Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Controlling madness.

I have to start taking this writing stuff seriously. Well, there's no option now that the tax man is involved. It's just another business now, with receipts and incomings and outgoings and spreadsheets and so on. I might not make much money but I'll sure as hell be taxed.

It was my hobby and I'm not really sure how I feel about 'succeeding'. It's great to hear of people actually enjoying my tales of madness and despair even if the Kindle edition is slightly messed up.

(Chief Sceptic, I have Emailed your comment to the publisher and I hope they can fix it. Although if Kindle books can be updated after purchase, I'd actually be a bit concerned about that. It would make Winston Smith's job far too easy. More and more people now get newspapers delivered to mobile devices. Changing a story would instantly change everyone's copy. Oh wait... idea)

On the other hand, writing was my escape from the day-job of logic and precision. Just let the brain freewheel and unravel for a while. A sort of mental workout and a use for those crazy drunken dreams. The zombie story was one of the best - I dreamed the entire tale in Cinemascope! Am I the only one who looks forward to nightmares, I wonder?

But now I think about it, it's something to take seriously. Microbiology earns good money but I can only do that when someone wants some microbiology done. I can't just do some experiments and then try to sell the results. For one thing, I would have to reveal the results before anyone could determine their worth and then they have the results so don't have to pay for them. Such ideas are easily replicated by companies with bigger labs than mine. Worse, I am likely to be the only person on the planet interested in one of my random ideas. So yes, the day job pays well but it's not under my control.

I can write at any time, day or night, drunk or sober, and now that a publisher has taken up a book I know that there is a realistic chance of being able to sell the product of my deranged mind. It's a potential income source that is almost entirely under my control. Sure, I'll still give away short stories on the blog because I can turn one out in an evening with the right stimulus (usually whisky) so it's not like I'm handing over the product of months of toil. Every so often I can collect a bunch of them together and sell an e-book of them for 99p or something. The short stories are the mental equivalent of clearing your sinuses. There's an idea, it won't go away, write it down and get it out of the system. Then get on with something serious.

The novels though... there's another one now complete and another as a complete first draft and two more part-done and more as outlines. I know, the author only makes pennies per sale but enough books out there making enough sales and in a few years I could be experimenting on quorum sensing whether anyone else is interested or not. The big house in the country with the lab in the tower, huge wild white hair and a maniacal cackle - these things could still be mine. One of them already is, and it's not the hair although that is showing definite tendecies towards whiteness and has always been unruly.

So yes, it has to become a business now. That evil Blackthorn family have many tales to tell. Therefore I have taking the eminently sensible and logical step of buying a load of their cider.

I bet that's not tax deductible.

5 comments:

Sue said...

You should write a real short one and make it available free via torrent. That's what the bands are doing with their music. I'm pretty sure you'll soon get a following :)

Leg-iron said...

There's a whole load of shorts free here

They are all pre-sold so in monetary terms, worthless but in advertising terms, priceless.

How does 'torrent' work?

Zaphod Camden said...

"…the author only makes pennies a sale…"

I remember reading that the Beatles original contract in 1962 stated they would get royalties of one (old) penny per copy of each single sold. As there were four of them, that meant a farthing each per sale.

Well, a million farthings could have bought you a new car AND a healthy deposit on a house, and that was just "Please Please Me"…

Hoping your pennies mount up. From the short stories I've read on the blog, you certainly have the talent.

Kynon said...

Leggy - torrent is one of these "peer-to-peer" file transfer thingies that people like the MPAA have their knickers in the most almighty knot about - apparently they'll bring about the fall of civilisation (or possibly just their corporate members). As I understand it, when you find a file & download it, it gets downloaded in lots of little bits, rather than in one single file - wand the bits can come from any of your fellow users who are hosting that file, hence speeding up the transfer. (i.e. if three people have it, and one of them has a slow connection, you're not limited by that bad connection, as you would be if you were downloading from that single source.)

I suggest you look at http://www.vuze.com/ for more details.

You could also look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torrent_file or have a google about on t'interwebs.

The Penguin said...

I know of sheep farmers who used to buy brand of whisky called "Sheep Dip" and put the receipts through their books without any problems. Just need to get the receipt drafted suitably.

The Penguin

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