Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tips From Writers Digest

One of the two writing magazines that I read regularly is Writers Digest. In the March/April issue, I found two pieces that were of particular interest to me--and may be to the writers who follow this blog.

I subscribe to a number of "loops" populated by writers. On one in particular, I often see questions posted seeking tax advice as it pertains to writers. Asking peers for advice sometimes works, but I've always been of the opinion that you're better off getting the opinion (and help) of someone who's a professional. Bonnie Lee is certainly a qualified professional. In this article, she addresses self-employment taxes, the hobby-loss rules, and determining what might qualify as a deduction for a writer. There's the usual disclaimer at the end that it's best to consult our own tax pro, but for a clear and authoritative overview of a subject that often generates more heat than light, I recommend this one.

I have a number of book signings coming up after the launch of Code Blue. I suspect that most writers share my reluctance to position myself as a book salesman at such events. That's why my eyebrows went up when I saw the article by award-winning author Elizabeth Sims on "hand-selling your book." She walks the reluctant writer through such steps as customizing your pitch, positioning yourself, putting aside modesty, closing the sale, and knowing when to quit. I plan to keep this article open on my desk and read it often. Maybe it will keep me from slinking off to lock myself in a closet at my next book signing.

There's lots more in this issue, but so far as I'm concerned, these two articles more than justified my subscription cost--which, according to Ms. Sims, is tax-deductible.

Happy writing.

4 comments:

Lori Benton said...

Thanks for those tips. I don't get magazines, but my library does. :) Best wishes to you for the book signings. Guess I'm one of those authors who would find it hard to be in such a spotlight/circumstance, however I've done it before in the art realm, at shows where people cruise by to chat and discuss your work while they are making up their minds whether they are going to buy it. If a super-shy person like me can do it, anyone can. But it can be exhausting on so many levels.

Elizabeth Sims said...

Hey Richard, glad my WD article helped you! Best to you in your writing.

Richard Mabry said...

Elizabeth,
Thanks for dropping by. Your hints were wonderful, and I'm about to put them to use, since I have my book launch on April 8 and a number of signings after that. I still have the article on my desk, and my mantra has become "One reader at a time."

Elizabeth Sims said...

Hey Richard, glad my WD article helped you! Best to you in your writing.