사람들이 일하지만 가난한 이유 31장….
너무 비싼 취미 생활: 자신의 관심을 돈 버는 것에 연결하지 못해서….
글을 다듬지 않아서 좀 이상함….
Not only can a hobby be inexpensive if not free,
it can generate income as well.
Some people are poor since they waste all their passion and talents only for hobbies or other things; they fail to connect those with opportunities to make money productively. When people use their gifts for hobbies only, and these hobbies do not bring them any profit, people tend to be broke all the time. One of the examples is me, unfortunately.
When I think about it now, I have written zillions of articles on myriads of web sites for nothing in the last 23 years. No one paid me, rewarded me or even appreciated me. This brought me a little bit of fame since people remember my writing ID, “brad”. Now I realize that I have always had so much passion for writing; I just wasted a chunk of my life only because I did not know anything about publishing. All I heard was some rejection stories of famous writers; Harry Potter was rejected forty times or something like that.
To make things worse, I often made a lot of enemies instead of friends since I did not stand for those nasty commenters; I often offended them back. As a result, I have wasted the first forty years of my life for nothing. But, I may have to say that I am still lucky; I still have 51 years left if I die at 100. Some people really waste their whole life for diverse reasons. I guess I can still publish 30 books before I die if I can write one book a year or so; if I write 4 pages a day, I can write 600 pages in 5 months, which is enough for a book; I can take break for the rest of the year after finishing a book; That is a 7 month break a year; Writing a 600 page book a years is possible.
Some people just have unproductive, expensive hobbies: riding sports cars, collecting audios, photography with DSLR cameras, etc. Have you heard of “Ferrari beggars” in Japan? There is a group of people in Japan spending all their salaries on Ferrari cars. Alternatively, I think they could have used their passion to work for Ferrari or other sports car companies; I am pretty sure some people can use their talents and knowledge. Let’s suppose that there is one girl who likes to dance. She can waste her passion to dance away at a nightclub. Or she can work as an instructor at a dancing school. Losers tend not to take things in a constructive way.
After quitting my job in March, 2022, writing has been my full time profession. So, I wondered how I could increase my book sales to support myself and my family. I cannot imagine how Herman Melville would have felt since he had four kids to support by the time he started writing “Moby-Dick”. I cannot imagine how Charles Dickens took care of 10 children. (I do not think I can even produce that many.) Honestly, I feel lucky that I have only one child. I feel even luckier that the world is crowded with 8 billion humans, so I can relieve myself from the huge pressure to have more children.
I do have some investment income and savings, but writing will be one of my major income from now. Here are three things I found about book sales increase after checking Amazon bestsellers.
First of all, I concluded that I have to write as many pages as possible. I originally planned to write only 250 pages for this book, but increased the target volume to over 400 pages. This is merely human psychology: People may read anything; when they buy a book, they prefer a thicker one. It is natural for customers to go for more information for the same amount of money. I noticed that a lot of top 10 sellers are over 400 pages and the book, “Life force” written by Tony Robinson was even 720 pages. My wife reads a lot of books written by John Grisham and James Patterson and these are usually 400 to 600 pages.
The book, “Alchemist” written by Paulo Coelho, eventually sold over 600 million copies. But, he confessed that only two copies were sold initially for the first 6 months after release in 1985. When I checked the volume, it was only 170 pages. It was the second book for Coelho, so he was pretty much a nameless author at that time. No one will buy a thin book at a high price from an unfamous author. “The Old Man and the Sea” by Hemingway has sold millions of copies even though it is just $120 pages, but the novel won the Nobel Prize in 1954. I am talking about ordinary writers like me.
Another advantage for a thick book is extra library purchases. If patrons borrow a thick book at the library, it usually takes longer for them to finish and return it. So, it is possible there are more waiting for that book somehow. It is possible for a library to buy one extra copy for that book since there are too many waiting and holding. America has 140,000 libraries. If one library buys one extra copy, you can make extra sales of 100,000 books. Kindle Direct Publishing at Amazon shows that you can make about $5 profit for each book sale. Then, it would be $500,000 extra profit for the author. Probably, that is not going to happen to me. But, it is possible I can make 15,000 book sales instead of 10,000 if I can write a thick book.
Secondly, I assumed that a book should be written in English to sell more. I did not realize that the Korean population is only 0.05% of the world population (I mistakenly believed 5% of the world). Only the USA population is 6 times bigger than South Korea, where I am originally from. And, there are several countries whose primary language is English: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Guam, etc. Still, there are some great Korean authors having sold over 1 million copies of their books only in South Korea. Again, I am talking about ordinary writers.
Thirdly, I think it is important for a book title to show how many points an author will cover in a book with numbers: For example, “50 Reasons Why” as in this book. These are two titles as examples from Amazon top 10 bestsellers in 2022: “The 48 Laws of Power” and “12 Rules for Life”. Another example can be “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. It seems readers love to know how many points they will cover exactly in advance. I like Rolf Dobelli, but his book, “Art of thinking clearly” was not a big hit. If he wrote the title as “99 ways to think clearly”, I believe the sales could have been better.
Lastly, I think uniqueness matters. I do not know if this book will be a success or failure. But, I can make people say, “I have never seen a book like this.” There are over 2 million new books published every year. But, I feel like too many books are some I have seen somewhere before. Most do not include unique ideas or experience, not to mention unique style.
For example, I think that “Art of thinking clearly” written by Rolf Dobelli failed because it does not have much personal experience. It includes so many theses and experiments that happened somewhere years ago. Simply, he read a lot of other books and collected them in line. The book was boring as hell and I could not finish one third within six months. You have to put your idea and experience to make a book vivid.
There are a lot of books written in a rushed way. These are usually less than 250 pages. Maybe they have jobs other than a writer or do not have much money to gain some time to write in a relaxed way. I feel very lucky. I feel very sorry for them, too.
Coco Chanel once said, “The best things in life are free.” Writing may not be exactly free, but it is a great hobby to relieve your stress and arrange your thoughts. When you say what you want to say, it relieves stress a little bit. When you say what you want to say, it relieves stress a little bit. And, sometimes, it can bring you some money or even fame.
Personally, my greatest hobbies are walking, riding a scooter and reading books. I walk all day probably one or two days a week: And, the total distance is 20 to 30 miles a day. I usually walk to the big bus terminal behind malls 3 miles from my home. There used to be a local bus to get there every hour, but the village canceled it two years ago after a corona pandemic came in 2020. I hope they will reschedule it soon, but now I just have to walk or use a scooter to get to the terminal. Once I get to the terminal, it has millions of buses going everywhere. Probably, it has 20 gates for buses of different routes and most of them go in the east direction to Chicago.
I got this long distance walking habit when I was a teenager thanks to my brother. He is two years younger than me and had walked a surprisingly long distance. I realized that a human can walk that long.
Seoul is totally different from any American cities to begin with. The population including the vicinity is almost 25 millions and the entire area is packed: 300 subway stations and 400 local bus lines. It is hell among hell for car owners, but heaven for walkers. The street is like never ending shopping malls: coffee shops, restaurants, shops, entertainment stores, etc. If you combine 1,000 American shopping malls and align them in line, that would be like the streets of Seoul: A never ending shopping center. Even if you walk all day, the streets with shops never end. You walk the whole week and these still never end. In fact, I had walked for over 20 years everywhere and it still never ended. The truth is I hardly ever covered them all even once. When you check the streets of Seoul on YouTube, you will see that the majority of them are skinny. Believe me that it is not because of diet. They just walk a lot. Plus, it has a world top class subway system. My wife said it is 10 times cleaner than that of Chicago. Plus, the weather is mild, so walking is very fun there.
On the contrary, I do not see any long streets in America. The longest fun street on the west coast could be Hollywood Boulevard in LA. I have been there probably three times since I used to visit my brother who lived in San Diego. It was long, but I remember 3 to 4 hours were more than enough to cover it all. Downtown San Diego was nice, but I think 2 to 3 days were enough to go everywhere in the city.
Downtown Dells, Wisconsin was pretty similar to the Niagara area including the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum”, but the walking on the street was over within 2 hours. I heard one Norwegian guy visited Seoul 18 times only to walk around on the street in Seoul: A never ending shopping mall again. Weather is milder than America, so it was healthy fun without costing much money.
Depending on the situation, a hobby costs a fortune. I saw a sports car accident on the news the other day. The guy must have blown $240,000 for nothing and got a criminal record.
Bond prices have dropped significantly nowadays. A lot of my CDs in Capital One bank are getting matured this year. And, I will probably have $140,000 cash in my hands by next month. Personally, I found that putting money in bond ETFs and getting more and more interest every month brings me pleasure.
It is really up to you how you live your life.