How not to earn a living working from home

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Having just now finished, I mean just this very minute, having just now finished a two-year writing project, I think I’ll… write for a little while!

I estimate that I spent about 300 hours over the past few weeks preparing my indexes. In that amount of time I probably could have written a paperback romance novel, which would have been far less stressful and far more lucrative.

The moral here is that you must never, ever decide to write a reference text. The project took me—again this is a vague estimate—took me 3,000 hours. (For comparison, a full-time, 40-hour job constitutes 2,080 hours in a year.) That’s a lot of weekends, evenings, holidays, and vacations devoted to a book that will, if I’m lucky, net me $2500. You do the math.

No, really. You do the math. I’m not gonna. Let’s just say that my first job, giving tuba lessons at the age of fourteen, paid significantly better wages per hour, and I didn’t even have to report my taxes on that. (If, um, anyone wants tuba lessons? Let me know, okay?)

It is at this point that I will accept congratulatory alcohol and food. I will make my point very plainly here, for any of you might have difficulty reading subtext: For the the first time in two years I have a free weekend—no library, no bookstore, no manuscript—and if I have to spend it huddled quietly in my apartment, drinking wine from a box and eating bad Chinese takeout that I had to buy for myself, lonely, unloved, and unmissed, in the rain (I assume it would be raining), well, be it on your own heads if you can live with that knowledge.

So there is no confusion, I will also accept congratulatory alcohol and food when the book is actually published.

I checked my book on Amazon again, and while my sales rank has slipped to two-million-somethingth place, I am very pleased to see that it now has some decent recommended purchases under the “Customers who bought related items also bought” section. Last time I looked, it was all yucky generic titles. This evening I looked, and…

…it was all graphic novels. Awesome. Not relevant, not related to my book whatsoever, completely useless really, but awesome. If you are thinking of buying Women’s Nonfiction: A Guide to Reading Interests, then according to Amazon you may also be interested in these titles:

  • Northlanders v. 1. This is a graphic novel about a Viking. I liked it okay.
  • Fables v. 12. I love the Fables series. I gotta read volume 12, now that you mention it.
  • 100 Bullets v. 13. This series rocks. We just got v. 13 at the library today. I totally need to read it, but since the series has a complicated plot, I really ought to re-read the first twelve volumes… o’course, I have time now to do that kind of thing. Whee!
  • DMZ v. 7. dunno, haven’t read it
  • The Walking Dead v. 10. Eh. I read the first volume. Not impressed.
  • DMZ v. 6. Twice Amazon recommended this series. Maybe I should look into it.

Apparently someone with good reading tastes (except for The Walking Dead, I thought it was hokey) has pre-ordered my book. I hope this knowledge will be able to sustain my spirits through the weekend, though actually that won’t be necessary, what with all the celebrations and all, do I make myself clear?


12 responses »

  1. William Bailey

    With the exception of walking dead , these are all vertigo books published by DC comics. I read two, DMZ and Fables. Brian Wood , I think, wrote the Northlanders and DMZ. I did not read Northlanders because it is about Vikings. I have read the first 25 issues of The Walking Dead and enjoyed it. However, I did not continue the series for fiancial reasons. but it is vertigo worthy.100 bullets made me angry with it’s 26 thissue or so and I dropped the book. But it remains a popular Vertigo title until its end.

  2. Yay!! Whoo-hooo! Congratulations!!

  3. the lesbrarian

    William.The only logical conclusion I can draw is that Vertigo ought to ask me to write a series for them. I like zombies as much as the next person, more probably, but I just wasn’t impressed with The Walking Dead. 100 Bullets, on the other hand, is one of my favorite series… and if issue 26 is the one I’m thinking of, I liked it ESPECIALLY because it was in French, the one language other than English that I can kind of sort of read. Just today over lunch I was re-reading King Henry V, and I got to enjoy that same smug sense of satisfaction during the scenes written in French.

  4. the lesbrarian

    Jeanette: This means that now I have time to take you out for your birthday dinner. I’m only like six weeks late.

  5. You don’t have to take me out any time soon! Your finishing a huge book project took a *lot* more energy and intellect than my hanging around the planet for 51 years. I’ve been reading through the chapter you gave me. Wow, I’m impressed (not that I would think you’d have done a half-assed job or anything.) Really good work!

  6. the lesbrarian

    J: I guess we owe each other a dinner then. I can roll with that. I’d also like to point out, again, as I do on every possible occasion, that you have been hanging around the planet for twenty-two years longer than I have. Congrats. :-)…thought you were gonna recycle that chapter.

  7. eleemosenary arcihvist

    Hey there.Don’t let dust accumulate on ye old keyboard, but while you savor the well earned moment,save some jobs in the Portuguese Cork industry, an eminently Quercus-friendly one;only peels em every 6 or 7 years. Invest an extra couple bucks to acquire a French Burgundy in a bottle.Enviornmentally acceptable positive global econnomic action AND you can save the cork to inspire visions of Villas along the route of the Tour d’France even use the bottle as a flower vase.May the Muse be with you,live well Mademoiselle!Raise a glass to Walter Cronkite he’s on a new assignment,too. Ces’t la Vie and out-4-now tgb/EAps avoid operating heavy machinery & clean the cat box before opening any cork stoppered Burgundy.Na?

  8. the lesbrarian

    E. archivist: wine with a cork? That’d be a pretty big step up the social ladder. I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

  9. Wait–is there a a point when you won’t accept "congratulatory alcohol and food"? Maybe it would save time if you just tell us when that moment is.

  10. the lesbrarian

    Lafriend,No. There is not a point where I will refuse congratulatory alcohol and good.

  11. This is just an assumption on my part, but perhaps the library preordered your book and those graphic novel purchases were also made by the library via Amazon? Hmmm!Congrats on FINALLY BEING DONE! WOOOOOOOHOO!

  12. the lesbrarian

    Cara,Thing is, the library hasn’t ordered all these books. I would know. 🙂


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