I get asked A LOT about organizing things and what categories of things we should be tracking as authors. BY NO MEANS am I an authority, but I do have some advice to give.
When your record keeping looks like this:
or you feel like the world around you has done this:
it is time to take a step back and do this:
Documentation ideally you set up from the beginning, but not everyone is so forthright in their planning. Many authors, jump off the proverbial deep end to swim with the sharks and hope they don’t drown. Your files can be simple,
or, a little more structured…
Whichever the case, make sure the system you choose works for you. You can track by category or my month for multiple categories. In the end, the biggies you need are:
*Promotion – everything from ads to swag.
*Travel – if you’re doing signings and have to travel you need to decide if you are choosing mileage for your vehicle or fuel and maintenance, you can’t choose both. Keep in mind, a run to walmart to pick up paper or an ink cartridge counts toward miles, as does the post office to mail packages that are book related. Then add flights, rentals, shuttles, taxis, etc.
*Supplies – paper, ink, pens, folders, mailing envelopes
*Postage – EVERYTHING you mail for your book – swag or literal books, get the receipts.
*Education – classes, or conventions where you are attending panels as a reader to learn instead of as an author to sell count. Don’t forget them.
*Fees – everything from convention table fees to sign, to memberships to literary groups. Paid for an ISBN number? That is a cost of printing that you should count.
*Donations – books or other items donated for someone else’s profit has a value that you can claim, just make sure you have documentation and receipts.
*Lastly, keep track of your inventory, AND if you sell directly, if you made money…those sales count even if it wasn’t through amazon, b&n or another third-party.
REMEMBER TO DO THIS, ALWAYS…
Keep in mind every category can easily be broken down into smaller subgroups. HOW you organize depends on you. Don’t be intimidated to have a mess before you have the way that works for you…the sooner you start trying the better. It’s already May – how are your 2016 tax files looking? You can make the early new year easier or harder by getting yourself in the habit of filing as you go or at the minimum at the end of every month. There is A LOT of paper with being a writer that has nothing to do with your books!
Once you do, you can sit back with THIS.
((images in post are courtesy of the Free ClipArt Gallery))