The Business of Writing

The Smartest Ways to Use Email at Work

12 March 2018

From The Wall Street Journal:

Email has become so ingrained in our workday life that we rarely give it a second thought. Perhaps we should.

Researchers have been putting a laser focus on how we can be smarter about using email at work, and they have come up with surprising insights—from the best way to tame an overflowing inbox to the unintended consequences of punctuation choices.

In some cases, these findings completely overturn what we think we know about how to write messages. For instance, responding to email right away can be a terrible idea. And using emojis can be a great one.

. . . .

Don’t answer too quickly—or after hours

Replying to email promptly is a good thing, right? Not always. In fact, in companies whose cultures emphasize speed of response, workers are more stressed, less productive, more reactive and less likely to think strategically.

Those are some of the conclusions reached by Emma Russell, senior lecturer in occupational psychology at Kingston University in the U.K., from a recent review of academic literature.

“People think that if they respond quickly to their colleague, that’s going to support a strong social relationship, but in terms of actual well-being and productivity, there was no evidence that that kind of culture is effective,” says Dr. Russell.

. . . .

A company culture where employees are encouraged to answer emails quickly may be especially difficult for highly conscientious people. Her research on such workers showed that email notifications caused them higher stress than other people and made them unproductive in their other work, even though they often put off answering the notes.

On the other hand, one size doesn’t fit all. Her preliminary findings from a new study of extroverts suggest that when they are working on routine tasks, being interrupted by an email notification might actually be good for them—the social stimulation may help them avoid boredom and complete their tasks more effectively.

. . . .

The best times to send an email

How do you get people to pay attention to your emails amid all the competing demands on their attention? Kristina Lerman, project leader at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute, has done extensive research on cognitive overload—how our brains respond when faced with too much information.

One key finding: When faced with a screen packed with information, people tend to focus on what’s at the top. So, it follows that you want to time your email to correspond with when people are checking.

In a 2015 study in collaboration with Yahoo Labs, Dr. Lerman and her colleague Farshad Kooti analyzed a huge data set of 16 billion emails—personal and business—to look for patterns. They found that people replied more quickly early in the week, and those replies were also longer. The same applied to time of day—between 8 a.m. and noon was best. “I use these findings myself,” says Dr. Lerman. “If I want to send an important email, I don’t do it on a Friday. I wait until Monday morning, so it’s much more likely to be at the top.”

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal

Mickey Spillane’s Work Keeps Coming, 12 Years After His Death

2 March 2018

From The Wall Street Journal:

Mickey Spillane was never adored by critics. He famously said that his own father called his work “crud.” For the mystery novelist, none of it mattered.

“I don’t have fans,” he said in a 1981 People magazine interview. “I have customers. I’m a writer. I give ’em what they wanna read.”

He died in 2006 at 88, but his work hasn’t stopped. In the past 12 years, his estate has released nearly 20 of his unpublished and previously uncompleted novels and short stories, some as graphic novels and audio plays, many of them featuring the hard-boiled private eye he created, Mike Hammer.

“Killing Town,” begun in 1946 and hailed as Spillane’s first but previously unpublished novel, is due out in April. “The Last Stand,” believed to be his final completed work, is expected next month along with another unpublished work, “A Bullet for Satisfaction,” around his 100th birthday on March 9.

This afterlife is due largely to a longtime fan and fellow novelist, Max Allan Collins. Named a 2017 Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, Mr. Collins as a teenager pelted his favorite author with admiring (and unanswered) letters.

. . . .

“We were very different,” said Mr. Collins, 69, from his home in Muscatine, Iowa. “I’m a Democrat. He was to the right of Attila the Hun.”

A friendship nonetheless ensued, and Spillane designated Mr. Collins as his literary executor.

“Give everything to Max,” he told his wife, Jane, Mr. Collins recalled. “He’ll know what to do.”

Ever since Spillane’s death, Mr. Collins has been sorting, assessing, editing and often completing the thousands of pages that Spillane kept in plastic storage tubs at his house in Murrells Inlet, S.C.

“I’ve been doing this since 2006, and I still have a full file drawer of material,” Mr. Collins said. “He called me his wastebasket.”

. . . .

Spillane’s enduring popularity is largely a matter of simplicity, Mr. Traylor said. “It’s not very highbrow, but it’s very real. It’s very Old Testament. It’s eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.”

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal

How to Collaborate Effectively with Other Indie Authors In Your Genre

26 February 2018

From The Alliance of Independent Authors:

Shortly after releasing my first book in the fall of 2015 I had my first exposure to other indie authors. It was at the Living Dead Horror Con in Portland, Oregon and they taught me two important things:

  • There was a lot I didn’t know about when it came to selling books
  • Other authors did not have to be seen as competitors.

. . . .

I spent most of 2016 struggling to sell that first book and learning from others. I joined author groups online and started watching to see what others were doing to be successful.

One of the key things I saw that was driving results was authors working together.

There were groups for all the main genres and many sub-genres. I had success working with other horror authors and even the broader sci-fi genre, but there wasn’t one for my particular niche, zombies.

. . . .

At the end of 2016, I began reaching out to other authors writing in our sub-genre and asking them to join together.

The idea was simple, none of us can write fast enough to keep our readers occupied, so let’s not look at each other as competing for the same audience and instead let’s build a shared fan base.

We came together in a Facebook group to network, do cross-promotions, brainstorm, and work together. In short, #authorshelpingauthors. We call ourselves The Reanimated Writers.

. . . .

In 2017 our group grew to over 200 authors strong. I was shocked to learn there were that many of us writing in the zombie sub-genre, and we cover everything from dystopia, romance, humor, action, extreme horror and more underneath that umbrella. A number of authors stepped up to help me grow the group and bring ideas to fruition.

Link to the rest at The Alliance of Independent Authors

PG is once again reminded of one of the great benefits of the online communities of the Internet – groups of people with interests rare enough that they would be unlikely to encounter one another in the physical world can discover one another, cooperate and socialize online.

“The Lonely Lives” authors may have lived on an involuntary basis in earlier times need no longer be quite so lonely if authors do not wish them to be so.

During much of his early life, PG lived in rural areas and attended country schools. His classmates from grades 1-3 were Andy, Danny, Jim, Ernest plus two Sandies. From grades 4-6, his classmates were generally itinerant. He was never the only student in his grade, but was frequently in grades with two students and never recalls being in a grade with more than three.

He mentions grades because the two elementary schools he attended each had two classrooms. In the first, grades 1-4 met in a single classroom taught by one teacher (Edna Lascelles) in the basement while grades 5-8 were in another classroom taught by Mr. Lascelles upstairs. In the second elementary school he attended, grades 1-3 were in one room while grades 4-6 (taught by Betsy Smith) met in another. Betsy’s mother taught grades 1-3.

PG was extremely blessed by two excellent elementary school teachers, among the best he ever had, including college and law school.

PG mentions his early educational background, because, like many indie zombie authors, he never met anyone with interests very similar to his until he went to college. He was a gregarious little guy in elementary school and managed to get along with most of his classmates, but he has sometimes considered how his early life would have been much different if the Internet had been in existence and he could have explored friendships with a wider variety of his contemporaries.

Editorial Encroachment

24 February 2018

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

Last week, as I was searching for a friend’s book on Amazon, I made a loathsome discovery. My friend’s book, which is up for preorder, lists her name and the name of someone else on the byline.

I had never heard of that someone else. So I clicked on the preorder, and what did I see? A cover, with just my friend’s name on it.

So I glanced up at the title. Beneath it was this byline:

My Friend (Author), Annoying Person (Editor)

I went through the roof. My friend wrote that book. She hired Annoying Person to edit the book.

I looked up Annoying Person and found her terms and conditions. She sounds like a fairly knowledgeable editor. She only handles copy editing and line editing (although it sounds like she would have a pretty heavy hand). She explicitly says she does not do developmental editing.

Which means she has done exactly nothing on this book. She didn’t come up with the concept. She didn’t brainstorm the characters. She didn’t improve the plot. She didn’t imagine the setting.

All she did was tweak the words.

So why the hell is she getting credit for this book?

When I searched her name on Amazon, I found her listed on the byline of dozens of novels by many different writers—too many for this to be simple ignorance on the part of the writers themselves.

Annoying Person asks to be credited as editor on the book as part of her agreement with the writers. If they hire her, they have to list her as editor.

This is a great ploy by Annoying Person. It got me to look up her name. I’m sure it brings her a lot of business.

And it decreases the sales of every single writer whose byline she leaches onto.

Got that? Having her name as editor on that byline hurts sales of the books dramatically.

. . . .

For years, traditional publishing has needed brand names to sell its books. Because traditional publishing has to go from bestselling book to bestselling book to meet its monthly quota, traditional publishing’s beleaguered editorial departments do what they can to manufacture bestsellers.

Some of those are movie tie-ins. Others are books that are “just like” the books by a big name. Mostly, though, the manufactured books piggyback off an established name.

Right now, James Patterson is running a regular fiction factory. By my count, he will have 25 new books with his byline on them in 2018. That doesn’t count the “James Patterson Presents” line where he introduces a book.

The dual byline thing is very generous of Patterson. A couple of friends of mine have worked with him on collaborative projects. He’s hands-on (unlike some writers who’ve done this), and he teaches his collaborators a lot about writing and plotting, even if they’ve been in the business a long time.

The dual byline usually boosts the sales of the secondary writer. I was familiar with almost every writer he worked with. All of his collaborators were established writers before they signed on to work with him. But as I scrolled through the list, I found a couple of names I didn’t recognize. I looked them up as well, and discovered they were established, but they were new to me.

That system works well for the secondary writer. It also works well for the publisher, because they’re minting money. And it works well for Patterson, because as he’s said in more than one interview, he has more ideas than he can get to in his lifetime.

He’s happy with this arrangement. And he’s not the only one who does this. Clive Cussler does the same thing, and has done so for decades.

This is actually a 1990s trick that publishers used to use a lot more than they do now. Now, most writers who want to let someone play in their worlds either do it with Kindle Worlds or something similar.

. . . .

I got to see lots and lots and lots of sales figures from these joint byline books. I know young writers who were brought in to work with the established writers, and I know established writers who mentored young writers.

I also was in the thick of publishing when this Thing was important in traditional publishing. Dean and I, as Pulphouse Publishing, were in a co-publishing deal with Bantam Books, and as such, were privy to a lot of their business decisions back in the day.

To a person, everyone involved in these co-writing ventures acknowledged that books with a joint byline did not sell as well as books with the author’s single byline.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch and thanks to Melinda and others for the tip.

Here’s a link to Kris Rusch’s books. If you like the thoughts Kris shares, you can show your appreciation by checking out her books.

Scheduling and Time Management

15 February 2018

From author Alyson McLayne via Romance University:

With January just ended, I realize I haven’t set any goals for the year. And truthfully, as busy as I am, I can’t help but wonder What’s the point? I already have goals for this year in the form of deadlines: 3 books to complete, 12 newsletters to craft, 25+ blogs to write, and the world to wow on social media—not to mention conferences to attend and edits coming out of my ears.

Maybe, like me, you’ve reached the point where you no longer sit down and write a list of New Year’s Resolutions—only to fail come December 31st. Instead, perhaps you choose an inspiring word that becomes your mantra, or theme, for the year. One year I chose the word “success”, and last year a friend of mine chose the word “courage”. This year she has a catchphrase: “Seize the moment”.

These are all good ideas. I can only imagine that if we courageously seized the moment whenever we could during 2018 it would lead to great success!

But I feel like those kinds of words and the sentiment behind them are too ephemeral for me this year. I need something with more grit, more heft, to get me through the challenges I face. Like many of you, in addition to writing, I’m also busy on the home front—I have twin five-year-olds, a puppy, aging and sick parents, and a husband who works long hours.

. . . .

Scheduling and Time Management!

I’ve been playing around with scheduling for a while now, trying to figure out what works best for me—especially as my kids started kindergarten this year and the layout of my days changed to early mornings on school days (hard when I’m a night owl) and activities or play-dates in the late-afternoon.

Some days I feel so overwhelmed with everything I have to do, I jump from task to task and end up feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing—a downward spiral that leads to missed deadlines and burnout. When I work in a scattered fashion like this, I waste time shuttling between tasks and lose track of what I’m doing. Then it takes time and energy to get my brain re-focused on my original task.

And when I do try to concentrate on one project—writing my book, for example—my brain keeps expecting (and wanting) to click away to Goodreads or Facebook or Gmail or Mailerlite—the pathways it knows.

My ability to concentrate has been diminished by multi-tasking!

. . . .

[H]ow can I take the success from my last retreat and repeat it in smaller doses during my day to day writing schedule—even with edits, newsletters, blogs, social media requirements, kids, a dog, and a household to run?

First, let’s think about what I actually did before and during my retreat:

  1. I PLANNED the retreat ahead of time.
  2. I COMMITTED to the retreat.
  3. I DECIDED what I was going to work on before I arrived.
  4. I ELIMINATED distractions.
  5. I FOCUSED on only one project during the retreat (HIGHLAND BETRAYAL).
  6. I had an EXPECTATION that I would write a LOT.

. . . .

Here’s the best tip I can give you to stop losing hours to social media and other places on the web: download a program from the internet called Freedom and install it on your computer, tablet and/or phone. Freedom is a software program that allows you to block internet access in varying degrees—so you can cut yourself off entirely, or just cut yourself off from social media. I have several different settings, the one I use for writing cuts me off from everything but

Freedom also allows me to schedule a start and stop time, so I can sync it up with my writing schedule. If I want to browse social media, but I don’t want to be at it for longer than half and hour, I can set Freedom to start after just 30 minutes. The program will cut you off automatically, so you don’t lose two hours looking at cute puppies and kittens.

Here are some other ways I eliminate distractions:

  1. I commit to my work time, which means no household chores, phone calls, texting/messaging with friends or playing with the dog. I let people know I’ll be incommunicado for that time, walk the dog beforehand, take lunch/tea/water with me into my office, and go to the bathroom before sitting down, etc.
  2. I leave my phone out of reach and turn off the sound. This is extremely important as I have access to social media, google, messaging, texting, and email on my phone. It has the potential to screw up an entire time-block.
  3. I set up Freedom ahead of time, so I don’t have internet access first thing in the morning or during work hours. If I go on social media, I set up Freedom to start after a certain amount of time.
  4. If you’re working in Word, set your document to Focus View (bottom left corner of your manuscript). That gives you a black border around your document, so you can’t see all the files on your desktop waiting for your attention.
  5. Try working at the library/coffee shop during the day if it’s too distracting at home.
  6. Engage sensory deprivation. For me that means wearing earplugs. (Did I mention I have kids?). Someone else might block noise by listening to their favorite music. Or you may be one of those people who can’t work without the TV on. Whatever the case may be, don’t forget to set it up before hand.

Link to the rest at Romance University

Here’s a link to Alyson McLayne’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Confidential Business Information

11 February 2018

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

When the big indie publishing movement started almost a decade ago, we were all startled by it. From the ease of publishing ebooks directly to readers to the way that fortunes could be made, seemingly overnight, it all felt too good to be true.

And that created a culture of Prove It To Me. Part art of that culture was absolutely necessary. Most people did not believe that self-publishing could make them money. Those who did had either done it before, or had such wild success that they were as startled as the rest of us.

Joe Konrath and others started posting their indie sales numbers pretty early on.  I’m linking randomly to Joe’s blog posts from 2010, just because I remember him being so open about the numbers.

I also liked the tone of his blogs—surprise that the numbers were working out the way that they were; pleased that the numbers were working out the way that they were; and a small bit of worry that the numbers might not continue working out that way.

I’m assuming that they have for Joe, although I don’t know. He stopped reporting his sales numbers a long time ago. But he’s still going at it, still publishing his books, still analyzing what’s going on (mostly in his own career), and occasionally—very occasionally—blogging for writers.

In those days, most self-published writers posted their numbers, sometimes from all the sources (all two or three of them), and usually did so monthly. It was part of what became the indie community—this openness about how well you were doing, mixed with isn’t this great? and a lot of cheerleading (If I can do it, you can too.)

The cheerleading is mostly gone. Now it’s more business focused, and many of the people who are posting their numbers are trying to sell their method for garnering those sales.

. . . .

There’s nothing sinister about keeping information private. (Although there can be, at times.) Most businesses just prefer to work that way. They want to control the reveal of information.

I’ve often been in conflict with that reveal, because I’ve been a reporter off and on throughout my life. There are rules and ethics behind how reputable reporters get information, many of those adjudicated in courts of law.

In doing this blog, I often know much more information than I can comfortably (or legally) reveal to you folks. It’s part of the business.

So let’s come back to publishing.

. . . .

The latest Author Earnings report came out on January 22, after nearly a year of silence.  Data Guy has been capturing information what he says are the million top selling titles every single day, and then using his algorithm to turn that information into actual sales numbers. He’s tweaking Amazon’s algorithms so that they work for him.

Data Guy has done this, keeping his name and identity private, for four years now. He has done a lot of work to gather this information. He says he only uses information that’s publically available…to someone with his skills. Then he uses his own secret sauce to scrape and interpret the data.

I’ve always had a slightly queasy reaction to Data Guy’s methodology, because I can’t verify it. At worst, I figured, he was a white hat hacker. At best, he was right about how he got the information. Early on, I was usually one of the last people to report his findings, expecting Amazon to shut him down.

After years, and his appearance at various conferences, I figured Amazon knew about him. If they didn’t like what he was doing, or saw it as a threat to their private algorithms, they would shut him down. Apparently, in this early stage, anyway, they saw him as another data capture service.

They might also have had no qualms about what he was doing because he was not making money from it.

Anyway, this report’s findings are a nice confirmation of what we’ve all been saying—that the market has matured, and ebooks continue to grow. That would have made a nice two-day story, something that would have helped the publishing community along.

But hand-in-glove with the new report was the announcement that Data Guy has started a new company. It was only a matter of time before Data Guy did this. Either he would quit offering the information for free and go on to doing other things, or he would monetize his work. (I had thought, early on, that Hugh Howey paid him. I’m not sure what their arrangement is.)

In response to a question I asked on the site, Data Guy said the cost of providing this information has become so extreme he either had to monetize it or quit. That makes sense to me.

The method he chose to monetize this product, however, angered a ton of indie writers. The anger is only growing as I write this on January 26.

. . . .

This is not what Data Guy promised indie writers when he started setting up this company. First, he spoke at the annual conferences for Romance Writers of America and Novelists, Inc, promising writers that if they shared their personal data with him, he would then create an algorithm that would allow them (for a fee) to see their own numbers as scraped by his algorithm.

A lot of writers—many big names—shared their data with him, so he could tweak his product. When he announced the new business, however, it was clear that his business model revealed all of this information…to companies that have revenues of ten million or more. I did a piece just a few weeks ago on traditional publishers. Ten million is the minimum threshold for what I was calling “small traditional publishers” —if you look at publically available financial data on those companies.

How Data Guy will be able to verify this information is beyond me. I now consider him untrustworthy when it comes to handling information. He gathered information from writers under false pretenses, and is now giving it to their competitors. (I write this on January 26, so this may have changed.)

The writers themselves cannot access their own personal information, to even see if it’s accurate. (I can guarantee that it does not check a writer’s complete sales or income. Writers earn from many, many more sources than Amazon, even online.)

. . . .

When the free report came out, there was a list of the top-selling indie writers—by name—with the promise that some big corporation could get their sales numbers if the big corporation paid for it. Just the list of the top 50 indie writers had some big reveals that the writers themselves did not want public.

To make matters worse, none of those writers gave him permission to use their names. I suspect (although I do not know) that some of those writers gave him information to help him tweak his algorithm, thinking they would be getting personal data from him, not data on other companies. He betrayed them.

Writer after writer wrote to him, demanding their names be removed from that list.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Here’s a link to Kris Rusch’s books. If you like the thoughts Kris shares, you can show your appreciation by checking out her books.

Writing Income: What I Made in 2017

31 January 2018

From author Kameron Hurley:

In my continuing series related to what I actually make writing fiction every year
. . . .

Book payments, royalties, foreign sales, film $1,600
Self pub royalties $167
Short story reprint sales $1,750
Patreon $29,179
TOTAL $47,096

. . . .

I tell writers often to “diversify your income streams” and this is why. Some years royalties and book payments and foreign sales are better than others.  There is more income that will show up on my actual taxes, including Amazon affiliates and Paypal donations, but I didn’t include those here (just as I didn’t include day job income) because I want this to be limited exclusively to writing income.

. . . .

Patreon Saves the Day (But Don’t Count On It)

Patreon has been a godsend this last year, as I’ve been producing a short story every month, instead of every other month or so as I did last year. That said, the shitstorm at Patreon at the end of last year when they were going to up their fees by 40% for folks at the $1 tiers saw me bleeding fans from the platform. That experience reminded me again that this income – though provided by a large pool of 750+ fans, is still reliant on a third party system that could implode and fuck everything at any time.

Self-Pub Isn’t a Magic Bullet

As you can see, I don’t make much money in self-pub beyond Patreon. When I state this, many folks who make lots more there just tell me I’m doing it wrong, and hey! Maybe so. But it’s not where I put most of my time. Self-pub sales primarily come from one-off fiction shorts and collections, not novels. I like to include this revenue here, though, to point out that yes, I do self-publish some stuff, and yeah, no, it’s not a cure-all moneymaking scheme.

Link to the rest at Kameron Hurley.

Here’s a link to Kameron’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Hard first or easy first?

29 January 2018

From Medium:

Accountants have FIFO (first in first out) and LIFO (last in first out). Product designers have HFEL (hard first easy later) or EFHL (easy first hard later).

No matter the project, there are things you’re more confident about and things you’re less confident about. No brainers, maybe brainers, yes brainers. Assuming you have limited time to complete a project (we spend a maximum of 6 weeks on most projects), you have to decide how to sequence the work. Do you pick off the hard stuff first? Easy stuff first? What to do?

. . . .

Does this feel like a full project? Is it probably going to take all the time we have? Lots of moving parts? Does this work touch a lot of other things, or is it mostly self-contained? Do we feel like we’ve mostly got it down, or are there some material unknowns we haven’t quite nailed down yet?

If it feels big, and full, and challenging with some significant unknowns, we almost always start with the hard stuff first. The worst thing you can do in that situation is kick big challenges down the road because you’ll inevitably run out of time. You’ll either make bad big decisions that way, or you’ll push the schedule out, or you’ll work late or work weekends. All those are big no-no’s for us, so we tackle the hard stuff first.

. . . .

Once we have a sense of where we’re at, we think about what we need, as a team. I don’t mean what does the team need as far as tooling or technology goes, but what do we need emotionally? Do we want to slog along without any short-term visible progress, or can we grab a quick win and start to pick up some momentum? It depends — how did the last project go? Are we coming off a high or a low? If a low, maybe we should find some quicker wins to fuel the spirit. If a win, maybe we’re already feeling good enough about ourselves to go heads down without anything material to show for a few more days. The past plays a surprisingly important role in the present.

Link to the rest at Medium

It may surprise some visitors to TPV, but the process of building a technology product – computer program, web-based software product, etc. – can be a very emotional. In a typically busy tech open system office, it’s not uncommon to hear a big cheer from the programmers when a piece of a new product finally works right. On a bad day, various objects may be heard bouncing off cubicle or office walls.

PG was interested in some potential parallels between the varying writing processes of authors and the product design processes described in the OP.

A professional author is creating a product. While on the surface, it may be a science fiction story or a romance, ultimately, if it is to achieve commercial success, the book needs to be a product that readers will want to buy. The product will be the combination of the story, the cover, the book’s description and the way in which the book is marketed and positioned in the market, etc.

Some authors outline, others write a killer book blurb first, etc.

Business Musings: Sustainability

10 December 2017

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

The big topic among successful indie writers in the last six months of 2017 is the possibility of burnout. Writers are slowly realizing that the pace they’ve maintained through the last few years isn’t sustainable.

Worse, it has become clear through data and anecdotal evidence that the more a writer produces, the more her income rises.

But that fact, coupled with the fact that incomes have fallen for indies in the past year or so, has given rise to something like panic among the successful indies. They’re having to work harder or just as hard to maintain an income that seemed to come easier in 2015.

And you know what? That’s normal.

I know, I know. You didn’t want to hear that. Because indie writers saw their incomes rise and rise and rise in the first three years of the gold rush. It seemed like every single thing the indie did increased her revenue.

And then, in 2016, those things didn’t work any more.

. . . .

I am also aware that some self-publishing venues, like All Romance eBooks went out of business, taking a lot of writers’ incomes with it. And other venues, like Smashwords, no longer attract new customers the way they used to.

I’m not talking about those changes, although they did have a major impact on a lot of writers’ careers. I’m talking about the changes in income to writers who were not rushing to every new way of doing something, writers who were not gaming algorithms, writers who were producing a lot, interacting professionally with their fans, and doing everything right.

Those writers received major rewards, both in sales and in income, in the early years of indie publishing. Those rewards have diminished, because we are entering into a mature market.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Here’s a link to Kris Rusch’s books. If you like the thoughts Kris shares, you can show your appreciation by checking out her books.

What Authors Need to Know About the New Tax Bills

3 December 2017

From The Authors Guild:

It’s a fast-moving target, but our lawyers and staff in New York and Washington are analyzing the proposed tax bills to see how they will affect authors. As we await a final Senate bill, given the amount of confusion, we wanted to let you know where things stand right now.

The principal changes to individuals’ income taxes proposed by both the House and Senate bills are 1) changes in tax rates, 2) the elimination of many specific, itemizable deductions and credits, and 3) the increase in the standard deduction. These changes are intended to streamline personal income taxes by limiting the number of those filing itemized deductions. It will make filing returns simpler for many taxpayers, and will benefit those who rely on the standard deduction. However, it will penalize those who currently have high deductible expenses, such as medical costs, dependent child care, and high local and state income and property taxes.

The types of itemized deductions and credits to be repealed differ somewhat under the Senate and House bills, and those differences are described below. Neither bill, however, would repeal self-employed writers’ ability to take standard business deductions—a source of some confusion since certain individuals who file as employees, such as “qualified performing artists,” would no longer qualify for unreimbursed business expense deductions under the proposed bills.  This provision is applicable only to employees, and not freelancers.

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Some authors use an LLC or other pass-through corporations to contract with and be paid by publishers and others. There are also proposed changes that would affect pass-through corporations, which are still the subject of some debate. We will provide further updates on those as the bills progress.

Link to the rest at The Authors Guild and thanks to Christina for the tip.

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