Ask away!

I know that there are many other threads, even some that include what I’ve dealt with, but I’m afraid of being a thread crasher, so I don’t want to be rude to anyone lol.

With that said and out of the way, I have done or experienced a bit of many various things that may or may not be experienced by others. I thought, “Why not?” to making a thread about it.

I can go on and on about different things, so I decided it was easier to just use a single thread for people to ask their questions!

Your question can be silly or random (like what’s your favorite candy) but if you want to either learn about something particular or learn about me, you can ask more personal questions if you wish (and I have created a list of topics below that can help with that).

And yes, if you want to answer questions too, be my guest! :blush:

As for topics I can answer the most about:

  • Traveling across country
  • Being an extra in a reality TV show episode
  • Living in an RV
  • Poverty
  • Going to a new school (I’ve been to fourteen different public schools in the US)
  • The American school system
  • Going on a plane (I’ve traveled on a plane once, round trip, during COVID)
  • Murder mystery dinner events (went to one at a hotel, another on a moving train)
  • Being in a large family (I have three sisters and one brother)
  • Being overweight and the process of losing weight
  • Living in a hotel
  • Somewhat of a traditional Catholic wedding (I was the bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding, and hers was close to a traditional Catholic wedding only because of her mother-in-law)
  • Depression and social anxiety
  • Alcoholism (I know people who are alcoholics)
  • Traditional publishing (while I’m not traditionally published, I do know a lot of the process as I’ve been learning about it for a long time since I plan to publish in the near future)
  • Working at a hotel as the night auditor and being a dishwasher for a restaurant)
  • Being bullied
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Is it possible to be a hobbyist writer that is also traditionally-published? As in, I don’t want to become a full-time or part-time author but I’d also like to be published.

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Of course! In fact, just about every writer is that anyway.

It is extremely difficult to become a full-time or part-time writer because you don’t actually make much money from it to use your book money as income.

When you first traditionally publish, you are given what is called an advance which is a small sum of money that they give you once contracts are signed. The advance can be anywhere between 2,000 to 10,000 dollars USD on average. Some people make more, some make less. Very few people make the “unicorn” advance which is anything in the six figure section.

The sad truth to the advance, though, is that it’s separated by a specific amount of years (depending on how many books you sold). A simple example is that if you sold one book to the publisher, your advance might come out within a two year gap. You get half of it after contracts are signed, the other when the book is released. Or something like that.

The sad bonus truth is that it also doesn’t count how much they cut for your agent (your agent gets a percentage from the advance) along with taxes. So you’re left with an even smaller amount of cash.

Now, once your book is already released, you don’t see any cash at all. This is because you need to earn out your advance from the royalties. In other words, the amount your book makes from royalties needs to be the same amount that your advance was. So if your advance was 10,000 dollars, then your book needs to make 10,000 dollars. And this is hard because it’s only counting the amount that you make from it, your percentage of the cut. So a 20 dollar book will give you just above a dollar in profit. That’s because the rest of the money goes toward your publisher and agent.

Many to most authors never earn out, and even some household bestselling authors have never earned out either. That means you’re not making a dime on your story; the only money you make is through the advances.

Now, if you do end up earning out, it is still difficult to make a steady income on it because on average, authors will only make 6,000 dollars a year at that point.

When it comes to becoming a full-time writer, you either have to become the next Stephenie Meyer, J.K Rowling, Stephen King… through a massive amount of luck. Or you need to make more money from other sources like affiliate marketing, Patreon, social media, etc. Or, in other cases, have someone to rely on when it comes to the rent and bills and keeping themselves afloat.

So overall, I don’t think you’d have any problem with being able to write and use it as a hobby (that earns you a bit of cash on the side) without wanting to do it full-time. There’s actually many authors who may make a decent amount of money to quit their day job, but wouldn’t. I’ll post a video below of Alexa Donne who has published three novels, never earned out her advance, and doesn’t want to write full-time:

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these sound fun! How did it work? :joy:

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Thanks a lot for explaining! :slight_smile:

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They were fun! :rofl:

The first one took place in the banquet room of a fancy hotel downtown of a city. The purpose of the play was to socialize with other people because you sat at a table of random strangers.

Before you go in, they give you a name tag that you can sign with any kind of name. Like, Spongebob or Captain Underwear. Or it can be something like a normal name.

But then you go into the room and sit down at your assigned table. If you’re with someone, you can be asked to sit with them.

Anyway, it’s a very interactive play where they will have everyone stand up and greet each other, talk about their lives and whatnot. But it’s supposed to be fake, so you basically just say whatever comes to mind. This is become there are actors sitting at specific tables and the point of the meet and greet is to pin point who could’ve murdered said person.

As you go through the crowd, you’re given a paper to make a list of suspects. When you finally sit back down, the actual play begins with some kind of storyline. So you have actors talking in the middle of the room, doing things, and eventually the murder happens.

And because it’s a dinner theater, you eat while the play goes on.

You don’t really get a prize if you find out who it was, or anything like that. It’s just a fun way to participate in the play.

The second one was much better in my opinion. It took place on a train that looked super fancy on the inside, so mostly everyone dressed up.

There are different types of events during the days, but we decided to do the five-course dinner theater one. The train actually moved on the track, and for us, they had you eat going up to a certain point (it was like a good hour and a half or so) and then when they head back to the station, they serve you dessert with the play beginning.

For this one, they didn’t have actors in the crowd. They had actors on the train that would do their bit and then leave the section for another set of actors. However, you still somewhat participated. If you wanted to volunteer, they would give you a piece of paper with your character’s name, what you do, etc. and when it comes your turn, it becomes an improv moment. You get to say whatever you’d like as long as you mention what’s on the paper.

But if you didn’t want to, you weren’t forced to.

The similarity between both of these events is that they were comedic. The first one was sort of funny, but it was more silly than anything. The second one was really funny, especially when people did improv.

I don’t have any photos from the first event, but these are the ones of the train:

No problem! :blush:

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What do you think about the American school system? Is there anything you would change?

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What was your favorite part of the country to live in?

What did you like/dislike about living in a hotel?

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I hate the school system, and I’d change everything. xD

If you wish to not read my extremely long gibberish, you can cut to the end where the videos are. :wink:

The system doesn’t care about actual education; they care about you getting good grades, whether or not you learn the material. The majority of students spend countless hours studying or trying to aim for good grades, only to forget everything they’ve learned right after the test or after school.

The other issue with the system is that you learn things that don’t even apply to real life. Like, you’re forced to know that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, but there are schools that don’t teach you how to do taxes, how to get a job, etc. The system defends themselves by saying, “Parents should teach their kids these things.” Which, yes, I agree… but not everyone has that ability. There are students who have abusive parents, who have non-existent parents, who have parents that are alcoholics and drug addicts, and these kids don’t get to learn how to drive a car, how to rent an apartment, how to get a job from their parents.

There are schools that do have these kinds of classes, but they blow through the topics quickly and it’s like one class throughout all four years of high school. I don’t even remember my personal financial class because it was like a two month class, and I didn’t have it again.

You’re also not forced to learn another language. There are language classes, mostly between French and Spanish, and while it’s recommended to do, they don’t force it upon you like other places. Most Americans, who aren’t from other countries that don’t use English as their native tongue, only speak one language. Very few people know more than one language, and others who have gone through a language class and can speak somewhat fluently have forgotten how to speak the language. My sister did three years in French and back then, could create a conversation. But because she isn’t surrounded by French speakers and doesn’t really brush up on it every so often, she remembers a little of it and can’t do a conversation.

What I’d change the most with the public school system is to give students the typical core classes for like the first two years, but keep the more advanced classes as something that they aren’t forced to do. Then implement anything regarding to real life into the system, especially between the last two years of high school so students can be ready for adulthood. I’d also have language classes be forced as well.

College is just as bad because it’s so bloody expensive and colleges only really care about money, and most normal people are in debt for years. Some people don’t pay off their student loans until ten to twenty years after they went to college. There are some programs to help with your loans such as grants, scholarships, etc. but it only covers a very small percentage of your loans. Like, I’ve read where people got football scholarships… that paid like a few thousand dollars when their tuition was about thirty grand.

Universities, such as Yale and UCLA, can cost just as much as a house or a brand new car. That’s how expensive it is. And people who don’t have that money don’t go to college, or others decide to do community college (which is much cheaper) and then transfer to a university for their last two years.

And the reason why I say that college mostly cares about the money is because of all the college admission scandals. Rich people, along with celebrities, bribe the schools with money just to get their kid on campus. And these things have been going on for decades, but very few people get caught. Like Lori Loughlin, the actress that played Rebecca from Full House. :woman_shrugging:

In short, my opinions are the same as these spoken word poems (and song):

My favorite states are between California and Colorado. I love California mostly because of the beach and the amount of activities there are, at least toward southern Cali. Lots of shopping, amusement parks, zoos, and more. When you live in a small town that has nothing like that, you want to move somewhere close to this. xD At least, I do anyway. I currently live in Kansas and I hate the town I live in because it’s so boring. The closest bookstore is three to four hours away. :sob: But the other cool thing with California is while the south has all the main attractions, if you want to see snow and mountains, head up north toward Yosemite. It’s gorgeous, and makes you feel like you’re not even in California. xD

I love Colorado for the mountains, the snow, and the beautiful towns up in the mountains. I used to live around Breckenridge and Keystone which is a tourist area because of the skiing and snowboarding areas. What California, or at least the majority of Cali toward the south, can’t give to you is the seasons. California is mostly just hot all the time whereas Colorado has the different seasons, but gives you cooler summers than other places. It can be super hot sometimes, but I’ve only ever experienced the average 70s and 80s (degrees; Fahrenheit). :woman_shrugging: lol

It varies upon the hotel. Most brand hotels (like Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn, etc.) don’t have full kitchens, and for us, that meant we didn’t have a kitchen either. Tiny fridges and a microwave at most. So I hated that, especially since it meant that we had to eat out more. We would sometimes have an electric stove of some kind (like a small burner) which did help, but that happened within like the last few years of hotel living lol. Though sometimes, if the hotel had a restaurant, we would use the back kitchen for cooking (my mom was always the general manager, so she didn’t mind it lol).

As for what I liked, I really loved the beds because they were (on most occasions haha) comfy. I also loved it when we would have full cable (because not every hotel came with Disney Channel or Nickelodeon). And it was really funny when people would see the reaction that I lived in a hotel. Like, I remember one time when I got off the school bus and people were like, “You live there!?” :rofl: But it definitely wasn’t all cracked up to be, like Suite Life of Zack and Cody. We had to be on our best behavior, you didn’t get room service (very few hotels we lived in offered it because it had a restaurant), and we had to be quite when we were watching movies or shows because there was always that one Karen being our neighbor who needed extreme silence when she went to sleep.

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Is posting something on wattpad bad if you want to get traditionally published someday?

On wattpad, I can get instant feedback and stuff, but I’ve read on the internet that sometimes, literary agents and publishing houses don’t accept manuscripts because they’ve been posted elsewhere.

Does this really break your chance with a literary agent/pub house?

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Posting on Wattpad is fine, as long as it’s not the book you want to query. Publishers and agents have no problem with writers using Wattpad (they may even encourage it as it’s a way to earn an audience), but the problem they have is if you post to Wattpad and then query that story.

Querying something that is self-published, whether it’s on a writing website or on Amazon (for profit), is a huge no-no. This is mostly because publishers want what is called “the first rights.” The first rights basically means that the publishing house releases it first so it can be new and exciting to the world. When you self-publish, you have the first rights but when you query that same story, it’s not longer “new and exciting.”

The only exception to this is if you:

  • Won a Watty.
  • Use Wattpad as an agent through the Star program.
  • Have millions of reads on your story.

But neither of these three are easy to accomplish, so when you query by yourself with your story still up on the website, you will encounter multiple rejection letters.

When it comes to getting feedback for a story you’d like to query for possible publication, the best thing to do is to use Google Docs or send your manuscript through email for people to beta read and critique. This way you can still get feedback with your chances not being broken. :wink:

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Summary

This. This whole thing. I agree with all of it :joy:

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I have never been really fond of the school system in my country, because I feel like it very much limits what we are able to learn. Upon reading your description, though, it doesn’t seem so bad, after all. We have free education, and I’ll be forever grateful for that!

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Though if your school system has issues, you have a right to be upset about it and not like it for those reasons. :wink: I’m sure every school system has their own problems haha.

That’s awesome! :blush:

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They sure do!

It is!:grinning:

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I feel bad for that person, but on the other hand why did they think it was a good idea in the first place? lol

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Haha, some people aren’t that bright. :rofl:

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I have some more questions, hope you don’t mind!

What was this like? How did you become an extra? What was the reality TV show called?

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The more, the merrier! :blush:

My experience was a bit different than anyone else in the film business. Since my mom works as a hotel manager, she was housing the filmmakers and crew in a hotel she was associated with (she didn’t actually work there, but the owners owned it and we were living in it for a month or so at the time), and when word got out that they were looking for extras, my parents thought of my brother and I. The producers were looking for adults (anyone eighteen or older) that looked like teenagers because the characters were teens, but it was mostly because of legal stuff. My brother was eighteen and I was sixteen, turning seventeen at the time. I barely made it, but only got the gig because they were desperate and couldn’t find anyone else. They had someone come up to our room for us to sign the contracts (my mom had to sign stuff because I was still a minor). And then next thing I knew, we were heading off to their filming location.

It seriously boggled my mind to know how fake they make the show. After watching reality TV for years (like Cake Boss, Storage Wars, etc.) I always thought they were true in some way, but after being a part of this, I realized that it’s nothing more than a normal show made to look real.

When we got to the filming location, we were kind of scratching our heads because… it wasn’t something that you’d see teens at (at least, not in America). It was at a liquor store with a small section for snacks, and the producers had me, my brother, and another guy huddle close together where the snacks are to make it look like we’re in like a gas station convenient store kind of thing.

He let us have a free soda that I think we drank while filming, and then had us look at a phone as if scrolling through social media (because the point of the episode was to find a missing truck that a group of teenagers stole for a prank) and looking at the stolen truck. Then the actors would come in to talk to us, asking us questions about the truck. The two brothers were pretty cool.

We basically had to improv because the producer/director didn’t give us any actual lines. He gave us a guideline of what we could say and to stay on topic, but we could say whatever we wanted. He mostly wanted me to say it, but I was really nervous and said a partial of what was needed before my brother cut in to help. I actually messed up, so we did two takes.

After that, the producer’s assistant gave us fifty dollars and we left.

The show also starred my dad as well, who acted as some angry owner guy that chased the main actors away. I wasn’t there to watch him do it, but watching it makes me laugh every time because it’s just so ridiculously funny. The director kept making him run and encouraged him to cuss because he liked it… xD

We also weren’t credited and our faces are blurred out to make it look more realistic.

Big Rig Bounty Hunters from the History Channel. The show ended after two seasons because they weren’t getting a lot of viewers. We’re on the sixth episode of the second season: Big Rig Chill.

I can’t find any videos on our part on YouTube, but this video has my dad in it—he’s the one chasing and yelling at the brothers. :rofl:

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