This may sound funny, but we had a really good year last year, income-wise. As a result, Steve and I are now brainstorming ideas to produce cash flow.
It isn’t that we’re not making some money — or at least that we have made money — but. . .royalty money comes in lumps we can’t predict and at times we can predict only in broad strokes. This is the freelancer’s problem — the Federal Government wants everyone to have predictable lives that fit into predictable boxes for income tax and healthcare purposes.
This means, among other things, that no lucky writing year goes unpunished.
For example, we got a really nice royalty check in late December that meant we had to (after we finished dancing around the kitchen, because wooHOO, look at that check!): 1) spend $ thousands to “repay” the ACA for health coverage that would have been subsidized if the check had arrived a mere eight days later; 2) we had to pay a substantial penalty to the IRS for having guessed wrong as to the amount and timing of our total annual income (and thus the amount of our quarterly tax payments); and 3) we had to cancel our planned, and greatly anticipated, attendance at this year’s worldcon.
This is the freelance reality: There’s just there’s no way for us to know the amount (if any) of royalties ahead of time.
A more even and more constant cash flow would help against these gotchas, especially at a time we’re looking to move and get things settled down. In fact, it would have been really good if we could have managed to move last year. Since that didn’t work out, that evening of cash flow has become even more important since the $12,000 worth of repayments and penalties cuts down our available down payment options this year.
Now, we do have some Splinters that will be going up on Splinter Universe, as time permits (please watch for them!) but. . .I feel we’re going to have to do better than that in the long run, something more long term and predictable.
Some folks we talk to have suggested that we set up a Patreon account (for those who don’t know what Patreon is, here’s Elizabeth Bear’s page, and here’s Ursula Vernon’s and here’s C.E. Murphy’s — as examples).
I’d like to know what people think of the Patreon idea, since Steve and I are of mixed minds.
I will note that some kind folks have put Splinter Universe on a weekly or monthly payment schedule, via PayPal, and by personal check, which is very much the same sort of support — and which we appreciate very much.
So, really — what do y’all think of the Patreon idea? Does anyone have any other ideas regarding how we should approach this (going back to college, getting my medical degree and discovering a cure for brain cancer is, I think, not going to be a viable plan, this far out)?
Thanks for listening.