It’s Official–I’m an Author

Yesterday, I became an official author, evidenced by having to report my income, meager though it was, to the government. Problem is–and I don’t know whether to mark it up to stupidity or just being frazzled–I forgot to get all my deductibles listed before going to our tax folks.

We went to our appointment yesterday morning, an appointment I had made myself and knew was coming, without any list from me of what my expenses were–which means we have to go back to supply the missing information. The good news is, I learned what is and is not deductible, and what I did and did not need to fool with this time around. Some of it I already knew, but I gained quite a bit of knowledge. For 2012, I’ll know what to prepare for, but for the 2011 return, I had my work cut out for me.

When I asked how far back I can go to determine my expenses, our accountant said that any expense that went into creating Give the Lady a Ride could be deducted. That included membership dues, contest fees, conference expenses, equipment, supplies–on and on and on–from 2008 to 2011. Ride was the product of the 2007 NaNo contest, but my first actual expenses pertaining to it were for the 2008 conference, when it was a finalist in the ACFW Genesis Contest. Fortunately, all the expenses from 2008 to 2010 could be lumped together into one sum, but for 2011, I had to itemize.

One of the things that I prided myself over was meticulously filing receipts. Well, that pride bit the dust. I have absolutely no record of 2009. None. I can’t prove membership fees, supply or equipment purchases, or anything else, unless canceled checks count. And since banks don’t send canceled checks anymore and they’re unattainable without paying a fee, I decided to just skip 2009.

Dividing 2011 expenses into their categories took me all afternoon. After spending the morning with our accountant and the afternoon with an adding machine, my day was shot as far as what I’d planned. By the time I was finished, I was too tuckered to care about anything but the newest episode of NCIS.

But I did get everything divided: advertising costs, office expenses, repairs and maintenance, supplies, travel/meals/entertainment, product purchase (books I bought from my publisher to resell), and “other” expenses. There are so many more categories, but these were the ones that pertained to me. I didn’t do a thing about the car expenses–way too complicated, especially since I got a new one last year and since we used the truck for some of the activities related to the book.

So, after blowing yesterday, my goal for today is to get three weeks of worth of work done. Think I’ll succeed?

Me neither.

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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21 Responses to It’s Official–I’m an Author

  1. Lorna G. Poston says:

    Wow. I didn’t know any equipment, fees, etc that went into the making of the novel counted. I thought expenses only counted for the year the book was actually pubbed. Big mistake on my part. I haven’t saved past receipts because I wasn’t pubbed that year. Ah, well. live and learn, I guess.


    • Linda Yezak says:

      I listed my printer (bought in 2008) and new computer, but not my copier because I don’t remember when we got it. The thing with these though is that we’ll have to calculate depreciation, and I don’t know how to do that. But, hey, that’s what the accountant is for, right?!


  2. Congratulations! The amount of work done is in equal proportion to the quantity of coffee consumed. I can’t guarantee that the work will be “good,” of course. Or readable even@3>$#…oops.

    Hey, who drank all my coffee? 🙂


  3. Lynne says:

    How cool! I just mentioed to Dee the other day that I didn’t know if I could use past year’s expenses. (It sure didn’t seem fair, if I couldn’t) You’ve answered my question. Unfortunately, I haven’t made zilch yet . . . but I’m counting on at least a little in 2012. I’m assuming the year will move from 2008 to 2009. But I’ll check into that. Thanks, Linda for a very informataive blog! You da man!


  4. Lynne says:

    Speaking of coffee . . . I made a wonderful discovery this morning. I usually drink a cup or two of Hills Brothers Cappuccino in the afternoon – made with hot water. (Straight black coffee in the morning.) This morning, for my second cup, I put the cappuccino mix into my brewed coffee. Mm-mm-good. Double dose of caffeine. My kinda coffee.


    • Linda Yezak says:

      You’d be surprised how I cheat with my coffee. I put instant hot chocolate mix into the cup and pour hot coffee over it. I have a little 3/4 cup creamer and add a teaspoon of vanilla in it with my half-and-half. I put a cinnamon stick in the filter with the coffee to brew. I know how to make flavored coffee! 🙂


  5. Winter says:

    Well, living with an accountant will help me. But there are still things I never knew about. Hmm, I’m glad I have almost all of my slips from 2011 so when my book comes out in 2013 I’ll be prepared.

    Phew, they need to teach a tax class for authors, seriously!


    • Linda Yezak says:

      Winnie, you’re lucky. This whole thing boggles the mind. I agree, though. I’d love to have a course on taxes. Maybe in the 2012 conference?~~~Hire your hubby to teach it! 😀


      • Winter says:

        Well, once he has mine all figured out, then I’ll get him to teach the class! After all, what’s the use in having a husband who is an accountant and a teacher if you can’t put him to good use.


  6. joannesher says:

    Oh, honey, I FEEL for you. All I can say is…when I DO officially become an author in that way, I am so VERY VERY happy both of my parents are CPAs 🙂


  7. Yay! That’s seeing the silver lining! 🙂


  8. Linda Yezak says:

    @Winnie–that’s the ticket! Use him up!


  9. Alicia Rose says:

    Congratulations Linda! Thank you for the heads-up and reminders for deductibles. I like NCIS too. 😀


  10. Lynn Mosher says:

    Linda, I could have sworn I left a comment! Thanks so much for the info. Great article!


  11. Well, congratulations on having the Federal government consider you a bona fide author. We of course knew that all along! Nice to get official confirmation, as long as you don’t have to pay more taxes for the privilege!


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