Two years ago, I wrote an article telling the world that I was getting ready to write an epic novel. Well, that fizzled because I lost interest in it, like I lose interest in a lot of things these days. There are a lot of reasons for it happening, most of it being real life situations that consumed my energy, time and inspiration. I’m going to let you in on a secret, what I’m doing now is the problem.
I write online for one reason these days — to make a few pennies to supplement my monthly pension. Well, it’s dollars and not pennies, but you should be able to get the point I’m trying to make.
I started out writing online in order to fill the time gaps in my daily life. When I found out I could actually make money by doing so, it just drove me to writing more and more.
I’ve spent more than a couple of years of life working on this website, among others. Late last year, for three consecutive months, I was earning four figures of income, from this website alone. And then Google happened. Suddenly, my income more than halved, almost overnight. It didn’t bother me too much because I never relied on it being consistent or being income I needed to survive.
The problem with writing online, especially if you count all the guest articles I proofread, is that it consumes too much of my time. What originally started as a means to fill up my time is now stealing time I would be better off using for other things, like writing books (e-books, to be more exact).
A friend of mine, Lis Sowerbutts, has written a grand total of one e-book. She hasn’t made much money from it, but she says she’ll be upping her game on Kindle. I believe her.
Writing online for content-based income, which I call “content marketing”, isn’t nearly as lucrative as it was even a year ago. It used to be almost passive income, requiring very little work once you’re established. Google pulled the rug out from under a lot of people (independent marketers, not people that are part of a big publishing outfit) with the Panda and Penguin updates to their search engine algorithm.
The smart content marketers are turning their attention to e-books, more specifically e-books to be sold on Amazon and read on the Kindle, regardless of which Kindle model is being used. The sales of e-books seem to be unaffected by the ups and downs caused by Google. With e-books, your writing talent is what’s going to make you money and that’s exactly what people like me should be focused on.
My Writing Future
I call it a “Writer’s Adventure” because I’ve never completed anything but short stories and that was so long ago that I can’t even remember when it happened. I didn’t write them to make money and I’ll leave it at that — it was long before the Internet became a household word.
As of today, and I mean today, I’m shifting my focus on writing off the net, in order to write e-books that will eventually be sold on the net, in one way or another and probably mainly at Amazon.
I’m going to be taking a trip back to the US for a couple of months, with my younger son (and possibly my mother-in-law) in tow. It’s supposed to happen in November, but money’s getting tighter by the day and I can’t guarantee anyone any dates or anything like that. My son consumes a lot of my time these days — ever since he graduated from the nursing college with a BSN — and more than he should.
I’ll be returning to the Philippines alone. My wife will eventually return and join me, but there will be months in which I’ll be by myself and with the ability to concentrate on something other than other people. I’m talking about February of 2013, if the world is still here.
In the meantime, I’m going to be writing outlines for both fiction and non-fiction e-books, filling them in as time permits. I imagine I won’t have much time to do anything I want to do while I’m in the US since I’ll be staying with my older son’s family. It’s supposed to be a two month “vacation”, but I can’t even confirm that part of the trip right now.
Writing both On and Off the Net
Most of the people who know me online have probably already noticed that I don’t really write as much online as did in previous months. I’ve let guest authors fill the gaps and I’ll continue to do so.
Oh, I’ll continue with my online writing, but it will definitely be kept to subjects that I care to write about and not some of the nonsense like I wrote in the past. The difference is that I’ll be spending a lot more time writing things offline, working with outlines and drafts and culminating in some finished products.
The online atmosphere has changed too much in the last few years, especially with the advent of Facebook and Google Plus, that maintaining a web presence for the average Joe is no longer a worthwhile endeavor to start making money online. The future of the web appears to me to be shifting from informational and socially-oriented websites to their counterparts in e-books. That’s where I need to be on a full-time basis in five years.