Writer Financials- The Medium Experiment

Y’all ready?

Let’s talk some spare coins, Medium etc.

A while back I closed my merch and Etsy shops due to both being epic failures.

How epic?

Etsy I broke even in a year by about .20 cents.

At the time of close, in close to two years on Etsy while following marketing guides etc and offering a lot for a reasonable amount (low even) I only sold a few stories priced between 1-5$.

I never sold a thing in my merch store in two years.

The problem was not just a lack of profitability but frankly, when folks asked for my links and then bought nothing and didn’t share them I got fed up seeing all zeros so I closed the shit.

I still need slow money side hustles and got the email that Medium was opening up for writers to put stuff behind a paywall.

So in November I had 1,274 views, 510 reads and 27 new fans.

My Self Care Like a Boss material flopped like whoa and I’ll probably not put more of that there.

My Dear Sir/s piece where I talk about dicks a lot performed a hell of a lot better.

I have a few hundred claps on the Dear Sir/s piece that I literally wrote on the bus one night. For November I stand to make 22$ give or take a bit.

Not bad for a low investment of time on my part.

Not optimal but yanno.

For me Medium will likely only ever be slow/low cash. I don’t tend to have whatever it is that brings out the claps and therefore the cash.

In terms of writing hustle, given the doxxing situation and my own lack of spoons I haven’t been able to freelance a whole lot. Most of my output has been focused on Patreon and saving all my pennies to move my partner and I.

So really, after a little over a month Medium is worth the time for me. It has worked out better than several suggestions because I’m not spending time sourcing/taking photos etc or trying to jam my content into a place where there just isn’t a space for it and y’all know I don’t usually just write bullshit.

What next?

I don’t know.

I have my writing classes almost ready to roll out but I’m hesitant to release them. I’ve worked so hard on them and seeing them not do well because reasons would really be devastating for me. I mean, real talk. For me, the worst writing/art hustle thing has been a complete lack of follow up interest in shit I do.

I dunno y’all.

I guess the thing is that I don’t mind taking the L in terms of radio silence on pitches, rejections, etc. But this, I dunno.

I also feel like being that there have recently been people intent on fucking up my life, I don’t want them, to fuck up my special thing.

Take away?

I’ve got some pitches out. I’ve got some more things to post up at Medium. I’m hustling.

My writing classes? Yeah y’all I dunno. I need to figure out how to offer them without damaging my heart.

I was hesitant to talk about this more. I am already a vulnerable person and y’all know that’s kinda my thing. I’m gonna show you my dirty little bleeding heart. And I know I could be endangering myself and my future endevours by talking but well, I can’t not be who I am forever you know?

But y’all know me.

There you have it.

I’m calling Medium a win because the 22$ will keep me in coffee for the month.

I think that’s all for now.

It is giving Tuesday, feel free to check out my stuff in the sidebar there, feel free to throw some tips in my general direction.

News Updates and Thingies.

First up some news.

GOOD NEWS EVERYONE.

Lesson 1 for my Be That Shit University Writing classes is on track for release by Dec. 1. Get ready y’all.

If you want the inside scoop, come subscribe to my newsletter. And you’ll get to read some loveletters to my fellow creatives hearts and butts.

Second thing. I’ve decided that I will be reprinting my original Self Care book via Medium behind the paywall. That being what it is, I may also offer some of it for download for a tip/small amount per say 2-5 thousand words. If you have the need for it, I’ll work out a way to make it available. Right now, I can’t afford to offer it for free because capitalism ruins everything.

The rewrite of Cycle 1 of of the Daiyuverse is going well. I’m thinking I will be able to release the ebook on Amazon in January. I’m hoping to save enough/make enough extra cash to buy a very nice cover for it as well.

What else?

Gosh y’all. I’m tucked in and grinding. Writing like hell.

On the cash front, I’m still floundering from my whole lil family being so fucking sick, meds, transportation, er visits etc. So if you are inclined:

I’m in immediate need of raising about 150$ to cover some extra expenses this month.I also need some self care items I’m out of.

You can also donate at:

https://www.paypal.me/WordsnThings

https://cash.me/$weebeasty

https://venmo.com/i/Shannon-Barber-5

And I think that’s all. I’ve got work to do. Stay tuned for new shit.

Updates, My Artistic Process and shit.

OKAY HI.

Yes I’m hollering.

I am finally sort of not so sick anymore. I’m almost done with my antibiotics-

and as an aside, y’all. I did not know that being on a very strong antibiotic would not only wreck my bhole but also just wreck my whole being. The medical evidence about antibiotics causing mood swings etc seems to be 50/50 but for me that shit was super real and triggered a few major anxiety spirals. It has been a lot.

I’m mainly on the mend and back to work in earnest.

SO let’s talk about something that happened and was amazing.

A while back, maybe two months or so over on my FB page, I cursed a certain orange fuckbucket in chief to public pants shitting. After some private uh, discomfort on the part of some fellow witchy types I wrote this essay. I wasn’t sure what to do with it and a friend sent me a call for work and then this happened. The best thing about having this piece bought was that the day after it published, I’ve seen an outpouring of feelings from other POC witches and have heard how what I said resonated with other people.

And I made some coin.

That leads me to my next thing.

I’ve decided to post more work on Medium as subscriber to Medium only.

Basically, if folks read and clap I get a few coins. And because of the discovery nature of Medium, I feel like I have a little bit more of a chance to make some of those coins.

Ready for some real real?

In the decades of this point of my work, keeping it radical and accessible to people has been in my top five important shit to do with my work list forever. For years, a lot of the advice I’ve been given about trying to get the work not fit for mainstream publication or that I decide to handle myself out into the world is to ask my community for support.

If you’ve been here a while you know that anytime I ask for support whether it is monetary or whatever, I always ALWAYS say please share. Please boost. Please help me get eyes on the thing.

This has been what folks have advised me for so long and it is what I’ve done. I ask. I always ask. I ask here, twitter, tumblr, facebook. I literally have thousands of followers across all platforms and average maybe 1-5 shares per time I ask.

I offer a lot to the communities I belong to. Labor, I offer my work. This very blog there is an actual TON of legit writing advice. It is important to me.

I believe in community. I believe in being of service to the communities I belong to.

The problem is that, it is not a two way relationship at all. I feel like I don’t ask a lot. I’m not trying to make a living off of giving basic writing advice or selling y’all bullshit.

Pragmatic Potato Shannon says, look at that nobody gives a fuck stop.

Idealist Potato Shannon says, but LOOK at the resources folks still read.

Regular Potato Shannon is still poor and running an unsustainable creative thing.

Now, yes sometimes I get donations and tips. Yes I have that languishing gofundme, yes I have Patreon. Those have been lifesavers and helpful but, they aren’t the most sustainable.

IF you’ve been here a while you now I’ve talked about, posted surveys etc other things I could offer up at low cost. Writing classes meant to be accessible to everyone. Crickets. Sensitivity readings, crickets. Hey please boost this? Crickets.

Now this causes me a lot of cognitive dissonance because often, especially when I’m not posting something new, folks gas me up. Yes I appreciate compliments and someone saying how much they want to share me with the world.

Then too often when I ask, it is the same few people who do share shit and it feels like shit and I am still broke.

After talking to some other POC about this, a few things are clear.

  • My solution sucks and means I have compromised something important to me.
  • My solution(s) don’t make me -that- much money.
  • Capitalism sucks
  • Black Femmes have a hard time getting funded/supported.

So what am I doing?

A lot of the free content I’d normally post here or on Medium, I’m posting at Medium but for premium members. It is not a whole lot of coin but let me break a thing down.

As of today a piece I put up less than a week ago has made almost 2$. That is 2$ more than my etsy store (where I had a grand total of about 25k words available to buy all in for less than 15$) made in a year, it is 2$ more than my merch store made after folks asked me to do merch. It is more in a week than my gofundme raised weekly.

Ahem.

Real talk, the idea that if your community values you, ask and ye shall receive doesn’t work for all of us. It just doesn’t. Not just in my personal experience but in the circle of folks I talk to regularly we are often passing around the same ten bucks to each other because ain’t nobody else doing shit.

And right this moment, I’m also dealing with a whole other level of white nonsense and I’m sure this entry will serve them with fuel. You, y’all know who you are. Fuck you for deliberately trying to take food off of my table.

Anyway.

I may move some other projects to medium for the slow but steady trickle of income.

And I’m pretty spent. More later I’m gonna nerd on you about world building within an existing world.

Writer Financials and other updates

My (currently 2nd most shared/reprinted article to date) piece giving White folks some boundaries about how they interact with POC on the internet got reprinted again. Check it out here. As expected, I’ve been called a racist, rude, crude, divisive and the ever so common claim that I hate White people or that my work is why somebody just won’t try to not be racist anymore.

I also posted up a freebie Patreon update which you can find here.

I have an October/witchy themed piece coming out in a new to me publication next month that I’m pretty hype about.

So let’s talk some stats.

Freelance shit:

  1. Four pitches sent.
  2. One acceptance.
  3. One rejection.
  4. One no response.

Literary shit:

  1. Two submissions sent.
  2. One acceptance.
  3. One still in process.
  4. Acceptance for a small anthology, a wee peom.
  5. In process, suite of poems.

Not bad given that I’ve been sick for almost a full month, my partner is still pretty much incapacitated so I have to do all his household stuff too.

Other stuff. I have 255$ saved towards moving.

My poetry book is close to being born.

Being that I’m hustling to save up to move, I redid my personal budget which for our purposes is money made through writing. That means freelance and patreon and eventually possibly sensitivity readings.

October is a big bills month.

WP 100
CC 25
Ginger 6.4
Office 9.99

This is the short version of my budget. This is 100 over what I’d anticipated, I forgot that my personal blog renews this month. Whatever.

If most of my patrons go through, I will about deplete those funds for the most part which sucks and makes me angry but yanno.

What else?

I have this new thing coming out and the new to me editor had a really great response to the piece. My last um, three new to me editors have all be very enthused and into my work. One of my problems with freelancing is just how ramped up my anxiety gets. When I am freelancing because I’m broke, any failure or rejection or non response from publishers and I put a lot of pressure on myself.

I’m a terrible boss. And rationally I know that I can’t do the shit I’m good at in that state of mind but, I often feel like I’m too poor to be so against being exploited or having my voice fucked with.

I’m still trying to learn how to balance my need to hustle on the please just pay me level and continue to hold my personal integrity.

Shit is hard as fuck.

That said, I have some time next week and will be writing like a mother fucker. I’m selling important to me work that is me unfiltered. I’ve been very very blessed to work with editors recently who have been supportive and really believed in my voice enough not to ask me to tone my shit down.

So that’s that.

Posting will likely remain light while I’m grinding. Y’all know.

 

Real Results- When Folks Show Up Edition.

HI y’all. I really wanted to update/talk about what happened after my last post talking about how much help I need.

I want to tell y’all what happens when you give immediate support to someone like me.

First thing that happened:

  • I was able to redo my budget.
  • Bought 150$ worth of pantry items/food to be delivered tomorrow.
  • Got partner some new drawers and socks.
  • Got both of us some new immune system stuff.
  • Got partner extra medication for pain management/gut problems.
  • Dropped some cash into my moving savings fund.
  • Donated a few bucks to a couple of other Black Femmes in need.
  • I have a bit of a firm plan/budget to supply myself with personal care items to last through Christmas.

Effects:

  • I slept without stress/anxiety induced night terrors for the first time in three weeks.
  • I bought myself some chapstick.
  • I was able to poop (after being stress induced constipated for days)

What else?

I was able to calm down enough to get some writing done.

The most important thing is this.

When I see folks wringing their hands about oh what do I do, this is what you do.

For folks like me, material, concrete and yes financial support means we can make our art, do the shit we need to and survive.

Most of us who ask, hate it. Every day I have a few friends I talk to about it because we hate it. We cry and worry about how we are perceived. We have folks, even folks who love us disrespect us and our work because if we “just worked harder” or whatever, of course we’d be fine right?

We go through a lot. We often see folks post/contribute to shit like, help some white guy make potato salad, folks make thousands in days and we’re literally begging for meal money and then worried that after a while of promoting the stuff we sell that no one buys (as we’re always told to do) and posting our fundraisers and paypals and venmos nobody will pay attention and what will we do?

Real talk?

In my wide circle of Black femmes in particular, many of whom don’t know each other. Almost every day I see the effect of the way Black femmes don’t get funding grind down the resolve of even the hardest hustlers I know. I see fb statuses and there are private mesages and we’re all crying and all of us are feeling like maybe we’re not really worth shit.

THis is the raw truth. We can only hear how great and powerful we are so much. We can only provide so much education/things for a community at large that won’t throw us a bone. Don’t give a shit if we starve. Folks might not mean us to feel that way but that’s where so many of us end up.

It is why there’s a group of us I know and we literally pass 5$ around to each other whenever one of us sells something or whatever because nobody else will and that’s fucked up.

And yes we ALL know about the devestation around the world right now.

That said, this is what we always live with. For most of us right now we struggle to even get people to boost our links. I mean, why tell us how amazing we are if you can’t be bothered to share when we are in need?

That’s why I say, support living artists.

That’s why I say, tip often and tip well. You don’t have to have a lot of money.  Literally if half of the folks who read our work in general *for most of us* on blogs, medium or whatever each dropped us a dollar- lives changed.

But that’s not what happens and a lot of us, especially those of us who write a lot and pointedly about racism, gender, etc wind up feeling like shit, not being able to have sustainable art lives and whatnot.

I’m pretty sure this is not what I’m supposed to say but y’all know I gotta be real about shit and this is how it is.

Thank you for your support folks. It really does mean the world and for my little family in particular, that we survive.

The Support I need Right Now

At the suggestion of some fellow poor artists, I figured I’d update some stuff and tell everyone in the world what support I need right now.

My current situation:

  • I have a slight cost of living (not fancy living just living) increase that I can do nothing about.
  • Partner and I are both in dire need of some basic shit that we just don’t have money for right now. I’m talking underwear that fits, socks. A few pairs of jeans/pants each. Camis/tanks/tees. Basics.
  • We need to stock our pantry. Non-perishables, heavy stuff, because my partner has mobility issues and getting a good stock up has been impossible between that, my schedule and the cost.

So really what we need is help. We need a chunk of cash to explicitly use for this shit.

I also have some creative projects in the works but have decided on putting them away for now until I can get our household a little bit more stable in our current situation.

So that said.

What I need right now is signal boosts, paying work that isn’t like a job (I will talk about that in a second), and donations/tips/sales.

Here are the many things:

My Gofundme. 

Venmo. Cashme.  Paypal. Etsy.  Patreon.

If you aren’t down with cash and want to do something material. Here’s my amazon list. I have some stuff I need but most of it is for funsies stuff.

Now the job thing.

I have a full time job still. I make just barely enough to cover bills if we eat poorly etc. I was considering (again) a part time job but, just recently I’ve worked 6 of 7 days in a row a few times and I am paying for it heavily. I just physically can’t anymore and there’s that.

Also, real real talk. I really want a chance to have some stuff just taken care of so I’m not spending my little savings or just having a chance to feel secure enough in that we have a bunch of shit we need so I can continue to work as i have been.

And that’s it. That’s what I need. Like my Gofundme says, my lil family just needs a leg up.

On Fundraising.

I started a new fundraiser last week.

Please have a look and share from here.

For the last few months almost daily I sit down and do a lot of math. Playing with my budget, trying to squeeze out more than the small amount I put in savings each month, I make sure I get all of our bills paid between dayjob money, writing money and side hustle money by the 5th of the month. The 5th is the day my partner’s food stamps recharge and we can eat decent food.

The thing about using food stamps that sort of makes me laugh is this. One time at Safeway with a cart laden with stuff like fruit, vegetables, a little fish (there was a BOMB sale on these perfect for 2 salmon steaks), some condiments, etc you know the healthy shit people think us fat asses don’t eat, I had a fistful of coupons and I could hear a woman behind me bitching. “Must be nice that I’M paying for that. I’M stuck eating a TV DINNER. IT MUST BE NICE.”

I’ve heard it a ton.

Another time at the discount grocery store with a cart full of processed, salty, ready made foods, same type of thing. “GOD I mean LOOK at what I’m buying for THOSE people.”

I feel like a lot of what I hear and am told about crowdfunding for personal reasons is the same. Messages in my “other” inbox telling me to get a job, people who staunchly talk about how they NEVER support any fundraiser, especially those by scammers like me, etc. I feel the same way.

I was raised to believe that if you are poor or can’t afford something regardless of what it is, it is your own fault. Either you pull yourself up by your bootstraps or fuck you.

It’s taken me most of my adult life to unlearn that. It’s been simple to not apply those beliefs to other poor folks. It’s been easy to advocate for other people. I’ve held hands and helped fill out endless DSHS forms. I’ve written letters and blablabla.

For everyone else.

For me, I get upset that I’m not able to save the way I want to or that saving for one thing at a time takes me months of work. I wrestled with myself and figured out that a measly 2k would put me about six months ahead in terms of things I’ve been needing/wanting. Most of my list has been on and off my list for months. I tell myself no I don’t need the tablet I have a new phone to work on, I don’t need a different coat I can just repatch the one I have.

This is stuff I fight regularly.

That said, I finally did decide to do the fundraiser. I’m going to let it run probably through March after my birthday. I’ll link it in the sidebar and refer to it in posts on occasion. I’ll try not to be an asshole about it. However when you see it, do remember I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t need help.

I’m going to work on not shaming myself or feeling shitty about doing it. I don’t like doing it but here I am.

In the meantime. On Friday the first bit of free horror flash for y’all to enjoy. I will also be talking probably at great length about a new thing I’m trying AND AND…maybe a tiny video reading?

Oh shit son.

 

Other Ways to Support my Work

Since launching my Patreon campaign (which is doing really well THANK YOU) I’ve had a number of folks who aren’t into the monthly thing ask what else they can do.

Financial stuff-

Buy some fiction or non fiction over in my Etsy shop. I’ve got some horror, some erotica, experimental SF. The most expensive thing is five bucks. I know you can get whole novels on amazon for a dollar but, that story is pretty special to me and I worked on it for about 8 months. There are other things from 1$ on up. I even have a coupon available til the end of the month, enter WARG95 at checkout for 25% off a two dollar purchase.

Click on over here and check out my links on the right. You can buy stuff I’ve hand picked in my Amazon A store. I’ll be adding more stuff, books, mainly later.

You can try out Audible for a month and get yourself a free audiobook and me a lil pocket change.

At the suggestion of a friend I’m also adding an Amazon wishlist of stuff I would like that is writing related. Books, notebooks, my favorite pens and whatnot.

For transparency Amazon is my slowest and least lucrative thing. Frankly, I use it to shore up my orders when I buy self care supplies and whatnot.

The other always open option is a tip in my paypal tipjar. You can navigate over there to the right and hit the button. Anything is always appreciated.

Here’s what my financial stuff is going towards currently:

  • I need a very lightweight non netbook laptop so I can use my time better and get some writing done that is not dependant on an internet connection and not using my chunky butt old dell.
  • A few under 100$ software upgrades to make my life easier.
  • Saving up for AWP16. I am going and I want to make sure I can afford it. Everything that is non essential is going into my Get Me to AWP fund.

The most important thing this is getting me is some breathing room. So when I try hard to do the freelance it just destroys me. I am not good at it and it stresses me out to the point where I have a lot of trouble just writing because I want the freelance thing to go well so badly.

It is a terrible cycle that impedes my ability to just write the shit I want to write.

I just can’t operate in a great way when I’m under so much pressure.

Now non monetary things you can do to support my work.

A lot of us are broke right now and that’s totally okay. You are always free to share links to my blog here, my work, my everything.

Come like my Facebook writer page and share it with your people.

So that’s all.

Right now I’m working on some stuff I’m super excited about INCLUDING some sf, an essay about butt selfies and my ass and some other things.

Thanks for rolling through.