Episode 26 – Planning for the Future

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The Weekly Update:

Sales:
It’s been a little bit of a slow week. I’ve only had 58 free downloads, and $2.26 and sales.
All of my sales this week were on Amazon Germany, so that $2.26 might change with the Euro to USD exchange rate. Still, It marks a pretty big milestone for me. This is the first time the second book in my Seven Keys Saga series, Fallout, has been purchased in Germany.

Writing:
13,897 Words

This week is continuing to experiment with voice dictation. I’ve been using several different recording tools and experimenting with recording in my car on my way to and from work. So far, I’ve used my expensive Bluetooth headset, the microphone recorder on my phone, and my cheap digital recorder with several different microphones. So far, the best field results come from my ultra cheap recorder and even cheaper microphone.

Strangely, the best results don’t come from uploading the mp3 file or using the line-in from the recorder directly into Dragon, but putting the recorder down next to my Blue Snowball microphone and hitting play.

Of course, my desktop microphone is still the best tool for the job, but the other tools are getting better. Using my snowball, Dragon is probably around 90% accurate and getting better every day.

One Tip: Using dictation to transcribe handwritten notes to digital is a blessing. The punctuation is already there, you just have to remember to speak it. It is much, much faster than typing–especially if you’re like me, tiny handwriting and bad eyesight.
Planning for the Future:

This week, I read the Indie Author Survival Guide by Susan Kay Quinn (http://amzn.to/1Mhd2CO). I have to admit, I was putting this one off entirely because of ego. I thought I already knew the information in this book, and for the most part I did. That didn’t mean it wasn’t a good, useful resource for me, or that I was doing any of the suggestions.

Honestly, though, there isn’t a whole lot of information here you can’t find in other places–spread all over the internet. But it is spread all over the internet, often buried in podcasts, blog post comments, and obscure indie author forums. You have to go looking for it. This book puts it all in one place, backed up with anecdotal information about SKQ’s writing career.

Now, SKQ has been on a lot of podcasts lately to promote her second indie author guidebook, For Love or Money, out this week. I’m only about 25% of the way through that one, so I’ll tell you about it in a couple of weeks.
Taking Advice:
Since this podcast is trying to be a resource for other authors, I thought I’d put my money where my mouth is and stop letting my massive ego rule me. So, I’ve taken the action steps put forth by SKQ in Indie Author Survival Guide, building a Mission Statement, a Dream Lifestyle, a 5-Year Plan, and a production calendar.
Matt’s Mission Statement:
I am going to leverage my unique voice, humor, and insights to create entertaining and engaging products that make people reconsider their preconceptions. I’m going to invest time and money on improving my voice and ability to create compelling written and audio content. I will then use those creative endeavors to provide a path to economic self-reliance.

So what is that mean?

“Leveraging my unique voice, humor, and insights to create entertaining and engaging products” means I’m going to be myself

“To make people reconsider their preconceptions” means actively seeking out stubborn belief and examining the world from the other side. Mostly because that unique voice thing goes back to me being born to be a troll on the Internet.

“To invest time and money in improving my voice and ability to create compelling content” means actively devoting myself to improvement as a writer and in all of my other creative pursuits. It also means investing in my business, both time and money. This means things like new covers, blurbs, etc.

“Compelling written and audio content” means that I plan to not only continue to pursue writing as a career but also things like this podcast and audiobook narration. I might branch out more with video.

“To use those in creative endeavors to provide a path to economic self-reliance” means making enough money without my day job to create the dream writer lifestyle below.

So, basically: Be Awesome, Get Paid.
Matt’s 5 Year Plan:
Year 1 – Continue to build a backlist of full-length work, short stories, and nonfiction in conjuncture with my Production Calendar (outlined below), focusing on honing my craft and gaining loyal readers.

Year 2 – Maintain productivity while optimizing older work. While continuing to develop as a creator, also developing the commercial viability of my creating enterprise.

Year 3 – Have established a smoother process and a strong foundation in conjuncture with my goals and production schedule.

Year 4 – Begin branching out in pursuit of other opportunities to diversify my income and engage with fans. Begin to attend 1 or 2 conferences per year.

Year 5 – Final push to economic independence. Quit the day job. Dive into the second half of my first decade.

Matt’s Production Calendar
Second Half of 2015
1) Finish my space opera – 70,000 words.
2) Seven Keys Saga Six – 80,000 words.
3) Fallen Book 1 – 75,000 words (Draft 1 Already Written)
4) Queen City Creatives Anthology Project – TBD
5) SKS Spin Off Series # 1 – 60,000 words.
6) Non-Fiction Essays – Totaling 60,000 words.

2016
1) Seven Keys Saga 7 – 80,000 words
2) Space Opera 2 – 70,000 words
3) Cyberpunk Cowboys – 70,000 words
4) SKSSO # 2 – 60,000 Words
5) Short Stories – Totaling 60,000 words
6) Non-Fiction Essays – Totaling 60,000 Words
7) Dinosaur Alien Invasion Extended Serial – 5 x 15,000 Words

Finally, my Dream Writer Lifestyle:
I want to make a living off my creativity –meaning having an income large enough to pay my rent, utilities, and groceries. Also, large enough to pay someone else to do my chores.

I would also like to be making enough money to rent office space outside my home before I leave my day job. This is for emotional reasons. I know me. If I don’t have a reason to get up and go somewhere for work, I’ll lay around covered in my own filth for weeks at a time. It’s a depression thing, and I think having an office to go to each day would help with that.

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