Thursday, July 25, 2013

The next chapter

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This week I'm at the BlogHer '13 Conference, being held in Chicago this year, which is practically in my backyard. No, I'm not speaking at this conference. I'm here to learn, and being close to home is really important to me because that reduces the costs considerably ... and that brings me to my next goal.

After writing three books that were published by a traditional publisher, I am pretty much "over" the thrill of being published, and the goal for the next chapter of my life is to actually make money. I am not talking about being greedy or getting rich here. I am simply talking about making as much money as someone who works at the local discount store or fast food restaurant, so that if my husband were to die tomorrow, I wouldn't get evicted from our home after the life insurance runs out. If you think that authors are all rolling in buckets of money, check out my previous post on that topic.

It is a sad fact of life that the digital revolution has made information easier to access and cheaper than ever before. There are a gazillion writers out there willing to write for free or next to nothing, which has driven down book royalties, advances, and payment for magazine articles. In fact, hundreds of magazines have gone belly up over the past few years because of dwindling subscriptions and advertising dollars. And most magazines don't pay a penny more today than they did twenty years ago.

So, what does this have to do with the BlogHer conference? Bloggers with good business sense can make money. I've often lamented the fact that I am a terrible business person, but I really need to get past that. My son recently suggested that I read Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In, and although it might seem like the perfect book for young women -- and it is! -- it is also a great book for women whose children are growing up and leaving home. Right off the bat she got me thinking ... "What would you do if you were not afraid?"

My answer ... I would charge more for my writing and speaking. (And in many cases, "more" simply means "something" as I often speak or write for free.)

And you have no idea how hard it was for me to admit that! Why? Because I'm afraid that if I ask for fair compensation, people will think that I'm greedy or unworthy and they won't like me. This is a common problem that women have, according to the legions of research quoted in Sheryl's book, so I am not alone. And this is one reason that women make less money than men almost a century after we got the right to vote. We have less confidence, and we simply don't ask for more!

So, in the next chapter of my life, I want to be a big girl and start earning a living myself. I feel that I have been truly blessed to have a husband who earned enough money that I could stay home with our children when they were young, but they're all grown up and gone now.

It's time to stop being afraid ... and turn the page to discover the next chapter of my life.

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