If you’re about to switch over to being a self published writer, congratulations! It can be far more rewarding and profitable than signing up with a traditional publishing house – but it can also place a lot of responsibility in your hands.
Most of these responsbiilties would have been handled by a publishing house and out of the writer’s control, but self publishing means that you get to decide on crucial factors like the sales price and final cover art.
Self publishing – especially if you intend to have several different books in circulation – should be run like a business, with income-and-expenditure tracking and consideration for taxes if you earn enough. It really streamlines the process of getting a book published.
Here’s some essential information that all self published authors should know about how to run the business end of their self publishing career.
Self Publishing is a Business
Want to be successful as a self published writer?
Start by viewing self publishing as a business like any other before you’ve even started. The whole point of self publishing other than getting your work read by your readers is getting paid for it – and self publishing comes with both more control and more responsibility to do it right.
Business track their income and expenditure throughout the financial year, and businesses allocate a certain section of that money to promotion. Businesses make projections on how sales will go – and adapt their sales strategy when things don’t go the way the projection estimated.
Run your self publishing like a business and you’ve already gotten off on the right foot.
Registering Your Site Domain
Every writer, publisher and freelancer worth their salt should have a website where readers and clients can read more, view work and get in touch. If you’re running your own self publishing venture, you should start by registering your site domain first – usually something like YourName.com.
Why? People like seeing a registered name more than they like seeing a domain like .wordpress. If you want to come across as more professional from the start (and gain an advantage above anyone else who isn’t doing it right now), register your domain.
Just like in any other business, you should learn how to keep track of what comes in and what goes out. How many copies have you sold in the past three months? What did it cost you to promote up to a level where you sold those copies, if anything? How well is the next print run expected to go from there?
Answering questions like these helps you to keep track of how well your self publishing career is going and what you can do to improve it.
It can also help to make use of budgeting programs. There are many great open source ones out there specifically for keeping track of businesses: Use them.
Taxes for Self Published Writers
Not all self published writers have to worry about tax – but if you’re making your main income from writing, it’s something that you’ll have to start thinking about. Make sure that you understand the tax requirements in your country – “I didn’t know” is not a viable defense for tax fraud in ten years.
If you struggle to keep track of tax or you aren’t sure when it should become a concern for your self publishing, hire an accountant and have them go over your financial statements a few times per year. While you’ll have to spend some money to get in the services of a professional, it’s money well-spent – and money that any business inevitably has to spend to keep afloat.