by Michelle True
As a single working mom/struggling writer I'm always looking for ways to save money. Many writers probably use the office printer and copier, or "borrow" the occasional legal pad or pen from the office supply cabinet from time to time. Here are some tips that really helped when I was sinking in quicksand financially:
1. Free Business Cards.
Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for fancy business cards with your book imprinted on them, use www.vistaprint.com to print free business cards (you only pay for shipping). They have a number of templates you can choose from and their tiny one-line advertising blurb will appear on the back of the card. People will not care. They will likely want to order from vista Print themselves! All your business card needs is your contact information.
2. Convert files to .pdf for free.
Many people purchase expensive Adobe Writer or similar programs to convert Word and other documents to a .pdf file. Instead, go to www.pdfonline.com. You can upload your document (2 meg. size limit) and it will be converted to .pdf and emailed back to you, all within minutes. This is a free service!
3. Post Office Box
Writers love to rent a post office box to retain their privacy. In order to save money, share a post office box with someone you trust who lives nearby. Rent the smallest box you can afford to rent and make sure to stop by every day so the box doesn't get too packed with stuff.
4. Free Websites.
Use free websites; no one cares if there is a banner on your webpage. I use www.godaddy.com. Some free websites have space limitations, and for that you can simply convert files to .pdf to save space. I have an electronic media kit as a pdf file that contains book covers, purchase information, reviews, etc. It takes up very little space.
5. Free Faxes.
There is no need to purchase a fax machine, run up phone bills each time you send or receive a fax, sneak and use the office fax machine or run to Mail Boxes Etc. each time you need to receive a fax. Visit www.efax.com. You will be provided with your fax number. When people send you a fax, that fax will be converted into a graphic image that will then be emailed to your email account. You simply open the file but first you have do to a one-time installation of their software program that opens the file (also free). If you also want to be able to send faxes from your computer, it will cost a monthly fee of about $10-12.
6. Book, E-book and Magazine Exchanges.
Do book exchanges with other writers - what you no longer want, they may need and vice-versa! Also, don't forget the library as a wonderful source of many books and several great magazines for writers. Also, visit the websites of magazines; they often have archives or articles from current issues available for free.
7. Multi-Author Events.
Organize a multi-author book signing, reading or similar event and let all authors share the cost of space rental, refreshments, advertising, etc. Find a writer in the same genre and go on a local book tour together.
8. Share Subscriptions.
Share the cost of online or print subscriptions with another local writer you trust or exchange publications once you are through reading them. For example, have one person subscribe to Writer's Marklet and have the others reimburse for their share. Everyone gets the id and password and saves money!
9. Printing Tips.
Try to print as little as you need to, and make sure to print in DRAFT mode to save ink. You may find it actually cheaper to print from your computer to your local Kinko's using software you can pick up on a cd from them for free. It's cheaper to have them print your 100 page book draft than for you to go through 2 toner cartridges. You can upload and order the printing and then you need to give them a 4-hour turnaround time, though sometimes it's quicker. Or, go there in person of course with your cd or diskette to have them print it.
10. Share Advertising and Event Costs.
If you are advertising your book, work with other local writers and design a flyer showing all authors' books that all of you can distribute. That's more coverage for all of you. Also, share a booth or tent at a book fair with other authors and divide the cost.
These are just a few ways in which writers can save money on their own
and by working with other local writers they have some to know and trust.
So take these ideas to your local writers group and see what other ideas
you can come up with together! If you have tips to share, I'd love
to hear them! Please send them to email@example.com
About the Author: Michelle True writes poetry, non-fiction and
memoir. She is a published and self-published author, facilitates
writing and publishing workshops, leads poetry-writing and memoir-writing
groups, organizes and hosts an annual multi-author event, mentors high
school students, performs book editing and book reviews, publishes
a newsletter for writers (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/writeonnewsletter)
and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Chicago Writers Association
(www.chicagowrites.org). She has also hosted an
Internet radio talk show podcast and published an internet poetry magazine.
Her website is www.michelletrue.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.