Rebirth of the Author

on April 28, 2013 in MU Blog

Hey, folks… been a while, hasn’t it? I know some of you get my newsletter and some of you read my personal blogs, but for those who don’t, I thought it was past time I brought you into the loop on my life.

First, the immediate stuff: this week’s bonus story will be going up tomorrow. My intention was to show some background on Grace and her sister, but it’s… not good. Not even just not my best, but not something I want to post. Too much exposition, not showing either character in a good light, not good. So I’m going to rework it tomorrow, and if it can’t be reworked, I’ll post something else. This won’t affect the week’s normal updates, because I am (and have been!) ahead of the game on those for once.

I realize as I’m writing this that my last MU blog post is dated December of 2011; more than a year ago. It was soliciting questions for a story that I didn’t end up writing any time in the intervening 16 months. It’s long past time to catch up.

Though one of the first things to mention is that not a lot has really changed. I’m still living in Nebraska, though splitting my time between here and Maryland. Jack and I are still together, and he’s still the best thing that ever happened to me.

I’m going to interrupt my catch-up to say that I have a new piece of advice I’m going to start giving anyone who tells me they want to be an author or that they want to go into business for themselves in any kind of creative capacity: before you start, make sure you have a work plan.

Not a business plan, a work plan. I don’t care if you’ve got a great work ethic and you’ve always been tremendously self-motivated. You need to figure out the logistics of actually getting work done when your workplace is your home, when there is no boss, when there is no one working beside you, and when your success or failure rides entirely on your own shoulders.

It’s different. It’s an entirely different game.

I became a full-time writer in the fall of 2007, and it’s just now in the spring of 2013 that I’ve really worked out what the heck I’m doing and how the heck to do it.

And work out I have! Hence the timely updates, and the return of bonus stories, and the resumption of production on Tales of MU e-books. I’ve had wild bursts of productivity before now, but I never quite understood where they came from or what exactly was working and how and why it was working when things were working. But I’ve been keeping things up and running since I got back to Nebraska back in mid-March, and things are still going pretty strong. I still have good weeks and bad weeks, great days and dead days, but I know how to get things done.

I’m aware while I do this that I have a lot of things that have been left undone… I still owe three voice posts/audio stories from the last real fundraiser that I did, and the remainder of the Kin & Distant Relations stories from the one before that. There are unanswered questions I need to get to. And I will. I’m working on some of those things now. I’m going to be using a fundraising site for future large fundraisers (and I haven’t done one since 2011, I don’t think, but there will be one coming up this summer) for greater accountability and transparency.

A big part of the problem has been how much time and energy a long-distance relationship takes. Three years ago when I moved into my all-weather artist’s garret, it was meant to be temporary… and it has been, but I was thinking “a year or so”, not “three years or so”, and the result of the long delay has been that every year I’ve spent more time traveling, more time camping out in an apartment that’s pretty cozy without me and my stuff. When I’m not doing that, I’m living in the top floor of a house that’s a lot more full than it was when I moved in here, and coping with things like a lack of air conditioning and control over my work environment.

The good news is that we have an ending in sight. I’ll be moving across the country this September, if the money works out. We’re probably looking at expenses in excess of $2,000. Some of that (like hotels along the way) can possibly be skimped on, but the two biggest things are the truck rental and the gas, and there aren’t any corners to cut there.

Once I’m moved, I won’t be flying across the country so many times in a year, so it will totally be worth it in the long run even just financially. In the meantime, though, I’ll still have to actually put the money together.

The bonus story funding has been helping, but part of that’s just going to cover my regular monthly expenses, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up the pace that includes them in the heat of summer. (I don’t brain as well on heat, and I don’t sleep as well, either.) So, we’ll be doing an IndieGoGo (or similar) campaign this summer… you can contribute to it to help the course of true love, or because you want me to have more time to devote to writing and less stress and other things. Once I’m moved, the first thing I’m going to do is get Tales of MU back on three regular updates a week… for the past month and a half, I’ve been able to more or less write that many updates (not even counting bonus stories) many weeks, but my less-than-ideal living situation prevents me from doing so consistently.

The specter of raising money for the move is pretty daunting, but other than that, things are pretty good with me. I’m *almost* completely out from under the mountain of debt I unwisely amassed earlier in my writing career… if I wasn’t saving for the move, I think I’d be paid off this year. A roleplaying game project I started in 2009 is starting to bear fruit. My short stories and novellas on are starting to attract some sales, helped in large part by the first MU ebook. I’ve broken into the Nook store. I’ve been having a lot of success in March and April with getting various things that fell by the wayside back on track, and I aim to keep doing that through May.

I expect the summer to be rough, because summer is always rough, but this time I’m counting on it. No big projects, no great strides… I’m just building up as much momentum as I can so I can coast along until cooler weather gets here.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with me. I’ll try to keep you folks in the loop a little more often.

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13 Responses to “Rebirth of the Author”

  1. Hey, i am in the business of moving things. Also, i owe you for some shit talkign i did on here six years ago. email me.

    Current score: 0
  2. Time Kitt says:

    Great to hear that you’re back on track! I’m between houses now but think I might be getting that ebook once my budget is back on track. Think it’s time for a refresher now that regular updates are in again.

    Current score: 0
  3. Anne says:

    Ah yes the work plan. Like the other plans, without which you will fail. Seriously Alexandra is not talking through her hat about having a work plan and sticking to it. This is possibly more important than having goals. Because goals without plans are dreams and dreams unrealized are very apt to bear bitter fruit at best.

    Current score: 0
  4. Hasufin says:

    Welcome to Maryland.

    Current score: 0
  5. pedestrian says:

    A Man, A plan, Panama

    May you be as successful, AE.

    Current score: 0
  6. Hollowgolem says:

    Wait… Just checked your Nook page.

    “The Progressive Tax and the Macroeconomy?”

    I didn’t know your writing interests and expertise were so broad.

    Current score: 0
  7. Jj says:

    Your Amazon Things are Not available in Germany 🙁 amazon is crap I don’t understand why I can’t buy American ebooks.

    Current score: 0
    • pedestrian says:

      Jj, you have my sympathy. From bitter experience, I can assure you that at least some of us Americans are also unable to make successful purchases from Amazon.

      That is why I’m over here, sulking in this corner, fidgeting until Alexandra’s publishings are available through other online vendors. From whom I have had no problem completing transactions.

      Current score: 0
    • Cass says:

      we don’t use Amazon, but have Tales from Nook – and we live in Germany. Good luck!

      Current score: 0
      • Cass says:

        Ah, I’m sorry, I think it was as a pdf…

        Current score: 0
        • pedestrian says:

          Ahh, pdf. i thought you meant pfennigs…

          Current score: 0
  8. soodoughnumb says:

    You rock. I just wanted to say that.

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  9. Indipannacotta says:

    Just wanted to say: I hope things continue to look up and move forward. It’s awesome that you got into the Nook store 🙂

    Current score: 0