Self-publishing skills: Accounting and finance

Welcome to part eight of this series of blog posts about self-publishing. For the latest updates, do make sure you subscribe.

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As a self-publishing author, you are really a small publisher. And with that, will come income (hopefully) but there will definitely be costs! Keeping on top off this is key and you’ll need to learn to be an accountant, as well as all the other things you need to learn.

Disclaimer: I am an editor and proofreader, not a financial expert! Get professional advice if you need it.

Everything we’ve looked at so far, from editing to designing and proofreading, will attract a cost, especially if you get it done professionally. Sure, Aunty Mabel could do it, but does she have all the skills and knowledge a trained and experienced professional has?

That means you are going to have to pay. And that means you are going to need to manage your finances.

As a self-publishing author, it is important to remember that you are investing your own money in this venture. Make sure you can afford any service that you intend on paying for. Having said that, do not assume that the cheapest is the best.

Alongside your budget, you’ll need to consider your priorities. You might already have fairly good design skills so you might not need a cover designer. You might feel that typesetting isn’t something that you need to worry about on your first book, because your POD service offers good templates.

I’m obviously biased: you will need editing or proofreading services! This is just because a set of professional eyes helps iron out all the inevitable bumps you might miss. Find out more, here. And this is important if you want to go on and write more. Readers will remember the quality of your writing when deciding if they are going to return to your books.

Let’s break it down. These figures are not intended as anything other than examples:

Copyediting£500
Cover design£100
Typesetting£100
Proofreading£300

So, you can see, costs can soon mount up. Again, it’s vitally important that you budget sensibly, according to your own personal circumstances. And based on a royalties that could be as little as £1 per book, you can see that it is an investment.

Alongside the skills of budgeting and prioritising, you’ll also need to learn to keep accurate financial records. I will reiterate that I am not an accountant! If you need it, get professional advice.

At some point, you may start to make profit from your writing. And at a certain point (this varies, check the regulations for your country and in the financial year you are in), you may need to declare this for tax purposes.

It would be very wise for you to begin a simple spreadsheet, detailing all your expenses and income, ready for any tax declarations you need to make. Tax authorities generally don’t demand tax on small amounts of income from hobbies but it’s still wise to keep detailed records. That includes, dates, supplies, costs as well as income from royalties and sales to bookshops.

I talk more about money and rates for my proofreading and copyediting services in this blog post.

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Published by Nick Taylor | Editor & Proofreader

Fiction editor and proofreader.

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