The State of the Writer

The state of the writer is one of confusion. Other than that, I’m okay. Mostly.

We had actually planned to get up at nine and go off to go to a museum. At nine thirty we unpeeled an eyelid and went, uh…. no.

I finally had coffee about an hour ago, and am lurching into furniture.

At the … instigation/bullying of various of you and my family (My very own, personal family. How unkind.) I am finally going to do an annual fundraiser for the blog.

To put this in perspective, it is something that the late Jerry Pournelle told me to do. He said I should be making enough off the blog to live, given the hits and audience enthusiasm. Needless to say, though the button is there, I’m not.

Now, I feel a little embarrassed doing a fundraiser since I did the go fund me in November and you all came through like heroes, which saved my financial skin. (Without it, we’d have gone under, and I’m incredibly grateful.)

However, after discussion it was decided the best time for a fundraiser around here is the first two weeks of July. I.e. around the 4th of July, give or take.

I’m not absolutely sure how to do this. This won’t be a “save me, I’m in distress.” This is “I spend hours a day on this blog and try to post more or less every day, and if you fund it, I’ll be able to do some stuff, like maybe hire a copyeditor and maybe hire people to do special/interesting posts now and then.” It will also, because the blog flies under the same company/banner, allow us to hire people to edit anthologies, etc.

I was thinking of shooting for 50k, mostly because that’s what Jerry suggested way back. I think it’s ridiculously high, but we’ll see?

Now, I have no clue what service to use to keep track of/collect the donations. NOT gofundme. So I’m going to throw that to the hive mind.

And then I have no clue what to use for prizes. The one thing I’ve shown absolutely is that I have trouble getting to the post office. (It’s an hour away, and it’s a pain in the behind. So I keep putting it off for MONTHS.)

Things in play: pictures/covers of books (my books, not those through Baen, because copyright) as screen savers and maybe a calendar. A short collection of essays or short stories. For higher prizes (and it would need to be higher) maybe t-shirts (I’ll have to come up with them and put them on zazzle. Yes, yes, #teamheadsonpikes.)

So, ideas for those, that I don’t have to mail directly (but can send from amazon or zazzle) or bookfunnel, are also welcome.

Anyway… If you help me (and tell me if I’m completely crazy to even do this) I’ll be very grateful.

Right now, I’m going to go to lunch with a friend who missed the con.

Liberty Con NEVER ENDS.

And then I’m probably going to crawl under the bed and sleep. Though, who knows? Son might wake up and want to go to the museum, in which case, he might drag us along.

Stay sane, stay well, and remember the writer is in a state of confusion.

165 thoughts on “The State of the Writer

  1. No idea what platform to use and such, but I will happily kick in a few bucks for the “Sarah is producing content for us and we really should pay her” fund

  2. For a thought: Givesendgo takes a smaller cut (2.9% +30c per donations) and supports generally compatible ideologies to the blog, though it is explicitly religious which may limit uptake by some.

    https://www.givesendgo.com/

    The other options are to put out something like the paypall donate button on blast, and even if you feel like it, take a page from some other blogs and put out a subscription setup. I know I’d hit a $5/month subscribestar pledge, and smoothing out the income curve can be helpful, or so I’m told.

          1. It’s buried in the FAQ, but yes. Their payment processor takes a roughly 3% cut. Nothing is taken by GSG.

  3. …and if you fund it, I’ll be able to do some stuff, like maybe hire a copyeditor and maybe hire people to do special/interesting posts now and then.

    I would actually vote against the copyeditor here, I like the off-the-cuff feel…..

    1. Same.

      I think what might make the most sense, if the money is there, would be hiring a Hoyt equivalent to Larry Correia’s Jack Wylder. Somebody else fighting the nonstop battle with WP’s crappy-ass software and managing blog-related logistics could go a long way toward helping Sarah do more of what she does best.

  4. You know if you set up an account with the post office and use priority mail, they will pick up your packages so you don’t have to go to the post office ever. And it’s easy to use.
    Have you considered setting up a subscription so someone could donate say $5 or $10 a month?.I am happy to pay a bit each month for content, and you would get more over time. That’s how substack works.

    1. What she said about the PO; they will come to you; and you can do stuff online like print labels (at least at work and Goldport Press is a business, right?).

    2. Oh, and you can do post office thing with first class mail, too. You put in the weight and size of your package, and then you print out the address with postage. I used it for years.

    1. Patreon is woke–both Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson left the platform about a year ago because of it.

  5. Wow! 50K. I’d like to help but a tee shirt is not my thing. I know the frustration of writing, writing, writing, and not seeming to get much in return for it. As a writer who nonsensically spends gobs of money (for me, $250.00 for a promo is a gob) to promote his latest, and sells maybe a dozen books at $2.99, earning $2.00 per, total, $24.00… I should have long ago started a ‘go-fund-me’ or something, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

    I could maybe spend some of my SSI/small pension money on your site if I were offered some way to promote my books… in return. Or, if you don’t want to promote other writer’s work on your site (for money), I would donate something, out of solidarity to another writer who is trying to garner readers in a not-so-brave new world that doesn’t seem to want or read anymore. But it wouldn’t get very far toward your 50K goal.

    By the way, promotion is my Sisyphus rock. After writing my ass off, then spending gobs of money on editors, cover designers, and formatters (I write; I don’t code), I thought I was done. (that was years ago, of course) Then I descended from the mountains of creative exhaustion and was confronted with the Rock of Promotion. I think this might be the one trial that kills me. Maybe instead of just rolling out of my grasp back down to the bottom of the hill, it will roll right over me. (did I tell you I was paranoid?)

    Well, good luck in your new campaign. And like I said, if you could come up with some scheme for failed writers like myself to promote our work, I would be willing to pay for something like that. Or, if not, I will add my bit to the tip jar.

    I wish you well and will continue to enjoy your posts.

  6. I avoid GoFundMe for donations. I enjoy reading your commentary (and that of all your other friends) more than enough so I just set up a monthly “subscription”/donation to you at PayPal.Me. Enjoy!
    PS: Robin & I thoroughly enjoyed your (and your assistants’) commentary at LibertyCon. We’re looking forward to next year’s.

  7. Subscribestar as a Patreon alternative. You might also look at migrating from WordPress (delenda est as many here say) to something like Locals or Substack which have payment and tier mechanisms baked in. In any event, I gladly pitched end when the flare went up last year and will gladly pitch in this year. You provide value. I’m willing to pay for that. Please keep working! USAians rise!

        1. No, but I’m really bad at keeping yet another site going. I’m maxed out. Even twitter even now doesn’t get me much.
          Look, here is better for discussion,w hich is half the fun.

  8. My father decreed that the Withnell family motto is TANSTAAFL. Since I have assumed his mantle, I have continued in that usage. 50K was probably a good number when Pournelle suggested it, but 50k don’t go as far as it once did. I will be kicking in.

  9. I know this isn’t useful on this post, but you did say to let you know about Agatha Christie sales….

    Well, Elizabeth Cadell novels are currently at $2.99, so that seems like a sales thing.

    Also, hoping that Gleycy Correia from Brazil isn’t a close relative of Larry Correia, because surgical errors with tonsils was a sad way for a young woman to go.

    1. Also Amazon is doing that “Get a five buck credit if you buy fifteen bucks of ebooks in this period,” but you have to click on the banner and accept the offer. If you bought a qualifying number of ebooks before clicking, that counts too.

      I wonder if sales are down for the summer, or if Cadell’s estate is just trying to grab money from us summer reads bingers?

        1. Way black when, Amazon’s search function actually paid attention to input, and if I typed in the name of an author I got that author’s books. Now I get SOME of that author’s books, interspersed with gobs of drivel that Amazon believes is somehow related.

          The DVD searches are worse.

          If tonight some Angel of the Lord took every single Marketing Director on earth off to some segregated paradise where they would no longer bother the rest of us, I would become a devout believer.

          1. What I usually do, sad to say, is use another search engine to search Amazon. Like “Amazon.com Elizabeth Cadell.” And then, if the Author Page shows up, I click on that.

            1. But don’t do that if you’re going through Sarah’s page to get her referral money… just use Amazon’s search until you can find a book by the person, and then click on the author page from the book’s page. It’s roundabout but it gets you there.

    1. Personally, I can be 10 min from something and it’s practically an hour away, once you count prep and load time. Probably not what she means, but I find it funny

    2. Actual time it takes to do something, vs “driving time starting from in gear in front of the house to pulling into parking spot” is a thing.

      Translation consideration, basically.

      1. $TINY_TOWN has a substation, but the people creaturing manning it were some of the scummier residents of the area. It was a really bad idea to keep a P.O. box there, so we shifted to a mail drop in Flyover Falls.

        Pretty much an hour to get there, but they’ll accept packages from the usual suspects (and a few unusual ones) in addition to the mail, so it’s money well spent. I hit town once a week, and pay bills at their desk for the few that are mailed to us. And yes, I’ve had mounted snow tires shipped there.

        I’ve been to the F-Falls main post office once in the last year and a half, and that was due to a lazy/stupid/Covidiot who tried to deliver a package 5 minutes before the mail drop opened, and I could not reach anybody to send a carrier with a brain to redeliver. Apparently, answering machines are Too Expensive for TPTB at the post office. Gotta save money for the all-electric delivery vehicles.

      1. At least it isn’t Pre-changes Louisiana DMV, depending on location worked hard to give it the bad name. The 3 closest to me at the time were so bad (sometimes being there at opening meant 8 hours wait) it was easier to drive to Baton Rouge, and go to the little office on the east side. The Title & Registration Service lady I used a few times did just that. She said she’d take 10 titles to be changed and leave Kenner at Noon, be back in Kenner by 5. Using the fastest local office it took her 2 full days to do 10 titles. They made a few changes and the last time I used it for a multiple dealing (DL renew, lost Title replacement and Registration) it was just a bit over 2 hours, mostly from being in Shreveport, a trip to Vivian was walk in and walk out for similar.
        Menominee’s Post is not the fastest, but not the worst I have dealt with, but is spotty. “I’ll be right there!” and 15 minutes later . . . has only happened once though.

        1. Eugene DMV. Take a book. You will be there a long time. Junction City DMV. Still not speedy. But you won’t be there all day. Really bad news, is anymore there are “regional DMVs” that are allowed to give driving tests, both written, and driving, … and the smaller DMV’s, like Junction City, is not one of them. This is with renewing driver’s licenses and vehicle tags is all done online anymore. Former, at least if you don’t care about “real ID”. (That is what passports are for, if you have one. OTOH we don’t fly … won’t say never because we have, last time was ’05.)

          1. Flyover Falls DMV was really good in March ’21 when $SPOUSE had to get a temp handicap placard for me. She called the number posted on the door and the DMV lady issued the thing right away. All this when I was in the midst of getting the surgical procedure done, so there was a bit of a time constraint.

            Haven’t needed a fresh photo for driver’s license cards yet (no Real ID gives yet another reason not to fly–stopped flying in 2002), but tag renewals are going through the mail. Just cut a check (“How quaint!”, I hear) for the travel trailer we bought in ’20. Might even sleep in it this summer. 🙂

          2. Due to Whitless’ WuFlu nuttyness, Enhanced Michigan licenses required mailing it in and waiting, as they did not allow it to be done online, nor was it considered important enough for in person appointments to be made (New DL and CDL only at first), at the time I did mine, but they did allow several months grace on expirations.
            Did mine in late March 2020, and it got back to me somewhere around the end of May.
            Lousyana DMV big areas went with a letter and Number system based on your needs, so if you went in for a Title you might wait for a few minutes for a clerk handling titles, while someone who went in for licensing an hour before you might still be waiting when you were done, but the waits went down a LOT.
            Turning in a plate and registration (vehicle no longer insured or owned etc) was about the fastest. More of the clerks handle that, no money exchanged and it is a fast process, so they’d slip you in almost as a break for the clerks. They’d accept the plate, enter its number and print a rego with all zeros as a receipt (last one I did wasn’t even a full rego, just a receipt) and be off with you.

        1. The “It’s a felony if you wear a firearm in The Post Office” pushes a lot of business to mail drops in the area.

          1. Not the case for her. She has nothing against firearms, but they just aren’t for her. Now, blades… when I first met her (granted, at a RenFaire) there were the 7 I could see, and I know (I think she told me) there were at LEAST three more that were not visible. I suspect it was rather more than three. She was.. small.. and dangerous to the willfully stupid. And very, very prepared.

  10. I modestly suggest a subscription model. I subscribe to Bill Whittle’s page for $9.95 per month, and the payments come out of my bank account automatically. I don’t even have to think about them. I would gladly subscribe monthly.

  11. I just donated now, rather than waiting for the official fundraiser. And if you’re lucky, by the time the actual fundraiser rolls around, I’ll have forgotten that I’ve already donated and will donate again. 🙂 (Note: If so, that’ll be perfectly OK, as I rarely donate $$ I can’t afford.)

        1. She’s Catholic.

          The consideration of not putting stumbling blocks under folks’ feet is a serious one, one which could send her to hell.

          I recognize the Libertarian themed impulse to say “you do you,” but it really must extend to allowing others to offer a consideration of charity at their own will.

      1. Speaking from a many years broke perspective, my decision to support an author or podcaster or anything else helps me to feel a part of society and not just a broke loser. Giving makes me feel more hopeful, and connected.

        I maybe couldn’t justify the expense to Dave Ramsey, but I can sure justify $10 a month to my mental and spiritual wellbeing.

  12. Sarah, you’re a professional writer. Your stories are entertaining, and you don’t have any problem expecting compensation for people to pay to enjoy them. This blog is basically your own editorial page. Your editorials are entertaining, informative, and thought provoking. You’re producing value for others to consume. Why shouldn’t you get compensated for it? I used to dump 20 bucks into Jerry’s bucket every 6 months; but that’s because I’m a damn cheapskate.

  13. I seriously think you should set up a Subscribe Star account…like Patreon without the political enforcement.

    Do a big membership drive in July and then once a year. Make monthly or annual memberships available.

  14. That “annual fundraiser” idea is a good one… but perhaps under a better name, Reader Appreciation Week or similar? (“We appreciate our readers, now they can do the same… with coin that spends.”) And getting it right from Jerry Pournelle, who to hear him tell it (back in the day) got a decent income from his daybook (which predated the weblog = ‘blog by a good long while) alone, ought to be a suggestion you can still trust.

    Subscribestar does feature “known right-wingers” so it should be deplorable-safe; same for GiveSendGo by actual (other) test (e.g., house-fire fund by creator of Uncover DC). Substack has a somewhat similar repute. But obviously, more research is better. (I’d also tend to ‘vote’ for subscription-only content being an add-on, not the basic substance of the blog… free seems like a better ‘hook’ to draw people in, for one thing.)

    And scheduling the Appreciation Week or whatever around the USAian Highest Holy Day is simply — right.

    Though I like the idea of “a copyeditor and maybe… people to do special/interesting posts now and then” rather much, I’m happier contemplating an editor / copyeditor to turn ‘old’ blog posts into collections of same, rather than ‘fixing’ each day’s newest post pre-publication… nobody copy-edits our comments, after all.

    Hoping at least some of this semi-random musing is helpful…

        1. Persian Slipper week, in honor of Sherlock Holmes. (Who kept his tobacco in a green Persian slipper.)

            1. Oh thanks, Orvan! As soon as I wrote it I thought “oh gosh that might not fit…” I feel much happier now.

            1. I don’t remember any additions to his tobacco.

              However, it is clear that Holmes used cocaine.

            2. 🙂 Probably not.
              One of my favorite Holmes series has Sherlock injecting either cocaine or morphine directly into his arm. When he got bored.

              1. That was in the original Doyle. Most of the later series have something about him doing a detox.

                1. Watson nags him about it. I think it’s his love for his friend that got him to quit the hard stuff.

                2. Doyle originally had him using it, but it dropped out. He neither reconned it away nor explained the change.

                  One sequel, about the Vatican cases, had him talking with the Pope about theological matters, and ended with the Pope telling him, with some exasperation, that pondering those questions would be a better use of his time than cocaine. I use that as my explanation, and you can too if you like. 0:)

      1. TANSTAAFL Week includes the obvious tip o’ the hat to Heinlein, and does sound far less… bureaucratic. Also, TW avoids the semi-unfortunate acronym RAW.

  15. It actually does take us an hour to get to our post office. The feds closed the PO during the Obama years, so now our mail goes through a post office in a different town in a different county! and it’s all back roads to get there. Grrrr.

    1. Dated a woman who came from a little town along the southern border of NY. They were so small that their PO was a few miles down the road across the border in PA!

      1. I recall an encounter with someone who lived in Place A, State. But the mailing address indicated Place B, OtherState. And the landline exchange indicated yet a third location. Not sure how the actual location was indicated to emergency services should such ever be needed.

        1. Our private road is at the junction between $TINY_TOWN’s zip code and the larger town 24(!) miles away. It gets really interesting when someone wants to know the street address. Better yet, not all the map databases recognize our road, so directions to get here need to be pretty explicit. OTOH, the GPS databases have it down, though at least one ambulance service doesn’t use it. On the gripping hand, a local first responder was able to give the driver a clue. And it wasn’t time critical. Errk.

  16. Go for it Sarah! Thanks for reminding me, so I went ahead and hit your tip jar. The donation is in my wife’s name ’cause I haven’t changed everything to my name. I suppose I should look into that. I’m hoping to sign up for Liberty Con for next year. I figure a cross-country train trip might be fun.

  17. This is work for you, and entertainment and inspiration and other things for your readers…

  18. Chris Muir, Day By Day, cartoonist, seems to be doing well with an annual fund raiser plus product sales, since around 2002. He has (cartoon) boobs & butts going for him but I suspect it’s social, political content and clock like regularity of output that keeps his audience and money coming in.

    I just checked out his 2022 fund raiser and though I suspect that while you wouldn’t want to add Naomi tip and strip pens for $XX.00 dollars more, perhaps you could offer such and such emailed ebook for an additional XXX dollars.

    1. Chris got into boobs and butts after getting kicked off some platforms. I subscribe but it is primarily for the commentary. His artwork is good, though.

      1. I liked it better before the art shift.

        I don’t know why something drawn and scanned looks totally different than something drawn on a touchscreen, but it does, and the difference bothers me.

        1. The angle you draw at may not shift, but tablets compensate for the skew. It also depends on the program, some will simulate the tooth of paper, but not all artists get that deep in the weeds of their program.

    2. I was a much more regular reader of Day by Day before it went t&a and all politics all the time.

  19. You are a professional writer. This is business, yes? Money is the most sincere applause.

    Suggestions for subscription/support/level trinkets.

    Challenge coin
    T shirt
    ball cap
    Item/gewgaw/macguffin from your stories (starship keys, currency, patches/ badges, membership cards, licenses, etc)
    Redshirt appearance

  20. Interesting piece at PJ Media because the source is Dick Morris, who is noted for among other things breaking the news about the Obama team’s secret talks with Iran before those talks were made public after his re-election.

    https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/matt-margolis/2022/06/21/is-kamala-harris-planning-a-coup-to-oust-biden-n1606853

    According to Morris, Biden’s dementia is getting worse to the point where he is uncontrollable, and Biden’s people are going after Harris to try to prevent her from ousting Biden based on the 25th Amendment.

    Of course if Harris does this, the Democrats lose their tiebreaker in the Senate and no-longer have a majority, which is why I doubt anything will happen before the November election. Her big power right now is her tiebreaking vote in a tied Senate. If Dems lose the Senate anyway, she has nothing to lose by ousting him at that point

    1. Interesting point about ousting FICUS. Of course the new prez gets to appoint his VP, but it requires Senate confirmation, and if she’s already prez, then she can’t vote the tiebreaker for her VP confirmation. What are the odds on a 50-50 Senate happening when the 25th amendment is in play? One of the Big Guy’s little jokes, and they say He doesn’t have a sense of humor!

      1. She would need a majority of Biden*’s cabinet to agree that Biden was unfit for office.

      2. There is also the idea that she needs to wait until Biden has served (fsvo…) a day over half a term, so that 2.(almost)5 terms can be hers with Constitutional cover.

      3. She’s seemed fairly hapless when it comes to intriguing against Jill Biden.

        Those positions were purposely filled with incompetents.

        One theory is that there is a competent mastermind somewhere, waiting to execute. But, if one, why couldn’t they have just arranged to get the nomination instead?

        It would seem that either the hypothetical mastermind is stupid, or compelled to baroque schemes in the way of Edward Nygma, or it was Democrat internal politics. Frankly, it may be that several people are fancying themselves the mastermind.

        It could be gross incompetence all of the way down.

        1. I’ve encountered one speculation that the mastermind is one B. Hussain Obama. (Certainly enough of his minions in positions of power, though I’m not sure it’s right.)

            1. Agreed. More likely than BHO. Maybe Valerie Jarrett or whoever is instructing her…

              (Maybe they can’t run for POTUS because it’s strongly implied that the candidates must be human. Lizards need not apply.)

            2. You know, if there was a decent mastermind behind the doofus, onewould think that his party wouldn’t have lost like a thousand elected positions over his term.

            1. He is neither bright nor articulate.
              The enemy/uniparty has been trying to convince us that he was oh, so eloquent…. Nope.

        2. The “mastermind” could not get the nomination for themself as Obama already served the two terms he is limited to by the Constitution.

          1. I’m not discounting the possibility/probability that it was whoever was him/her/itself behind BHO. It’s possible it was him, but I’m not sure that the pothead has the acumen to actually be the power behind FJB.

        1. Expect a not-at-all-suspicious ‘suicide’ within a month or two. Like the guy who shot himself in the chest with a shotgun and hanged himself at the same time. Move along, happens all the time, nothing to see here…
          ———————————
          I used to live on a farm. I know what bullshit smells like.

          1. Frankly, giving the level they are doping him to to keep him semi coherent, Brandon could keel over at any time. The Reader’s prediction for the timing is mid October, so the Donkeys can stage a state funeral worthy of Rome. It would be the only thing they can do to limit the damage in the midterms.

            1. Echoes of that old Star Trek episode ‘Patterns Of Force’. Will they have him assassinated by ‘White Supremacists’ on live TV? Leaving aside the question of why ‘White Supremacists’ would shoot a rich old white dude.

              It would give them a two-fer: they can go after guns and conservatives.
              ———————————
              Governments can’t create prosperity; at best, they can refrain from destroying it.

  21. Glad you made it home safely and sorry I couldn’t have spent more time with you and Dan and met Marshall! It was great meeting who I did at LC even though I missed out on a membership, especially since it included house help (and the Hun in question getting to pet R and H and see C from a distance)! Count me in on the fundraiser when it’s ready, too, of course!

  22. Wait a minute, when did you move to Confusion? I thought you were moving to Texas or something…

    But seriously, I’m starting to cull my Patreon accounts, because I’m looking at getting out at some point when they finally tighten up their purity spiral to the point where most of the people I subscribe for can’t be there anymore. I’m only shocked it hasn’t happened yet.

    Until that day…I’ll definitely subscribe.

  23. Sarah, I don’t know much about GiveSendGo, but I’d at least consider something there. I know you’re cautious about disclosing where you relocated to, but if you had a PO Box, I’d be happy to send a check (yes, I know I’m a dinosaur). Another thing to consider would be Locals.com. I’ve been supporting People’s Pundit and Law of Self Defense there. That’s a subscription model like Substack but more fun. I avoid Patreon and now GoFundMe because of the “don’t give money to people who hate you rule”.

  24. China, China, China. It’s that time of the year again when we get to watch the status of the three gorges dam. Record breaking rain, again. Oh, and the harvests might be worse than the real estate market since one can now buy apartments for wheat and garlic. Always thank God you live here and not there.

    Money may not be able to buy happiness, but lack of it does tend to add to unhappiness.

  25. I hear the State of Confusion is crowded this time of year. I hope you can find your way out. Just try to avoid jumping to Conclusions. It isn’t nearly as attractive as it looks. And you can jump over, but you have to swim back. I hope you can find the Castle of Rhyme and Reason soon.

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