Wednesday, June 08, 2016



Ah, royalties--the fruit of our writing labor as authors. At least, they should be. Sometimes you pour a lot of man-hours into a book and see almost no return. At the other end of the royalty spectrum, some folks make enough money to quit their day jobs, go on vacations, or buy big new houses. Most of us, however, are somewhere in the middle, making a decent amount of royalties, but not enough to support ourselves. Which begs the question--what do we do with that money?

Obviously, reinvestment is key in our self-published writing business. There's ads, new software, editing, cover fees, etc. etc. But you've got to have a little fun with your royalties. More than just a nice dinner out or a new movie for the collection. Something substantial...

Well, beginning this summer, I'm going to start on a new hobby that has intrigued me for months: the assembly of my very own AR15 rifle.

Why assembly? Well, yes, I could save up for a couple of months, or luck into a really good month and just buy one (AR15s can be anywhere from $600 up). But there's nothing special about that. Well, I mean not much. I did buy a handgun this winter with my royalties. That was fun. But now that I've been there and done that, I want something more. And what could be more satisfying than building my rifle, a piece at a time? 

Oh, you meant, Why do I need an AR15?  Well, I don't particularly need one. 5.56mm ammo can penetrate concrete blocks, so I can't say it's for home defense--that's more the function of my newest handgun. I don't plan on the world ending either. Or jackbooted gubmint thugs raiding. Nope, the reason I want an AR15 is because I enjoy shooting them. I carried one when I was in the USAF and even qualified as a small arms expert with it. 

But enough about me. Let's talk guns...

Yes, you can Johnny Cash an AR15 together one piece at a time. All but one part can even be purchased online and shipped to your door, oddly enough. That one remaining part is the lower receiver. It's the part the gubmint classifies as the rifle, requiring purchase at a licensed dealer and a background check. And as I'm a notorious cheapskate, I went with the lowest priced receiver I could find--a nice aluminum one produced by a company called Anderson, for $49.95.

One piece down and... how many to go?

For this project, I've broken the parts into groups, and set myself a spending limit of $75 a month (or less if I have a particularly bad sales month). The groups are:

Stripped Lower Receiver

Lower Receiver Parts kit


Stripped Upper Receiver

Upper Receiver Parts Kit

Bolt & Bolt carrier components


Front Handguard Kit

Gas Tube and Block



So thats what I'll be posting about every month. My royalty rifle--an AR15 purchased with royalties, and assembled bit by bit, as funds and time allow. And to wrap the project up, I'll take my new toy to the range and test it out. THAT is a good ending to a story...

What do you do with your royalities? Anything cool? Anything memorable? Let me know in the contents below. The best story will win some a free copy of a Stone Soldiers/Shadow Detachment book (Print for winner here in America, digital for those overseas). 

And if you're interested in building your on AR15, check out this article in American Rifleman from the end of 2014. 

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