Monthly Archives: July 2015

Tax Chips at Book Profits

Sometimes I question why most authors are so under-valued. They spend so long writing their books – literally months a few hours every day – then they’re paid small amounts for each book and finally they’re taxed. If you reach the thousands of copies purchased each day, then the endeavour might be worth it, but most of us authors are overjoyed when purchases number a handful a week.

I have just gone through the agony of an online ‘Tax Interview’ in order to print some of my books in softcopy through CreateSpace.

CreateSpaceDashboard

Taxes due no matter how little

Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the digital opportunity for writers provided by Amazon and digital publishers like Kobo and Issuu. They gave me the confidence to take my writing to the next level. But governments have now realised there is a stream … well maybe a trickle … of revenue they were not tapping into. Consequently we writers have to register as foreigners if we’re earning money from the US through Amazon.

The process has taken me a couple of hours – not because it was particularly difficult but because the terms are described in legal-speak and not given an explanation in common english. I’m sure those for whom english in a not a first language must be even more perplexed.

CreateSpace’s Taxing Tax Interview

Finally, after searching on several search terms I finally came across thirty-something blogger Catherine Howard’s  informative post that answered the one question I couldn’t find an answer for anywhere else, even after reading Amazon’s CreateSpace Tax Information Guide.

Catherine’s Blog on Completing Your Tax Interviews is a godsend in that she has taken the time to capture the full process in images. I would highly recommend that you have this open on your second screen, or even (said in muted tones with a touch of apology for my old-fashioned view) printed out. 

Thank-you Catherine. I’m finally ready to start researching how to put up my new title on CreateSpace.

Heather Sylvawood, Writer at WriteGear
www.writegear.co

‘A Funny Thing Happened to Me’

Ever found yourself relating a joke or funny story and having your audience laugh heartily? Then you might be missing an opportunity to share that story with a wider audience.

ScarecrowWebThere was this scarecrow, see ….

Readers Digest (yes I know we cringe when the offers of big winnings come through the post) pay for any original jokes or funny stories they print in their monthly magazines.

It’s simple to submit, but I guess the catch is you have to buy the magazine to find out if they ever print it! Check it out here: Readers Digest Joke Submit Page.

Let me know if you have ever had success publishing jokes?  Heather Sylvawood,  Amazon Author

Opportunity for Code Writers Everywhere

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Become an influencer!

If you’re a young(ish) writer or coder and want to experience life in a big international news organisation then check out the The Knight-Mozilla Fellowships. These paid awards present a unique opportunity for people who love to code and who want to influence the future of journalism on the web.

Based in Berlin, Los Angeles and New York for example, the Fellowships offer successful candidates the chance to work in major Internet news outlets for a year. They  even offer moving expenses even from outside the country you’re appointed to. Check it out here.

How It Feels To Be An Author

… at last!

I have just watched a video of Joanna Penn (www.thecreativepenn.com) talking about publishing her first novel (she had previously published a non-fiction book). The watching of it brought back to me some of my own feelings on self-publishing my first books.

One of my overriding emotions on publishing my first book (non-fiction – Real Estate Rollercoaster) was one of FEAR – fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of a flood of emails pointing out errors in the book. The last two didn’t happen, probably because the first one did. Real Estate Rollercoaster never got climbed the first  loop.

Like many authors I thought the mere publication of my masterpiece was sufficient for the world to recognise the gems I was sharing with the public and it would be an instant best seller. Uh, huh!

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Self-publishing is a rollercoaster ride

Far from being an even playing field, self-publishing is a minefield of craters into which the ignorant and naïve will fall unless they are prepared to educate themselves into the new realm of marketing eBooks and publishing on demand. I am a long way from being a master, in fact, I’m probably not even a mistress of the marketing game. I am LEARNING. Which is why I spend time listening to other self-published authors to find out how they do it.

I’ve been snatching moments this week to listen to some podcasts put together by Chandler Bolt, creator of Self-publishing School, as he talks to various other successful authors about ‘How-to’ write, publish and market your book.

JoannaPennVideo

In one of the interviews Joanna Penn says that the writing of fiction is hard work and tiring; you gain a sense of achievement at the end but you might have to resort to eating lots of cake in order to get over how tiring writing is. I totally concur. I have had to resort to chewing gum in order to avoid the cake.

Even the act of blogging can be tiring when you’re concentrating on making your blog fun, informative and worthwhile. Every word counts.

Rollercoaster ride of emotions

Monica Marlowe relates a feeling tantamount to depression after publication of her debut novel, Finding Felicity:  “My debut novel had been released in August and the excitement I felt at its release was euphoric. I was so lucky to be published and learning the ropes as a new author was exhilarating. But as summer moved into fall and winter, the fever pitch took on colder pall….. I wondered, could it be post-publication depression?”

In her Blog HERE Monica relates her surprise and disappointments about the way her friends received her foray into novel-writing. I can relate to many of her experiences, as I am sure other newly published authors will.

An acquaintance of mine was worried about how her friends and people who knew her would react after reading her work. I relate to that too. Although most novels are not strictly autobiographical, the ideas in them come out of your brain; the characters often reflect what you think or feel about issues; and if you write sex scenes – of course you will believe the reader will think you ‘do it’ that way. Actually, if you’ve written a quality novel, the reader will be so engrossed in what the CHARACTERS are doing they won’t even be aware of you – the author.

Like a painter who doesn’t believe their painting is worth anything until someone buys it, authors too feel their books are second-rate unless lots of people read them. And that’s where writers come unstuck in their self-belief when they self-publish. They have no way of finding out what people think about the book until they get reviews. And even if they get reviews they might get BAD reviews (or simply reviews that complain that you have your book in the wrong category – as I received).

Writing is only a 1/3 of the rollercoaster ride

You may experience fear, or euphoria, exhaustion or sleeplessness. Chuck Wendig, novelist, screenwriter, and game designer, says in his blog HERE:

“So, you just had your book published. … And you want to know what’s going to happen now. Here is — roughly, potentially, maybe — one scenario.

“For a variable amount of time, let’s call it a week, you’re going to be flying high. Hell, flying high doesn’t even cover it. You’re going to be flitting around the big blue heavens with a pair of magical laser dolphins as shoes. You’re going to be past the moon. You’re going to feel like you’re snorting comet dust and making sweet love to asteroids.

Because you wrote a thing.”

Well, Chuck may be exaggerating a little. For most of us thirsty firsties we’re out there panting for some recognition and the publishing rollercoaster keeps roaring by.

“Excuse me! Here! Did you read my book? Did anyone read my book?”

Surviving the fall

The only way I managed to survive the tiny plop of my first novel was that I was already almost finished my second and had already started on the sequel for novel 1. I’d also read a lot of blogs and viewed many videos on marketing eBooks and self-published novels.

Marketing and promoting your book takes a lot longer than you anticipate if you’re a thirsty firsty. You might even be completely turned off writing more books if you wait around for positive feedback from the amorphous cloud of readers following popular fiction.

I knew that popularity was not going to arrive with novel 1, nor probably with novel 2 … 3 …. 4. It would be only when I had an out-there profile and people accidentally came across my work, read it (in a weak moment), liked it and looked for more, that I would become better known. I also had to wait until friends read it (and they don’t read your novel when, or as quickly as you would like/expect) and then fed back to their friends about the quality of the writing.

It all takes time – and unfortunately that’s time away from writing your next blockbuster. But then … isn’t blogging ‘writing’? Don’t you also develop a personality, a sense of accomplishment AND writing technique from blogging? It’s sometimes harder work than allowing the creative flow to surge words onto the screen or paper.

The Last Word in Self-publishing

I’ll leave Joanna Penn to tell you how it is that even successfully-published writers feel when they finally launch their novel into the sea of new authors.

Heather Sylvawood, Amazon Author

PS: Only one CAKE was harmed during the writing of this blog.