Bill-Paying Money

I’ve said in several places that my goal here is to make “bill-paying” money with my writing. But what exactly does that mean? How much money is that, exactly?

Time to define some terms and set some goals.

First I need to look at my break-even point.

Currently, it’s costing me about $25.00 a month to host the Book of Dark Places. That’s kind of steep, but given the nature of the content, a host with unlimited bandwidth is mandatory. The good ones cost around $25.00 a month. Still, I could, should… and probably will… move BoDP to something cheaper. But let’s assume nothing changes and look at things the way they are currently. That’s $25.00 a month for hosting. I just renewed the domain name for for $35.00 (1-year, expensive-ass Network Solutions). That’s $2.92 a month. I’m not sure how much the domain name for BoDP costs me, but it’s at one of those cheap registrars, so I’ll halve the amount. That’s 1.46 a month for that name. Now, hosting for is SUPPOSED to be free, but actually costs me $70.00 per year. All that adds up to $35.20.

So at $35.20 a month, my writing is a self-sustaining hobby. At $35.20 a month, I am not being compensated for any of my time and effort, but at least that effort isn’t COSTING me anything.

For the record, I’m not making anywhere near $35.20 a month from my writing right now. You’d’ have to move that decimal point to the left a space or two to get near my current monthly earnings. Also, note that the above figures do not include any taxes, advertising, or other business-related costs.

Ignoring those additional costs for now, I’ll take $35.00 a month as my baseline.

Fuck the baseline. The baseline is bullshit. If the baseline is the best I can do then it’s time to stop writing stories and start hitting up Elance or Rent-A-Coder for extra cash.

So how much money do I need to make OVER the baseline? Good question. The determining factor on that is time. Assume I’m going to keep doing this for a few more years. What I make per month next year… just starting out… will be a lot less than what I EXPECT to make per month in 2015. I don’t really know what kind of growth rate I can expect once I get started, so let’s look at the short-term only. Once I get started and put in a good effort, how much do I expect to pull down in the near future?

Well, like I said…bill-paying money: An amount of money that will actually make a difference in my household budget. Okay, let’s pick a bill:

My World of Warcraft account costs me $15.00 a month… but I won’t count that. I’ll move up one rung on the ladder-o-finance and look at the next-smallest bill. That’s my water bill, which runs near $35.00 a month. That’s pretty close to what my phone bill is, too, and it will ALSO buy me a nice tank of gas. At $35.00 a month I’ve got several choices of bills I can pay. Okay, fine.

I should shoot higher . I really should, and believe me, I will. But for a new venture, I think I’ll aim low. So that’s it. $35.00 AFTER my expenses.

Ahhh, but wait…. Any money that I pay myself has to be taxed, so what I REALLY need to bring in (after expenses) is closer to $60. Add the $35.00 in expenses back in, and it’s right smack at $95.00 Let’s round it to $100 so I can have a double cheeseburger at Wendy’s once a month.

One Hundred Dollars a month.

That’s sad, pitiful amount of money. That’s not even 1/10th of my mortgage. I should at LEAST triple that amount for a real, meaningful goal… but I’m not. I’m going to keep it low.

Can I do that?

Can somebody who’s put as many years into the craft as I have make a measly $100.00 a month…every month… with his writing?

That’s what I’m going to find out. If I can, then I’ll adjust the goal to “mortgage-paying money” and move up from there. If not… if I can’t even meet that pitiful goal… then there are other investments that I (don’t want to, but HAVE to) make with my time.

Goal defined. $100 a month. Now, how am I going to do it?



  1. nate, June 17, 2011:

    I’m not sure when this was originally posted, but it pretty much seems to sum up what’s been going on with this site, and it’s a damn shame.

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