The Business of #Writing: Everything Else!

This is it! Post #5! The last post in this week’s “mini-series” of posts where I discuss my 2013 writing expenses and ponder what worked, what didn’t, and what I might change this year. All week, I’ve been encouraging new writers to ask questions, experienced writers to share their own thoughts and knowledge, and readers to either ignore and forgive (if they find this shop talk really boring) or join in! At the end of each post, I’ve included questions for everyone.

So for Friday I saved the Big One – the last of my 2013 Top Ten Expenses AND the one that, as a percentage, dwarfed all of the others. What was it? I call it “Everything Else” and it took up almost 31% of my expenses last year. Whoa. So what the heck is included in that monstrous chimera category? Well, lots of things, obviously. But this series of posts has to end at some point before you all get really sick of me talking about this stuff so I’ll just quickly hit a few of them and then wrap this series up.

Giveaway Expenses

I already mentioned that I give away print copies of my books. Well, I also give away eGift Certificates to bookstores of the winner’s choice. This allows me to open up my contests to international participants. Truth be told, most people pick Amazon. I hope they use the certificate to buy my books or someone else’s, but it’s their prize. I think of the opportunity to win prizes as a thank you to everyone who helps me spread the word about whatever it is I’m trying to spread the word about (usually a new release or a new cover).

Workshops and Conference Recordings

I took a self-publishing class from Author EMS and ordered a bunch of recordings from RWA’s national conference.

MY THOUGHTS? When I was a practicing attorney, we were always encouraged to take “CLE” classes – continuing legal education. Authors should take continuing education classes too – CAE for all of us! 😀 Also: don’t try to take an online class during a Yahoo Groups redesign. (Grr…)

Holiday Gifts

Who did I send a gift to? My agent and my editor. We have nice, professional relationships and I believe in saying thank you. In my previous career, December was always a fun month. Lots of small tokens of appreciation coming in and going out. And there’s the fact that, though we haven’t had many lunches or dinners, my agent and editor always pick up the tab when we do. They deserve some end-of-year cheer.

Charitable Contributions

This is actually one expense I wish was higher. I really admire writers that combine philanthropy and writing. Something for me to think about in the future, but for 2014 I’ll probably just concentrate on keeping my head above water and continue giving when I can. (Who did I give to in 2013? The Red Cross and Special Olympics).

Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and Donations to Other Cool “Causes”

[Again, I need to remind everyone that my posts are discussing writing expenses generally, not deductible expenses specifically. Make a list of your expenses, gather your receipts, and talk to your tax advisor about whether any of them are deductible. I cannot give tax advice, but I can’t imagine costs like this are deductible. Strictly speaking, they’re not even expenses. They’re donations.]

In 2013, I donated to the Online Etymology Dictionary and to the Museum of Science Fiction.

Research and/or Translation Assistance

Those of you who’ve read the Noon Onyx series know that I’m fond of Latin phrases and idioms. I have a Latin tutor who helps make sure I’m using them the way I want to. (This doesn’t always mean the interpretations I give in the book are accurate. I’ve changed some of them to fit the story and note that in the acknowledgements.) Here are my favorite ones from each book:

Jill Archer's Dark Light of DayDARK LIGHT OF DAY

Lucem in tenebras ferimus.

Into the darkness, we bring light.

Jill Archer's Fiery Edge of SteelFIERY EDGE OF STEEL

Virtute non armis fido.

Courage over weapons; cats over sanity.

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover artWHITE HEART OF JUSTICE

Volo tecum vivere . . . Recuso mori sine te!

I want to live with you . . . And I refuse to die without you!

LESSON? Use less Latin? Kidding. Having liberally sprinkled Dark Light of Day with Latin phrases, I could hardly leave them out of subsequent books, and I’ve very much enjoyed working with Joan, the woman who helps me translate these phrases. But my next project likely won’t have any Latin.

Service Charges, Taxes, and Professional Fees

Ah, from love, death, and Latin to taxes. 😀

By now you are all probably eyeing the clock wondering when happy hour starts. So, really, can you think of a worse topic to be discussing on a Friday afternoon then this one? So, very quickly, here’s the deal:

I had some bank charges; everyone who banks does. I paid some personal property taxes as a result of structuring my writing business as an LLC. And I paid my accountant, which brings us back to the beginning (as good stories always do) when I said Monday:

Every spring I begin the tedious process of collecting all of my expense receipts so that I can send a packet of information to my accountant…

LESSONS? While no one loves paying taxes, I don’t regret forming the LLC. My accountant deserves to be paid for her work and I’m definitely going to talk to my bank about lowering some of my service charges.

I spent money on other things in 2013 but these were the ones I thought were worth considering, discussing, and sharing.

Now it’s your turn:

Did I miss anything?

Other expenses that you may have had that I didn’t:

  • Photographer’s fee
  • Independent editing fee
  • Proofreading fee
  • Formatter’s fee
  • Cover artist’s fee
  • Copyright registration fee
  • Legal fees
  • ISBN costs

Were you impacted by the Yahoo Groups redesign? What do you think of Yahoo Groups now?

Do you have a favorite charity? Have you ever contributed to Kickstarter or IndieGoGo projects? If so, which ones?

Have any fun Latin phrases to share?

Thank you to everyone who commented, shared their thoughts and experiences, or answered my questions. You are all fantastic! Best wishes for a terrific weekend!