Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Can Authors Audit Their Writing Like They Do Their Taxes?

It’s tax season now and people are rushing to get their taxes for 2015 done.  Many people get a refund, so the result is a positive one, but the process can be painful. As we gather our financial documents we start to realize we didn’t make as much as we thought but we spent more than we knew.  If you itemize your taxes because you claim deductions, you look at credit card statements and checking account statements and start to see patterns of expenditures.  It can make you nuts. But there is something writers can learn from this self-auditing process.

If writers went back to examine how they spent their resources – namely time, money, ideas – they may feel like they don’t come out on top of such a balance sheet.

Writers, in the end, can only point to how many published books, how many copies sold, and how much media covered them in order to define success.  They want to influence the world with their writings – to inspire, inform, enlighten, and entertain – but if they didn’t produce enough content and make the effort to give it public exposure, their work went nowhere.

As I scoured my expenses just for living – parking, food, clothing, housing, gas, office supplies, camp, furniture, tickets to events, books, newspapers, magazines, electronic devices, utilities, vacations, auto maintenance, etc. – I realized I was on a constant race to earn the income to foot the bill for things that I needed or wanted. Some years end in a slight deficit.  Could my writing look the same way under closer examination?

Scrutinize yourself. How much time did you really get to spend on writing?  How much was used on reading, researching, and editing?

How many books did you write – and how many got published?  How often did you spend time promoting a book or your brand?  What were the results?

I wonder if writers should force themselves to fill out something like a tax return, where we account for our income and expenses as it relates to books, where income is not measured by money, but in volume of writing and the impact it makes on others. Expenses would be broken down by how much time we spent on our efforts to write, get published, and participate in book marketing pursuits.

For writers to look back at how productive they were in the past year, they’d need to keep a log of how often they engaged in writing or related activity.  They’d have to take a harder look at why they didn’t write or publish a book or a second book or a third one in 2015.  But if writers hold themselves accountable, they may just find themselves being more productive in 2016.

2016 Book Marketing & Book Publicity Toolkit

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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