Last week, Novelr profiled Amanda Hocking, whom they dubbed the very rich indie writer. Hocking is a 26-year-old woman who writes “paranormal romance” novels and publishes them herself through Amazon’s Kindle store. She’s been very successful, and has made a lot of money.

Her success has led to all sorts of speculation — as success will do — and comments from folks who think they could do what she does, too. They think she’s an overnight success. She recently posted a response at her website, and I like it. Here’s an excerpt:

This is literally years of work you’re seeing. And hours and hours of work each day. The amount of time and energy I put into marketing is exhausting. I am continuously overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do that isn’t writing a book. I hardly have time to write anymore, which sucks and terrifies me.

If you read Hocking’s post, you might understand some of my own mindset over the past few years. Imagine that instead of discussing supernatural love stories, she’s writing about an unexpectedly successful personal-finance blog. There are some close parallels. I don’t mean that in a negative, complain-y way. I just mean to stress that yes, you can make it big doing something you love, but it’ll probably take a lot of hard work. (And luck. There’s always a bit of luck involved.)

Speaking of making money: There’s been a small flurry of online info about making more money lately. (You know this is one of my pet topics, right?) For example, Inc. magazine posted an article from Jason Fried about how to get good at making money. Fried’s list is targeted at small-business owners. Trent at The Simple Dollar responded with his own list of five easy steps to make money for average folks. Both articles are interesting.

Moving on: I’ve written before about the value of a neighborhood exchange — an informal system of borrowing and lending goods and services. David at My Two Dollars has a great list of items to share with your neighbors to save money. I realize that not everyone likes to borrow or lend things, but if you live in an area with good social capital, this can be a great way for everyone involved to save space and cash.

Since returning from Africa, I’ve been struggling to get everything done that needs to be done. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. So I was interested in the latest post at Pop Economics, which asks, “How much do you value your time?” Pop says the balance between time and money is tough to find — we want more of both. He’s actually experimenting with a personal assistant, which I like. I’ve been waiting for an average joe to do this and report on how it goes. (As opposed to somebody like Tim Ferriss, who makes it sound like a way to become superhuman.)

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