Friday, January 29, 2010

Flying Pigs

Get ready to duck folks. Never thought I’d see the day when pigs fly, but with Amazon willing to (reluctantly? Or for a bigger share of the pie, I’m guessing) give up some Kindle revenue, that day might just be coming our way soon.

This article is a bit lengthy, and there might be a tiny techie part, but you can handle it. With all the hoopla surrounding the new iPad, I thought it worth mentioning. Why Amazon Won’t Launch It’s Own Tablet

No matter what direction we turn, seems like ebooks will be everywhere. Damn. Doesn’t that just make your day?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Writer Biz #3 – Record Keeping Part B - Income

The first thing you want to keep track of is income. What is income? It’s money you are paid by publishers, usually in the form of advances or royalties, for the sale of your articles, or books. Be they magazine articles, ebooks or print books, if you are paid, it’s considered income by the Internal Revenue Service.

Okay, you new authors out there can stop ROFL. If you keep writing, being published, build up a back list, and a readership, you’ll have income. It takes time. The same as it does with any other business. If you’re multi-published by different publishers, you’ll want to keep track of income to be sure you’re receiving the correct royalty amounts from each publisher.

Remember, mistakes happen. If you are not paid the correct amount, discover an error on your royalty statement, or whatever, it is up to YOU to figure that out, and let your publisher know. Sure there are some crappy publishers out to get your money, but for the most part, publishers are also in business. Before you get mad because you know they are out to get you, take a deep breath. You are a professional. Contact them and let them know you’ve discovered an error. I’m sure they’ll be glad to be alerted, and work with you to correct the problem.

One last thing about income. It’s taxable. You’ll want to be sure withhold part of it to pay the taxes on it. I recommend one third. But then, I like to be sure I have enough put by. If there’s some left over after payment, I reinvest it in marketing, but that’s another post.

NOTE: These are suggestions only, and should be viewed that way. Please contact a tax professional in your area, for income, expense and tax advice.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Writer Biz #2 - Record Keeping Part A

Before you snore, let’s get the nastiness out of the way first. I’m getting my tax things ready for the accountant, so my mind is on records. You must keep good records. What do I record, you ask? Simple. Income, Expenses, and Writing Time. I know, you already run a household, manage your family, and have a ton of things to keep track of. Sorry to add to your burden, but next to writing the very best stories ever, this ranks right up there in the top three.

There are variables to these three things depending on whether you write full time, or if you write part-time and work a full time job in another industry. The reason being, if you have a full time job in another industry, you must be ready to prove, tax-wise, that your writing is a ‘job’ not a hobby. Good record keeping will help with that.

There are several ways to handle business records. The really non-negotiable part is that you keep track of things. How you do it, will be up to you. Just be sure you do it.

If you are a new writer, start simple. A spreadsheet will work fine. If you are a more established writer, with a back list and more substantial income/expenses, a simple program like Quicken will work. You’ll also want a place to file paperwork. File folders, an expandable file, or one drawer in a file a cabinet.

As forward reaching as the writing industry is becoming, with the advent of ebooks, electronic submissions, etc., the business end still comes with a butt-load of paper.

One more thing, while your eyes are still barely open...if you don’t have one, you’ll need to find an accountant, CPA, or tax professional you trust, to turn to for taxes at the end of the year, and for questions during the year. I cannot stress this strongly enough. I’m not saying run out right now and hire somebody, but use some common sense here. It’s better to know them, and have a working relationship with them, before you need them for something really important. Like that six-figure advance, and what to do with it. And let’s not forget the taxes that will be imposed upon it.

Next post, we’ll explore what to do with the three categories mentioned above. Income, expenses and writing time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Writer Biz #1 – Street Cred

Welcome to the first post in Fox Tales new weekly column entitled Writer Biz. Just in case you are wondering who this crazy woman is, and why in the world you should listen to a darn thing she says about business, I thought we should get the credibility issues handled first.

My educational/occupational background is in accounting and marketing, (notice how all my series posts are numbered? I find it soothing) with a minor emphasis in human resources. If you think this is where I’m going to brag about my fancy education from some Ivy League school, you’d be wrong. Sorry folks, it’s not who I am.

I’ve been educated and employed by companies both small and large, so I have thorough knowledge of the inner workings on multiple scales, and what it takes to be successful at both ends of the spectrum.

While I’m not quite as old as dirt, I can say I’ve been managed, and a manager, for many years. If you are a writer, you are a small business person who needs to know how to manage the business end of your career as well as the craft portion. While I’m still learning the craft part, right along with you, I’m quite familiar with the other side.

And last but in no way least, I’ve been successfully self-employed for several years now. Remember, success is a relative term. Are you going to find me on the Forbes 500 list? Of course not. Am I successful enough to pay my own bills? You bet. And then some.

You can make of this what you will, but I do invite you to follow along. Because after all, business is business and no matter what business you're in, there are certain fundamentals common to all. I’ll tell you what's worked for me, and what hasn’t. And we’ll try to have a laugh over this gawdawful boring stuff called business.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


No, not the play, but the state. Although, thoughts of Hugh Jackman as Curly does bring a smile to my face. And wouldn’t you know, it’s freezing and Hugh is nowhere to be found. Guess my timing is off, by a couple years. Just as well, since I’m here for work.

I really stopped in because I couldn’t wait to tell you about one of the new things happening here at Fox Tales. Starting next week, there will be a new weekly feature called Writer Biz. I’ll be doing a weekly post about the business end of writing. If writing is just a hobby for you, that’s great. But if it’s your business, or you want to make it your business, you may want to follow along.

Until then, have a fantastic weekend. And stay warm!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Conference Anyone?

If you’d like to attend a conference this season, but like most of us, are concerned about the cost, let me recommend EPICon. Presented on a smaller scale, this makes it ideal because it’s less expensive than most, in a fun location, and is offering an excellent roster of speakers (besides me, check out the list) to help you improve your craft and marketing skills.

The banner provides a link so you can take a look yourself. If you’d prefer an intimate setting, where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. This is it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

It's our usual custom to stay indoors on New Years eve, so we had a great quiet evening.

Honestly, our butts were kicked from painting all day. So we snoozed in our recliners.

We just finished painting for today, and must go find dinner. I just wanted to stop by and say thanks for a great 2009. I'm really looking forward to lots of exciting things this year, which I'll share with you soon.

Until then, wishing each of you, all the best for 2010.