Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Taxes & Writing on my!

Good morning, it’s already the 6th day of the year, wow times flying. If you’re an author then you’ll want to read this post, and even if you’re not and you file taxes, take a few minutes to check this out.

Here’s a list of expenses that you can claim as a published author if you have royalties to claim as income.

Expenses:

Writing program expenses (Ex. Word, Powerpoint, Scrivener, etc.)

Subscription Fees (Ex. Writing Magazines, Writing Site fees, etc.)

Dues (Ex. Romance Writers Associations, Writing Associations, etc.)

Computers/Laptops/Printers

Pens/Pencils/Paper/Journals/Notebooks

Postage (Used to mail books, letters to editors, etc.)

Advertising

Swag expenses

Book Signing expenses

Labor paid to a writing assistant

Editing fees/Cover Design Fees

Website design fees/Domain fees

These are just some of the expenses that some authors forget when they sit down to do their taxes.

Now remember to make sure you get all of the 1099 forms from all the places where you sold books this year. I always print a summary of sales report on all of the sites my books are on, that way I don’t leave out anything.

If you have any questions as you prepare to do your return, email me and I’ll help. Check out my accounting website for more information at http://hurtsbusiness.wix.com/hurtsbusiness

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Monday, Monday, Monday

As I sit here sipping my 2nd cup of coffee trying to get my eyes to stay open, I notice the clouds moving in. Yep, we’re expecting rain here in the south today. I had a busy but wonderful weekend. Saturday was the Easter Egg hunt at our Church. That was really fun, but lots of work. It was worth it. Then yesterday was my hubby’s birthday. Also after Church several members (including my family) got the sanctuary ready for Easter and the Spring season. Considering our Church is three stories, yep I got my exercise. No need to work out today.

For all my American friends tomorrow is the last day of non extension tax season. That means I’ll be slammed with tax work today and tomorrow, but I’m taking the last three days of this week off. I plan to get some writing in that has been put to the wayside for the last couple of weeks. 

This is a reminder to all my writer friends. Make sure that you claimed your royalties and the expenses that you had. Don’t forget all those advertising sites, production fees, programs purchased to help with your writing, computers and printers, website fees, dues and subscription fees for all those sites you joined, and the many more expenses we writers incur in a year. If you received a 1099 for your royalties, don’t ignore them because the IRS won’t.

Hope everyone has a blessed Monday and don’t forget to smile today, it’s your day so make it over the moon!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Writing for fun or money…

How do you see your writing? Is it a hobby or career? I’ve talked to several writer’s lately that say they write for fun, but they do enjoy the royalty payments. Most writers work a full time job and fit their writing in where ever they can.

I love my writing. It’s so soothing and spirit lifting. I do work a full time job. Actually I own a Accounting business so I stay pretty busy, along with being a Children’s Minister and parent. My writing carries me to another world. It’s in my writing that I can get lost and leave the worries and stress behind.

I have to admit that it’s fun when the sales reports update on the various sites where my books are. And I would be crazy if I didn’t say I’d love to get a huge publishing contract. But I’d be happy to see some nice sales reports. I’ve been really happy so far with my sales. My writing takes the forefront in this scheme of things. It’s the passion that spurs me on. 

As we discuss sales, I’ve been telling you about the audio books. It’s been so fun going through the auditions. If any of you do voice overs for audio books, send me an audition. I’m trying to get those published this week if possible. I’ve got to make a decision. It’s funny how you know what you want it to sound like.

Don’t let slow sales or the need for more to conquer your passion for writing. Keep putting pen to paper or fingers to keys. If you let your dreams die, it will affect you in a bad way.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Decisions…Decisions?

We have decisions to make as writers. What’s funny is if you’re a writer then you made a big decision, you decided to be a writer. You may say, ‘I haven’t published anything’, but if you write down what’s in your mind, then you’re a writer. 

Here are a couple of decisions to make as a writer:

1: Most importantly – Decide to actually begin writing. Whether it be an unpublished journal or a novel that could be the next big one. If you enjoy it, then go for it.

2: You have to decide if you’re going to make your writing public or just keep it in a drawer for your enjoyment only. I’m really glad I decided to get mine out of a drawer and blow off the dust.

3: After you’ve written your masterpiece (well that’s how we all feel after we’ve finished a manuscript. It may be only us that labels it this, but oh well.) do you try to submit to a traditional publisher and wait and wait and wait and wait some more or do you tackle self publishing it and taking a chance on your own.

4: If you decide on traditional publishing, who do you go with. Well, decide what genre your manuscript best fits, then check into publishers that specialize in your genre. Traditional publishers come in all sizes and needs. I’ve been approached by a couple and I was surprised at the diversity of each one. One guy was so funny that I laughed actually at him, he said ‘we want your book on our team’ then he proceeded to tell me how much money he wanted for the honor of them wanting my book, which was a couple of thousand and that included putting it on the same social media sites I already have them on. NOT! Then you have the publishers that only take a portion of your royalties. Here’s where it gets tricky, do you want to give up 50% or more of your royalties? 

5: Do you want to self publish? This is easier than you might think. The self publishing sites available is phenomenal and a statement of how popular this type of publishing is. With this type of publishing you have to be careful when reading the disclaimers, but most of the popular sites are just general and do not your first born up front 🙂

6: Marketing, Marketing, Marketing… As a self publisher you have to do this if you want to be seen. This is where you meet so many wonderful people from all over the world. I’ve enjoyed this part of the whole process so much. 

7: Finally, don’t forget the decisions about the book itself. You have the cover, the description, the trailer video pictures, the music for the trailer, etc. It goes on and on and on.

As I always say, this is just the wandering musings of a writer, but hopefully it gives you some food for thought. Each decision you make needs to be met with lots of prayer and contemplation. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Authors don’t forget to claim your royalties…

I know how gratifying it is when you start earning those royalties. You get all excited and look forward to checking your sites daily to see how much you’ve earned. Well their is something else to keep in mind.

As most of you know, I’m also an accountant and in the middle of the start of tax season. I’m reminded how easy it is to forget to claim those royalty payments. You may be groaning and going ‘why did you have to remind me’. Well as your friend I feel it’s my duty to nudge you just a little. It’ll save you lots of penalties and interest later.

But along with this don’t forget the expenses you’ve incurred over the year. They range from advertising, posting fees, software purchased to publish you work, yearly fees for your website, website set up fees, office supplies, and the list goes on. If you purchased a new computer this year to use to write you can claim it up to the percentage you use it for writing. Don’t forget those miles used to go promote your book. 

Hope this helps some. If any of you have a tax question regarding your writing, just let me know. I’d be glad to help.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Weighing the options…

Ok, so most of you are writers and have dealt with the issue I’m going to discuss, but those that haven’t here goes. This all started back in May of last year when I decided to publish the manuscripts I’d worked on for many, many years. I thought, hey, why not, their not making money sitting in a box gathering dust and fading ink. 

It all started so simple, I published on Amazon and went through the KDP Select program. Don’t know if you’ve tried that, but I was glad when my 3 month sentence was up. Amazon is great, I just didn’t care to have all my eggs in one basket so to speak. I then started publishing other books and gathering information on where I could self publish. 

Then I started the fun task of putting my name out there on any and all social media mediums. Boy was that a hoot. Me, country girl, simple accountant on Twitter, LinkedIn, and finally, yes can I say it, the dreaded Facebook page. Funny how publishing a book or six can change your life. 🙂

Well, the calls started coming in about October from different publishing companies. At first I’m thinking yeah, someone noticed me. Then I realized they weren’t in it for me, but for them. Well not all of them, but you get the picture. They were praising my work and saying we need you to publish under our name. Well, being an accountant, my analytical brain kicked it, “What’s the catch?” They usually laugh and say ‘Oh there’s no catch’. Funny how 2 to 3 thousand dollars is no catch to them, but to me that’s a whopper. They usually wanted to charge thousands of dollars to do the same exact thing I’ve been doing for a lot less and most of the times free. Not happening.

I then talked to some smaller publishers that said they would just take a cut of the royalties. Now we’re talking my language. But, who do you go with. I’ve researched the ones that have called me and some of the one’s other authors I know used. It’s a hard decision. Do I give my baby to just anybody? Will they protect it and not change it to where I don’t even recognize my own work? What now?

For me the decision is to put one of my works with a publisher and see how it goes. I don’t know if it will go well or not, but we will see. I will keep you guys updated on the progress and the ups and downs of traditional publishing vs. self publishing. Wish me luck…

As always good writing and May God Bless you…


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Accounting & Book Sales…

You are excited, you sold a book, you sold many books, you’re making money. Now what? Well, if you have read my profile you know I’m an Accountant by day and by night during tax season. (Grinning broadly). I want to give some advice and I want to make it clear I’m not telling you how to run your publishing business, but this is advice to help you have a good experience.

I was talking with a friend the other day and she was giddy with delight because she’d sold several of her newly published book. She was adding it in her mind and grinning broadly. I was excited for her because I’ve felt the same feeling and it is a good one. But then as her Accountant I had to bring up the inevitable which is royalty tax. Well, she looked at me and said, “Oh my gosh, I hadn’t thought of that. What do I need to do?”

Well, the fact is, those wonderful sales are actually taxable income. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but I do want to help you get ahead of the game. Make sure that you save some of those royalty dollars to cover the taxes at the end of the year. But, don’t forget to save all those expenses that you have incurred along the way. Some of those expenses are: publishing software, advertising, fees paid for pictures used for covers or trailers, fees paid to reviewers or editors, and the list goes on.

I want to help my new cyber friends (and I do consider you friends). So here is some free advice. Don’t forget that you will have to pay taxes on those royalties, but don’t forget the expenses that go along with them. If you keep yourself on level ground, then when tax time comes around, you won’t get a horrible surprise. I see it happen every year.