk tools. (There will be affiliate links)

In 2016 I bought a little used RCA windows tablet. I bought it mainly to write on. It was small enough to be portable for me and not so expensive I’d freak out in public if someone touched it.

Well, lil buddy is pretty much only good for games now. It served well and the keyboard took my beastlike pounding pretty well.

So now, I am on the hunt for a new thing.

Folks keep recommending things like the Lenovo Yoga tablet. Or of course a Windows Surface. Both sexy little things that give me a nerd boner. Words like ultraportable make me feel a lil something in the pants.

But, if I go that route I’m going to have to wait until at least next May and I’d rather not do that.

The thing with the RCA tablet is that even at peak, it just wasn’t quite powerful enough for my needs. I need to be able to run my word processing, probably have an internet window or four open for other research and not have it lag out or crap out. I am honestly too paranoid to carry my big ass laptop so, new tablet it is.

I’m thinking I will probably get a Kindle 10. Multiuse gives me wood although most of the cases with keyboards I’ve found have looked a little wee tiny for me to get used to.

I do wish that Kindle, Android and microsoft would stop pissing on each other so a body could use shit they pay for like Office365 across more devices without bullshit. I am a little leery that I won’t be able to use word online the way I like with a kindle 10.

If I get the kindle 10, I’m going to have to do a work around.

What I really want is laptop capability, with real windows 10 and tablet size.

Most of the office related apps I’ve tried are shit for working on and Google Docs has dry fucked me one too many times.

This little thing here is about as close to ideal as I think I’m going to get.

Presuming I can sell two or four more essays I can probably get one in Decemberish.

I don’t want to be reliant on apps. Microsoft apps just don’t work in a way that makes them very usable for me. And you can’t use online Word with mobile devices. I am also really reluctant to depend on wifi as well.

Sometimes trying to get tech shit figured out as it intersects with economic shit is bullshit.

Other than that, things are fairly okay. Laptop at home is working nicely.

Ahem.

As things stand right now. Here is what my side hustle/patreon money budget looks like.

bills

Bear in mind these are my personal bills currently. This doesn’t count family budget. Not rent and shit. Being that Sept-October have both been financially crazed and I’m trying to save up from my side hustle money to move…well.

In a perfect world, this budget would leave me about 85$ to use to tuck into my moving savings. I make a tiny bit over 200$ a month on Patreon but I account for folks lowering pledges and declines.

Logically/rationally I will not buy any new tech/anything that costs more than 10$ for a while. My entertainment budget is pretty much 0$. After this week I’m giving up my morning coffee/calm/poetry time. I’m taking a slightly later bus so I can walk to the transit center so I don’t have to walk around downtown for an hour before work, neither is great but the later bus is the slightly safer option.

This morning I tweeted a little about my current situation and two people kindly checked in and a couple sent me emails to lecture me about how to budget.

I hate doing this.

But y’all ready for the poor people dance?

HERE IT GO.

I work a full time actual real job. It is almost barely enough to cover household bills. I’m talking my partner’s care/medications, rent, lights, phone/internets. Our household entertainment budget is 15$.

So the house budget is pretty much on lock and every red fucking cent I make in my day  job is just for staying alive.

So as I’ve talked about fucking constantly, writing money and patreon are for literally everything else.

After the last couple of months shit has been rough.

SO okay per usual. You can find my various tip jars in the side bar, check out my Patreon or donate to my Gofundme.

I Don’t Know How To Drive

idontkno
[image description: a kitten in mid leap on grass. Text reads top: I don’t know where I’m going, Bottom reads: but I’m on my way.]
Things I don’t know how to do:

  • Drive
  • Do perfect eyebrows
  • Network without feeling like I might piss myself.
  • Not be a sweaty weirdo when I meet writers I admire (HI ROXANE)
  • Not creep on writers I really like (pretty sure I creeped on both Daniel J. Older AND some other folks at AWPLA. Sorry y’all)
  • Legit submit chapbooks.

So I’m almost done with my second book of poetry. Unlike Gasoline Heart this one is not on anybody’s shopping list as of yet. It just sort of happened. I’m just about at the point where I start pulling the poems from my phone and put them into Word for formatting and then…yeah y’all I dunno.

The other thing I don’t know how to do is figure out what technology exactly I need to make the most out of my time.

My little cheap older tablet with the keyboard is kind of okay but, unfortunately is just a little too weak to deal with how I work. I’m looking at saving up for the Sentio Superbook.  I want the deluxe version. What sold me was that I can work from my phone and that is super ideal for me. Also you can work windowed which I can’t do on my other tablet and my laptop is just too much of a beast to lug around.

The Windows surface was close but I just can’t afford the one I want so ya know.

Also okay.

Real talk I’m having a situation that will fuck up my whole July.

So if you’ve got a few dollars burnin a hole in your pocket, come buy some lit. Want to get lit from me on the regular? Come get into my Patreon. Just want to help? Paypal, Venmo, Cash me.

That’s all for right now. I got hustlin to do.

Later taters.

Plans Of The Writer

For those who aren’t supporting me on Patreon, I’ve announced over there that I’ve started rewrites on my urban fantasy novelette in progress working titled The Daiyu Saga and those chapters will be the new Patron only stuff.

That done, I will likely list a bunch of my source material on Etsy along with some other stuff.

I’ve also been thinking about what to do with The World  (go back to last Sept to read them all) I still have a deep interest in putting them together in a collection of linked stories. I’m thinking I could do that as a kindle book, try it for KDP select and that way a LOT of folks could read them for free/I wouldn’t need to manage the way I do my Etsy stuff.

I’m also working on SCLAB stuff and essays.

My output right now is pretty consistent and I’m pleased with it. I put a new piece up at Medium about marginalized writers and risk.

While I’m very happy with what I’ve been writing lately, what I’m not as happy with is that I’m again finding myself in a pressurized position because economically, not one of these things is really viable for me in a way that helps me life my actual non writing life.

Intellectually I know that even as things are, my partner and I still have our little apartment. He’s got the medication he needs. We have food.

Emotionally speaking, if my non writing life is the toy I am these birds. Inside my brain there are cats, hamsters, puppies a carnival wheel and a class full of first graders hopped up on Mt. Dew all losing their collective shit at top volume pretty much all the time.

My Poverty Brain has kicked in full speed with anxiety kicker.

I will say that unlike previous years, the shit fuckery in my head isn’t causing me to be unable to write so there’s that.

That said, I’m stuck at that point of making some of this shit profitable while battling a whole host of other feelings. Those are feelings I will likely keep to myself and a few friends because reasons.

So that’s what’s going on.

I might schedule up some posts here because I have ANOTHER thing. In a few short days, I’ll make my triumphant return to personal blogging.

Come and check it out, subscribe and hold on to your butt.

auntieheader
Aww YISS!!

Now I’m going to dayjob and work on shit.

Grind grind grind grind.

Try to make them extra coins.

And stay calm.