East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Two hundred five thousand and five hundred and thirty

The morning started nicely, with the news that a pitch I mailed 36 hours ago, for a 10.000-words story set on the Mongolian border has been accepted, and the editor would like to see a full treatment before they give the go ahead. This is a great opportunity to work on a very high-profile project, and also, it’s a fun story I am planning to write, so there.

As I was updating my files (I keep a spreadsheet record of all the stories and the pitches I mail out), I decided to make a quick check, and calculated how many words I mailed out in total in 2019.


This is of course not counting the stories I published for my patrons, those I self-published under my name or other aliases, my contract work for the historical magazine Savej and other non-fiction sales, and my ghost-writing work. I do not have a precise count of all that, but a quick ballpark figure places my total output in 2019 into the 450.000 words total.

Not bad.
Not bad at all.



I was making some calculations, last night.

numbers-721046In the last three years, I’ve been sticking to a very strict schedule of one post per day, at least, on my Italian blog, strategie evolutive – which is in the Top 20 of Italian literary blogs.
I normally post once a day (early in the morning), and my post clock at around 800 words (actually 600-1000, depending on subject, mood etc.)
That makes roughly 5000 words per week.
260.000 words per year.
I’m also doing at least one 500-1000 post per week for the science fiction/fantasy blogzine Il Futuro è Tornato – say another 40.000 words per year.
Starting this year – last month, actually – I’m also filing a review or two per month on the literary review blogzine Liberidiscrivere – nothing fancy, let’s say 1500/2000 words per month.
Before, I used to write roughly the same amounts for L’Indice dei Libri del Mese, and before that, I did something like 25.000 words per bimester for LibriNuovi, which was a paper/analog magazine (and now is making a comeback as a webzine – so maybe I’ll write stuff for them again).
So, make it another 12.000 words a year.
And now, I’m doing 2 or 3 posts per week, 300-600 words each, here on Karavansara.
Let’s say another 20.000 words.

Which gives me a total of about 330.000 per year of original contents, just blogging.
A figure I have no problem rounding up to 350.000, considering that I often do two posts per day on strategie evolutive, plus guest posts and stuff.

350.000 words per year.

And here I can stop and tell myself that my goal should be putting down 350.000 words of fiction and gaming material per year.
Now that would be great – because out of 350K words of fiction and gaming material, I could probably get roughly 150.000 good words, good stories, good gaming supplements.
Stuff worth publishing.

Currently, my fictional output is much lower than that.
I need to work on that.

What I find extremely ridiculous – and annoying – is that according to some Italian web-gurus, I am not a writer.
I do not have a certification, I do not have a badge, I did not kowtow in front of certain idols.
My output of 350.000 words per year, my 250.000/300.000 readers per year (and growing!), are meaningless.
Years spent generating a third of a million words of original content are not even providing me with any kind of qualification, or reference, or recognized skill.

And therefore all of this – the blogs, the webzines, the guest posts, the reviews – is not generating a single eurocent of revenue.
The simple idea of wishing for an honest revenue from blogging is considered vulgar, illegitimate and stupid, by the majority of people in my country.

Not only my status as a writer is denied, but I am not even allowed the simple dignity of a honest busker: even the simple PayPal donation button, or the link to the Amazon wishlist, is considered “begging”, and therefore a clear sign of a terrible lack of class and dignity.

And it is ridiculous – and annoying.