by Janis Patterson
And all that came true, plus a lot more I didn’t anticipate, in spite of having been in the business community one way and another since I was very, very young.
Running a publishing house – even a teeny-tiny one-person, one-author house – is very different from running a lemonade stand. You just can’t take what money comes in and blithely put it in your pocket, darn it! Like it or not, we one-woman-show publishers are pretty much subject to the same rules and regs as the Big 5.
We all – or we should – take all the deductions for business-related expenses that we can, whether as author or as publisher. One benefit is that a clever author can make almost everything a deduction. For years when The Husband and I have taken a trip of some duration (not just a weekend) I come home, write three chapters and a synopsis set in wherever it was we went and send it off to some publisher or another. Thereby our trip becomes a research trip even if the book doesn’t sell. The only bad thing about this is that some of these books – which I never really intended to write – actually sold, so I had to finish the things. Unintended consequences.
Being a publisher is in a way just more of the same. Cover artists and editors and PR people are all legitimate tax deductions, but it gets complicated. Do you send them 1099s? What if they’re out of the country? Well, that depends on a lot of things, some of which my accountant and I are still wrangling about. I haven’t had to worry about capital gains yet – little enough capital and no gains to speak of – but that will come. Should I create an LLC or incorporate? It was about here that my accountant started to babble, so we will leave that for another time when the monies are sufficient enough that I feel they could justify such a discussion.
Though it sounds odd to say, thank goodness this year I didn’t earn enough as an author/publisher to have to worry about such things, but as I write more and more books and – hopefully – sell more and more books, these problems will become something with which I will have to deal.
Why do things have to be so complicated? And so extortionate? In a country developed by and made great by entrepreneurism and free enterprise, you would think that the government would be encouraging people to work and start businesses and keep the engine of the economy expanding instead of nit-picking and taxing and penalizing the system to death. It just doesn’t make sense. The unintended consequences of such freedom-hating anti-capitalism attitudes are almost too horrifying to contemplate.
My father once said that no matter how carefully we choose our actions, no matter which path we take, we can never be sure of the outcome because there will always be unintended consequences. How right he was!