Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Taxes, shmaxes

Terry, here, currently writing from book tour.

Our question this week is: What one thing do you wish you could write off against tax, that you (legally) can't. Make your case.

Since I always have more to write off than I have earned income as a writer, I don’t see that it would do much good to have more to write off.

What might be more useful is to be paid for time-draining activities that I am not paid for as a writer, but that I have to do, and often enjoy doing.

Promotion:  I spend countless hours on promotion and promotion-related activities

1)    arranging book events—readings at bookstores, libraries, book clubs (no, my publisher does not arrange or pay for these events).
2)    writing numerous blog posts around the time a book comes out (my publicist arranges some of them, but I also arrange some, and I have to write them)
3)    buying clothes so I’ll look presentable at events (yes, I know wah wah, but it has to be done)
4)    thinking up new promo possibilities. That means scouring on-line sites as well as hard copy sites and trying to figure out what I might tie into my book that might be of interest to readers.
5)    Keeping my website up to date.
6)    Keeping a presence on social media—not strictly necessary, but it keeps me connected with readers and makes a platform for when I have a book to shout about
7)    Writing newsletters. Not only is it time-consuming, but for some reason I find it hard. II read other newsletters that seem chatty and friendly, and I can’t seem to find that tone. They always sound stiff and dry.

Research: I am not prone to going down rabbit holes for research, but I do have to look up various pieces of business. For example, I am starting to think about my next Samuel Craddock book, which will be set at a motorcycle rally. I’ve already done some on-line research, looking at photos of rallies, reading about who attends, and what happens there. At some point I’ll have to go to a rally to get the flavor of it. I’ll have to learn a lot more about motorcycles. That’s just for starters. I suppose you could argue that eventually I get paid for these activities when the book comes out, but sometimes a lot of time spent on research doesn’t make it onto the page.

Reading: Specifically, reading articles about writing and writers, reading books by writers I need to keep up with (I don’t mean like in keeping up with the Joneses; I mean knowing what they are writing, what the trends are, ). Reading books about writing subjects, like ways to make my writing sharper, ways to make setting, plot, dialogue, characters stand out in a crowded field of great writers.

Supporting other writers. Although this is one of my favorite activities, it takes time to go to writers’ events, read their books, and put the word out on social media if you think the book is excellent. Supporting other writers means reading books to give blurbs. It also means reading works in progress for writers who ask for beta readers, and coming up with comments that will be helpful.

“Writing” activities: Daydreaming, fiddling around, doing sudoku, reading the news, staring at the walls. If I got paid for these, I’d be wealthy.

Maybe somebody I’ll be able to wish I could take these off my taxes, but that will have to wait until my income outstrips my outgo.

I'm on book tour right now for my newest, which came out last month. Hope you'll take a look at it.


Paul D. Marks said...

Terry, don't we all wish we could be paid for all those non-writing activities that publishers used to do. My wife, who helps me with those things, and I often talk about how we're like a mini company having to do all that PR stuff or at least in conjunction with the publisher.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Minimum wage would be nice – at least on the non-writing activites.

Frank Zafiro said...

Great post! All of those many things that you mention.... that I'll bet most readers (or aspiring writers) don't realize need to be done.

You mention supporting other writers, which is huge to me. The nice thing about a community of friends/writers is that among everyone in the group, SOMEONE is good at each thing. You may not write a great newsletter (or think you don't) but someone does, and can help. I may be lousy at arranging events, but you're awesome at it (So is Brenda, from the looks of yesterday's post!) and can help. I do a podcast, which can help with marketing. Point is, sometimes we're able to help each other out by playing to our own strengths and accepting assistance where we are weaker.

The only thing that seems to get in the way of this some of the time is geography, but one obstacle at a time.

Also, I'd rather pay shmaxes than taxes any day.

Terry said...

Thanks for the great replies. Sorry it took me a while to get back to you. I was on the plane from Texas back home today, after a book tour (arranged and paid for by me, of course!). Frank, i love your thoughts that we can play to our own strengths and get help from others who are strong. Absolutely right! And geography is a small hurdle. We have the Internet!

Susan C Shea said...

Your book tour this time is really impressive! And you'll be at Janet's with Kay - a real treat.