I'm talking about author finances today and the challenge of a variable income - particularly if you don't have a salaried spouse - and how that works out for predicting taxes. Also why I don't think advertising is the be all and end all for Indies.
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Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I'm here with my first cup of coffee. Ah delicious today is Monday. September eighteenth working our way through September is it only me that's feels like time's going fast. Ah yeah I um was going through some stuff over the weekend. Oh the big news and it's only big news in my world on planet Kennedy. But I did finish putting together all my tech stuff and sent it off to the accountant. So yay! Excellent um, yeah, it was interesting to see that I did very well making money in 2022 ah dark wizard made a lot of money for me. It's kind of fun doing taxes on this schedule because we've ended up on this october fifteenth filing which actually works kind of great. Um.
But you know it's funny to go back to things that I did in January of 2022 almost two years ago right coming up on 2 years you know a year in nine months I feel like I'm seeing some sort of. Critter over here I can't tell if it's a loose thing or if there's something chewing on this stuff hold on now it was only a chewed up piece of weed barrier material flood airing in the wind.
Though it has definitely been chewed upon by a critter. So anyway, um, now lost my train of thought there sorry about that? no. Who knows what I was saying I'm sure you're all telling me and I can't I can't hear you ah? Alas, for one way. Communication. Ah oh I guess I was just talking about taxes and just revisiting things and thinking about where I was when i. Made a commitment to you know, like to the audio books and that kind of thing. But yeah twenty twenty two I I actually did do nicely financially I've not done as well. With self- publishishing this year ah you all have heard my various complaints about that if you've been listening for a while. You know, putting together the 2 tread projects but then the one has totally paid off so it'll be interesting to see what I end up on owing on taxes for last year and then I really hope that. I get this at least you know my half of my money because I think I explain to you all that when you get a book deal like this when you sign you get half the money on signing and then.
Well then other 2 books should get like a third on delivery and acceptance and a third on publication. So.
Um, yeah I thought maybe I was misstating that so I went to check. Okay, so there's 2 books. Um I get one third on signing but I get one third of both books on signing so that's the big chunk and then. As I deliver each book I get a third of that piece and then a third on publication. So anyway, that siding chunk is the big one I was saying to a friend of mine that I would cover something that we were doing jointly. And I said I can either put it on my credit card or give you the money once I get ah this signing check and she said so next century because she is also published with them and I think that that was a ha ha ha I don't think it will take that long at any rate I'm hoping I'll get it this year because. Um, you know this whole thing where you figure out what your annual income is going to be and you don't know when you're a writer like this There's no guarantees. That's a lot of ruckus with the birds.
Wonder what's going on out there. So anyway.
Um, it's always a mystery of it shouldn't I feel like it shouldn't be this much of a mystery figuring out what my finances are going to be at any given time but not knowing what sales will be not knowing. When checks from publishers will come in and the irs does things. Annually, you know like how much money you make in a given year ah depend you know determines what bracket you're in and you know and then of course. How much is offset by my expenses. It just always feels like more of a gamble than I like so at any rate, um, this year would be I really hope they'll get this in before the end of the year ah I know that they talked about that we would be signing the contract in a couple of weeks because my editor has some stuff going on and then we will put it in publishers weekly and get the deal announcement out. So. So um, yeah, great to have the tech stuff at least out and now we begin the you know play the Jeopardy theme song. How much money will I owe where will the money come from but I do have some satisfied for it.
In case, you were truly fretting. Ah so um, I feel like I don't have a lot to say other than that it was good to get that stuff handled. Um, you know, always good to get the I do keep track of the finances. Pretty assiduously. Ah I Crunch royalties every month I can kind of predict. How things are going to go. Unfortunately,, there's not a lot I can do to change that. Ah.
So I was having a conversation with someone over the weekend and this is um, a little bit tangential to that. But so on my Discord and Patreon. Um. It's really Patreon which just goes straight to the Discord ah one of my there's like right now 2 rules but 1 of them is that it's it's my discord where I'm doing mentoring and coaching and therefore I'm the one giving advice. And those of you who have listened for a long time. You know that one of my pet peeves is people giving information on the internet that doesn't come from their own experience and and that happens in self publishing in particular a lot. So I think it. Happens in other areas of publishing as well. If you're on video. You'll see Killian ah moving behind me I do have him on the leash this time. So no more going over the wall.
But he looks very handsome back there? Um, yeah, so so that's when the things is because it's my space and where I'm giving advice then if other people chime in with advice that I feel like. Doesn't come from their experience and and yeah, this is totally. This is all me this is all me imposing. Ah it's it's my dictatorship. Ah yeah, and so everyone's wild like so a very common one. That I hear all the time is that self-p publishlishing authors will tell other self-pubishing authors that you have to do marketing that you have to pay for ads. There's also the you have to do a newsletter one which you know we had a rant this summer about it right? I won't I promise I won't go into that one again and the thing. As is all of these things. There is no one true path there's no one true path to traditional publishing. There's no one true path in self publishing and. Human beings are these creatures where we are forever looking for the rules and the formula we want to know what's going to work and so a lot of indie authors ah have settled upon this agreement.
It's it's the common wisdom that you have to pay for advertising and frankly I just don't think it's true. Ah you all know that I don't pay for advertising hope I feel like I've frozen. Okay there we go hey sweetheart. Ah. Very rarely I mean I'll pay for like a book bub feature deal. But I have tried various kinds of ads and I I don't care for it and I don't think that it is the be all and end all of indie success and so he's. I paused mid-sentence killy and tried for the wall and this time it worked I was able to use the ah leash to pull him back down before he went over so he's just a wild kitty. So yeah, um, someone questioned me about that. Ah I mean I might as well just come right out and say it. Um you know that she said that she felt unwelcome because someone jumped on her for saying something on the Discord and I felt bad about it and I went and looked and it was actually me who said something and it was because. Ah, someone had offered the advice. Ah you know that you have to at least do some marketing.
And so I will grant that this is a commonly held opinion. But in this case, the person who is kind of worrying about things is a new author had put out their first book and didn't have that much yet as far as. Ah reviews and ratings and I had been encouraging her to focus on writing the next book because a I do believe in the advice which I was given at 1 point from someone who had a lot of experience that one of the best things you can do. To promote. Your first book is to hi hummingbird is up here is to write another book. It really helps dev several books out there and also so I was encouraging her to. Focus on writing the next thing and not worry about this first book so much which I know I know goes against the common wisdom of all the people who are out there um pouring marketing dollars into that first book buying ads. All this kind of thing.
The reason the reason that I give this advice is not because I think that advertising doesn't work. Although I do think that. That there is no magic formula to Advertising. It's not a mathematical equation. You are not going to if you spend X Dollars. You're going to get X dollars in return. Um, a lot of people try to break it down that way. A lot of people will do the math and say this is. The mask that they got um, a lot of people don't reveal their mass.. There's an example that I have mentioned of someone that I know of who who said that they had maxed out their credit cards on advertising. And it was a good thing that their spouse would never find out because I handled all the finances but you know maxing out your credit cards is not sound business. Um and and a lot of people get caught up in this idea because it's such a pervasive.
Shouting repeatedly among the Andy Community is that you must pay for advertising investing yourself if you believe in your book. You'll invest in it and ah you know the thing is is there are people making a lot of money off of this advertising right. So they have a vested interest in getting you to advertise your book. They don't care if you make money on your book or if you make money on your book as long as they're making money on the advertising. That's great and you can tell that this is where. A lot of the money is just because of the proliferation of places to to do advertising. Um Amazon isn't coming to you and saying please please please publish another book but they are saying please please please. Use Amazon Marketing Services to sell your book aren't they because that's where they're making their money now I'm not saying it doesn't work I'm sure it works for some people I mean it must I hope ah but be wary of these things. Um.
All of these places this is where they're making their money is off of the advertising. So. The other thing that I think happens is that when you are a self- publishing author you are very much wearing 2 hats at least possibly let's say 3 because you are the writer. You're the creator. Um, then you are the publisher handling all of the publishing related things and then you are also the ah the seller right? You are the vendor even though you're going through retail platforms. In some ways. It's not that different than the old model of people who printed off 100 copies of their self-published book and sold them out of the trunk of their car. We have a little bit better help with the algorithms. We have the retail platforms you know digital selling is great. But you were still responsible for selling your book and so doing that marketing and publishing is yet another hat. It's a lot of things to learn as a new author. Now. There are many many people who get into this by wanting to. Have something to sell they want to do the marketing they want to take advantage of your like Facebook ads or Amazon Marketing Services or bookbub ads or all of these things they're excited to do that whole marketing and selling thing. Ah.
It's something that the success people teach you know, find a good product and then here's all the ways you sell it and that's what they teach people to do because that's where they're making their money right is teaching people where to sell stuff how to sell stuff so a lot of people come at this by. Where the creation of the book is incidental because they just want to have a product to sell and apparently Amazon is being flooded now by books created with ah programs like chat gpt with Ai where things are plugged in. And these books are going up so that Amazon's actually instituted um and want to say like a filter and it's not clear what they? Um, what the parameters are but you can only upload so many books at a time ah to. Crack down on some of this people. Upload. You know they're basically throwing spaghetti at the wall right? seeing you something sticks uploading thousands of Ai generated books. They are also which I think I have not mentioned uploading books under author names. Ah. Apparently one of my readers told me that she got taken in by a book that had Elizabeth Hunter's name on it that turned out to be an ai generated book I heard of somebody else that this happened to and so now it looks like.
And Amazon's response was that they can't do anything about it if our names aren't trademarked. So it's looking like we're probably gonna have to get into trademarking our names so that people can't upload books as us a I generated books as us crazy crazy times. So anyway. My real point here and I did have 1 is that if you are looking at a long-term career as an author if what's important to you is creating the book writing a really good book establishing an audience and building a platform that way. Building a group of readers who want to read your books and I'm always saying on here right? that readers follow authors readers. Follow voice. They find someone who writes the kinds of things that they love to read and I know some of you out. There are. Readers and listen to this just because you like to read what I write and that's amazing and fabulous and really how it should be advertising is good for reaching people that you don't know ah who haven't heard of you yet. But really the best thing. That any committed writer who's actually into the writing rather than the selling or where the selling is secondary to the writing. Um you need to be focusing on writing you need to be focusing on learning to write a good book and write a good sequel and all of these things and not.
Necessarily on marketing. Ah, the marketing can be a real distraction. It can make you crazy. It can interfere with the creativity and that's the biggest thing for me is that I see people get so caught up in the promotional aspects in the selling aspects in being. A marketer and advertiser that they lose sight of the core reason that they're doing it which is writing which is writing an actual story and which not incidentally is what will distinguish your books from something that's Ai generated because. Ai can ever write a book like you can because what we have is our voices and the way that we tell a story so on that note I'm going to go get to work. Um, working way on twisted magic I hope that you all the great weekend I hope you are geared up for the week ah let's go out and put our voices in the world. Okay, you all take care bye bye.