Royalties: free money?

Okay. I know it’s not that much. Yet it is already more than what I expected and so much less than what I hope for. This part of Amazon is new to me, though there isn’t much to it, really just two features, “bookshelf” and “reports”. I had read through the how-to’s before and the reports were to be delayed a day or two, depending on the payment method and processing I suppose, before they would appear as confirmed sales.

However, I was surprised to see I began earning “free money” within an hour or two of my book being online in the Marketplace. I did not fully understand the “Kindle Unlimited” dynamic. There, some people pay a flat monthly fee to read as many books as they would like. To settle the royalties (yes, that is the word. Today, I have earned royalties.) Amazon has some system to count the number of pages read by the readers, then fill that information and my estimated royalties into the reports tab.

The reports had been sitting at zero’s the last few days. This morning I received the email from Amazon telling me my book had been placed in their marketplace. I delayed any response at the time, and continued my usual morning routine. Once I was downstairs again, a little later than usual, 9:20 or so, I went to work at my desk. The reports were still at zero then. At some point later in the day, I looked again. $0.05, I had earned a nickel.

That (obviously, right?) triggered a “refreshing” response… data was happening.  Next it was $0.09, then $0.11, $0.19, pausing for a while at $0.21.  At this point, my “work” is done. Really, for the book just published, I finished writing it while I was still a County Commissioner- my final hours as an “appointed” person, in a State Park in Texas. The first “writing” that I did, the first 25 jumps, were on my MySpace blog.

They’ve been moved along, and added to, then turned in when I dated Ashley. (Holy Shit, do I have to thank Twitter for this too?)(Holy Shit, do I now have to thank X for this?) Either way, no one ever paid me to type. I’ve guess, I’ve always liked it. The idea of it. Of expressing? Perhaps. Now, wow- goldfish bowl effect doesn’t even begin to describe. What if the world knew everything about me? What if they did?

Most of the day was spent on Facebook today, with political candidates- and answering questions for constituents. That part has always been fun. A challenge, a challenge to learn how a City works, then explain it to others. I may never be elected again, however my experiences are always mine to share. As a citizen, I believe I still have role in doing what I can, when I must. I can help others learn more about the local government system and I must, at the very least, share this information around election times.

Although I continued my routine (rather than running downstairs to my laptop as soon as I saw the Amazon email,) I did not follow through once I did get downstairs – straight to my writing desk rather than to the kitchen for breakfast. Didn’t even notice that I was hungry. Until just past noon, I got ready to run over to Stone Depot for a resupply of CBD. Then I noticed as I thought “hey, I could grab some lunch while I’m out”, and immediately shunned the idea.

I do have a small amount of money at the moment, from my Birthday GoFundMe and from my Tax return. However, the spending freeze must continue (oh, and I already had plans to splurge… $21.69 to buy two copies of my own book. First, an “author” copy, at cost, only $5.80. However, that comes ‘free’ with the slowest shipping. It will be here August 13. Shortly later- and dovetailed with figuring out the various reporting delays- I ordered a copy from the main site for full price and tax, $15.89. That copy will be here Friday.) Though, I should order another author copy at some point, as I have two persons I would like to gift with a copy.

Now that I have already published one book, the next should be much faster- I know the process. I may start working on it soon, I may wait up to a month (I’d like the third book released no later than 9/30.) Timing, timing is important. I felt a big rush up until now, and now the book is out. I think I want to sit at this stage for a moment. Get used to it. I am an author. That sentence makes me giddy. Books are cool, every person I know that has written a book has been a cool (and the five of them, so varied and unique,) person, and each is a person I would rather spend time with than the books they’ve written.

Most the day was spent at the writing desk- I am glad I finally organized this area and stopped forcing myself to standup for everything at the standup desk. Now, I’ve got four ‘stations’ in the downstairs. In my chair, usually with my iPhone and the tv remote. At the writing desk, usually typing something with my MacBook. At the stand-up Windows desktop, with its luscious 42″ monitor. Or standing up and working the various appliances in the kitchen.

I wish I could enjoy cooking, yet I used to get paid for it… now, it always feels like work. I did the same thing with computers, and skydiving. Hm… what can I learn from this? I enjoy typing, this is not work. I am not typing right now to make money. This, this is what I do.

At some point in a few weeks or a month or two, I might have to spend a day to compile a few months of posts, slap that into Pages, edit some line breaks and plop another book onto Amazon. Yes, at some point that might seem like work- however, if I type every day all month long, and only spend a day or two “working” to actually convert my typing into a book, that seems like a worthy exchange.  Especially, if these books sell in any amount.

Sure, the New York Times Best Seller list sound great, yet, let’s just be realistic. This is a blog, about some random guy in some random city. Yeah, I may think I have some interesting stories- and I do. Yet, not that level. Maybe if I keep writing, my online readers will grow, and some percentage of them might buy a monthly ebook to “keep up” (and chronologically- OMG, I am so happy to soon have a copy of my book so I can stop thinking of my story backwards.)

Thinking of it that way and averaging $3 ‘profit’ per purchase ($2.25 for an ebook, $3.80 for a softcover) well, that could work out well as a monthly income, if… if… I sell books. The next week could “tell” my future. I have no expectations, they have been exceeded already. However, I can guess… and every guess is a guesstimate, I learned that from my uncle Ronny. We use all the thought reserves when we venture an educated guess. I could see as many as 20 purchases in the first week (not counting the Kindle Unlimited, royalties by the line…) Slowing from there.

When the tide slows, I’ll push the second book, and the third, hopefully soon I’ll find some schedule as to not accumulate another the size of the next book “Rabbit Hole:”, it’s.. hmm, I can’t remember now… flip back a week or two ago, what did I say then? That’s how many pages, the middle book of the trilogy is the fat one.  I figure, the last book is the most interesting… oh, that could be fire when I post it for sale! Many people might start reading there, then endure the challenge of working backward.

I’m sorry, I do understand that the author was having brain issues last year, not to mention too many drugs, or not enough drugs, or certainly not the right drugs. Even now, I’m still iteratively going over my experiences, especially the first month in the hospital. I had noticed my Sudoko issues then, yet I did not notice any of my now more pronounced effects. “TBI” is a wide phrase, I know my brain was damaged in at least three places.

  1. the front left from the direct impact.
  2. the rear right as my brain bounced to the back. (I have the same type of injury as “shaken baby syndrome”.)
  3. as the bruise in the rear right developed, it cut off the blood flow and killed a portion of my rTPJ, my right Temporoparietal Junction.

The timeline and effects of the three damages are unknown to me at this time. Maybe I’m better now?

Okay, enough words… the fun part now.  Tonight was “National Night Out”, I suppose this is a national event.. yet, in Jackson, the day is celebrated mostly by the B2 Neighborhood Watch group that have used the night for, perhaps a decade or more, a reason to gather the people at our local park and get to know each other.  Over years, neighbors and volunteers have come in and out of the neighborhood watch program (and their are several other active groups, in addition to the B2 area.)

Also, various other individuals and organizations have found value in attendance, our local police department and fire department are the most noticeable, giving tours of their vehicles and lights to children. Less noticeable, are dozens more volunteers handing out brochures for a variety of community organizations, preparing the tables and food, cooking and serving the food (a hot dog roast of course!)

I could try to imagine all the setup work, I know the volunteers all gathered at 4:30 (after a years worth of preparations,) to be ready for the event at 6. By time I arrived, maybe 6:15 or so, the entire park was full, and the parking lot too. I parked just a block away, yet that let me know that attendance is up. Perhaps in years past, I’ve come later, yet I do not recall not being able to fit into the parking lot before.

In any case, a smorgasbord people! Hundreds? Yeah, probably under a thousand. As soon as I came in I saw one person I knew after another. So many people, and so many memories to be recalled with each, depending on the topics.  First I ran into Cheryl Ragland, when I first met her she was on the Human Relations Commission, and perhaps still is, and she is also now a GVI (Group Violence Intervention) Coordinator for the City of Jackson.

GVI was a new program to reduce gun violence that began when I was on council. It was not the plan that I favored. At the time, another councilmember was a strong proponent of a “ShotSpotter” program, a series of audio sensors that would detect and geolocate gunshots in near real time and provide that information to our police officers. However, as the votes went, ShotSpotter was not an available option and I’m pretty sure in the end, I agreed and voted for it.

I am not sure if GVI is reducing gun violence, yet we had to try something. Even if we tried something wrong, the Council can always revisit and see if the program is meeting its goals and is providing value to our community, and learn from whatever the full experience of the program is. I don’t know Cheryl well, yet I am glad we have her in that position. She is easy to talk to.

Moving on I saw Angie Gunn next, our current Ward 3 representative. I couldn’t even guess the first time I met her. I know her brother, her cousins, her nieces and nephews and have for years, them more than her. I know I go to Church with some of her family and as we both have some hispanic descent and have been in Jackson for sometime, our families have likely known each other for generations. I’m proud to have her as my City Council representative.

Arlene saw us and came to join our conversation, the three of chatted a bit more, then Arlene parted as I ended my conversation with Angie, then Arlene and I walked together for a while. Of any other member of council I have known, I cannot think of another person more personally invested in her ward. Some people see communities, cities even as a snapshot in time, with pie charts and line graphs to explain the population changes. Arlene tells a better story with a history of the neighborhoods, the ebbs and flows of change over time.

Freddie Dancy, Shane Laporte, so many good discussions (Shane seemed to excited to tell me about a plan coming soon to fruition.) At some point, I made it over to the food line and was happy to donate for the meal (that I didn’t have to cook!) I found a mostly empty table in the corner of the pavilion. While I sat, several people came and greeted me- it did feel very nice to be ‘out’ (and also, a HUGE fishbowl feeling, wondering how many people have read my blog? Have they read my BOOK!)

From talking with one person, I saw our Mayor approach from my right and acknowledged him as my conversation continued to my left, I also saw he was also partially engaged with someone behind me, yet I did not notice fully as I continued my conversation as well. At the same time, across the table from me, the spaces began to fill up with a full group of little ones. My conversation ending, I’d turned to the Mayor to catch him addressing the children.

Then it dawned on me (over a few seconds, as I stood and turned to see my surroundings,) that the Mayor’s wife had taken a seat at the table behind me and these were his children filling the space opposite of us. Just the other day I mentioned how I first knew our current Mayor, and at several events since I’d seen his family, yet I had never met them personally. With the totality of the event now in my mind, priorities kicked in.

I turned and sat and apologized to his wife. The first time I tried to say her name last year, I had slaughtered it. It is a unique and beautiful name. I introduced myself and asked for her to pronounce her name for me as I saw her, then I repeated it. I am glad I have now met her. With that complete, I stood again aside the Mayor at which point he introduced me to each of his daughters.

I am glad I have two sons. Two names, that is all. I usually don’t confuse them.  Five though? Today they even made it difficult, as their parents both agreed they usually sit in numerical order. Today, they did not and the name game bounced from the middle, far right, second from left, second to right, and the littlest at the far left. I think. For sure, the second from the right was the cutest of the bunch- when introduced she accompanied being named with a bright posed smile and a wavy fingers wave.

I am really glad the the B2 group has such devoted volunteers, it was Carrie’s repeat postings in their FB watch group the that got me to commit to attending, and kept up the reminders (all they way down to a few posts today as the volunteers gathered.)

I really hope this being an author thing works out to be somewhat profitable. Else, barring lawsuits, I’m really coming down to a lack of viable options. No worries, today I got done the things I needed to get done today- and even got a few past apologies off my list and met some great new people.

Time to rest.

Leave a Reply