Last week we talked about organizing contracts, submissions and your author calendar. Now we need to talk about possibly the most critical part of a working author’s organization: Income, Expenses and Taxes.
Income, specifically advances and royalties, is fun to talk about. Who doesn’t like to get checks in the mail or delivered straight to their bank or Paypal account? But scrambling to find all the deposits and add them together come tax time can be frustrating and time consuming, especially if you write for multiple publishers or self-publish on multiple platforms, so keep a record throughout the year and keep all your statements together so nothing gets overlooked or forgotten. On the plus side, you’ll have a great idea of which of your books are selling and which retailers you sell the most at.
Expenses are even harder to figure out at the end of the year if you haven’t been keeping track of them all along. How much did you spend to have your book cover on that blog? How much to did you pay in postage to mail that swag to readers? How much did the swag cost? What about that conference you went to in April? Keeping track of them as you go along or, at the very least, in a quarterly round up will help keep things from slipping through the cracks and make your life a lot easier come the end of the year.
Which leads us to the reason keeping track of your income and expenses is so critical…
Taxes! Sure you want the satisfaction and validation of making a profit on your writing, but you also have to make an accurate reporting to the IRS or risk penalties and interest and general misery. And I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to give the government more of my money than I have to. Hence, don’t leave out any legitimate expenses from your records!