Saturday, March 3, 2012

There’s More To Having a Publishing Company than Publishing Books

I’m a day late on this post. I returned from Israel just last week following a five-week stay with my daughter, her husband and my new grandson. I’ve spent this past week catching up on home chores. Today is the first day I’ve been into my Blogger dashboard since I began my journey to Israel at the end of January, though I have checked my posted blogs. Nevertheless, I was both excited and dismayed to see I have seven comments, most discussing the creation of my mobi book--excited to know folks are reading my blog and dismayed to realize I had neither published nor responded to the comments. I apologize--I didn’t know they were there. For some reason, I thought I’d be notified by the system. I’m betting I’m not looking in the right place, and it’s time to pull out my “Blogger Guide.” Now that I’m caught up with domestic chores, I’m gonna do just that. In the meantime, here’s this week’s post:

Yesterday I completed Loblolly Writer’s House’s end-of-year worksheet, which I will now submit to my tax person. She will take that data and record it on a Schedule K, then append it to our (mine and hubby’s) 1040.

Loblolly Writer’s House is a sole proprietorship. Its taxes are not complex, and I doubt it would make much difference in our tax liability if I simply “forgot” to submit the data (though Jane would probably miss it). My reason for bringing up this annual cycle is to point out what a nightmare keeping up with the books is.

Journals and ledgers, debits, credits, columns, rows--balancing all those totals! Geez. Accounting lasts all year--and ends--well, only sorta, ’cause it doesn’t really end--the year ends with the closing of “most” of the ledger accounts, then balancing the debits and credits--they have all gotta add up and equal one another. Then there are the adjustments. Now I’ve found adjustments to be very handy. In fact, I actually use “adjustments” to make the debits and credits add up.

More seriously (well, maybe only a little), legitimate adjustments have to do with perishable inventory like paper and ink cartridges. I wrote those suckers out of my accounting system two years ago. I now call such items office supplies and put them all under a single expense account. Works for me. I did simarily with “sales tax.”

Do I sound like I’m speaking to you in generalities--using keywords that sound like “accounting”? I could tell you it’s my writing style--divesting my narrative of detail so as not to bore the reader. I would not be telling the truth. I’m being simple (read as leaving out details), because when it comes to the accounting requirements of my company, I am a simpleton--or maybe just a “simple woman.” Unfortunately, I am unable to keep my accounting simple enough.

Each year at tax time, I have to pull out my course studies (I took a bookkeeping class online from Ed to Go years ago) and re-teach myself what I have to do to close out my books, gather tax data, and start up the new accounting year. I start dreading the process before I’ve got the Christmas decorations put away.

Okay, that doesn’t make me any different from a whole lot of Americans at that time of year. The point I’m trying to make is that there is a lot more to self-publishing a book than, well, publishing a book, assuming that authors are treating their book(s) as a business.

I’m sure some you are wondering, “Why doesn’t she use an accounting program?” I did use one in the beginning. [Still, I had to take time to enter data into the program. Time spent accounting is time spent, no matter how one does it.] Then one day, the software manufacturer wanted me to update--for a price. I didn’t have extra money I wanted to spend on a bookkeeping program I was happy with, and I didn’t want to update. I liked the program the way it was, and I knew it well enough to make it work; it did exactly what I wanted/needed it to do. I’m a writer for Saint Peter’s sake, not an accountant! I wanted to be left alone to enter (and print out) my information on that rare occasion (tax time) when I needed it, and I wanted to spend any free time I never came up with, writing.

Shortly after I failed to upgrade, the software program stopped working, and I did what I normally do when I feel I’ve become dependent on something taking advantage of me. I bought a journal, ledgers, and pencils, and I learned to do the accounting myself. Well...

The “disgraced”software program did do the end-of-year reports with the click of the mouse. For the past several years now, I’ve had to drag out my old school stuff and “re-invent the worksheet” so to speak. Maybe next year I’ll buy a new program, and this time I’ll keep up with the updates.

Thanks for reading,


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