Category Archives: Tips, Tricks & Tools

Making Sense of Your Web Site Statistics

We’ve all seen the ballyhoo about how all authors should have a web site to use in promoting their books.  There has been a lot of talk about adding a blog, what to show on your web site, selling from your web site, what kind of content to provide and how often it should be updated.  But one thing that hasn’t been mentioned much is how to determine if the web site is doing you any good. Statistics will tell you this.

Aside from an increase in book sales, it’s hard to know if a web site is helping you.  If you’re trying different types of campaigns which ones work, which ones don’t?  The answers often lay in the traffic reports that are available from your web host.  That usually looks something like this: Continue reading Making Sense of Your Web Site Statistics

Paraprosdokian Phrases

A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax.

Paraprosdokian Phrases

Ø   Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

Ø   The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list. Continue reading Paraprosdokian Phrases

This Business of Writing: Direct Expenses

Today, Dear Reader, we conclude the series on the business of writing and welcome back Brigitte A. Thompson as she shares her professional advice as an accountant and author.

business, bookkeeping, accounting, legal forms, writer, author
All rights reserved by iStockphoto

Bookkeeping is an essential part of the business of writing. Determining what you can claim as a business expense and how to substantiate those deductions require an understanding of the Federal tax code.

Some common direct expenses for writers are listed below along with tips on how to make them deductible. Continue reading This Business of Writing: Direct Expenses

Tax Tip: Automobile Expenses for Writers

We welcome back accounting professional and author, Brigitte A. Thompson as she continues her helpful advice to writers with a tax tip.

business, bookkeeping, accounting, legal forms, writer, author
All rights reserved by iStockphoto

Automobile Expenses for Writers

Driving to the local office store to purchase writing supplies can generate a tax deduction with proper documentation. This is what you need to know.

The miles that you drive which are related to the operation of your business, or the actual expenses required to maintain your automobile can generate tax deductions. This is one of the most overlooked tax deductions for writers.

You will need to choose one method based on the options below. Continue reading Tax Tip: Automobile Expenses for Writers

This Business of Writing: Recordkeeping

Today, Dear Reader, we continue the series on the business of writing and welcome back Brigitte A. Thompson as she shares her professional advice as an accountant and author.

business, bookkeeping, accounting, legal forms, writer, author
All rights reserved by iStockphoto

Bookkeeping is an essential part of the business of writing and includes storage of receipts, invoices, statements as well as all the required documents to substantiate both income and expenses.

Business Recordkeeping Options for Writers

To justify expenses, it is important to establish a system of recordkeeping that works for you. Some things need to be recorded daily, while others can be done weekly or monthly. It is imperative that you get into the habit of saving and recording everything related to your writing business. All invoices, receipts, credit card slips and bank statements are essential documentation that should be kept. Continue reading This Business of Writing: Recordkeeping

When Less is Less and Fewer, Fewer

fewer, less, grammar usageOne of my greatest pet peeves about modern writing is the flagrant misuse of the word “less”.  I see it everywhere, even so called professional journalists are saying such things as “…we have 20 less laps to go in the race…”  Advertisements claim, “Now with less calories” or “We have less waiting lines”.  Less has become the defacto identifier for all quantity comparisons.

Prior to the eighteenth century, this would have been perfectly acceptable, but since that time it has been accepted that “fewer” is to be used when talking about things that can be counted individually, “less” when taking about items or amounts that are not individually countable.  Let’s look at some examples. Continue reading When Less is Less and Fewer, Fewer

This Business of Writing: Ordinary and Necessary Expenses

Today, Dear Reader, we continue the series on the business of writing and welcome back Brigitte A. Thompson as she shares her professional advice as an accountant and author.

writer, author, business, bookkeeping, accounting
All rights reverved: iStockphoto.com

Bookkeeping is an essential part of the business of writing, especially identifying and tracking expenses. Business expenses are considered an operating cost.  The more legitimate business expenses that we can document, the lower our tax payments will be.

Ordinary and Necessary Business Expenses for Writers:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that our writing expenses be ordinary and necessary in order for them to be acceptable. An ordinary expense is defined as common and accepted in our profession. A necessary expense means we need to spend this money in order to operate the business. The expenses must not be considered extravagant. They must be an essential part of doing business as a writer. It is important to differentiate between personal expenses and business expenses.  Continue reading This Business of Writing: Ordinary and Necessary Expenses

Tax Tips for Writers: Business Meals

We welcome back accounting professional and author, Brigitte A. Thompson as she continues her helpful advice to writers.

business, bookkeeping, accounting, legal forms, writer, author
All rights reserved by iStockphoto

Writers may choose to meet with their agents over lunch or they might arrange to meet a subject to interview at a local bagel shop. The cost of the meal can be a tax deduction with proper purpose and documentation.

1. The primary purpose of your business meal must be related to your writing business.

2. You must conduct business during the meeting such as discussing the storyline of a new book or determining which publications are interested in your current article.

3. Be sure to save the receipt. It should contain pertinent information such as the name of business, location, date of the meeting, time, who was present, total charge, and how it was paid for. You can use the back of this receipt to record a summary of what was discussed.

The amount you can deduct is limited to 50% of the actual unreimbursed costs. The IRS is considering an increase in this amount to allow 80% reimbursement. As of this writing, the deduction has not been raised. You can Visit the IRS Web site for updates.

accounting, bookkeeping, author© Brigitte A. Thompson, Datamaster Accounting Services, LLC
Author of Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers available on Amazon:

The information provided is intended to be general and based on the Federal Tax laws of the United States. As such, it is subject to change. This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for financial or legal advice. Be sure to consult your tax advisor on all tax matters.

This Business of Writing: Accounting Methods

Today, Dear Reader, we continue the series on the business of writing and welcome back Brigitte A. Thompson as she shares her professional advice as an accountant and author.

business, bookkeeping, accounting, legal forms, writer, author
All rights reserved by iStockphoto

A business can be operated under one of three methods of accounting; cash, accrual, or hybrid. The IRS will be automatically informed of your choice when you file your first business tax return. If you decide you would like to change your accounting method, you will need to get approval from the IRS using Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method which is available on their web site IRS.govContinue reading This Business of Writing: Accounting Methods

This Business of Writing: Legal Organization

Today, Dear Readers, we begin a series of posts by accounting professional and author Brigitte A. Thompson of Datamaster Accounting Service LLC.  Please make her welcome as she shares her expertise with us all.

business, bookkeeping, accounting, legal forms, writer, author
All rights reserved by iStockphoto

Writers work in all different genres and write for a variety of media outlets.  Some of us are business writers, others create romance novels and many write articles for magazines or copy for web sites.  Putting words into print is our profession, but dealing with the financial aspects of our writing business can be challenging. This series of blog posts can help!

Legal Organization for Writers

There are several forms of legal organization to choose from when establishing your business. The most common form for a writer is a sole proprietorship, but there are other options. You should understand the choices and speak to a lawyer, accountant, or tax preparer to find out which option is the best for you. Continue reading This Business of Writing: Legal Organization