I just quit a job I’ve had for two weeks.
Last December I was as happy as I’ve ever been in my life, and that includes when my children were born. I was a full-time writer and publisher. I was living the dream I’d been harboring and sheltering in the dark corners of my heart ever since I was five years old and started committing stories - really really bad ones - to paper. No longer would I have the reliability of a steady paycheck and the job security of knowing I was, if not liked, at least needed at my job. But really who needs that shit with a spouse and six children - even if four of them are adults?
I was scared shitless.
The first six months of the year were my dreams come true. I was working harder than ever before, but it never felt like work. We signed authors to our company, we churned out quality work, and sales steadily increased. Things looked bright and the horizons seemed to be limitless.
Then do you know what happened?
Amazon screwed all of us in the Indie community.
A little back story condensed and simplified because I know most of you would be bored into a coma of Van Winkle proportions if I laid out the details and controversy. Cliff Notes version: In 2014 Amazon went to a Netflix style lending model for eBooks. I’ll be honest at first I saw a serious uptick in revenue from the change. Then this year they went from paying writers for each book lent to readers, which was how they did it under the old Select and initial Unlimited model, to paying by the page actually read at a rate not equal to the old model. As a result mine, and many others, earnings went into the toilet.
Let me make things clear I understand that income is never guaranteed and that I wouldn’t have a career without Amazon. For everything I criticize them for, there are three things I praise them for. But it was still a massive shock especially since sales were NOT down, far from it. In fact sales/borrows have been on a steady and uninterrupted rise from month to month. Yet we’re making much less money as Amazon lauds the record profits of the eBook division.
Okay, that’s the business stress I’ve been under, now for some of the personal and financial.
At the beginning of September we had to take in two adult family members who had nowhere else to go. There’s no need to go into details as to whom and why, we love them and they need our help. That being said we went from a house of five to seven with only two people (my wife and middle daughter) with reliable income to support everyone. It felt like the financial walls were collapsing and as budgets got tighter, worry grew.
I freaked the fuck out.
Everyone told me to calm down. They told me things would stabilize, we’d adjust, and that book revenue would rebound. To be fair income from books is always the thinnest at this time of the year but it was all too much at one time for me to handle. I spent a weekend bombarding the internet with applications and in two days I had an interview for another job at a long term senior care facility.
Of course I got the job… yay?
The job sucked balls and not in the awesome “Hey he shaved and now it’s all smooth” way either. The pay was a joke, the workload was insane, the equipment was old/broken/nonexistent, coworkers were lazy scam artists and catty back stabbers, and the big boss was a lecherous liar. Add to that never seeing my wife and kids, while having to ignore aspects of the publishing business, and something had to give.
So three days ago I walked away from the new day job and didn’t look back.
I panicked. I admit it. I went back to a job that’s like a comfortable pair of shoes and tried to hide from the stress in my personal and professional life. I wanted to pretend I wasn’t miserable doing something other than my dream job. I tried turn the clock back and learned an important lesson. Apparently I am not The Doctor… I’m not even Donna.
So I’m back where I started. I’m the Co-Head Monkey of Gorillas With Scissors Press and I am a full-time Father. But most importantly, whether we’re in the black or the red, I’m a writer.
I’m happy now.
· Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Josh-Hilden/e/B0094ACFPA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
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