Monday, 4 September 2017

Cancel My Ten O'Clock and Get New York on Line Two...

I will, Michelle, I will!
Well after all the gadding about and shenanigans last week, it's back to work. And the thing is, I couldn't be happier. The start of September means the official end (in my head, at least) of all that sweaty weather, as well as providing a motivational surge that the back-to-school feeling brings. I'll be honest, I'm a lot happier about the back-to-school feeling than I was when I was a real life staff member of a real life school. September brought more mixed emotions then. Mainly panic, stress and the dread of knowing in just a couple of months I'd be screaming multiple verses of Christmas carols at children in an attempt to force-teach an excessive number of songs within a week whilst trying to complete Very Important end of term assessments at the same time. *Sighs, looks into distance, starts smoking, pours a stiff drink, ponders narcotics* Sorry about that, where was I? Yeah, regardless of how the routine takes shape, the fact remains - once September hits, the days are renewed with vigour and purpose once more. Woohoo and hurrah for that.

I make calls like this on a daily basis.
In readiness for the new writing year, I've been sorting out technical things. Things like 'admin' and 'accounts'. Things that have been on my To Do list for months. Honest to God, it's like I've turned into Ken Masters, running Leisure Cruise in a pastel jumper. (Follow him on Twitter!) I'm proper business these days. Tell Toyko I'm in a meeting. I'll have that cappuccino to go! In all seriousness, the 'admin' is minimal but it still has to be done. I was in the advantageous position prior to writing, in already having an accountant that did my self-assessment stuff each year. I didn't do anything other than sign a few forms when I was told to. But now? Now I have invoices! Now I have receipts! Now I am responsible for paperwork! Frigging hell! It's all so silly too. I'm not JK Rowling. No, I know, it's easy for me to forget that too. But I'm not raking in the cash. I never assumed I would. I am, however, seeing a trickle of pennies come through each month that can pay for a nice meal out now and then. But even though it is buttons I still have to be rigorous with my accounts. I have to be on it.

Me and my filing.
So, for anyone who reads these posts in order to glean insight into their own self-publishing journey, first of all, jeez,you really shouldn't, and secondly, I'll add a bit of detail about the financial side of it all.
  • Amazon make you complete an online tax questionnaire so that you don't pay tax on US sales twice. It is less complicated than it looks so don't be put off.
  • It is not necessary to set up as a Limited Company when you self-publish. Sole Trader status will be fine unless you end up selling a gazillion copies. 
  • Likewise, a business bank account is not necessary when it's a small publishing enterprise.
  • Creating paperbacks is an expensive shebang. For a £7.99 book*, the writer/publisher gets 86p.
  • Ebook royalties are better. Around 50% of the price goes to the writer/publisher. Plus there are less costs in setting them up too. 
  • Whilst income may be low, expenses are tax deductible - from printer ink to ISBN costs.
  • Both Ingram Spark (paperback providers) and KPD (ebook providers) pay royalties around 90 days after sales. 
  • There are a shed load of ways you can spend money on a book in order to improve sales. Marketing companies, books on how to sell books, competition entry fees - some are worth it, some are not. Choose wisely.
  • All of the above is based on my own UK experience. I imagine other countries are a whole other kettle of fish.

So there we are. Now I've printed and filed all my paperwork since April, I am feeling unencumbered and ready to crack on. I'm still on track for draft one of book two to be completed by Christmas, as well as being ready to begin writing Tilda#2 this time next year. Now all I need to do is concentrate on gin-soaked business lunches, adding shoulder pads to my tops and leading hostile takeovers of the board. Now hold my calls, damn it. I'm flying to Geneva at noon.

Have a lovely week, folks. 

*There are lots of variables that affect cost such as cover size and page count. The price quoted is for a 8" x 5" novel with 324 black and white pages with Ingram Spark's 2017 prices.

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