The Art of Being Poor–2nd Edition

Written By: Jackie Weger - Mar• 07•17

Pennies to Dollars

What is “Poor” anyway?

Snip KrisKristine Kathryn Rusch aka Kristine Grayson who writes wonderful paranormal romances in addition to the popular blog kriswrites.com posted a telling article this week titled: Business Musings: Writer Finances Versus The Paycheck World. Kris is speaking of writers who made a mint early in our digital universe and now they don’t.  Back in 2011 and 2012, an indie author who ran a book FREE and  snagged Bookbub  could depend upon hitting bestseller stats, plus many saw royalties in the six figures. Here’s why: In 2012 a FREE download counted as a full sale/priced book when the free unit returned to priced on Amazon.  Then Amazon changed the algorithms that a free downloaded unit counted as one-tenth of a full sale/priced book. That leveled the playing field. Too, many of those books that hit the best seller lists did not measure up to what many readers consider Best Sellers.


Amazon Exclusive. Released at 99c for 30 days. Amazon sent out notices to my Amazon followers and that tipped the book into the #1 Slot in Hot New Releases for five days.

Few authors who snagged that best seller status in the early days managed to put later new releases into the stratosphere of best sellerdom after mid 2012 into 2013 once the algorithms changed.  Kris speaks to how those early winners, giddy with success, perhaps misused their lovely royalties, believing that the $$$ would continue to flow with each published book. Didn’t happen and now those authors are falling away.  She is dead on. I know several and they’ve gone back to their day jobs. It is hard to move books in our changed climate.  I have been monitoring downloads for three years. Downloads are falling…even popular authors with avid followers are finding it hard to move as many books as in the past. Our market has matured. Digital readers have matured.  To sell books an author has to get his/her book visible–in front of readers. Amazon is a virtual bookshelf. The only way to get  a reader to pull it, is P.R.O.M.O.T.I.O.N.

Which brings me to “what is poor anyway?” I can tell you a sloppy book with an abundance of errors will keep an author poor. We must invest in our books. That means quality covers, editing, proof reading, no mishaps in formatting. All of which costs $$$.  Savvy promotion costs money. Read about successful smaller promotions HERE  and HERE.

So.  How do you curb living expenses to create the funds you need to produce a quality book? As I told you in the first blog The Art of Being Poor, I was raised poor, married poor, had a slew of kids–which kept me poor. I do things to save $$ that others sneer at: Here are a few:

snip colgateI don’t buy paper towels. I use cloths–bought cheap at The Dollar Store. I reuse plastic slider bags if I haven’t stored chicken in them. I cut the bottoms off of toothpaste tubes and get another three days worth of toothpaste. Hey! The first time I recall brushing my teeth, it was with Colgate powder out of a tin. That tooth powder was fab. I soak mascara tubes in hot water to loosen the last bit of mascara. That works for a month. I put empty perfume bottles in my undie drawer. The fragrance lasts for weeks. I eat most meals at home. Breakfast is the cheapest meal to dine out. I buy underwear once a year only. When my boys were home, I bought socks all the same color. I buy one good pair of sandals every spring–usually Clarks. Liquid hand soap is nice, but bar soap lasts longer. I buy bar soap. I love Yardley and Dove. A box of salt is on my laundry shelf because a palm full is a cheap water softener.

If you own a cat, a dog and a man, you need air spray, because those guys can let bombs as lethal as WMDs. I make my own air spray. A few drops of oil of eucalyptus or civet mixed with 3 ounces of water in a small spray bottle does the trick. Shake it and spritz.  Lavender oil is nice, too, but for the creature emissions you need something stronger.  One $6 bottle of oil will last 3 to 6 months.

When I tote up what I’ve saved, I pop it into a jar on my desk. When I go to The H.E.B. or Kroger and get a receipt that I saved $14…no I didn’t. Isnip-money jar just didn’t spend it. When I get home, I pop that into my jar. NOW, it is saved. Call it tipping yourself for good behavior.

I love white, fitted shirts. They cost $60 new. When I feel the pull for a new shirt, I head to Goodwill and pick up a half-dozen for $20.

I don’t own department store credit cards. Not paying 21% interest on purchases. I do own two credit cards. One for emergencies and airline tickets. The other has no balance.

You will hear: Publish. Publish. Publish as many books as you can as fast as you can. Line ’em up. I don’t. I publish when I have the funds to do a good job for my book in production and once released, funds for promotion. Otherwise books just sit invisible on Amazon’s virtual shelf.

Here’s the bottom line. Only you know where you can curb expenses to build a little cash for your book production and promotions. Your lifestyle dictates what stays in your wallet or not. Do visit Business Musings: Writer Finances Versus The Paycheck World. Kris make a lot a sense and offers a heads up in ehow to use royalties earned. Smart lady.

Would love it if you followed me on Amazon.

Would love it if you followed me on Amazon.

I’m Jackie Weger @2017. Comments Welcome. If you can’t be nice, be articulate.


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  1. Julie Frayn says:

    This is an awesome bloody post. The men/dog/cat paragraph is going to hang with me longer than their emissions do. I am bad at the saving side, but good at the not spending. Going to try that, setting aside the saved funds as actual cash. I love shopping thrift stores. Got a silk Holt Renfrew blazer years ago, probably $4-500 bucks new. Paid $7.50… Yup.

  2. Thanks for being articulate!

  3. Good, sensible advice! I love lavender oil as an air-freshener but also use it for cleaning. Mix 1 part of distilled wine vinegar with 2 parts purified tap water in a spray bottle with a couple of drops of lavender oil and use to dust your house or clean your windows 🙂

  4. Emily Kaplan says:

    Thanks for the article! I love being thrifty. The man, not so much. That’s fine as long as he keeps on working.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Oh! I hear you! I once had a hubby who quit on a dime when we were in debt. I had to pay the debt off. Some men don’t have good sense. He didn’t give a fig about a good credit rating.

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