Day three of my week-long series where I discuss my 2013 writing expenses. My goal with this “business of writing mini-series” is to share some helpful information with new writers, while also giving readers a behind-the-scenes peek at what many writers do to support their work. Experienced writers, please feel free to share links and thoughts in the comments. Because today’s topics are even blander than some of the others, I’m including some EXCITING STOCK PHOTOS in this post! 😀


Almost all of my mailing costs were associated with mailing giveaway copies of my books to readers. I mentioned already that I enjoy giving away copies of my book. Currently, I only offer print copies, which require mailing. I manage this expense by only mailing to U.S. addresses, but I often wish I didn’t need to limit my reach.

LESSON? I’d love to figure out how to offer digital copies of my books in the future.

Post Office Boxes: Another possible expense.
Post Office Boxes:
Another expense.
This one’s mine:
P.O. Box 381
Shrewsbury, PA 17361-0381
Feel free to use it to send me an old fashioned letter! 😀


I actually worried that this expense would represent a bigger portion of my expenses than it did. I like to include pictures in my blog posts and many times, my pictures just aren’t relevant or good enough. So in 2013, I spent approximately 6% of my overall expenses on stock photos from BigStock and iStock. Most of them were either loaded up as part of a blog post or added to the stationary pages on my website. But I also bought a handful to use as part of the presentation I gave at the Library of Congress SF&F Forum.

LESSONS? I could cut back on this. My posts don’t require photos. If I needed to tighten the belt, this would be an expense to consider cutting. But I like adding a visual component to posts. I think it makes them more attention grabbing and professional looking. Although paying less for photos used for daily posts versus static pages or presentations might be something to consider.


Yikes! Printer ink is a lot more expensive on a yearly basis than I’d like for it to be! And it’s weird how quickly the cost of envelopes, paper writing tablets, copy paper, pens, etc. add up. But there’s no getting around these expenses. Like postage, these costs are associated with nearly every business.

In 2013, I also bought a new laptop. This would have so wildly skewed my expense numbers, that I didn’t even include it for purposes of these posts. But, of course, hardware upgrades are necessary too. (My husband would be kicking up his heels if he heard me say that. He works for one of the world’s biggest PC manufacturers.)

A little bit off topic, but… there’s been a lot of talk over the last year about the death of the PC. And it’s true that lots of people are shifting to tablets. But I think many of those people are consumers of content, not creators. For my part, I’m just hoping there will always be awesome hardware out there for those of us who want to write and create content for others to consume.

LESSONS? Other than bargain hunting, bulk purchasing, and not being wasteful, I don’t know how anyone could cut their office supply expenses.

So that’s my take on mailing costs, stock photos, and office supplies. Sexy and exciting? Probably not. Basic and useful? Hopefully so. 😀 Now I’d love to hear from you…

Writers, do you mail print copies of your books as giveaways or do you offer digital versions? Do you use stock photos? If so, where do you buy them? Do you write on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or something else?

Readers, do you like getting print copies as giveaways or do you prefer digital? Do you think blog posts without pictures are boring? From which device do you access the internet the most — desktop, laptop, tablet, or other?

Tomorrow, books and writer’s groups! Happy Wednesday, all!