Friday, November 30, 2018

Do Authors Deserve A Tax Break Now?

While President Donald Trump handed out all kinds of tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy – with some scraps for the middle class in non-coastal states – he neglected to give a tax break to the one constituency that really needs and deserves it:  writers.

Yes, writers, particularly authors, deserve a break.  They struggle to get published, toil in anonymity until their big book marketing break happens (if it does), and often don’t make a lot of money from their work.  Studies have shown that authors earn at a rate below the poverty level.

Writers often don’t incorporate (they should), which would allow them to take deductions from obvious expenses (laptops, writers conferences, book publicity) and for things that contribute to their professional existence (writing classes, home office, printer cartridges, pads, etc.).  However, these expense deductions are only good if they happen in the same year that you make money.

For instance, let’s say you received a book advance of $5,000 in 2018 but earned royalties in 2019.  Your expenses of 2017, when you wrote but didn’t make much money, can’t be deducted when there’s nothing to deduct from, and yet the expenses of 2017 contributed to you getting a book deal in 2018 and the ability to earn more in 2019.  See what I’m saying?

But now let’s take it a step further.  What if you spent a boatload on college as an English major.  What if you then got a Masters in Fine Arts?  Where is the tax break for your education and training? How are you being credited with all of the books on writing that you bought for the past decade?  How are you compensated for the thousands of hours of thinking, researching, interviewing, writing, and editing of things never published or paid a fee for?

Writers, the backbone of American creativity, should get a tax break, tax credit, tax refund – and anything that will help support them so they can afford to do the nation’s thinking, chronicling, and entertaining.

Authors pay a heavy price to write.

They are ignored by the public, misunderstood by friends and family, and generally feel underappreciated.  They want to contribute something to society and yet society doesn’t see it fit to finance their efforts.

What if more people could practice their art more freely, not as shackled by financial pressures?  What if those who write could devote more time to it, rather than sneak it in between chores or at the expense of sleep and family life?

Let’s pay our authors and give something to those who have sacrificed so much.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

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