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Goings-on

October 9th, 2019 at 11:35 am

Sorry for the big dump of posts! I went through Google and rescued every missing entry I could find that was cached. Then I read you could do the same with the Yahoo search engine, and it turned out there were a few posts cached there that hadn't been on Google!

Life is still careening along at a breakneck pace in the ceejay household. AS was on a business trip last week (speaking at a bookseller convention in Ohio), and then she met me and a friend south of the Twin Cities at our friends' huge house for a DIY writing retreat. It was very productive! Though I turned up problems in some of my manuscripts that I'm not sure how I'm going to address, so in a way I feel farther away from finishing them. But it was good to be in a quiet house and be able to have a clear mind while editing so I could see these flaws. I'll get there eventually on a manuscript!

I haven't been doing a ton to actively market my current published novel, but I did sell another copy to a friend who said she would suggest it to her book club and that she would ask our local library to carry a copy. So those are bits of progress! Smile

In other news, I'm still considering my career options. They laid off another person last week, and my workload is extremely light still. I haven't applied to any new jobs in about a week, but I've been making LinkedIn contacts and such. I have a happy hour Friday with a friend who's pretty high up at an ad agency.

And AS and I have still been discussing the possibility of my joining up with her freelance operation. I've done some "test" projects for her in my ample downtime at work, and they've gone well so far.

I researched healthcare costs and I think it would be about $700 per month for me and the kids to get on Obamacare (called MNSure here). That's about $400 more than I pay now, but $500 less than if NT put us on his work health insurance (that would be over $1200 per month!!).

So I'd be nervous about taking on that extra monthly expense, but I do think AS and I could bring in quite a bit of work between us. So we're still thinking about it. Meanwhile she can book a little extra work since I have capacity to help her out with it! And, if I do get laid off, we could immediately go into hyperdrive to pull in more money, either with my going permanently freelance or just while I look for another job. Either way I'm glad I wouldn't be twiddling my thumbs if I lose my job!

Something else that's been (literally) plaguing us may be coming to an end...we did a third and hopefully final lice shampoo treatment on AA last night, because we kept finding one or two stragglers every couple nights when we combed her hair. I didn't find when combing last night post-shampoo, so we're hoping that's the end of it...but we're going to comb every night for 10 more days to make absolutely sure we get 'em all!

We have another meeting with our kitchen designer tomorrow...hopefully we can finalize the design and start getting a quote and then financing and then a start date!! I can't wait to get this project over with, but I'm glad we're taking our time and doing it right. And maybe in the end (after the kitchen is done and we get another appraisal) we could end up with a lower monthly mortgage payment (albeit more principal). That'd be great.

Saturday I'm going out of town again...just an overnight trip to St. Louis to see my favorite band and my Canadian bestie. That should be the last trip for any of us this year. We don't have any vacation savings to speak of, so I'm not sure when we'll get to England. Maybe sometime next year, we'll see. Might be the year after.

Let's see, other news from the family...SL learned to ride her bike this week! AA started private voice lessons and loves it; she has a recital in November and I'm excited for her. NT got a $750 spot bonus, a small cost-of-living raise and negotiated comp time going forward for all the overtime he works. AS of course continues to expand her freelance business and somehow found time to repaint her sewing room on top of everything!

Our parents (and NT's grandma) are hanging in there despite some health challenges. AS's mom got a job, so hopefully things will start turning around for her a little. My dad sent me some memoirs he's been writing and they are awesome: funny and interesting little vignettes from different times of his life.

We are still waiting on Brexit to see where NT's UK flat goes in value; meanwhile we still rent it and make a modest amount of money after covering the mortgage payment. We'd still love to sell it and buy a rental property in Minneapolis, but the property manager tells us it's not realistic right now.

What else? I'm still plugging away at losing weight and practicing guitar. Still loving going out to shows frequently. Still being conscious about making and cultivating friendships with pretty good success. I'm actually going to a show tonight with someone I befriended through Instagram!

So despite some recent challenges, life is still pretty great right now. Fingers crossed I can sort out the job situation soon, though.

Ups and downs (9/24/19)

October 9th, 2019 at 10:24 am

Originally posted
September 24th, 2019 at 02:07 pm

Another blog post already?! Let's see if I can manage it!

The past year or so I've kind of felt like I'm living a charmed life. Yes, some problems cropped up but overall I was just super happy. Now life is feeling more like a series of ups and downs. Not terrible but a lot bumpier than before.

Up: Our kitchen reno is finally getting back in gear. I have some hope we could get it done this year or early 2020! We'll have to borrow about half the funds, but at least it's not the whole amount. I'm super excited about the design. I think it's going to be awesome and well worth a little extra debt (which we can probably roll into the mortgage eventually).

Down: My work situation still worries me. I'm slower than usual and my main client (a big company) continues to face financial issues. Plus, I've taken on a new project to fill some of my downtime, and I just hate it. It's not creative, the process is completely muddled, the account exec is hard to communicate with. Plus they "fixed" the AC and now my office is freezing cold. Plus, I've spent all day in a constant loop between HR, the commuter benefits provider and our local transit company trying to figure out why my bus pass suddenly stopped working when I continue to pay $90 per month from my paycheck, and no one is claiming responsibility.

Up: I've been seeing loads of great live music and nurturing friendships. Someone I "met" on Instagram because of a concert pic she posted last year just invited me to a show last week, and she was so nice and fun, I think I might have made a new friend! I gave her a copy of my novel and she wrote a really nice review on Goodreads and Instagram. And I've become a little closer this week with one of the local musicians I really like.

Down: This is entirely my fault, but with everything going on, I haven't been working at marketing my book so haven't sold many copies. So I'm still in the hole about $340 for this book. And I'm in the hole another $310 for the extra ISBNs I purchased; I need to make some progress on my other books so I can get more published.

Up: I'm still practicing guitar almost every day and making some decent progress after plateauing for seemingly months. It's one of my favorite hobbies. Another woman I might be becoming closer friends with wants to play with me, so I've now got a handful of "jam buddies" even if we don't get together very often!

Down: I've only gotten one response from the 10 or so jobs I applied for, and it was a rejection. I've only gotten one person to write a LinkedIn recommendation though a few others said they would. I know I need to adjust my cover letter and maybe resume and keep going, but it's a little hard.

Up: AS's freelance business continues to go gangbusters this quarter after a slow year, so our shared spending and vacation deficits are gone, and she has a lot of money coming in soon.

Down: AA brought lice home from school, and AS and I unexpectedly had to spend our entire Saturday treating everyone's hair, doing all the laundry, vacuuming/spraying all surfaces, bagging up stuffed animals etc. We'll treat AA's hair one more time Friday but I'm really hoping I got it the first time so we don't have to go through the whole house thing again!

Up: I became a great-aunt last week! One of my nieces had a baby! I won't see the baby for a long time probably because she lives far away, but I'm really happy for her and looking forward to cute pics on Facebook.

Down: NT's job continues to be stupidly busy. He doesn't really know when it's supposed to settle down for him.

Up: AS and I have a really cheap DIY writer's retreat with a friend coming up in early October. We're using another friend's massive house while he's away; it's on the Mississippi River about 2 hours south. It should be a wonderful experience for not much money, and hopefully we'll manage to be really productive about writing!

Up: I've managed to steadily lose weight this summer. From the end of April till now, I'm down about 7.5 lbs.! I don't want to jinx it but I've made most of my progress in the past two months and feel like I have a good routine going on.

So I guess that's it. More downs than ups really! The biggest "down" of all of them is just this job insecurity. I was really happy with my job for a really long time but I know I'm not anymore and need to find something more solid-seeming. But it seems so impossible to get another job when I'm so rusty at the job search process and places probably get hundreds of applications more interesting than mine. One of the main things I hate is not being able to project my finances out very far because I have no idea what my eventual take home pay will be. And the thought of switching all the benefits, phones, computers, routines etc. if I DO get another job is just stressful and exhausting to think about. But I know things aren't dire yet so I'll just keep plugging along and try to trust that I'll find something that works well for me financially and lifestyle-wise.


7 Responses to “Ups and downs”

Butterscotch Says:
September 24th, 2019 at 04:06 pm

I would love to get a copy of your book! Is there a link? Is it on amazon?

MonkeyMama Says:
September 24th, 2019 at 05:14 pm

Good Luck! A big job change is hard.

Lice was one of those infinite bad things we had happen that I haven't had time to blog about. I think exactly a year ago, because I am pretty sure it was the first week at my new job (which was just the icing on the cake. "BTW, I might have given you all lice!"). My son actually didn't talk to me most of 2018 and refused to hug me. All was forgiven the day he got lice. (By some miracle, he also did not pass his lice to his brother).

FrugalTexan75 Says:
September 24th, 2019 at 06:32 pm

Butterscotch - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SQKBP2H/ref=docs-os-doi_0

Ceejay - I'm sorry about your work woes. My supervisor is retiring soon, and I've applied for her position. But I'm not entirely sure I want it after some of the things I've seen in the past few months. But I really need a different job. I'm totally stagnating where I am. At any rate, I can kind of understand where you are coming from.

ceejay74 Says:
September 24th, 2019 at 08:49 pm

Thanks everyone! Butterscotch: You can buy it anywhere that sells books. Amazon works as does Barnes & Noble, Glose, Indiebound, Alibris...supposedly you could even call up a local bookstore and have them order a copy! Just search "Viral Berkeley" and it should pop up.

Here's a page from my author site that lists a few of the purchase options; it's available as ebook or paperback. https:// taberkeley.wordpress.com/home/purchase/

MonkeyMama, I dealt with them a few times in high school and college but that was because my mom babysat a bunch of kids in our home. I had hoped when kids got older the chance was much lower! I think we did a good job but it's hard to tell with those suckers, so I'll check AA during the week and see if the treatment Friday turns up anymore. We have kids coming for a sleepover Saturday so I really hope I don't have to cancel!

FrugalTexan -- yeah. I've been where you are a few times before. The thing I hate most about this situation is that I still love the work, coworkers and workplace -- or would if I weren't constantly sad/stressed about this major downturn and all the recent layoffs. Even the account I'm working on wouldn't bother me this much normally -- I'm just in a more pessimistic state at work so it's hitting me harder.

CB in the City Says:
September 25th, 2019 at 10:42 am

I just ordered your book! I had a $5 Kindle offer so I got it free! Hope you still get some benefit! Glad to have it because I was coming to the end of my stash!

ceejay74 Says:
September 25th, 2019 at 12:02 pm

Yay, thanks CB! I'm still trying to work out ebook payment issues with my publisher, but yes, eventually I should get a bit of residual money from ebook sales!

ceejay74 Says:
September 25th, 2019 at 12:04 pm

PS a review on Amazon or Goodreads also helps me with visibility! I promise you it doesn't have to be a positive review; I know not every book is for everyone. :-)

Life continues apace! (9/16/19)

October 9th, 2019 at 10:23 am

Originally posted
September 16th, 2019 at 11:35 am

Well let's see, it's been two months since I posted something that wasn't just updating numbers, and FOUR months since I really did a full life update, so here goes!

We continue to be busy busy busy! But it's by choice so I can't really complain. Solo trips, family vacations concert nights and parties galore. We haven't been exactly frugal, and our shared spending and travel budgets are in the hole, but it's been a fun (if whirlwind) year so far.

AS has had a bit of a slower year income-wise ...until pretty recently. She decided not to teach this fall and was worried whether she'd be able to make up that $7K with other work. Well, she has and then some. Last year her Q4 gross income was $33,738. This year (so far) she's booked $34,760 (breaking update: $35,060!) of work. And we're only two weeks into the quarter! Now a lot of this work continues through the rest of the year so it's not like she's getting all that money tomorrow, but I still feel fairly confident that she'll book a few more jobs before year end.

So her 2019 annual income may be a little less than 2018, but since we've already gotten through the lean first three quarters relatively unscathed, we should be able to clear out our budget deficits and even put some money toward renovations or something else!

NT's job seems to keep getting busier, but his company's profit is down, so he doesn't expect a raise anytime soon. If they pull out of this though, hopefully they will reward him because he's been a rock, keeping them going through staffing and scheduling issues, even working weird hours to handle international clients.

My kids are doing well -- they just entered 4th and 2nd grade! We didn't get into the after-school care program with the school, so they've been coming home on the schoolbus and are sometimes alone for an hour or two before one of us gets home. They've been doing well with it -- I mean, the first day they ate some sweet treats and then ended up ratting each other out, but other than that they seem to be behaving pretty well. On the plus side, I had $650 per month set aside in the budget for their care, so it's nice to have that freed up!

Our kitchen remodel has stalled, but we have a meeting with our designer scheduled for this week, so hopefully she can get the info she needs to finalize the design, so we can get a more detailed quote from the contractor and then see how much we'd need to borrow, and talk to the bank guy about getting a loan. No idea about timelines though.

I'm doing mostly well. My marketing of my self-published book has sort of stalled too...I should really do something about it since I haven't recouped my costs yet. There's just been so much else going on! Plus I'm sporadically editing two more books for self-publication at some point, and working on a shared writing project with one of my friends, and doing some writing for a local musician, and starting to think about what I might do for NaNoWriMo this year. So lots of writing-related stuff going on!

I had another solo trip last month to see my fave band -- a road trip to La Crosse, which is only about 2 hours away -- and I'm doing a quick overnight plane trip to St. Louis to see them next month! AS hasn't had any all-pleasure solo trips but she spent 10 days on a business trip to Sierra Nevada and has another one to Cleveland next month, and there's some fun to be had on those trips. NT I think is done with his solo trips for the year and this upcoming one will be my final one too.

I've kept up on my guitar playing and making gradual improvement. I've been playing with friends a bit more and that's been fun vs. only practicing by myself. I've been thinking a little bit about songwriting; it seems like at some point I might want to try and combine my writing with my playing! I don't know though, I'm not much of a poet and I don't really come up with tunes on my own. Still, maybe I'll take a class to see what it's all about.

The biggest thing going on in my life right now, though, is I'm looking for a job. There have been a couple rounds of layoffs at my company, and various factors have coincided to make me unsure of its future viability. I hope it pulls through -- I love my co-workers and we do great work -- but I've decided I need to look around and see if I can find work that's a bit more stable. It's not pleasant working at a place that feels like it might be dying. I could be wrong, but that's what it feels like and it's not good for my psyche to come in feeling like that every day.

So, I try to do a little bit every day -- updating my resume, writing cover letters, updating LinkedIn, trying to network with former colleagues, talking to recruiters, applying for jobs. Even if I end up staying here, I'm glad I'm taking these steps.

June 2019 retirement goal update (6/6/19)

October 9th, 2019 at 10:20 am

Originally posted
July 6th, 2019 at 02:03 pm

Goal: $776,700 by March 2024

Current retirement balance: $489,155

Still needed: $287,545

April 2019 balance: $473,628

Progress since April 2019: +$15,527

There are 57 months to go before March 2024, so that means we need assets to appreciate $5,045 per month on average to meet our goal.

Overall goal: saving 8x income by retirement (age 65)

Incremental goal explained: getting my and NT's retirement to 4x our salaries (currently $75,120 and $62,100) by the time we turn 50 and AS's retirement values to 3x her annual income ($75,940 in 2018) by the time she turns 45.
$75,120 x 4 = $300,480
$62,100 x 4 = $248,400
$75,940 x 3 = $227,820

The goal will shift anytime our salary/annual income changes.

An actual life update? Let's see if I can do it! (5/31/19)

October 9th, 2019 at 10:20 am

Originally posted
May 31st, 2019 at 09:27 pm

Jeez, I think the last time I managed a proper blog post that wasn't just updating numbers, it was early March! That's almost three months!

Well, there's no way I'll be able to sum up three months' worth of doings, so let's see how many highlights I can pack in.

- March was bday month. It was great if hectic. We spent a TON on AS's 40th party (she hardly ever wants anything extravagant so I went all out fulfilling her request). We actually had to reschedule because there was a blizzard in early March! But besides that rather big hurdle, it went really smoothly and was a big hit. It was pretty cool; we rented a fancy kitchen studio, invited many people; a few friends cooked and got videotaped and now we have these great videos of our friends cooking in a fancy kitchen! Super fun. Final price tag: Somewhere between $3K and $4K!! (Yes, more than our wedding and reception, I believe! Big Grin)

- In April I took my two solo trips for the year; one to Canada for 4 days and an overnight road trip to Omaha. Both in order to see my favorite band! They were "solo" in that I was the only one in my family going; in Canada I hung out with my Canadian bestie and we saw 3 cities and 2 shows! The Nebraska roadtrip I did with my downstairs neighbors.

- We still haven't resaved up all the kitchen reno money we had to spend on the boiler and other issues in early March. I have had it. We've paid cash for all the other renovations on this house, but I'm starting to explore financing options to cover part of the kitchen reno so we can just get it done already! The last time I went into very temporary non-mortgage debt was for about a year while we were selling our condo and refinancing this home. So I'm not super happy about the idea of taking out a loan, but I'm even less happy about our kitchen. Many kitchen things are starting to break down all at once too, so we may as well do it right instead of replacing them with things that may not fit into the final design. I should know more about financing next week and then our designer can finalize our design and our contractor can schedule a time to get started.

- AS's mom has been having a hard time lately...I honestly don't know how much we've given her this year because it's been a couple hundred here, a couple hundred there...so that's been one of the reasons we haven't been able to save more toward the kitchen reno, but there have been other factors, it wasn't just this. I hope (fingers crossed!) things are stabilizing for her, because this drip of money is unpredictable and puts a kink in my best laid budgeting plans.

- NT's hat business is a lot of fun for him, but over the past year it's gone from being about $1K in the red to nearly $5K...he's invested in a few festival fees for the summer so I'm really hoping he can at least reduce that deficit over the next couple months. As of now we're able to float it in our regular budget without carrying any real debt, but it makes things tight at times in our cashflow.

- NT and I haven't gotten raises this year and no sign of it...both of our companies are struggling just a bit so I'm not really expecting any. AS's freelance business has been a bit slower with income this year; she's doing some great profile-raising stuff and some lower-paying but high-prestige projects as well. I think she'll bounce back and then some, and I'm glad she's taking this opportunity to get the word out about herself more. It can only help.

- NT has two solo trips planned this summer, and AS may do her teaching residency thing again like she did last summer, which was less like a work trip and more like a vacation. The two possibilities for her are California and Ireland, so either or both would be great! They pay for housing and travel, so she'd only have to cover meals. Family vacationwise, we've got a June weekend in southern MN coming up, a July week in a house by a lake near Green Bay WI, and AS and I may take the kids to VA in late July to see our folks. Speaking of:

- My mom is still bedridden and my dad is her full-time caretaker, but they seem to be holding up pretty well considering. AS's mom seems to be doing OK healthwise, although housing and employment have both contributed to financial issues. A visit home would give AS a good chance to assess her condition, as she can sometimes mask her problems over the phone.

- My own spending has gone a couple hundred in the hole this year because I've been getting more and more into live music, and tickets + rideshares + drinks can really add up. Then this week my spending went REALLY far in the hole because...

- I've been editing one of my NaNoWriMo novels off and on all year, and I've finally got it to a place where I'm ready to self-publish it! So I purchased ISBNs (for this book and enough for four others, because it was cheaper per piece like that). Nearly $400. I will also have to pay to create print and e-book editions of my novel, but I'm hoping to sell enough to recoup the costs eventually!

Once I do get the book up for selling, I'll share it with you guys. I'm publishing under a pseudonym because I don't want it connected to my corporate writing, so I don't even have to give my real name here! Smile

OK, I think those are the high and low points of finances and life. Feels good to chat on here again instead of just reading and getting back to whatever other thing I'm busy with!! I'll try not to let 3 months go by next time.

6 Responses to “An actual life update? Let's see if I can do it!”

creditcardfree Says:
June 1st, 2019 at 05:04 am

So nice to hear from you! We just took out a small loan to help our daughter get a car. I'd prefer no debt, but eventually she will take over the car loan. Sometimes we need a little help to move forward. I know you will pay off as soon as you can.

rob62521 Says:
June 1st, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Wow, lots going on.

Sometimes you have to have debt to get things worked out. Hope you can get your kitchen taken care of and then pay off the loan and enjoy your kitchen.

VS_ozgirl Says:
June 3rd, 2019 at 01:06 am

Don’t worry Ceejay I only started blogging again last week and my last entry before that was December last year! Life can be busy sometimes. Great to hear from you again and exciting news about your book.

lurker Says:
June 3rd, 2019 at 09:26 am

Green Bay resident here! There's lots of great stuff to do in the area, it's more than the Packers. Smile

ceejay74 Says:
June 3rd, 2019 at 09:37 am

I'm looking forward to it! I've been to many parts of Wisconsin but never stayed near Green Bay. I've vacationed near Madison and in Door County and stayed overnight, had lunch and/or attended concerts in a couple of small towns. I've always had a good time whenever I visit Wisconsin!

CB in the City Says:
June 3rd, 2019 at 10:44 am

Good to hear from you!

May 2019 debt payments (5/2/19)

October 9th, 2019 at 10:18 am

Originally posted
May 2nd, 2019 at 02:53 pm

All our mortgage payments hit:

US: $745 to principal
UK1: $181
UK2: $38
UK3: $40

In total, $1,004 went to principal.

Updated debt totals:
US Mortgage $379,470
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $30,508
UK Mortgage 2 $6,431
UK Mortgage 3 $6,773
---
TOTAL DEBT $432,182

August & September 2019 debt payments! (9/3/2019)

October 9th, 2019 at 10:02 am

Originally posted
September 3rd, 2019 at 12:11 pm

So turns out I never recorded my August debt pay-down. I don't think that's happened in 12 years!!

I don't know what the exact amounts were, so I'm just recording a combined August and September amount here. It does explain why my debt hadn't gone down for my net worth update--I thought it was because I'd recorded August early but apparently it was because it wasn't reflected at all!

US mortgage: $1,505 to principal in August/September
UK1: $361
UK2: $76
UK3: $82

All told, that's $2024 paid toward debt in August and September.

Current debt totals:
US Mortgage $376,468
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $29,785
UK Mortgage 2 $6,279
UK Mortgage 3 $6,611
---
TOTAL DEBT $428,143

July 2019 retirement goal update (8/3/19)

October 9th, 2019 at 10:02 am

Originally posted
August 3rd, 2019 at 08:15 pm

Goal: $776,700 by March 2024

Current retirement balance: $490,425

Still needed: $286,275

June 2019 balance: $489,155

Progress since April 2019: +$1,270

There are 56 months to go before March 2024, so that means we need assets to appreciate $5,112 per month on average to meet our goal.

Overall goal: saving 8x income by retirement (age 65)

Incremental goal explained: getting my and NT's retirement to 4x our salaries (currently $75,120 and $62,100) by the time we turn 50 and AS's retirement values to 3x her annual income ($75,940 in 2018) by the time she turns 45.
$75,120 x 4 = $300,480
$62,100 x 4 = $248,400
$75,940 x 3 = $227,820

The goal will shift anytime our salary/annual income changes.

Self-publishing on a dime (or several thousand dimes) (7/17/19)

October 9th, 2019 at 10:00 am

Originally posted
July 17th, 2019 at 08:52 pm

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've finally self-published one of my novels! And, because we've got so much going on financially (and because I have zero confidence in my ability to sell copies, TBH), I've tried to do it as cheaply as possible. Here's what I've spent so far (and what I've managed to do for free).

Editing/proofreading: Free. (AS did a round and I did several.) Well, I did purchase some book editing software a couple years ago, but I did that before I even had concrete plans to publish, so I don't really count it.

ISBN/barcode purchase: $79. (Well, I bought 5 of each in bulk for $395, but I intend to publish other books so I'm only counting a fifth of the cost for this one.)

Cover design: Free. (I found a free photo on a site called Unsplash, and AS designed the cover.)

Formatting and test paperback copy: $85.24. I used a platform called IngramSpark, which also makes the ebook and print-on-demand paperback available on most bookselling sites.

Marketing/publicity: $19.39 so far. Since I'm publishing under a pseudonym, I wanted an author pic that didn't look 100% like me, so I paid someone on Fiverr to make a line drawing of my photo and alter it a bit. That cost $14. Then I shelled out $5.39 for a review copy that I sent to a site, hoping they would give me some press. (They said they would but haven't so far, so we shall see.) Other than that, I have a Facebook account, Instagram feed and blog under my author name, and those are all free to use.

50 copies to sell personally: $226.13. It would have been about $279 but if I ordered at least 50, I would get a $49 formatting fee refunded, so I did that.

Total cost so far: $409.76.

Total revenue/sales: $0.

So far I know I've sold at least 3 paperback copies through online, but I won't get paid until the next billing cycle, so I'm not counting them. I make less than $2 per online paperback sale, so less than $6 that I know I have coming.

Oh, and I have at least three real-life people who want to buy a book directly from me. I'm going to charge $10 for the book if I sell it personally, and they cost $4.52 apiece to print and get delivered to me, so that's at least $15 net expected.

So I guess I'll make at least $20 on the sales I know for sure? Obviously I need to keep marketing myself, but this is the hard part. I hate boasting, and plus I'm beset with self-doubt about whether the novel is any good. Sometimes I think it is but other times I'm like how can I know for sure? I'm too close to it.

But obviously, I need to get out there and hustle for at least $380 more in net revenue if I want to make up for the cost of getting the thing out into the world!

9 Responses to “Self-publishing on a dime (or several thousand dimes)”

mumof2 Says:
July 17th, 2019 at 10:50 pm

have you thought of doing a book signing in a book store in your town...or see if they sell them in their store....or get local media to write a quick article...just an idea

Lucky Robin Says:
July 18th, 2019 at 12:41 am

When I read it I will put up a review for you on Good Reads.

Lucky Robin Says:
July 18th, 2019 at 12:44 am

What do you get on an ebook sale?

CB in the City Says:
July 18th, 2019 at 05:00 am

It's interesting to know the costs of self-publishing. I thought it was an ebook, but it sounds like you are publishing hard copy?

ceejay74 Says:
July 18th, 2019 at 06:05 am

mumof2, I know I should consider such things, but I find them terrifying!! Smile Bookstores don't carry my physical book (though it can be ordered from virtually any bookstore).

Aw thank you Robin!! I don't know yet what I get for ebooks; they don't give me a sales report until the end of the month. That's how I figured out how much I make on paperback sales.

CB, it's available in both formats! The paperback is print-on-demand, so it takes a week or two to get to people. The ebook is sold for Kindle, Nook etc. on the usual bookselling sites.

Lots of Ideas Says:
July 18th, 2019 at 07:02 am

Some ideas to get some traction:
You could give a few copies to local libraries to get them in circulation.
AS could write a review on Good Reads or other review sites.
Carry a copy with you, and ask AS (and others) to do the same, so that people see the book. Read it in public.
Look for a local bookstore and ask them to carry a few copies. If you are too shy to do that, perhaps AS could be your ‘agent’.
Do you know anyone who belongs to a book club? Suggest your book to them, and offer to attend the meeting and discuss it. The group would be small, but a place for you to practice being ‘an author’.

Treat each event as an adventure, a few scary hours to live through, to get the result you want.
Best wishes!

crazyliblady Says:
July 18th, 2019 at 11:34 am

Another free publicity idea would be to have a book talk at your public library and give people information on how to buy it online or sign their book if they have one. And I love Lots of Ideas idea of donating some to libraries.

crazyliblady Says:
July 18th, 2019 at 11:36 am

Also check if your state has a group called a "humanities council." They sometimes have book clubs.

disneysteve Says:
July 18th, 2019 at 04:37 pm

As I said, my daughter went through this process a few years ago. All 3 of us posted about her book on our Facebook pages and that brought in a lot of sales from friends and family. She also was active on Twitter and posted there. She started a YouTube channel and posted videos promoting the book. A couple of her teachers bought copies. Once she started college, she hung a print of the cover on her dorm room door and wrote, "Ask me about my novel" or something like that. A few friends bought copies and a professor or two.

Now that the book has been out for 5 years, she still sells one on Amazon now and then. I have no idea how people stumble upon it but it's all good. She managed to make a small profit on her book which I thought was amazing for an 18-year-old self-published author.

Oh, her school library also set up a display highlighting her book. The librarian thought it was neat that one of their students had published a novel. You might want to check your local library. They may do something similar for a local author. Bookstores too.

Although it might involve a small cost, consider getting a table at a local community event where various vendors set up tables. Or even better find a vendor who goes to those events and see if they would be willing to share a small bit of table space for you to sell your book.

I see that you're doing print-on-demand. Do you have any copies in stock? If not, I think you ought to do that and definitely carry a couple with you. We were shipping copies to folks all over the country and even one to a friend in Australia who bought one. DD didn't do print-on-demand. She printed 100 copies (I think) and only has about 20 left.

Good luck!