I'm also trans, if you feel like that's relevant.

Also for the subreddit rules here are links to my stuff.

Comments: 683 • Responses: 131  • Date: 

MonkeyInATopHat383 karma

If you don't talk to publishers, how do you make money? Who pays you?

Elamimax426 karma

Patrons and commissions, for the most part.

cattleprodlynn178 karma

Like the "good old days"! /s

Elamimax101 karma


Alan_Smithee_13 karma

Commissions are work for pay, fair enough. If you’re talking articles, PR, whatever, that’s all good…..but aren’t ‘Patrons’ kind of a charity thing?

What kind of writing do you do, and why don’t you approach traditional publishers?

I tend to believe the publishing game, for all its faults, is a quality filter.

I know some people have self-published and done very well for themselves, there’s also a lot more self-published work that is genuinely awful.

I read a self-published book by a local author, and I actually asked someone who knew them if English was his first language, it was so incomprehensible. He had clearly never read what he had written.

Elamimax77 karma

Patrons are a "charity" thing in the same way that paying for early access is charity.

I did originally plan to approach traditional publishers, but the problem is that queer fiction is a very small seller's(publisher's) market, while the buyer's market (queer people online desperate for more content) is quite large. Funneling my work through a few publishers who have very specific demands of the kinds of fiction they'll accept on top of the dearth of queer authors trying to get into the market, it simply didn't seem worth it.

Alan_Smithee_-7 karma

Fair enough. Times are changing, though. Have you considered getting an agent, and do you have a lawyer?

Elamimax20 karma

I've considered getting an agent at some point, but I do want to work on expanding my platform first. I'm curious why you ask if I have a lawyer, though.

ApotheosizedBum11 karma

Self employed business owners should have insurance and a lawyer. Like at a least some liability insurance and a lawyer to ask when legal disputes (hopefully never) arise.

Edit: like errors and omissions insurance

Elamimax9 karma

That's fair! I am insured, though I don't have a personal lawyer, I have access to one through my country's social services.

Alan_Smithee_4 karma

Because publishing and intellectual property is a minefield.

Do you have an accountant? May I ask what sort of range your income is? Minimum wage? Better? Fabulous?

A really good accountant is almost like a blend of lawyer and agent, without overstepping lines, and can really help in ways you haven’t even considered.

You’re looking at the agent question backwards: you get an agent to help expand your platform, not the other way around. Otherwise, you’re doing their job for them, which is fine if you have the skills and the time, but at some point, you’re not making the most of your abilities.

Elamimax4 karma

No accountant yet. "what range is your income in" is not super useful, since I don't live in the US. I make a little over minimum wage for my country, which, stateside, equates to a living wage in the US. But not to a point where I'm comfortable hiring an accountant.

And I get what you mean, but when it comes to agents, I think you're overestimating how easy it is to get an agent, and not quite understanding what I meant with expanding my platform. An agent can't get me more patrons, an agent can get me into contact with a publisher who would then hire me for a book deal, for example, which is a different-but-not-additive source of income.

Intelligent-Ad-41404 karma

Where do you write and how would one get in on the gig ? How good do you have to be ?

Elamimax9 karma

  • Scribblehub
  • Just start writing! That's literally the first step. Everything else is secondary.
  • It depends, really. Bad litfics get millions of clicks, good drama gets overlooked. It's luck, it's audience, audience retention, and good branding.

forrey169 karma

Really cool! How do you market your work? How do you find enough readers to make it financially viable?

Elamimax541 karma

I market on facebook, twitter, in this thread (lol), crosspromotion with other artists and I do presentations on twitch as a guest. Finding readers is a matter of appealing to a large audience for some works, which draws in the more loyal readers for the more niche works.

abihargrove27 karma

Are you pursuing audio books or podcasts in the future?

Elamimax78 karma

Yes, actually! Talking to a really good voice actress about getting some of my work turned into audiobooks :)

And I'd love to be on a podcast, since I managed to ramble about Assassin's Creed for three hours on a twitch stream the other day.

abihargrove15 karma

Awesome! So you'll have to do another AMA!

Elamimax29 karma

Here's hoping I'm relevant enough for a second one some day :p

Tapledacloud161 karma

Hey I’m a new writer who wants to start writing short stories. It seems really daunting so I was wondering if you could give some tips to new writers who are beginning their writing journey? What are things you wish you knew when you first started writing?

Elamimax467 karma

Writing short stories is such a great place to start because it avoids a lot of the trappings that come with writing fiction.

Some tips and things I wish I'd known when I first started:

  • Read! You can never read too much, and reading more expands your repertoire of phrases and words you wouldn't have otherwise come up with.
  • Don't stop writing! A lack of engagement can seem daunting at first, but don't give up. People will want to read your work.
  • Diversify and Experiment! If you only write, say, wish-fulfillment 80's-style action horror, it can be hard to find an audience. On top of that, writing in different styles also makes you a better author in general.
  • YOU ARE NOT TOLKIEN. I hate to say this, but nobody cares about all the worldbuilding you did. Not up front, anyway. Learn to write engaging characters and dialogue first.
  • Find a workflow that works for you. I write top down, which means I have my plot outlined first, with character arcs, then chapter outlines, and then I write every chapter in chronological order. That works for me, but not for everyone else.

I hope this helps!

bluemitersaw24 karma

Regarding your workflow, how much time do you spend "prep work" (outlines, character dev, etc) vs the "actual writing"?

Also, which part do you enjoy the most when crafting a story?

Elamimax91 karma

I'd say 75% outlining, prep, character study and figuring out what goes in the chapter, 25% actually writing. And my favourite part is trying and succeeding in tying all the plot lines and character arcs together in a coherent whole, with symbolism and so on fully intact. It's rare, but feels really good when it works :)

AssButtFaceJones104 karma

How have you been able to be successful using Patreon for written works? Any tips for people hoping to use Patreon in a similar way? Are you worried about $10 supporters pledging for a month, copying the exclusive stories and then un-subbing or dropping their pledge level?

Elamimax207 karma

Essentially? Slow growth and "customer" loyalty. The advantage of writing, especially if you can do it regularly, is that someone pledging for a month is only getting the exclusive stories up to that point. That is discouraged twofold:

  1. I am always writing more. If you want to keep your exclusive content, subbing for one month every few months means everyone else still gets early access and you don't.
  2. I publish almost everything for free after a set amount of time, chapter by chapter. That way, the exclusivity comes from time. "But I want to know how it ends!" -> "The whole thing is already available for patrons, but if you wait you'll get it over time."

A big factor is offering decent rewards, especially for high-paying patrons, and offering solidly high tiers.

1ndridC0ld40 karma

How did you start off? How did you attract patrons to pay in? I'd like to do something similar but with my art instead. Not really sure how to get going and gain a following.

Elamimax80 karma

So, there's a lot of difference between visual and written art, of course, but the core idea stays the same: Build up an audience, and then build a paying audience through exclusivity.

Do a lot of shameless promo, and then publish, for example, cropped or downsized art to twitter/artstation/deviantart, with exclusive access for patrons.

and never stop practicing.

FairyOfTheNight19 karma

Good for you!! It sounds like you worked really hard to make your dreams happen and all those activities made you successful. Staying humble and helping others by telling them how you made it is very considerate of you. A lot of folks refuse to.

Elamimax32 karma

The world is really big. Like, really big. There's so many crabs in this bucket, kicking down feels like an exercise in futility, if not outright assholery.

ralanr97 karma

What genres do you hit? How long would you say it should take to work on a novella to keep up with a genre when chasing a market?

Do you have a daily word count? I mostly try to hit 1K a day.

Elamimax157 karma

  • Action
  • Romance
  • Science-Fiction
  • Drama
  • Erotica

Ideally? A novella should take just a couple of weeks worth of hours. I write 2-4k words a day, but I work on several projects simultaneously.

justjoshingu103 karma

  • Action
  • Romance
  • Science-Fiction
  • Drama
  • Erotica

Running past the barriers as they exploded into a thunderous flash, he fell into his rescued love holding her tight, his cyborg arm gently caressing her titanium alloy nipples, as his brother who was her former lover and captor screamed that he had ruined their fathers funeral.

Like that?

Elamimax69 karma

Exactly! But more trans and more lesbians (and a talking cat, named Mort).

ralanr27 karma

Ok. I’ve been splitting between two projects daily but I post most of my shit free on furry sites and work through commissions.

I’ll get into doing more research in the near future on expanding my workload and marketing myself. The networking is gonna be the hardest. Thank you!

Elamimax29 karma

No problem at all! If it's any consolation, I'm currently working on 7 projects :p

Kbowen9912 karma

Would you mind elaborating on that? That seems like the most interesting and daunting part about going solo. You’re in charge of what projects you’re working on, when they’re finished, what becomes a project, etc. Personally, I love having a handful of things I can switch between, it allows me to stay somewhat productive when I get tired/bored/whatever with the current project but it’s a lot of responsibility too. Not sure I’d be able to keep much of a schedule on my own lol.

Do you like it? Does having a larger community help, or how did things change as you gained an audience?

Elamimax17 karma

I do like it, yeah! Having a larger community helps me a lot to see if plotlines and character arcs are coming across well, but it is a bit daunting, of course.

And when it comes to the different projects: I try to divide my attention across works, so everything keeps moving forward, and if you write every day it's very doable to keep up with everything

JiN88reddit2 karma

What do you usually write about for your daily word count?

Elamimax6 karma

Depends on what I feel like writing. Usually I try to finish off commissions first.

mxmlln51 karma

How many pages are most of your publications?

Elamimax115 karma

So there's a short answer and a long answer. Short answer:

novellas 85-100 pages

novels about 250-300 pages (and one 500 page one)

Long answer: because of the difference in type size, page size and online formatting, page number is not the most useful way of approaching story length, because it can give you a skewed view. I have a story that is, in theory, 200 pages, but that's A4, with single spacing, type 10. That same story with type 11 on more traditional B5 paper sounds a whole lot longer at about 350 pages. Because of that, I use word count to describe story length.


Novellas: about 30k words

Novels: between 60-75k words (and one 170k one)

TheEmpressIsIn37 karma

If one would like to follow a similar path, where does one start?

Elamimax134 karma

So, because this is a fairly open-ended question, I'm going to try to answer the more practical side of things.

There's two things to consider: Audience, and content. There's this cute idea that, if you just create what you want to see, the audience will follow. That's largely because it's worked that way for some big names. The problem is that, as with everything successful, it requires a degree of luck.

So, my advice:

  • Figure out what you want to write. Do you want to write historical fiction? Non-fiction self help books (please don't)? Maybe contemporary action romance?
  • Regardless of which you do, it helps to be aware of what the current market is like. The advantage of creating art is that the consumers almost always follow the two cakes model, so try to find spaces (deviantart, scribblehub, reddit, w/e) where works like the ones you want to write are popular (I can give you some pointers there, but my own experiences are somewhat limited when it comes to certain content)
  • Start writing. Your first work is invariably going to be bad, your first ideas are going to be trash in hindsight, so best thing to do is to get that experience under your belt.
  • N e t w o r k i n g. This is the gross one, but it's gotta be done. Have a dedicated twitter account, talk to other artists and promote their work. Advertising and cross-polination are going to be very important. You will want to be seen.
  • Find a rhythm and stick to it. One of the biggest hurdles when doing self-publishing like this is remaining relevant. Especially early on, you'll be at the whims of whatever algorithm runs your platform, and regular chapters or, at the very least, updates, are key.
  • Love what you do... If writing is a chore, it might not be for you. If you can't sit down and pump out several thousand words on a regular basis and not hate yourself afterwards, I would advise against this as a career path.
  • ... but do your job. The caveat, of course, is that, while you can love writing, if you want this to be your career, you have to treat it like one. Not hating it is not enough. You have to sit down, every day, and do your damn job. Don't wait for the muse. Sit down. Write. It's your job, and if you don't treat it like one it won't pay like one.

I hope this helps somewhat! Feel free to ask if you have any other questions, or if something was unclear.

SageSilinous4 karma

why do you (kindly and gently) ask people to NOT write non-fiction self help books? Is there no money in this? Do you feel that someone out there already has all the answers and there are no more required?

Please say. Some of us might want to write in such a genre / asking for a friend.

Elamimax5 karma

The market is hypersaturated right now. It's not that someone has all the answers (anyone who tries to tell you they do is selling something. Usually a self-help book) but that everyone has answers. The self-help book market is so very saturated and even if you have written the Daodejing 2.0, most people will never see it.

Nick8442235 karma

Any advice on feeling embarrassed about others reading what you've written? I have a feeling the answer is a "just take the leap"/exposure type thing.

But I would be interested in hearing your perspective!

Elamimax55 karma

If you're really worried, I would recommend having someone whose opinion you value and who cares about you read over something first.

Second is, like you said, taking the leap. And like I mentioned somewhere above: your first few works will have problems with them. Your prose will be rough, you'll get your tenses wrong, your characters might feel like cardboard cutouts and your plot will be all over the place.

That's okay. That's normal. The more you write, the better you'll get. And others will think what they think because they're all just people looking for something vague yet specific, and you'll never satisfy everyone.

At the end of the day, you sat down and you wrote something, and you should be proud of that.

Nick844228 karma

That's a good point! Thank you for your response

I guess there's also equal chance for positive reception, so there's really no need to keep the idea in my head that people would respond poorly when they, in fact, have not responded at all lol. (Because I haven't shown them)

Elamimax30 karma

I think an important thing I didn't really touch on that's worth mentioning is that you should always try to stay intrinsically motivated. Like, don't get me wrong, I'm a slut for attention, but at the end of the day I write because I want to write, not because I want to make people like my work. That second part is more like a bonus. If you write for validation, a single bad chapter can lead to a self-defeating spiral that's really hard to get out of.

pale_delicate_flower33 karma

I'm also trans, if you feel like that's relevant

Do people really care about your gender as an author?

I read a ton of sci fi, where every other author just goes by initials. Are there actually people who gives a fuck about the author's gender when it comes to choosing what to read?

Elamimax39 karma

There are, for the simple reason that, well, it's a field often dominated by cis men. This has given science fiction, for example, a very specific voice. Works written by people like myself just hit different. By making my gender identity something people know about up front, is essentially saying "by the way, if you like sci fi and you want stuff that might align with your own experiences more, check this out".

TheJunkyard13 karma

Do you have any particular feelings about cis writers touching on those kinds of subjects? For instance, in the utopian society of Iain M. Banks' Culture novels, where the technology to undergo a change of biological sex is so commonplace as to be unremarkable.

Do you find the treatment of such subjects in "cis literature" misrepresent or trivialise the issues, or do you think they often make valid and/or interesting points?

Elamimax31 karma

I think the points are valid and often well made, but that's not quite what I'm talking about. It's more that those writers have a tendency to center cisheteronormative perspectives, in a way that caters to other cisheteronormative men. The stories are often power fantasies for cishet men. Cyberpunk stories often feel like an exploration along the lines of "what if I was discriminated against the same way minorities are?"

The trans perspective is very wide, but it is almost universally other, and that's sometimes missing from science fiction.

Having more trans characters in fiction is a good thing, though. Never gonna be too mad about it, unless they're given the Ace Ventura treatment.

Jezerey31 karma

What type of resources do you use for writing? Are we talking MS Word or do you use a program like Scrivener?

How do you organize your inspirations? I'm a pantser but I'm trying to get better about plotting, so I've had to start using a bit of storyboarding to help out.

I know I'm being greedy here, but would you say Scribblehub beats a site like Royal Road for the Isekai wish fulfillment stories? I've recently delved into writing LitRPG and have been weighing publishing to a platform like Scribblehub or Royal Road instead of going straight to Kindle Unlimited after ARC and feedback editing.

Elamimax75 karma

I write mostly on google docs, because I have the cursed touch when it comes to technology and I don't want to lose my progress whenever my current device dies.

I organize everything. I have to, because I have pretty severe memory issues, and I'll forget what I was doing if I don't.

When it comes to my process, I follow the following steps:

  1. What story do I want to tell? Action? Romance? Etc... Essentially, my pitch.
  2. Work out the major story beats, and figure out the pacing and act structure.
  3. Fill in the plot beats in between in a doc, with major plot moments outlined in a paragraph or so. This shouldn't take more than three pages, and is also where I'll outline or highlight character arcs.
  4. Chapter by chapter outline in an excel doc, where I can add cool lines I thought of, location and time/date, and which characters are present in the scene.

Scribblehub is definitely better than royalroad. Hands down.

Jezerey13 karma

Thanks so much for the reply!

I've been using Dropbox to sync my Scrivener files so I can write across 2 different machines, even though I rarely write on my personal desktop anymore.

Wow. I'm impressed by your method. I have a method that's working so far, where I mostly try to figure out the story beats and scenes/major arcs going forward so my current work doesn't end up 170k words and it's still not even close to done.

Thanks for the feedback. I've been concerned with Royal Road and Scribblehub being freely accessible. There has been major issues with work being lifted from those sites and posted onto KU by readers. Author reports the issue to Amazon, who takes it down but then the author can't ever post it to KU since Amazon's flagged it as a stolen work.

I'm glad you're making it! Thank you for being the inspiration for small and independent authors. Publishing Companies and the querying process just murders so much talent for so little returns.

Elamimax11 karma

I hope it helped! Yeah, I really do need that method. Without it, my stories meander and become a tangled mess of dropped plot points ^_^;

And yeah, I'll have work lifted occasionally, but since my income mostly comes from patreon, I'm not super stressed about not being able to upload to Amazon after flagging something.

SinJinQLB26 karma

Why did you mention that you're trans, but did not mention what your sexual preference is? Honest question. I'm just wondering what made you prioritize one description over the other.

Elamimax44 karma

My transness is more relevant to my writing than my sexuality, honestly. Straight, bi, gay, lesbian, ace and so on all show up in my works, but the queerness, the unique experience of being trans, informs a lot of my writing. And it matters to me, so I don't mind bringing it up.

becomeanhero6922 karma

Why do you think you are relevant enough to do an AMA?

Elamimax33 karma

I wasn't sure. But I have an unusual perspective to share, and it seems like people felt it was worth sharing.

companysOkay19 karma

Do you have any advice for finding inspiration for writing? I’m leaning more so into poems & lyrics/songwriting

Elamimax34 karma

I try to make sure I don't need inspiration by the time I sit down to write. That means that, as soon as something pops into my head, I write it down in a dedicated document. That way, when I want to actually get some work done, I have a pad full of ideas already ready.

When it comes to poetry and lyrics specifically, there are specific limits to work within, of course. Try to think of the story you want to tell, and how that works with the song-structure you want to use (refrain-chorus-refrain-chorus-ending, for example). The meter is also important, so I try to listen to songs that have the same rhythm as the one I want to write.

xElMerYx18 karma

Have you heard of r/aphantasia?

When writing, do you visualize what you're writing? How vivid are the visualizations?

Elamimax39 karma

I'm aware of aphantasia and luckily don't have it, because it would limit my ability to write quite a great deal.

The visualizations aren't extremely vivid in imagery, but dialogue, the vibes of a scene are crystal clear, and I spend a lot of my time trying to see and direct a scene before I write it.

donrhummy18 karma

How did you promote your works to get those first customers?

Elamimax33 karma

I wrote for free at first, publishing online, and then at some point decided to try to make a living off it, so I made a patreon and started to advertise it at the bottom of every updated chapter.

33ff003 karma

How long did that take before you started getting Patreon payments? What were your readership numbers like at that point?

Elamimax3 karma

I got about 1-2000 hits per day when I set up my patreon, which was some 4-6 months after first putting pen to paper.

33ff002 karma

Also thank you for doing this AMA. This is super interesting.

Elamimax2 karma

Glad it's helpful!

Kalaghar17 karma

What a coincidence seeing a post like this, I litterally just started my journey to this a few days ago, mostly because I hate my job and I love writing, been writing all my life, but for myself.

But hey! I would love to live off of it, I mostly write horror fantasy, anyways I find it hard to really get started on advertising, I don't know where to begin or where to post it, you wrote you post it to your twitter and collaborate, but as someone who just started out.

Say when you started out, did any writers want to collaborate with you or how did you get started? Like early early days?

Elamimax20 karma

Early early days? Hashtags and tweeting at bigger accounts than me. I still don't have a lot of followers, but I can get my work seen, and if people click the link, that's what matters.

Kalaghar2 karma

Awesome, I'll take that into consideration, thanks! I also have a follow up question, my initial plan is only to post once a week, as to not burn myself out, with a kid and a full time job, free time is a rare commodity, would you say thats enough or should I do more? I mean I'm fairly young and I'm not really in a hurry to get there, but yoy know the sooner the better

Elamimax5 karma

Once or twice a week is a good place to get started! If you want to make this a more permanent thing, I would recommend upping to a semi-daily schedule, but if that's not possible due to parenting/work reasons, any amount is a good place to start :)

HereticHammer0116 karma

How did you make the jump to doing this as your full time work? Did you do it alongside other work at first gradually or did you just jump in?

Elamimax27 karma

This was a part-time thing originally and I thought it'd only make me like an additional $30 a month. After a while, I was able to just do this full time.

Splive13 karma

I'm curious, at what age did you offer your soul to the devil to entirely avoid "the industry"?

Hehe, best of luck.

Elamimax10 karma

28 :p

Bloodari12 karma

When you say income is that in the 50-100k range? More? Fairly stable income stream throughout the year or front/back loaded? I am really curious what living off personal writing looks like vs a more traditional job.

Elamimax31 karma

I don't want to put a number on my yearly income just yet because it's so dang volatile. Until this stabilizes, I have to think of it on a monthly basis.

On top of that, I don't live in the US, so living standards and so on are also wildly different. For the sake of reference, I have a couple hundred dollars to spend on whatever at the end of each month, after bills, unexpected payments, and groceries.

whatsthe2012 karma

Your genres seem diverse, is there any one that's more successful than the others for user support?

Seems my other questions have been asked and answered by you and other users already. Thanks for doing this AMA it was very informative.

Elamimax20 karma

Romance and fantasy always do better than sci fi and drama, but everything has its audience.

whatsthe203 karma

Damn I only write Sci fi, lol. I should have figured about Romance I think it's the most profitable book market consistently. Thanks for the reply.

Elamimax6 karma

No problem at all! Sci fi is a hard market to get into, so don't get too discouraged :)

hydrospanner11 karma

A few questions, if you're still taking new questions:

As a self-employed creative, making a living by performing your chosen creative pursuit, you're living the dream of many. We've all heard the saying 'Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.', but on the other hand, there's always the pessimistic 'If you love doing something, never take money for it because then it's a job.' How has your enjoyment of writing been affected by doing it for pay/a living? Do you ever feel forced to create even when you're not feeling it? Do you feel more pressure to produce? Creative drain? Do you feel as if your creativity is somewhat muzzled by the desire to produce content that will appeal to your existing base?

Second... you're in a rare subset of professional creatives/artists, namely those who 100% support themselves on their creative pursuit. How do you negotiate the auxiliary aspects of a job that you miss by your chosen work? Things like healthcare, retirement, etc.? Do you hope to make this your career for the rest of your life (or is this something you are planning on being a temporary thing), and if so, how are you making plans to set yourself up for long term success? Will you do everything in your power to keep supporting yourself completely on your writing, or are you/would you consider a hybrid lifestyle where you hold a traditional job for financial security while writing to supplement that?

Thank you for this truly interesting AMA!

Elamimax22 karma

As to your first question... I definitely agree with both stances. On the one hand, I get to do what I love, as a job. That's an incredibly privilege and I feel so, so lucky for it. But there are days when I just don't feel like I can be creative and I still do have to sit down and do my job. At the end of the day, though, I have enough running projects to always write something I'm interested in, even if it isn't at the front of my queue.

Second question is a bit more involved. I don't have a retirement plan at the moment, but I do have the advantage of living in Europe, where my healthcare is not dependent on my employer. I pay my taxes and get healthcare for it.

Ideally, I want to keep writing. I love doing it, and I'm okay giving up some financial security for the sake of my emotional and mental health.

hydrospanner9 karma

Thank you for your answers!

Elamimax6 karma

Happy to give them ^_^

Mobely9 karma

What % of your work is romance?

Elamimax26 karma

I'd say most of it. I have a soft-spot for romance, so most of my work contains romantic aspects to some degree, although a lot of it has other focuses.

nj95349 karma

So I am interested in how you 1) advertise and built a following 2) format/location/site used to publish online ? Thanks!

Elamimax27 karma

Building a following was, in part, due to one of my works going semi-viral. The second part is constantly advertising and cross-promoting. At the bottom of digitally published chapters, post your patreon and your twitter. On twitter, post your story and your patreon, etcetera... you have to be a little shameless.

I post mostly to scribblehub, which has a very specific audience that enjoys the kind of things I write.

ssjbrysonuchiha9 karma

Am I understanding this correctly: You currently pull in roughly $775 per month pre tax in subscriptions?

This is pretty cool, but I'm not sure what the massive revelation is here. Haven't people been selling ebooks without publishers for over two decades?

Elamimax7 karma

Patreon isn't a very big platform for authors. I don't publish kindles (well, not for some time now, although my attempt is still out there)

mxmlln7 karma

Are you a ghostwriter?

Elamimax23 karma

I've written a couple of anonymous articles and one opera lol

silveredblue7 karma

Opera, wow! Did you do just the libretto or are you a composer too?

Elamimax11 karma

Gosh, no. I had a composer friend who needed a favour.

Final-Weakling7 karma

Have you ever struggled with procrastinating or self-discipline? If so any advice on how to get to work?

Elamimax10 karma

All the time. The best thing to do is to set a boundary. "No hanging out with mates until I write 3k words", for example.

heptoop6 karma

Why would your being trans be relevant?

Elamimax3 karma

It's relevant to me, and to my writing, and to where I am in life. It could be relevant to others.

RedLMR566 karma

So what a publisher does, how do you manage to do that independently?

Elamimax13 karma

No physical copies, basically.

surle3 karma

Let's say you have one novel you're putting more work into than others - or an article or resource that incorporates a lot of research and effort - so much so that you don't feel right offering it free alongside your regular pattern after a certain amount of time... However, you still want to offer it digitally and avoid publishers.

Do you have other ideas for how you would go about protecting your IP when selling it as a file if you weren't going through patreon or defusing piracy by offering it free later (as you've mentioned above)?

This is something I have trouble getting my head around (I'm old and new things scare me).

Elamimax8 karma

In that specific case, I would consider publishing through something like google books or itch.io. Those are considered all rights reserved.

Badral09295 karma

How much do u make on average in a month.?

Elamimax12 karma

Enough for rent, groceries, and buying myself something off the steam sales every now and then. It'll change because it's not super stable, but let's just say I'm "upwardly mobile".

bspymaster5 karma


In a previous comment (https://www.reddit.com/r/iama/comments/nxgucq/_/h1eqpnp) you mentioned that, instead of complex worldbuilding, one should start with building engaging characters and dialogue first.

Can you elaborate a little on how one might go about building an engaging character? What makes a character more interesting other than just making them three-dimensional? How do you go about creating a character for a story (in general)?

Elamimax20 karma

An engaging character has to have a few qualities, and the problem is that the content of those qualities differs from reader to reader. But, to sum it up: Depth, width, wit and heart. Less concisely:

  • depth: The character needs to be three-dimensional, or at least appear that way. Consider Hemingway's iceberg philosophy, where the way a character acts has to be informed by and inform the reader of their depth.
  • width: The character is applied and applicable to a wide range of situations, and responds in an interesting way to those new situations.
  • wit: The character has to be fun to read. That doesn't necessarily mean they have to be able to be witty, but more that, if nothing else, their internal monologue and thoughts have to be entertaining to read
  • heart: we have to care. Humanizing them, letting them care and be vulnerable (even if that really is just internal) allows us to care about what the characters care about and, in turn, about them.

This is most important for POV and main characters, but the points still stand.

moistca5 karma

First, thanks for that AMA, that's actually the best on the subject I've read!

My question is :How do you deal with privacy?

Imagine, for the sake of the argument, that one write smut and want to make a patreon but is a serious accountant by day working wherever accountants work and don't want anyone to link the two. How can they do it? Doesn't patreon get you real name and address even if you write under a pseudonym?

( That's a thing I made up...haha...not an accountant.)

Elamimax8 karma

Patreon is fairly uninvasive. I'm not super secretive, since this is my job, and anyone who thinks they can harass me by telling my parents or w/e that I write smut as well would just get laughed at. But even if I wasn't, Patreon fully allows you to write under a pseudonym. :)

moistca2 karma

Thanks for your answers. Have a nice day.

Elamimax2 karma

you too!

adrienlatapie5 karma

How do you know an idea is worth developing? I've been trying to start writing scripts for videos but I never seem to like an idea enough to spend time writing it and then I don't write anything. :(

Elamimax12 karma

If I want to read it, it's worth writing. Same thing for videos. If it's something I'd want to see, it's worth developing. Your work has the intrinsic value and merit of having been created. 99% of all works are never written, filmed, etcetera.


How long of a time would you say it took from first pubbed to self-sustaining?

One year? Five?

Do you recommend any particular forums, other than reddit?

Elamimax13 karma

Fifteen months, give or take, seeing fairly consistent growth.

As for platforms: It really depends on what you write. For stuff like HFY, Reddit is great. If you write furry smut, there's websites for that. If you write isekai wish-fulfillment action fantasy, scribblehub is good. If you write queer drama... still scribblehub lol. Literotica for kink, AO3 for fanfiction, etctera.



I've worked with people from Dirty Discourse, and KBoards, for comparison.

Elamimax2 karma

I'm familiar with them, but I haven't really hopped onto those, partially because Kindle just really didn't work for me.


Yeah, I know...Kindle is a bit twitchy regarding some categories, and you can't advertise ANYTHING outside of mainstream on their platform.

Elamimax4 karma

trans lesbian science fiction isn't quite that, I'm afraid :p

Dragonfire144 karma

My fiancee wants to become a writer. She does lots of short stories, and brainstorming for her dream series. Any tips on how she can get this career going?

Elamimax11 karma

Get started! I outlined my process and advice in these comments, and I recommend just... hopping into it. If she wants to be a published writer, I recommend checking out the manuscript wishlist to get into contact with agents, and if she wants to publish online, the only way to be known is to go through the mortifying ordeal of being seen. Best time to start is now :)

Darlington284 karma

How many cats are too many?

Elamimax5 karma

Like seven

tyrannicaldictator4 karma

How many times do you edit your work before posting them? And when you're editing, do you ever go "gosh I can't believe I wrote something so stupid"?

Elamimax28 karma

I do a quick second pass before posting to make sure I don't accidentally some words, and I have others do a quick read-over too to see if word-flow needs work.

As for the second question: literally all the time. I find it really hard to like my own work, and the more time passes the worse that gets. Because of that, I try to edit quickly, while I still think I'm being clever :p

cuitehoney4 karma

Aside from early chapter access, what other rewards do you offer on your Patreon? I can't draw as well as others (I rather do that for my own fun lol) but I was wondering what other options are there to offer to potential peoples.

Elamimax11 karma

Low tiers get access to chapters as they come out. Higher tiers can essentially request a few thousand words per month and receive reduced commission rates. The highest tiers get a book, co-authored by them, spread across a year, where we collaborate on plot and characters.

EmpiricalMiracle4 karma

Do you hope to ever write something artistic?

Elamimax-11 karma

I like to think everything I write is artistic.

EmpiricalMiracle2 karma

I bet you do.

Elamimax2 karma

You're an interesting one.

Aarilight4 karma

How do you stay motivated to write? I love coming up with stories and starting them and sharing them, but... as time has gone on, I find it's become harder and harder to motivate myself to write. Especially with other things that I could be doing. The rate at which you're able to consistently write, and especially to consistently finish things, is something I look up to a lot. I'd love to hear if there's any tricks you use to keep yourself writing.

Elamimax7 karma

Do it for its own sake, honestly. Fall in love with the craft itself. Some days you have to force yourself, and setting goals or limitations (no ice cream until I finish this fkn chapter) can help.

Jetcar3 karma

Do you think it is possible for a very young person (14f) to do this? Or do you recommend starting later when you are a bit more mature and secure in your writing. I'm also thinking about reactions to bad reviews and criticism. Maybe also about alienating readers that expected better.

Elamimax10 karma

My advice? Write. The more mistakes you make now, the better of an author you will be when you get older. Learn, develop your style (but don't lock yourself into it), and try not to be too disheartened from bad reviews and criticism. At the end of the day, a bad review is still just an opinion, and the internet has a very short memory.

Now, do I think it is financially viable at this age? I don't know. That depends on where you live, etcetera, but I don't recommend it. It's a volatile market, honestly, and if you can't afford to make $100 one month than the next, things can look really bleak (There's also labour laws and so on to consider). On top of that, mental and emotional health in your mid-to-late-teens is a bit of a toss-up, and you may not be able to commit to writing regularly in a few years, studies permitting.

But if you're passionate? Hell yeah. Write.

Jetcar3 karma

Thanks. Was asking for my daughter, so luckily she doesn't have to do it for financial reasons.

Elamimax2 karma

Best of luck to her then!

JoshuaInsole3 karma

Any tips on marketing on a budget? I've indie published two collections of short stories, struggling to raise awareness and get reviews. Any recommendations would be welcome!

Elamimax3 karma

Using a lot of hashtags on twitter and instagram, contacting bigger names, and cross-pollinating to various communities. It's hard work and only pays dividends once in a while. Also word-of-mouth through facebook groups and communities can occasionally work.

slashedkaze3 karma

As a fellow writer, why do you monetize your books only through Patreon? I thought about creating a Patreon for myself eventually, but never considered having that be my only source of income. Right now it's mostly Amazon.

Elamimax8 karma

The problem with amazon is that it demands sales. Patreon essentially gives me a steady (ish) monthly income, and that's a lot less stressful than just... not selling well for a month or two.

slashedkaze3 karma

I get that. I just mean, why not do both? You couldn't be exclusive to Amazon, but most retailers don't care if your story is also available elsewhere.

Elamimax4 karma

While that's fair, there's also the absolutely murderous hassle of trying to deal with the IRS when you're not an american :p

slashedkaze6 karma

I'm not American. I'm German and my co-writer is Canadian. Most countries have tax treaties in place so you'll never actually have to deal with the IRS. I don't know exactly where you are of course, or what your situation is, so I don't want to butt in! Just happy to talk if you ever decide to make the switch. I find it pretty cool that you've found a way to profit off your writing in your own way, in any case. :)

Elamimax3 karma

I'll consider it! I can always use a larger platform ^_^

mxmlln3 karma

That's incredible! I've never really used this subreddit before, but are you now going to reveal all your secrets? I'm a struggling Speculative Fiction writer...

Elamimax12 karma

If people ask for them, sure! Do you have any specific questions? Process, finding an audience, etcetera...?

sweetbldnjesus3 karma

Serious question, I want to start writing erotic fiction. I’ve been on a few erotic writing subreddits and they’ve mentioned that Amazon will yoink your work if it’s too graphic. I want to write but at what point is graphic too graphic? BDSM comes to mind, but isn’t erotica supposed to be explicit? Anyway, if you have advice in this area I’d love to hear it, thanks.

Elamimax8 karma

As mentioned elsewhere, I stay away from Amazon for the most part. It just hasn't been financially worth it for me. My advice is to publish to websites like literotica and deviantart, and to link to something like a patreon on your profile.

DefenestrationSpree3 karma

Do you find that your patrons have complaints about the generally poor feature list on Patreon for novels? (No table of contents, bookmarking, infinite scrolling pages that start at the beginning or end of the novel only, etc.)

Or is this not as much as an issue as it seems? Patreon seems like a hot mess of a platform, but there's not a lot out there like it so what do you do?

Elamimax4 karma

I post links to google docs instead of posting the chapter to patreon directly. It really is a hot mess, so doing it this way circumvents that problem.

GovernorBlackfoot3 karma

Since you don't have a full time 9-5 job, what do you usually spend your time doing outside of writing? Would you say that you have a relaxed lifestyle?

Elamimax6 karma

I would say I have an anxiety-riddled lifestyle, but that's probably due to my anxiety disorder(s).

For the most part, outside of sitting down and writing, I usually spend a lot of time doing either outlining, working out the next scene in my head (when I'm cooking or eating, for example), and doing cross promo, like this or on twitter. I average about 40-ish hours of work per week. But outside of that I think it's fairly relaxed(ish)?

LocationEarth3 karma

My little sister did the same and I am so proud of her.

Can you share marketing experience with us? I am deeply interested!

(beyond this AMA)

Elamimax2 karma

Twitter helps a lot, as well a networking with other authors and celebrities in your field, and reaching out a lot really helps growing your platform!

LeonJersey3 karma

This is such a great AMA! (44m), had a difficult life, am single, no kids and enjoy my own company.

I hate my job, but love reading, researching and writing. I come from a fascinating place full of history and strange/enchanting tales. I also very much enjoy photography, so I could complement my on-screen writings.

I would so love to take the plunge and set up a local little website - at least I'd have a captive audience! 😜

Just the confidence thing is so hard to overcome. Am I too old?

When did you start and how old are you now? You don't have to answer.....

Thanks in advance.👍

Elamimax6 karma

There's no such thing as too old! Bukowski was 51, Tolkien was 45 and Mark Twain was in his forties, all when they wrote their first work, and it sounds like you have stories to show and tell.

I started writing properly at 28, after a lot of people already knew what they wanted to be and many of my peers are already married with kids.

stuckinether3 karma

Have you ever thought of writing on Medium? I've actually been looking for a suitable and crisp platform that I can publish on that pays, and while Medium seems to check the most of the boxes, I'm wondering why fiction hasn't exactly made a breakthrough on there yet.

Elamimax4 karma

Medium very much feels like a web 2.0 product, and it just... doesn't work for me. It's incredibly corporate in a way that just rubs me the wrong way.

stuckinether3 karma

Ooh, I see.

If you don't mind me asking a follow-up question, do you think writing independently like this might be the next big thing for writers of this day and age? Because though I like writing stories, I never really saw myself in the publishing world. But I find that gigs like yours kinda resonate with me (sorry if the question's unclear)

Elamimax6 karma

No, I know what you mean, and I do think we'll see more and more of that as global structures that are propped up on themselves start to crumble. The publishing world really is quite small, and from the outside, it can feel like there's a need to get in, but, as it turns out, a lot of people don't mind you cutting out the middle man and just delivering content straight to the masses.

jellyfishprince3 karma

How much research do you do when you are writing something, and at what part in the process do you do research? Like do you just research as you go, do you research a topic before you even start writing, or do you write first and then do research to make sure everything works after you've got a first draft?

Elamimax8 karma

It depends! For fantasy, I'll do a bit more rigorous outlining, for example. For science-fiction, I'll do proper research (oh god why) and for contemporary stuff set in cities and places I haven't lived, I'll start writing and run it past people who have experience with those cities. It all sort of depends on how important the research is to the story and the final product, honestly.

FailureToReport3 karma

What do you consider an income? Scribblehub says 450~ followers and patreon has it at $770 a month. I'm curious because you said this is full time for you now and I'm genuinely not familiar with scribblehub so I have no idea if the payout is something very different than what Patreon shows.

I'm not trying to throw shade to be clear, im just wondering if we have very different levels of "quit my job and do this full time".

Elamimax12 karma

Scribblehub isn't paying, that's where my free stuff goes.

Patreon is half of the story. $770 a month would be a little low (lol), but I make about twice that when factoring in the occasional sale through amazon/google/apple books, and commissioned work. Must also be mentioned that my rent is on the low end, so my patreon pays for that and some groceries already. With commissions, I'm sitting quite comfortably.

FailureToReport3 karma

Nice! I just clicked the links and I don't think I'd seen anything about selling on other platforms, so that makes more sense! Awesome you can do what you enjoy as a living!

Elamimax5 karma

I'm really quite lucky, and I hope I get to keep doing this indefinitely! I wouldn't mind more income, but if this is it I'm already very happy.

space0watch2 karma

How long did it take you to design your novel and the world and characters in your book? How did you decide on a plot and setting, etc? I really struggle with bouncing back and forth between different ideas. Then I find out one idea has already been done before (almost everything has) so I get discouraged and quit. Any advice would be much appreciated!

Elamimax5 karma

Plot usually follows function. What do I want to say? "Love is good, mental health is important, don't be an asshole," for example. Then you pour those ideas into a structure, and you figure out the characters needed to prop that structure up.

I posted my full workflow elsewhere (it's numbered list of four but i can't find it rn), but essentially, the story is more important than the setting. Sure, hard sci fi and fantasy need to be internally consistent and coherent, but you don't have to reinvent the wheel to be relevant.

In the end, designing the world follows while I'm workshopping plot, for the most part, so I couldn't put a number on it.

unfisyn2 karma

I got in to this thread late and someone has probably asked this already, but where do you post your writings? Like where did you start posting that got you enough attention to make a living off of this without a publisher?

Elamimax3 karma

Scribblehub! Originally, I also wrote to some other stuff like TGST and Deviantart, but abandoned those in favour of Scribble, because its got a more involved community.

PinkMonsterXXX2 karma

Do you have any advice for getting started putting writing on Patreon? I have zero clue how that works.

I currently do some side-hustle work as a copywriting consultant, so everything is on commission. I’m not sure how to get started doing my own thing.

Elamimax3 karma

Make a patreon first, and then figure out what you want to offer up for every tier. I post patron-only links to a google doc that has my entire work in it.

ian7152 karma

I wrote a book about my sister with Down Syndrome for my senior project in college and am thinking of publishing it but am not quite sure the best way to go about that. I've thought about publishing maybe through amazon, but then I just saw this AMA and figured maybe you had some words of advice?

If not, no worries. But anything is appreciated! Thank you for your time!

Elamimax2 karma

with something like this, I think your best bet is to pursue more traditional publishing. The manuscript wish list is a great way to get into contact with agents who might be looking for your kind of work, so definitely give that a look.

I'm afraid I don't have a lot of further advice with regards to non-fiction, but I hope this helps you get started!

ian7152 karma

Thank you so much I'll definitely check it out and I very much appreciate it!

Elamimax2 karma

Of course! I hope you find a publisher!

mlatu3152 karma

I love to read and it causes me to have an active imagination. I sometimes imagine very long detailed stories in my head, but I lose motivation once it comes to writing them down.

Any tips on how to just get yourself writing to the point it becomes a habit?

Elamimax3 karma

A good way to do that early on is to have writing be the meat you have to eat before you can have your pudding (playing games, for example). It also helps to outline those stories more briefly, so it's already "pinned down" to the page and it becomes less of an intangible smoke you're trying to catch.

Late_Ad30432 karma

Wow, what an output! How are you able to come up with so many ideas for such a quick turnaround? I'd be afraid of burnout, but you're supporting multiple casts on a regular basis. Kudos and well done! I'd love any story/plot idea secrets you're willing to share! XD

Elamimax3 karma

Whenever you have a cool idea, write it down! I have small notes all over, because sometimes transplanting an existing story into a different setting or with non-normative characters can make them a lot more interesting.

A story like, say, Gamer (that weird Gerard Butler movie), could be a lot more interesting if the protagonist was trans, for example.

What if the stereotypical villain was a villain because of societal expectations instead of [insert trauma from youth], and everything you think you know about them is propaganda?

Whenever you have a fun idea, write it down. There's almost always an audience out there for you.

SKAface862 karma

What's your favourite blink 182 album?

Elamimax3 karma

Enema of the State. Hands down.

InterestingFeedback2 karma

I’m a writer of some skill, and I’m really proud of some of what I write, but I can only seem to write properly when “inspired” by some mysterious thing that’s apt to come and go apparently at random. I feel this feeling of an urge to write, and I write wonderfully; then the feeling goes away and my writing becomes difficult/clumsy/hollow

Can you offer any advice as to how I can rely on this inspiration less? (or, make it turn up just because I want it to?)

Elamimax6 karma

I think you've attached the value of your work to this mysterious muse. I have the feeling that, when you write without the muse, your work is probably still up to snuff, but not necessarily up to the standards you impose on yourself.

You have to remember that what you write when truly inspired is your best work (or it feels that way, anyway) and that it isn't and shouldn't be baseline. Additionally, writing is a little bit like a muscle. Just because you can't run as fast on a day that isn't your best day, doesn't mean you can't run fast. Additionally, if you keep running every day, your best, most inspired prose from six months ago won't hold up to something you did while eating spaghetti on a sleep-deprived sunday afternoon.

isowolf2 karma

How did this start for you? Did you have one hit and went from there or it was a constant grind?

E: grammar

Elamimax3 karma

I got lucky with a pretty big hit 5 months or so in, but that's kind of the point, I think. You just gotta put the hours in.

citoloco1 karma

Any thoughts on the USMNT potential in the Cup? Super League, good idea just ahead of it's time? Think José Mourinho's to Roma will spark it any?

Elamimax2 karma

Honestly, I don't think the US is going to do all that great this year. I absolutely loved seeing them get creamed during the last cup, and I'm here for a repeat. Belgium needs to step it up though, because France played like absolute bastards in 2018.

Not a fan of the super league. I think it just leads to more tribalization.

And not really. He's a good coach (mostly) but not enough to elevate the whole thing.

KillRoyTNT1 karma

Whenever you want to take one of these ventures ( writing) normally the more you talk about it to friends and family most of them just start to push their ideas because they think they think the know better of what is a good book. How do you address that?

It's quite frustrating and normally turns most of the aspiring writers down.

Elamimax4 karma

Essentially, I try not to talk too much about an upcoming project before it's partway or entirely done, especially to friends and family. Just do your own thing first. On top of steering around the issue you mentioned, it also keeps you from expending all of your creative energy talking about your project, instead of actually writing it.

GhostOfCadia1 karma

Where do you publish your works?

Elamimax2 karma

Scribblehub, mostly. And Patreon.

Websurfer909901 karma


Elamimax8 karma

I've been writing for a couple of years now, and exclusively doing this for the past 6-12 months. Ideally? Indefinitely. I love writing, and I essentially see my income grow by about $50/month

heidismiles1 karma

Hi, sorry but this post is removed for lack of proof. Please thoroughly read our rules and guidelines regarding proof. Thank you!

Elamimax1 karma

I already submitted proof to another admin. In fact, proof is on the front page of the linked scribblehub profile. Y'all should talk to each other more :p

slugma1230 karma

Assuming you've used KDP in the past or now, how do you select your keywords?

Elamimax5 karma

I have, but I stepped away from it because amazon are greedy bastards who take 75% of your income it's fairly cost prohibitive. At the time, however, I found it best to assign keywords based on use. Try to find the niche but active communities that your work caters to, and use the tags that will direct them to you.

flutterguy1230 karma

Wow! I didnt expect to see a familiar name! Mutually Assured Seduction is one of my favorite scribble stories. And Plot Twist: Its Gay has been really fun so far.

Do you worry that having a lot of stories focused on trans character has made your writing too niche? Or has it helped you find a good base to write for? Considering mainstream books/stories that deal with trans topics and are good are hard to come by.

Elamimax3 karma

Hey! Always nice to see someone who enjoys my work :) Plot Twist is almost done, so it'll all be up on scribblehub soon.

I don't really worry about it too much. Sure, it's a niche, but my audience grows and it's a lot bigger than one might think (estimates of trans population nrs are rising more and more as more and more people step forward). I do think, however, that one day I'll step away from purely trans stories and tell others too, but at the moment "what if venom was trans" is just to attractive of a story to tell.

Lightningbolt193-1 karma

Firstly I want to thank you for all the second hand gender euphoria your stories provide me! I found your stories a couple months ago and they’ve seriously helped me through some of the toughest times of my life. My question is: how do you properly convey the egg-iness of some of your characters without going overboard? On a side note, what do you think the best way to crack someone’s egg is?

Elamimax4 karma

- That's really nice to hear! I'm always happy to hear when one of my works reaches someone, and a lot of what I write coes from a similar place of struggle. Being able to turn that into something that can help someone is one of the main joys I get out of doing this.

- It's hard! I tend to tone it down, so that trans people can read it and go "lmao that's an egg" while cis people go "wtf there were no signs". It's very much the "adjust slider until the image in the middle is visible" of writing.

- Send them my books.

Emperor_Leto-1 karma

Do you like to hang around the gymnasium?

Elamimax3 karma

God no

sapphicsounds-2 karma

How can you wake up every day and look yourself in the mirror know that once more to see you is longer than we're not here?

Elamimax6 karma

I'm going to legally adopt your cat and move him to europe

sapphicsounds4 karma

I will cry

Elamimax2 karma

good <3

sunnipei42-4 karma

Hey! It's cool to see another trans author. :)

Have you ever considered/will you ever consider getting some of your work published traditionally? Or are you fully satisfied with self-publishing?

Elamimax3 karma

I've considered it several times and I'd love to be published some day, but these days I'm happy with where I'm at, and I'd like to focus on this source of income for now.

kiyyik-7 karma

First, cool to see another trans author; my question is, how did you manage to find your audience on social media? I've got my book out and am beating the drum as best I can (small press yaknow), but hardly anyone even knows it exists. I have the usual accounts on twitter/insty/etc, but I feel like I'm shouting into the void. I've done follow-swaps with other writers, but it doesn't seem to be picking up more readers. How do you prime the pump, so to speak?

Elamimax3 karma

A lot of it is shouting into the void, until it isn't anymore. Finding a community does help. I'm kind of plugged into a network of trans authors, and there's a lot of cross-pollination happening between our reader-bases. Doing something like that really helps get your work seen and word of mouth then does a lot of heavy lifting for you.

Elamimax3 karma

As an aside, would you mind posting a link to that book?

evolvaer-8 karma

How does your husband feel about supporting you financially?

Elamimax8 karma

LMAO no husband but nice try