Not for me so much, but certainly for a bunch of my friends in the poker industry. For those of you new around here, I spent several years doing tournament coverage for major poker news and play sites. Before and during that time I made a little money, and made a lot of good friends. Due to a change in leadership at my major employer, a disagreement with an editor and a shift in focus in my life, I left all that pretty much behind me a couple years ago. Last summer was the first in several that I didn’t cover the World Series of Poker, and I haven’t stayed up late to watch an internet poker tournament in at least a year.
Turns out to be good timing on my part, since Friday the US Dept. of Justice laid out indictments against key figured in the operation of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and UltimateBet. What does this mean for yours truly? About $700 of my money is trapped in online poker accounts that I won’t be able to get to for the immediate future. I’m sure I’ll be able to get it eventually, and I’m not really sweating it.
What does it mean for some of my friends and acquaintances? Unemployment, major chunks of their life savings locked away in the poker sites’ accounts, uncertainty in their income stream for the foreseeable future, and a lot of other ugliness. I have the utmost faith that most of my friends will eventually come out okay, because they are very bright and talented people, and they also were pretty aware that they were riding a volatile vehicle and it could go KABOOM at any moment. So, with the exception of some denial that may have led some folks to leave more money in online poker accounts than they should have, they’ll be okay in the long term.
But for me, the events of the weekend did make me sit back and look around for a minute. Two years ago, I was counting on about a quarter of my income coming from writing about poker. When that went away, I tightened the belt a little (but not much, because it’s still a significant girth to go around), but I’ve never really replaced that revenue. Now I’m beginning to be in a place where that revenue is starting to trickle back in via book sales. This month will be my best month ever for sales (by a LONG shot), with over 500 e-books sold already. That’s more than triple the number of books I sold last month, and if I’m lucky, I’ll break 900 for the month. That’s a big help with the monthly finances, and with at least two more books to come this year, hopefully we can keep things on an upward trend.
But what happens in the future? Do I quit my job and try to write for a living? I could certainly be more prolific if all I had to do each day was write and promote. But will the money ever be there? I dunno. I honestly have no idea. I have hopes, and I have examples from other indie authors that I’m trying to follow, but who knows if I’ll ever get to David Dalglish numbers, or Michael Sullivan numbers, much less Joe Konrath or Amanda Hocking numbers. I’m not looking for James Patterson money, just enough to pay my bills and live comfortably (and I could be very comfortable in a yacht, BTW). Right now I have a good job and my book sales are finally approaching enough money to be considered a nice side income. For now, I’ll live with that and keep writing. Book 3 of Black Knight Chronicles will drop this summer, with another book coming in the fall. I’m not sure if it will be book 1 of Return to Eden or this odd horror novel that’s been bugging me the past few days. But my point is, I have plenty of ideas, so I can keep writing for a while. And as long as people are buying books, I’ve got something going for me.