Seriously. To all of the authors out there that have gone through establishing their own brand, registering fictitious names, gaining business recognition, researching the legalities of publication and how to protect your work, opening business accounts, managing multiple social media accounts, writing service agreements, writing your work, editing your work, researching editors and proofreaders, finding cover artists and formatting services, etc. Dear god. You deserve an award.
No, seriously. You obviously LOVE what you do whole-heartedly or you wouldn’t put yourself through this. Haha.
There is a big difference between writing a book and slapping it on Amazon and actually approaching publication as a business. Holy hell, is there a difference. (The first is considered a hobby, by most states. The second requires more work on your part to actually be taken seriously by the state/government as a business)
Lets just pick a random point of reference.
For instance, did you know that if you use the free ISBN’s provided by amazon, it limits the market available to you for selling your book? You don’t own the ISBN. Amazon does. From what I understand, a lot of book dealers won’t handle books with these ISBN’s off site. I’m not even positive whether or not you are allowed to sell them off site if you choose to use their ISBN, I haven’t gotten that far in my research.
What I do know is, you also need a different ISBN for each version of your book. Ebook, soft cover, hard cover, re-print, etc. You can’t buy them from other people, or used, you have to buy them new from Bowker because that ISBN can only ever be assigned to that ONE book, you can’t change it. Crazy, right? Oh and something else? YOU GOTTA BUY YOUR OWN BARCODES >.> You know, the little barcode on the back of the books you pick up in the store? Yeah, you need to buy one that will match your ISBN.
Also? In some states if you plan to use a Pen Name you are required by law to register that name as a fictitious name in your state, or a DBA ( Doing Business As). Not every state, mind you. But some.
To avoid paying tax on your books when you purchase them for sale, and to be eligible for wholesale prices, you need to be registered as a business. You need an EIN. It’s free, it’s quick, but you still have to do it. If you want that perk, that is.
There are different types of business entities you can claim. Sole proprietorship, LLC., lots more that don’t really apply but you still need to be familiar with.
Oh, and you need to keep track of every. single. business. related. receipt. Did you purchase paper for the printer? A file box? Assets for cover work? A new computer? PENS? >.> Keep the receipts. You’ll need them at tax time.
If you make over a certain amount of money during the year on your ‘hobby’, you get to pay taxes. So you gotta keep track of what you earn, and see what your states guidelines are so you know how much you might be expected to pay (those receipts will help offset some of that if you are actually operating as a business of course, but I’m not sure how much they help if it’s just a ‘hobby’)
Of course, this is only the beginning. There are SOOOOOOO many things you have to consider if you are attempting to make an actual business of your writing and not a hobby.
If you want to make a business of it, but you haven’t heard of any of the things I’ve just mentioned? Please. PLEASE do some research. It’s really not as easy as it seems, and you might screw yourself royally if you don’t cover all your bases.
To all of you self-publishing authors out there, working your asses off on a daily basis to keep your dream alive? I salute you, good sir (or madam, or person)
That is all.