Writing, Food, Budgeting and Games
There's a niche for that, right?
An author friend once told me that before you get someone else to publish your first work – short story, novel, poem, anything really – you dream about being published.
Then, once you sign that first contract, you dream about people reading your work.
Unfortunately, I seem to be permanently stuck in the second part of the dream.
In an ideal world, people who like the quirky stuff that I write, who aren’t tied to a single genre or image of what a story should be, would be finding my stuff and clamoring for more.
But that’s not the world we live in.
Even the biggest publishing houses can’t afford to do major marketing for their authors anymore. Most rely on a few well-known review sites and expect authors to do a lot of self-promotion. And, the truth of the matter is, that I suck at self-promotion.
My artist friend needs subscribers to back her so she can afford more supplies and devote more time to creating? I’ll tell everyone I know how great she is, share pictures of her art, tell people how I bought it.
My writer friend published a new book or short story? I’ll publish the links and tell everyone to buy their stuff.
I publish something new? Sure, I’ll tweet about it once or twice maybe. Post about it on Facebook. Then, crickets.
Part of it, I’m sure, is that no matter how many times someone pays me for my writing, I’m never sure if the people clicking the links or buying it are doing it because they really love the story or because it’s what you do for friends.
And another part is that I am very scattered in what I write. Primarily, I like light horror. No need for splatter and gore, though I can write that if the story calls for it, but mostly cerebral horror, things that terrify me.
Or things that are casually weird and might just require an extra moments thought and a few shudders at night. And there’s no set market for that, especially since I have also written and published high fantasy, detective fiction, some romance and even a bit of erotica – under a pen name, of course.
In a perfect world, I’d find half a dozen fans that were Beatlemania-type fans, insisting to the world that my writing was the best they had ever seen who also sold their friends of becoming rabid fans as well. Or, I’d be better at promoting my work. Or, I’d stick to one thing long enough to build a following.
But unlike most of my most successful author friends, I also have a very successful career that demands my attention for about 45 hours a week. So when I have a few minutes of free time, after I work out, snuggle with my cat and my partner, and read a good book, the last thing I want to do is design ads for my stories or hound people on Twitter.
I’m intrigued by the Memberful model because I can start out with no upfront cost to me. I’d need to spend some time with my marketing cap on, but I think it could be interesting to offer different levels of membership that offer different things connected to my crazy interests.
Horror fan? I’ve got you covered with a monthly horror short.
Gamer? Me too! How about a monthly review of my favorite game.
Want both? I’ve got a review of my favorite horror game.
My biggest challenge would be incorporating all the things that catch my interest in a membership level that also provides value to my readers. Sure, I could just send them a story every month, but let’s face it, I subscribe to a bunch of writers and barely read their newsletters.
So what if I combined food and writing?
A little over a decade ago, I found out that monitoring my gluten intact had a massive impact on my multiple sclerosis. Less gluten equals fewer relapses. So I’ve gotten really good at adapting food to gluten-free versions.
At the same time, I’ve developed friendships with people who can’t tolerate lactose, who are vegetarian, or have other dietary restrictions. And, in January, my husband and I decided that we were no longer going to eat mammals. Still eat chicken and turkeys and fish, but mammals are just a bit too close to us on the evolutionary ladder. Everything I see seems to indicate that they are a lot more intelligent and evolved than humans given them credit for.
So one of my side passions is adapting favorite recipes to be able to feed those people without triggering their eating restrictions. What if I had a membership level that concentrated on offering alternative menus for the dairy-free, nut-free, meat-free, gluten-free people in our lives AND did them in a manner so that they were quick to make for people who work for a living and who still want time for hobbies.
Promise #1? No long SEO-laden stories about how the recipe was developed.
Honestly, how I combine my passion for food and writing whatever I feel like hasn’t quite coalesced into a solid plan yet, but I’m working on it.
I might also throw in some ideas on how to deal with a restrictive diet on a budget. For the first five years we were gluten-free, we were broke, like making about $1,500 a month broke. So, we got really good at using cheap ingredients to make good food.
My first foray into this plan was to talk about my role as a gluten-free gamer girl. Even bought the domain. But I think to find my niche in an overly competitive world were everyone is asking for you to send them just a few dollars a month is to go even farther.
Budget eating with a gluten-free gamer girl? Maybe "Budget dinners with a gluten-free gamer writer." I mgiht need to workshop it a little more.
What do you think? Would you sign up?
I’ve got a great recipe for gluten-free vegetarian lasagna and if you make it in August when everyone has too much zucchini, it’s sure to be cheap!
About the author
Lucinda Gunnin is a commercial property manager and author in suburban Philadelphia. She is an avid gamer, sushi addict, and animal advocate. She writes about storage and moving, gaming, gluten-free eating and more. Twitter: @LucindaGunnin