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Treating Your Writing As A Business

October 5th, 2018

I self-publish a cosy crime series featuring amateur sleuth Lord James Harrington. I’ve now released eight books in the series and, prior to releasing the first one, I asked myself an important question: Am I going to write professionally?

Regardless of whether I would be successful or not, the answer was: Yes.

Confucius said: Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.

What he didn’t say was that you’ve still got to do the paperwork!!

Most creative people hate the admin that goes with running a business. I am no different. But, if you’re serious about writing, you have to treat it as a business and that means doing the grotty tasks. Failure to do so could get you in a mess further down the line, especially if the royalties start coming in.

Important ‘must-do’s’ before publishing anything are:

  1. If, like me, you’re hopeless at book-keeping, employ a professional accountant. They will ensure that your tax form is completed properly and incorporate items I would forget i.e. gas, electric, insurances etc.
  2. Don’t be taxed twice. If publishing an e-book, you are likely reaching a global audience. My sales come predominantly from the United States. They tax at source. I, therefore, applied for a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). This involved completing IRS forms and letting them have sight of my original passport. Once my TIN came through, I received untaxed royalties from the US and was taxed by the HMRC only. A TIN number is free, it is just a hassle to have to do it.
  3. Ensure you have a professional website. Pay for a bespoke website if you possibly can. Visually it should give a good indication of your genre. I paid for the rights to use an Alan Tyler painting on my marketing. The picture I chose evoked the era of my novels – the 1950s. It was worth every penny and has more than repaid me.
  4. Keep social media accounts separate for business. I use Twitter and follow readers and writers of cosy crime. Nothing else. Anything you tweet should be in keeping with your writing or your brand. Ultimately, you’re trying to steer people toward your website.
  5. If you’re writing a series, have a brand. If you check my website, you will pick up on that brand. It runs through everything. The silhouette of my sleuth and the art-work appears on my business cards, book-marks, advertising, social media, handouts.

For the past seven years, the last day of the month has been ‘admin’ day; the day that I update my spreadsheet, print out bank statements, collate receipts etc.

Remember, you are a business, your product is your book, and your goal is to sell it. You wouldn’t open a shop without these basics in place. Make sure you’re prepared before you hit that ‘Save and Publish’ button.

For more on me and my books, please visit: www.lordjamesharrington.com .


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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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