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Friday, November 26, 2010

How to Make Money as an Unpublished Writer

By David

For the purpose of this blog post: by “unpublished writer,” I mean a writer of literary fiction who wants to one day have a novel published by a publishing house.  

There are plenty of ways to make money. Being an unpublished fiction writer is not one of them. 

To provide you with a few tips on how to make a little extra cash, I’ve decided to list a few things I’ve done to earn money while trying to get published.

Become a paid blogger. 

Fashion blogger Bryanboy (image from his website)

Becoming a “paid” blogger costs no money but could require a substantial amount of your time. From my observations, some of the more popular blogs tend to be fashion blogs (The Sartorialist, Bryanboy), celebrity blogs (Go Fug Yourself, Perez Hilton), tech-based blogs (TechCrunch, Engadget) and political blogs (no idea). My blog (a fictional blog about a wannabe writer kid) belonged to none of these categories and made shit all.

Some ways to make money from blogging: Google AdWords, Associate Programs, product selling, sponsored advertising. 

Money I made from being a blogger: 13 bucks and a number of awards within the community.

Volunteer work. 

Random picture of sad dog

A terrible way to make money, but a great way to “give back to society”. I volunteered for a jazz festival once. I did nothing and was able to watch free jazz performances. They even gave me a free t-shirt, which I wear up to this day. 

Some ways to make money from volunteering: networking (meet people who can give you worthwhile opportunities in the future), good karma (if you have the right intentions, of course), stealing.

To find good volunteer opportunities in your city: Google

Money I made from volunteer work: I lost about thirty bucks from buying CDs by the artists.

Start a business. 

Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek (image from his website)

Though starting a business can require an intense amount of work, what you learn (and hopefully what you’ll eventually earn) can be worth it. 

The problem with starting a business is that the business will become your life. This could be great for a businessperson, but not so great for someone trying to get a literary novel published. You could be spending several late nights working on your business – nights that could have been spent developing your writing style and sending manuscripts to publishers. This being said, starting a business, sticking with it and actually enjoying what you’re doing with it could be a sign that you were destined to be a boss, and not a literary prodigy (unless you go on and write a book about your successes later on).  

Here’s where I’ll become a hypocrite: I started a nifty t-shirt design business with a friend a few years ago. Thanks to running the business, I am now lucky enough to have about a billion stories that have helped me develop my writing style. There are also people like Tim Ferriss who believe that not much work is actually required for running a business. His book, The 4-Hour Workweek, gives step-by-step advice on how to run a profitable business with little time so that you can enjoy what you’ve really always wanted to do. You can check it out and purchase it via Amazon here (I highly recommend it): 



There's also another book I'd like to recommend that a lot of my high brow artsy fartsy friends would want to kill me for. My designer colleague cringes and threatens to shoot my face whenever I mention it. It's Rich Dad Poor Dad, a book by Robert Kiyosaki.

Sleazy front cover aside, this book has sold millions worldwide because of the value of its content: it pretty much reminds normal folk that they too can become financially free. Although it lacks the step-by-step preciseness and humour of The 4-Hour Workweek, it's a great "starters" book for anyone looking for much needed inspiration and guidance when it comes to the art of moneymaking.   

Money I made from starting a business: a lot (though most of it was invested back in the business). 

Join literary contests.

A great way to get your name out there and to add some credibility to your manuscript pitch letters is to win literary contests. Some contests even offer book publishing deals. One warning: you may not win. If you haven’t figured this out already, art (and the judges who dictate what good art is) can seem unjustly subjective and cruel. But don’t let the horrendous pain of rejection fool you: there are plenty of brilliant published authors out there who have never won a literary contest in their lives. If you don’t win, fuck ‘em. You’re an artist, remember? You’re above all of that. 

Some great contests in Australia and around the world: Young Writers Award (Queensland), the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, John Marsden Prize for Young Australian Writers (I've come third in this contest).

What I’ve made from various contests: a thousand bucks, a director wanting to make a film out of one of my stories (but eventually failing to gain enough funding), a digital camera, my stories published in various... publications.

Submit pieces to literary journals 

Like with literary contests, submitting your pieces to literary journals are a great way of nurturing your craft and building your rep. Strategise well and target your submissions: think about the editors of the journal and what type of work they publish. Once again, a rejection from them doesn’t necessarily mean your work is shit – it could possibly mean that their tastes lie elsewhere (or it could still mean your work is shit). Nonetheless, if they provide constructive feedback, analyse what they say objectively and ask yourself, “do their criticisms make sense or are they just too simple-minded to recognise the genius in my writing?” 

A couple of literary journals in Australia and Singapore: Meanjin, Going Down Swinging, Ceriph.

Get a bloody job! (What my ex-girlfriend told me)

Charles Bukowski (image from his Wikipedia)

The more unbearable your job is, the more drive you’ll have to become a paid novelist. Bukowski’s Post Office and Factotum were based on his experiences in dead-end jobs. Working in a butchery (terribly), delivering pizzas (miserably), selling mobile phones as a telemarketer (pathetically) and kissing a lot of arse (perfectly) are just but some of the jobs that have helped me fund my life. 

My most truly enjoyable experiences come from working as a copywriter. Being a copywriter has helped me do what I love most (which is to write) and be recognised for it. I’ve also been privileged enough to edit a lot of other people’s copy – a practice that has helped me be more critical and objective of my own work. Don DeLillo, Aldous Huxley, Joseph Heller and Salman Rushdie, amongst others, were once copywriters. 

The issue with being a copywriter is just that – you will be a copywriter. In my case, being a copywriter has involved me working late nights and weekends for a company that will not remember my name. When I’d reach home, all I’d want to do is drink my worries away and sleep. So I’d drink my worries away and sleep. I didn’t work on any novels or short stories and I didn’t end up reading more books or researching good publishing houses or literary agents. I was too tired. All that I’d ended up thinking about were pay days, winning advertising awards and being promoted. 

How to get a job: Google, classifieds, friends, apply for AWARD School

Money I’ve made from working: thousands of dollars. 
Money I’ve lost from drinking to forget about work: thousands of dollars.
Time I’ve lost complaining about work: thousands of hours. 

Invest in stuff.

Invest in things that will get you further in life. Invest in writing courses, master classes and in Matthew Reilly’s case, invest in publishing you own novel. 

Investments I’ve made in my own life: AdSchool, masterclasses, writers’ festivals, contests, music CDs, stocks, high interest bank accounts, books, time. 

How these investments have helped: AdSchool has helped me become a better copywriter. Masterclasses have helped me gain advice and support (as well as recommendations) from established authors and publishers. Writers’ festivals have given me a clearer insight into how the industry works. Contests have made me realise that I have a chance at all of this. Music has helped me enhance my writing ability in more ways than I could fit into this blog post. The study of equity investing has helped me understand the core of capitalism a little more. Books... well, I don’t need to explain how books have helped me. 

Time is something I’ve either wasted or spent well, depending on how you look at it. I’ve sacrificed a lot of nights out with friends and partners to stay home to work on projects instead. Because of all this work I’ve done, I’ve received scholarships to China and Japan, my short stories have been published in journals and magazines, I’ve heard commercials I’ve written play on the radio both in English and Chinese, I’ve met business tycoons, I’ve written three novels, I’ve given lectures and I’ve performed some of my written work in front of hundreds of people.  Because of all my work I’ve lost friends, I’ve lost loved ones, I’ve lost sleep, I’ve lost meals and most importantly, I’ve lost time. What is time? Is there a set rule to how it should be spent? Calculate how many hours you’ll have to live until you turn ninety – you’ll realise that the number isn’t that impressive. 

I still do not have a novel published.


And now a word from the bros:

We're building an awesome video game app, so we need cash bad! Please help this nutso project of ours come to life by making a small PayPal donation. With your donation, you'll be able to help us hire developers and put a bright new game into phones and tablets worldwide.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

White Ribbon Day

by Alvin

You'll have to excuse me as I get all potty-mouthed, but it really is worth the embarrassment to show support for a great cause such as White Ribbon Day; men saying NO to violence towards women.

25 November

It really is great to see a cause that's targeted towards men (not saying women can't take part in taking the oath & stamping out violence and abuse - by all means all sexes unite!); a promise that enables men to be empowered, courageous and vigilant in the watch to never: be silent, be okay, to perpetrate or to ignore violence and abuse against the XX chromosomed we share mankind with.

So I urge you all, my fellow human beings & real men, support this worthwhile cause: Buy a White Ribbon, support the events & initiatives in your countries, and if you're in Australia: make an online pledge by swearing the oath @ & visit to find out what great happenings are occurring to commemorate & rally like-minded advocates for this promise, this duty, & this stand against something a real MAN would never become.

Not violent, not silent...

I swear.



And now a word from the bros:

We're building an awesome video game app, so we need cash bad! Please help this nutso project of ours come to life by making a small PayPal donation. With your donation, you'll be able to help us hire developers and put a bright new game into phones and tablets worldwide.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cool Rings to rule them all... part 2!

by Alvin

Okay, so I fought the great, time stealing giant Assignmentus & defeated him atop the peak of "I Owned You 2010" - gaining; in the process, all the spare time stolen from me.  

So to celebrate, I've peered into the abyss information highway that is the Internets, & have sourced some pretty nifty examples of finger jewellery that will get you setting trends, put you on V.I.P. lists, and generally kicking ass & asking question later.

So tell me, what do you think of...

Dreamhouse rings

As a wannabe architect & building designer, I would think this would be perfect for such a person practising professionally in said industry.  Something egotistically grand and flashy to complement that bespoke tux, worn at that black tie event where your up for nomination for that coveted & prestigious: Pritzker Award.

Inquiries for this hand treasure can be directed to fine jewellery maker: Philippe Tournaire.

Serpent Nail rings

Now here's something different: If you're that Mark Anthony, wondering what to give your dear Cleopatra on her birthday.  Look no further!  There's a little irony in that - but hell - buy one for each finger & you've got a set that'll make other Egyptian, reincarnated rulers envious any moment in time.

Interested?  Hop down to Bijules & get that interest looked at.

Portrait Projection ring

I went to a wedding yesterday & remembered this ring I found out about ages ago.  Definitely an awesome engagement or even anniversary ring of sorts.  Or if that isn't your thing, you can apply different uses for such a novel invention.  I'm thinking off putting an image of the bat symbol in the ring, then whenever crime is afoot - shine a flashlight through it and the monocle; against a rendered wall or thick, very, very low hanging cloud cover, & presto!  The Dark Knight Rises!

Ask nicely & you may receive from Luke Jerram.

Antique, Ring Pistol

How awesome is this!  Sadly it's an antique (a modern replica of original, french? pistol rings from the 1800s? or earlier?), so it's definitely not in production any more, i.e. hard to find and come by unless your the sort that has the Spear of Destiny, Excalibur & 70% of the true Noah's Ark in your own private museum.  

Though this ring is very much a working firearm that served as a spy weapon & personal defence tool (I assume), it was far from perfect: the powder burn of the firing would hurt the shooter & the accuracy would be terrible.  But who cares right?  All for the glory of looking the Classy, 18th or 19th century Bad-Ass!

So if this has hooked you, and you would sell your soul to get one of these... 

Digby & Iona are selling a sterling silver imitation of sorts called the "Black Spot Pistol Ring" that has a real moving trigger & chamber with an included brass bullet to further look the part, but (for obvious reasons) does not actually fire - so you'll just have to leave that duel of honour for another time.

Stun ring

So it looks like I'm gonna end with a trend, pistol ring kicked ass right?  But if manslaughter isn't your thing, these babies make beautiful alternatives.  Considerately available in a gold and silver plating, these rings are able to disperse a close range spray of pepper spray, spray... spray, spray - Sorry, tongue tied - at a press of a trigger at the side of the ring.  James Bond material huh?  great self-defence idea for those late night joggers who risk it bit by bit by going further into those dangerous tracks, as well as anyone who has a genuine stalker ready to pounce.

A one use item - refill cartridges & the ring in question can be sought at StunMaster.

Theme Angel Dust ring

Stunning & unique, I don't see too many ring designs that incorporate wings, so this is a sight that is different in design.  Women can wear it with flawless victory, though men (there will be a few) will find a way to make this work for them.  The actual band is behind the finger, leaving a clean band less look at the front; wings hovering on the finger by magical means it seems!

fly over to Sowat and tell em I sent ya.



And now a word from the bros:

We're building an awesome video game app, so we need cash bad! Please help this nutso project of ours come to life by making a small PayPal donation. With your donation, you'll be able to help us hire developers and put a bright new game into phones and tablets worldwide.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The architect's perfect design accompaniment

by Alvin

So many of you have asked me (I lie, no one has... *sob*):
"What codex of stimulus do you leech off from to aid in your fantastical building designs?"

Well my good man, I'm glad you asked.  I tend to use a mixture of google images and any relevant books about inspiring buildings.  But one fateful day; once again chickening out into talking to the pretty clerk at student services.  I wistfully happened upon an architectural design book in the library that - in time - became the best, creativity stimulating book I could ever have been graced with.

I'm sure there are others like it - but for a noob like me who is too proud to rely heavily on architectural books, this was my first introduction to something other than just photos of awesome houses on a playdate with heavy, relevant text.

"1000 Ideas by 100 Architects" is the name and literally is what it says it is... is.

Collating the wisdom from 100 architects, this book displays it all: photos of awesome building designs/landscape designs/designs/designs/etc + some helpful tips and concepts (visualised in said photos) behind what one should consider when designing.

Its not heavy on text and is juxtaposed with pictures and photos galore; sort of like reading perfect architectural porn: you want the pictures and minimal text that's to the point.

So this is my recommendation if building design gets you randy & you're looking for a one off book that solves it all.



And now a word from the bros:

We're building an awesome video game app, so we need cash bad! Please help this nutso project of ours come to life by making a small PayPal donation. With your donation, you'll be able to help us hire developers and put a bright new game into phones and tablets worldwide.