Writing Pays This Much…

Hey guys. I have self-published a book and my second book just came out, published by Future House Publishing.

I must be rich, right?

Nope. Let’s talk.

I treat writing like a job. It’s the job I want, the job I love, and probably the job I’m best at. What can I say? I write lies pretty well.

What I’m saying is that I take writing seriously. As should anyone who is working toward making their dream a reality.

But let’s talk numbers.

The concept for Beat came to me as I jogged very early one January morning in the snow and cold. I spent about 10 hours over the following week fleshing it out, throwing ideas at my wife, and finally settling on some pretty basic plot lines.

Now, keep in mind that Beat is about 90,000 words, give or take a thousand.

So I went to work. When I’m rolling and I know where scenes are going and what comes next, I type about 1200 words/hour.

Doing the math, that equals 75 hours of work. Plus the ten hours of fleshing things out.

85 hours, right? That’s all it took to write the book you are all going to buy right now, right?

No.

Remember how I said “when I’m rolling etc”? That happens about 10% of the time. Beyond that, I am plotting, doing ad-hoc research, character mapping, scene mapping, brainstorming and lots of other stuff.

So really, it would be fair to say I end up with about 400 words/hour of actual writing time.

New math: 90,000 words divided by 400 words/hour = 225 hours. Plus the initial 10.

That’s probably a fair guess. That’s 235 hours of FIRST drafting. That’s four months of writing between two and four hours a night for four or five nights a week.

Now let’s talk rewriting.

I put Beat aside for about a half year while I worked on other books. Then I picked it back up, put about 100 hours of rewriting into it, moved house, and started working with a critique group.

We’re at 235+100=335 hours so far.

Critique group time spent= about six months workshopping Beat. We probably averaged about three weekly meetings/month during that time. That’s 18 meetings of about 1.5 hours. Sure, not all of that time was spent on Beat, but it was work toward the goal of a great draft of Beat, so it counts.

27 hours of critique group.

Of course I also spent significant time rewriting and editing and re-everything-ing Beat, probably in the range of 10 hours for each meeting we had.

Making another 180 hours.

The math so far: 335 + 27 + 180 = 542 hours spent on making Beat awesome. Yes, all of this time was necessary, because first drafts are not for public consumption. There’s all kinds of great stuff in a first draft, but it’s not a finished book yet.

Then I sent Beat around to agents and publishers. I spent 50+ hours on this over three months.

Bringing us to 600 hours.

I’m not done.

I set Beat aside, having gotten no traction due to the industry agreement two years ago that the market had enough dystopian YA. I call shenanigans on that- dystopian has been huge for years. 1984 and Brave New World anyone?

But then I went back early this year and spent about 20 hours fixing a few issues I still wanted to repair in Beat. 

620 hours.

I sent it to Future House Publishing, thinking that a scrappy, innovative publishing house like them were probably the best place for this book. They accepted it.

I spent 30-40 hours rewriting, reviewing, editing, and polishing Beat for publication. Let’s say thirty for fun’s sake.

So I put around 650 hours into creating and getting Beat into your hands.

There are 2080 work hours in a normal 52-week work year. I put a third of a year’s worth of work hours into Beat. 

Where’s my third of a year salary for that work? I mean, I sacrificed play time, time with family, sleep, hobby time, exercise, and more. Sounds like a job, doesn’t it?

Do you know how much I’ve made off of Beat so far?

Nothing. I’ll get royalties in about another 5.5 months. And so far, with maybe 50 copies of Beat sold at the high price of 99 cents, and I’m making at best 8 cents per copy at this price, I’ve reached the extraordinary earnings of $4.

650 hours of work. Hard, challenging work. The kind of work I love, to be sure, but work that takes effort and sacrifice. Work where I look around while doing it and know that getting paid for it is unlikely, but is the absolute goal.

So no, I’m not rich from my books. Not yet. I am looking to get paid, but if that was all I wanted, I’d go flip burgers. It pays better. For now. The point being of course that I love writing and writing is my career of choice. Burger flipping is not my career of choice.

But I will keep writing good stuff and you’ll keep reading and talking about my good stuff and this thing will happen. Within five years, I’ll be writing full time, making enough to support my family.

What can you do to help? Remember that writing is a job. It’s my first job, and my day job is where I’m moonlighting. And keep reading my books. Buy them, borrow them, share them– I don’t care. Just read them and tell people you love them. I love writing books and I think you love reading books- I think this is the beginning of something beautiful.

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BEAT on June 18 and a CONTEST

Hey everyone. Much silence of late here, since I’ve been focusing on:

  1. Starting a new job in Seattle with Amazon
  2. Moving the family from Utah to Seattle (sell the house, buy a house, blah, blah, blah)
  3. Starting work on a new Old West Urban Fantasy novel, currently titled Dragon Hunters
  4. GETTING A BOOK DEAL AND NOW BEAT IS COMING OUT IN A WEEK!

And I’ve been more active on my Facebook author page than here. But this website is still the best place to get everything you need that is at all related to me, this guy, Jared Garrett, and my stories!

So with Beat coming out on June 18th (on Kindle only for now- the paperback is soon to come too!), my publisher, Future House, is running a really cool cover reveal contest. You just have to guess what the book is about on one of these places, and you’re entered.

1. Facebook: http://bit.ly/BeatReveald1

2. Twitter: http://bit.ly/BeatReveald1t

3. Google+: http://bit.ly/BeatReveald1gp

Now, I should say that the cover is pretty dang cool. I think everyone will love it. But you’ll love the book even more, and what’s better than free books?

Also, let’s make a splash! Share this post everywhere and hand out donuts to everyone you know who participates and shares.

Disclaimer: Author and author's page makes no offer to provide said donuts but really really really encourage you to do this anyway because everyone loves donuts or at least donuts that aren't plastered in coconut. Just saying.

So go to Facebook and comment and share. Then go to Twitter and reply and then retweet. Then go to Google+ and notice how actually cool it is and comment and share.

Kermit flail

Yay!

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My Tomb Rolls Recipe

I make Tomb Rolls for Easter. These are rolls that, when they’re done and you open them, have a nifty open space in the middle.

Empty space. Like Christ’s tomb. So Tomb Rolls.

Here’s the recipe. The water and yeast are the only exact amounts. Everything else, I don’t really measure but have estimated for the purposes of this recipe. This recipe will make around 24 rolls.

Ingredients
2 cups warm, not quite hot, water
1/2 cup olive oil (or melted butter- don’t use margarine because gross)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice (or yogurt-it helps the chemical reaction in the gluten)
1 tbsp active dry yeast
whole wheat flour (I dunno, six cups? four cups?)
white flour (enough to make the dough the right consistency)
24 large (not the huge ones) marshmallows

Procedure

  1. Put water, oil, sugar, salt, lemon juice, and yeast in a bowl. Mix until really well combined.
  2. Let it sit until the yeast is clearly working: the mixture will be milky and have visible places where the yeast is growing.
  3. Add whole wheat flour, one cup at a time and mixing well between each cup, until the mixture is the consistency of just cooked, thick oatmeal. Let it sit for ten minutes.
  4. Add white flour, one cup at a time etc, and mix in and then knead until the consistency can be worked with. A good test is to squeeze some between your thumb and forefinger. If it is the softness of an earlobe, you’re good.
  5. Put dough into a greased/oiled bowl and cover. Allow to about double in size.
  6. Divide into 24 equal balls. I go for about 50 grams per dough ball (yes I weigh them).
  7. Grease a baking pan. I use a stoneware pan. It needs about a half inch+ of height on the side.
  8. One at a time, take a dough ball, flatten it in your hand, place a marshmallow in the center, and wrap the dough around the marshmallow. The marshmallow will keep the ball round. Pinch and seal the dough ball closed on the bottom and put it on the greased pan. Do this for all of the dough balls.
  9. Cover the pan of rising rolls with plastic wrap.
  10. Let rise for about 30 minutes, or as much time as it takes the rolls to nearly double in size.
  11. Bake in an oven preheated to 350F for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown.
  12. Let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Then serve.
  13. Open the rolls to reveal the empty tomb. Enjoy the slight gooeyness left by the melted marshmallows.

Pretty easy, no?

If you have extra dough, make a loaf of bread!

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Help Me Support Operation Underground Railroad

Friends and fans, I need your help supporting a cause I’ve been wishing I could support more. It’s a group called O.U.R.- Operation Underground Railroad.

This is an organization that is dedicated to seeking out and rescuing kidnapped children from slavery– all too often from sex slavery.

Here’s their website:

https://www.ourrescue.org/

Find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Operation-Underground-Railroad/1562713090633117

And on Twitter: https://twitter.com/OURrescue

Here is a video of them rescuing 12 child slaves.

So I am going to donate every penny, every dollar– everything I make from sales of BEYOND THE CABIN for the rest of February to this group.

I’m not going to wait for the royalties to arrive either, I’ll simply total things up and send this group the money.

I need you to share this as far as you can. I love these guys and want to give them as much money as possible.

Here’s the Amazon link to BEYOND THE CABIN: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Cabin-Jared-Nathan-Garrett/dp/1503192989

The best way to help is to simply share a link to this post. I’ve had some wonderful people help spread the word about O.U.R., but without a link about this effort and also missing a link to the book on Amazon. Thus, no money!

Let’s see what we can do. I’ll update you with tallies at least daily.

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Why is Pornography Bad?

Pornography. It seems like it’s more and more becoming the subject of conversation, particularly on social media. And with stupendous organizations, such as OUR Rescue, freeing sex slaves and an absurd BDSM movie like Fifty Shades of Grey slated for wide release, it’s clear there are still a lot of opposing views about it.

You of course know that pornography and sex-trafficking are totally linked, right? They’re linked partly in that the word pornography is a modern variation, essentially, of prostitute. They’re also linked in that frequent users of pornography tend to drive the market for sex-trafficking. What’s more, a large number of the actors in pornographic content, particularly the girls, are forced into this work as slaves.

Here’s a link for more details on that: Connections Between Pornography and Sex Trafficking.

You also have studies coming out that show that pornography addiction works a lot like drug addiction, activating the same brain centers and hormones as drugs. It’s an illness. More studies are showing that frequent consumption of pornography is damaging to the psyche, to relationships, and to society. Heck, even GQ- an otherwise almost entirely useless magazine- published a short piece: Ten Reasons Why You Should Quit Watching Porn.

Then there are the religious reasons to not consume pornography. Here are some:
1. It is disrespectful and demeaning of God’s daughters in that it objectifies them and defines them simply as sex objects. All members of the family of God deserve respect, love, and support.
2. Viewing pornography violates laws regarding chastity: that men and women should only have sexual relationships with the man or woman to whom they’re legally married.
3. Viewing pornography debases and cheapens the extraordinary gift of a sexual relationship. This relationship provides opportunities for women and men to be sacredly intimate, as well as to make children.
4. Continuing number 3, viewing pornography is a perversion of the commandment to multiply and have families. The sexual relationship makes kids unless action is taken to prevent such a thing. It also brings husband and wife closer, so that builds and strengthens families too.

I’m sure there are other religious arguments against pornography. Please feel free to list them in the comments.

What these religious arguments boil down to is that viewing pornography is a sin. Now, that leads me to ask, what is ‘sin?’

I’m not a religious authority. I am very devoted to my faith and to the church that I belong to. This devotion to the promises I’ve made has been the prime drive behind most of my choices and actions over the last 22 years. I’ve studied doctrine, pondered a lot, and prayed, much like millions of other religious folks.

I proudly claim the doubts that have been a part of my religious journey, and which evolve and are replaced with new questions even today.

So now back to ‘sin.’ What is it? It’s hard to really just define it, so we often try to compare it to something. You’ve got the metaphor of sin being a dirtying element to our souls. When we sin, we become unclean and no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. So we have to have our soul washed clean through the blood of the Lamb: Jesus Christ.

But I’ve been unclean and have felt the undeniable presence of God. I’ve been at my very lowest, my very weakest, my most humbled and feeling absolutely filthy– and I have felt God’s Spirit, comfort, and guidance. And frankly, Christ in both his mortal and then resurrected form stood in the presence of unclean people. You know what else? We’re commanded to be perfect, to aspire to perfection in this life, but we and God know that we won’t make it. So we’re going to be in His presence while imperfect and unclean. He’s not going to turn us away, because remember: He loves us. All of us.

Thus, I’m not satisfied with the metaphor of sin being a dirtying element. And I think the use of language like ‘unclean’ is a good try, but ultimately a human, imperfect try at describing how sin affects our relationship and proximity with God.

But it’s still undeniable that pornography is bad, despite what some sex therapists try to tell us. It’s still certain that consuming pornography affects us on every level: spiritual, emotional, and physical. And for religious people who believe in making and keeping promises of ‘worthiness,’ consuming pornography often takes a very profound emotional toll on them.

On us, I should say. Yes, I’m revealing a thing here. I spent many years addicted to pornography. I am no longer. Addiction experts push the idea of ‘Once an addict, always an addict,’ and while I believe that this is partly true, I know with certainty that we can be totally and completely healed of addiction. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to be on our guard, but it does mean that the burden of this addiction and the powerlessness that accompanies it can be removed and we can be made whole. I know this.

And that leads me perfectly to what I believe is so bad, spiritually and emotionally, about pornography. I believe when we consume pornography, we know that we are doing something contrary to what we know is right. And when the addiction casts its spell over us, we feel less. We feel inadequate. We feel consumed by secrets. We feel that this secret, which so many refer to as a filthy habit, defines us.

Which becomes a vicious, disempowering cycle. And I think we can change the way we talk about pornography and addiction to pornography, and thus help thousands of people really understand how to free themselves from it.

I’m going to end this post now, but I’ll be back. Let me leave some thoughts with you before I go: Why do we tell our society to stop objectifying women, and men sometimes, while at the same time making people feel out of place for trying to overcome pornography addiction? Odd dichotomy? What is that mixed signal doing to people?

Why do we make those struggling to overcome pornography consumption feel terrible about the temptation it offers? Temptation is not wrong. How we handle temptation is where we can get in trouble.

Me being attracted to women is not wrong. Me allowing that attraction to determine my behavior is wrong.

Help me get my next post out quicker: What do you think about the sin metaphor of ‘dirty?’ Can you think of a better one? A worse one?

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