Monday, August 6, 2012

All These Confessions Make Me Nervous

I've tried not to hate on writers who spam their books constantly because I knew I might find myself in that same position one day. I knew very well that I could find myself with a greater understanding than I had when I was getting annoyed with the "look how great my book is, go buy it" tweets that would fill my feed. Well, that day has arrived. Sort of. But don't worry, I haven't started spamming...

I have been down on my luck as of late. Due to my health issues, I can't get a "normal" job. So I work from my home editing and writing. As a hobby, I do crafts and furniture refinishing. (There's something to be said for using power tools to relieve stress.) These all help pay my bills. But lately, they have been falling short, and I've felt the pressure of not having enough work coming in and not selling enough of my other pieces.

There are a million things I could do to rectify the gaps in my finances, and trust me, those are in the works. One, I could be more open about the fact that I edit. As of right now, it's barely a mention in my bio on Twitter. (The one reason I haven't said much about my editing services is because my website isn't up yet, and it sounds a bit amateur to shout, "Hey, I edit! Email me!). Most of my clients were born from writing friendships that I've acquired and those they have recommended to me. And this is enough to get me by. But, that is all it has been doing, getting me by. I drive a beat up old Honda that's recently broken down, and in my panicked "Oh my God, I don't have a car" state, I added a Donate button to my blog. (Top left corner of the blog, right above all your shining, following faces. In the meantime, here's a picture of my car.)

Hey, it looked like this when I bought it. If it has AC/Heat, good gas mileage, and runs I couldn't care less how it looks.
I can't tell you how tragic that day was. It was rather painful. What was more painful was tweeting about adding the donate button. I hung my head in shame. Even in the one tweet that said I had added a donate button, I felt like I had fallen into the "spammer" category. That I had lost my integrity in the field.

But since that first tweet, I've been checking my numbers, seeing if anyone has donated. Only an act of good faith. And it's killing me, I want to tweet, "Hey look, I've got a Donate button!" but I haven't. All the while I'm screaming in my head, "Please, pay it forward, be kind. I need this." I want to boast about how I've supported indie projects and donated to many kickstarters, even if it's just a dollar. Even typing that for the world to see, I feel like I'm throwing away the good spirit in which I gave it. I didn't do it to win some sort of "good person" campaign. I did it because I wanted to support others. Because I believe we all have a chance. We all deserve a chance. And the projects I donated to were people who had talent and were trying to create something, but just didn't have the financial backing.

Now, I look at my feed and I see people spamming their books and I find myself praying that they are not in the same position as I am.
Reading back through this post, I can't help but think I sound pathetic. I've probably rolled my eyes at myself at least six times. And that's a lot for a single post. My point is not that you should go donate to me. I have two far more important things for you to see.
Here's what you should get from this:
  1. You never know what people are going through. If you hate the spamming, just think about what they might be struggling with. Maybe they are posting about their books because they really need to pay the water bill or buy some diapers or as it is in my case, buy parts to fix a car. You never know.
  2. Pay it forward. We all support each other in RT's and FB posts etc. But honestly, the money has to come from someone somewhere. So donating or buying a book helps. And yes, spending less than a cup of coffee to support a fellow human being is worth it, and I hope for all that's good in humanity, that you feel the same way too.
Basically, a lot of us tend to glaze over when people ask for money. I've come to believe that people are either givers or non-givers. We approach the world with a biased view. We either see the world as just a bunch of hacks and scammers or lazy people unwilling to work for their money, or we see them as people who have suffered and could use a hand up. (While I realize this is an extremely polarizing statement, I say it in good faith that you will realize I'm not an idiot and I know there's gray area to this.) When you see a post for a Kickstarter or Indiegogo do you just glaze over? Or how about that book reviewer who spends most of their days reading just so they can save you the time of having to weed out the good books from the bad? Do you donate? A dollar? Five? Ten?

What seems like eons ago, these people would have been paid to have their reviews and articles printed in the paper. Now, they are running blogs for free in hopes that the interwebs will see their worth. If we go even farther back, we will see a time when artists and writers had patrons, who paid for their living expenses and gave them a stipend. But those days are long gone. Now, we have donate buttons, and we all have the opportunity to be patrons.

A grease monkey's heart. :)

Amendment to Original Post:
Okay, almost immediately after posting this, some of my clients were a bit upset for a variety of reasons. But, the main reason for discord came from the  fact that I failed to offer any information about my editing services. I didn't mention prices, I didn't mention what I do. I didn't even list my email for people to get in touch with me. Gasp!

The truth is, I didn't want to lose the integrity or message of the post by giving out my information. This post is genuinely about helping people. But, as it was pointed out to me, there are probably people out there who would want to know about what I do. If I was going to announce in a blog that I edit, shouldn't I make it clear how to get in contact with me? That's what they said, and I believe in my clients. So, here you go... all the dirty details.

  • My email is, feel free to contact me with any questions.
  • My prices vary based on the job, but I am willing to work with any budget, because I honestly cannot stand the idea of people not being able to afford getting the most out of their own work.
  • I offer typical editing services, but I personally like to work with the depth and strength of the characters and story. That's why in my Twitter bio I say I'm a great content editor.
  • I also have references available upon request, and I really do encourage you to ask them any questions you like about what I'm like to work with.


  1. I for one always do my bit to retweet and do the #FF bit as much as I can.
    It's good to help each other out, like you my new site needs as much pimping as possible.

  2. I will donate my services in whatever way I can. ie cigarette rolling, public relations, car magnets for publicity, retweets/regular tweets telling my 36 followers how awesome you are....because you are, and anything else you can think of.

  3. You have my sympathies, Ashley. I think many of us find ourselves in a similar situation at this moment in time. You just have to try and think of anything you can to get yourself out of the situation and I think your editing skills are your number 1 way of doing this. I wouldn't care if people think you're pushing yourself - that's what you have to do. And don't worry about a website - why not just set up a section about your editing on your blog and send out links to it on FB and twitter? It’s not spamming – it’s a genuine service that many people would be glad to avail of and you’re just letting them know that you offer that service. Anything I can do to help you get the word out, just let me know.