Alright, this is what I call my 10% rule.

Take your budget (marketing, production, whatever). Split off 10% of it.

That’s now your ‘fun project’ budget.


The basic idea is that the vast majority of your budget should be spent on doing the things you know work. For us indie writers, that’s mostly producing ebooks with good covers and good editing.

But, if you stick to doing only what you know will work, you never innovate. You never test.



This obviously works better once you actually have a budget and an idea of what works. 🙂 Feel free to adjust if you’re just starting out and have a tiny budget.

But I have no Money!

You have time. Take 10% of your time and send it off to do a fun project. If that means writing shorts that you would never have done, great! If that means spending it doing Instagram posts or putting your books up on Babelcube… great!

If you don’t have money, substitute time.

Tao Story Time

I came up with this rule early on when I ran marketing budgets. I’d split off the 10% to test out new marketing tactics, new mediums and avenues. Sure, we ‘knew’ what worked for the most part, but having a little bit of money that I could throw at new projects occassionally saw some amazing returns.

Advertising in pot magazines? Over 2000% returns.

Doing a video game review channel? over 25.6k subscribers, and a constant flow of advertising dollars as well as a TON of publicity. We still get mentions about the channel for my business to this day – and we killed the channel over 5 years ago.

Do you know what my first 10% use for my self-published income was?


Yeah, it might sound strange; but I had no idea about them. I had no clue if I’d make money. But I was willing to take 10% of the earned income I had and make an audiobook because I was willing to test.

And boy, has that paid itself.

But it’s not all Successes

In fact, most of the time, it’s failures. You have to go into this knowing that your 10% investment is into weird, untested areas. That you are likely to fail 99% of the time, wasting all that money.

And if you breakeven, you’re doing great.

Some of my failures?

the System Apocalypse comics continue to have a huge negative ROI.

 – the German edition of Life in the North doesn’t look to be paying out anytime soon

Bandcamp which I’ve listed my audiobooks is not really selling many books. 

– and more….

But, that one success – Audiobooks – that’s paid for all these failures and more.

And, Patreon which I started because it was something I thought I’d try? That paid for a few of the issues of the comic by itself. 

Also, and I’ll talk about this in another post – there’s a time factor involved in all this; that is worth considering.

What’s your 10%

So. What’s your 10% you are going to do? What insane success story will you have because you did something you didn’t really think would work? What failures did you learn from? Because all of it are lessons.

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