Session 9: Tracking Sales & Expenses, Calculating Profit and Loss
This session was about expenses, royalties and profit and loss. We were given sheets to use and make copies of for keeping good records. This session reinforced the necessity of understanding the business aspects of self-publishing.
We were given a list of relevant IRS publications. I downloaded all of these and saved them in my workshop file. The tax documents are somewhat difficult to comprehend as they deal with any and all contingencies.
I understand that business expenses are deductible and should be carefully recorded and backed up with dated, specific receipts. My business expenses will likely include:
Author copies for promotion, giveaways and reviews
Fees and dues for event registrations, websites, associations, contest entries, and catalog or web site listings
Promotional expenses and advertising
Class or Workshop fees
I understand that travel expenses must be business related. If personal travel is combined with a business event, specific rules apply to what can be expensed and what cannot.
I have already incurred several expenses such as those for workshops and the web site. I need to find out if I can claim an expense I paid this year prior to receiving my LLC registration.
I believe that the tax issues are more complicated on paper than they will be in practice. My husband has an S-corp and we have an accountant who helps us with our personal taxes and business taxes already. It makes sense for me to have him help with my LLC taxes as well. In fact, I suspect he will insist on it. The fee for this will be deductible. It will also increase my expenses. I don’t anticipate operating at a profit any time soon. Because any loss I suffer will help our overall tax situation, my accountant is likely going to love me.
Overall, I have some, although limited, experience using Quickbooks for my husband’s S-corp. I will probably track my sales and expenses on the forms we received in this workshop, but then enter them into Quickbooks for my accountant.
Here is an update of my self-publishing progress:
My manuscript has been professionally edited by two college professors. Additionally, two friends have proofread the manuscript for me. Once I receive all the feedback, which I hope to do this week, I will incorporate the edits and consider the manuscript done.
I need to generate the following book pages:
Title page– I need to decide on a subtitle
About the Author
Table of Contents
I have examined many of the books on my shelves for ideas of what these pages should look like and what information they should contain.
My graphic designer (and daughter) has formatted the manuscript for me for print. I will forward her the final manuscript copy and extra pages. She will help me do the e-book formats as well.
Releases and Permissions
I am working on generating a document, based on examples I found online, to request permissions from each family member, and releases for the photographs that contain images of each person in my memoir. Once I have this document, I plan to send it, along with pertinent manuscript pages, to each person I have written about. All except for two or three are family members.
Cover design and content
My daughter is in the process of designing my book cover using an illustration my son drew. I need to write the back cover copy. I plan to use some or all of the following: a short synopsis, a small photo of Annie, two blurbs from the college professors who edited my book, and maybe a short author bio (although I think this will be on a page inside the book.)
I have filed for Grote Ink LLC through Legalzoom.com. It will take about 35 days to receive documentation. When I get this back, I will determine what other paperwork I still need. I may need to file separately for a federal number, and I need to check local county regulations. I have an appointment set up with the Small Business Development Center here.
I need to consult with our accountant once more to make sure I understand how he would like the records kept and whether or not I need to file any information more frequently than annually.
I set up a notebook to keep records for Dancing in Heaven with tabs for Grote Ink, Costs, Royalties, Website, Createspace, and E-books.
I have registered for an author website, ChristineMGrote.com. My son is working on a webpage design for me. I think I will keep it a simple site with author bio, Dancing in Heaven excerpts, purchasing information, and hopefully a blog where individuals can communicate with me if they’d like.
I’ve also set up an author Facebook page ChristineMGrote (friend me there – I’m not sure how to link to it from here). I hope to use this page to communicate with readers and keep friends informed of my publishing progress. I can also use it to advertise events if I choose to do any. I think at minimum I will do a few events for friends.
I’m out on Twitter (CMSmith57) trying to build my followers and also follow people who are good resources for me.
I am a member of Goodreads and have begun to establish relationships there. I also am on Linked In.
I communicate about my publishing journey on a regular basis on my blog.
I’m going to cross-link everything, so anyone who wants to track me down should be able to.
I will need to generate advertising materials and a more specific plan. Right now I am just trying to get the book out there so I can get copies. Once I have copies, I hope to find individuals willing to review the book for me.
I know that once I actually get the book published, the work just begins. Right now I am keeping notes on advertising ideas.
A lot to do. We’ll see how it goes.