Monday, August 22, 2011

Writing on a Budget

Let's face it--writing is an expensive habit/hobby/second career. Royalties are nice, but stack up those payments against the money going out for basic supplies, not to mention marketing. It all adds up. There are, however, a few economic strategies that save a little bit--and these days, every little bit helps. Short of drilling for oil in your backyard, winning the lottery, or receiving an inheritance from a long-lost relative, you might consider these ideas:
  • Buy recycled ink cartridges.
  • Use the front and back of paper when making copies for critiquing, editing, etc.
  • Buy used writing books from Amazon.com or ABE Books--even with shipping, they're considerablly cheaper. Ebooks are a great bargain, too.
  • Send for/stop at visitors centers for free travel brochures from places you'd like to go but can't afford to--they provide great ideas for stories, settings, etc.
  • Watch for special offers for free shipping on office supplies--save the gas you'd spend looking for exactly what you want. I've had a great experience with Staples online.
  • Make your own marketing brochures--even with the cost of a good grade paper and the ink you come out ahead and with exactly what you want. 
  • Check VistaPrint for special FREE offers--postage is negligible. I get all my business cards this way.
  • Consider partnering with a friends to subscribe to one writing journal apiece and exchanging--or see which magazines are available at your local library. Some renewals will come with free gift subscription offers--a nice surprise for any writer.
  • Share gas/room with a friend for that writing conference you really want to attend. It's often a lot more fun that way, too.
  • If you like contests, set a limit for entry fees--mine is $10--and free is better. Make sure the contest is reputable.
  • Subscribe free to the Writer Beware Blog to keep an eye out for scams--seems like there's a new one every week!
  • Visit Michael's to look at their 10/$10 rack--a great way to stock up on gift basket items to use at book signings/sales and also a great source for those handy-dandy notebooks every writer needs to keep handy. 
  • Make your own signs for the windows of stores hosting your book signings. A package of good cardstock will go a long way.
  • Take advantage of every site offering an author page.
  • Watch for good sales on thumb drives--4GB is more than enough--and keep your work backed up in many places! Consider keeping at least one in a fireproof box or safe. Mozy also offers a free (limited) backup, and their paid subscription is reasonable.
  • Take your own pictures--a telephone call to get permission for use, if it's a commercial site, is a nice courtesy and might just net some interest in your writing project. Of course, sites like iStock and Fotolia are reasonable, too.
  • Learn to make your own book trailers. (There are other how-to sites out there, too.)
And, if anyone turns up a nose at your economies and homemade marketing products, just smile all the way to your next writing conference where you'll have some extra pennies in your pocket.

Then, when you become a best-selling author, just write a check and let someone else do the work! (But I think being creatively economic is a lot more satisfying/fun!)

1 comment:

Jannine Gallant said...

Some great tips here, Judy. I'll have to look into inexpensive contests. I can't justify spending $50 on a contest when my royalty checks aren't that big!