Posts Tagged ‘Joseph D’Agnese’

I don’t know if Major League games actually end due to rain, but I know Little League games do — or used to. (It’s been awhile. :)) It seems that sometimes our writing time does to, though it’s usually not because it’s raining outside.

Last Friday afternoon was on of those days for me. I was trying to work on Prayerfully Yours, when all of a sudden my laptop quit. There were no error messages, no warning of any kind. It just suddenly turned itself off. At first I thought the power cord had come loose, but it hadn’t. Seeing no other apparent reason for it to shut itself off, I decided to restart it, hoping to at least be able to back up what I had been working on. My laptop, however, had other ideas. It refused to stay on. It simply looped itself through the restart process.

To say that I was near panicking at that point would be an understatement. All my work, past and present, was on that one machine and nowhere else. If it quit I had no idea if I would ever be able to retrieve all that information, nor did I know if I could even afford to buy a new laptop right away. So I did the only thing a frustrated non-techie writer could do. I hit the stupid thing.

Okay. It wasn’t my brightest moment, but it made me feel a little better. Tantrum over, I calmly thought of other solutions and , in the end, was able to fix the problem. (At least I hope I did.) What I gained from this unpleasant ordeal were two lessons: 1) always back up your work and 2) it’s imperative to get your financial house in order and establish an emergency fund. Had I done either of these I wouldn’t have panicked. I still would have been frustrated, but at least I would have had a plan.

Long story short, if you haven’t started backing up your work do it now. And if you haven’t read The Money Book by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese take time out of your busy life to do that as well. You’ll be grateful you did both when your computer decides to take an unannounced hiatus from work on The Road to Writing.

Update: One possible way to backup your important files is to use CD’s and DVD’s. I’ve found, however, that I don’t like having multiple disks taking up my space or needing to remember to backup my files. I opted to use Mozy.com‘s online services. It’s pretty simple to use once you’ve downloaded the software and it checks your files regularly to see if changes were made and need to be backed up.

The only downside I’ve found thus far is that, if you don’t feel comfortable spending about $5 per month on their unlimited services, you only get 2 gigabytes free. I honestly believed I had less than that until I went to back all my files up. Turns out Mozy wants to back up everything, multiples of files included. That meant spending an hour manually deselecting the files I didn’t need just to bring to space consumption down to under 2 gigs. I’m a try before you buy kinda girl, so, even though it was a hassle to do some manual manipulations, I think the service is worth the effort to find out if $5 a month would be a waste or a reward. Otherwise it’s back to space hogging CD’s.

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The Money Book

The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed: The Only Personal Finance System for People with Not-So-Regular Jobs

The saying goes, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” I’ve lived that saying for a long time, unfortunately, so when I saw The Money Book by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese I wondered what sage (unusable) advice I would find between the covers. I wondered if it was going to be another Rich Dad, Poor Dad, a book that promises to give you secrets to accumulating wealth, but never delivers.

To be honest, I first picked it up because I liked the cover (remember the 8-second rule?). I decided to take a look inside when I realized they were speaking specifically to people like myself, a part-timer trying to make enough to eventually go freelance. The very first example the authors shared felt almost like a story from my own past. I was sold. I immediately found out if I could by it on Amazon for less than Borders was asking for it, which I could. So I shelved the copy I was perusing, went home, and bought a used copy.

From there it’s been an exciting ride of digging out past financial statements, cringing before lists of foolish purchases and working diligently on putting together a plan to make a go of it — financially speaking. (My husband thought their no nonsense language regarding credit cards being “dragons” we must slay was particularly well said. :)) I’m also looking forward to increasing the percentages we’re able to sock away for ourselves in the various savings accounts Kiernan and D’Agnese suggest those of us “with not-so-regular jobs” open.

The Money Book plan is so simple, I think even we can follow it, which is a great big step in the right direction on The Road to Writing.

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It’s probably every writer’s dream, secretly or otherwise, to make a living as a freelancer. Unfortunately, the reality seldom meets the dream and most of us either suffer until we die or, more likely, until we get a “real job.” Enter the idea of self-publishing.

Many Independent Authors plunge into self-publishing as a way to make more money sooner, or so they believe until reality hits them like a freight train. “The average number of sales for a POD book is 500…total, and I often wonder if that is an exaggeration,” writes Jeremy Robinson in POD People. That is a very disheartening fact, one we each have to come to terms with in our own way. A great number of would-be authors give up at this point. Most begin to at least doubt the possibility of reaching their heart’s desire. But does that mean the dream has to die?

Absolutely not. If it’s truly your dream, then it is imperative to keep working toward it. That means marketing by using both old ways (basic word-of-mouth and PR) and new ways (using social media such as facebook and twitter). There are a lot of great resources out there to aid the Independent Author in his or her marketing strategies. (I’ve mentioned a few in earlier posts, just take a look at the posts in the marketing category.)

Marketing, however, is not the only thing the freelancer needs to be concerned about. You are your own boss, which means you are the one in charge of the finances. That does not mean debt and financial struggle is inevitable anymore than having a 9-to-5 job means financial security. It does mean doing extra planning. As Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan say in The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed: The Only Personal Finance System for People with Not-So-Regular Jobs “Having your financial house in order brings peace of mind. It also puts you in a better position to survive and thrive, no matter what the economic climate.”

I am no financial wiz, but as an up and coming Independent Author I’ve come to realize that money matters — a lot. Like others of you struggling to “make it” as a writer, I want to succeed, to see my dream become a reality. I refuse to buy into the myth, as Joseph and Denise call it, of the “struggling artist.” I don’t just believe in the possibility. I know it exists and I will be following the financial roadsigns of success on The Road to Writing.

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