Author Archives: Melissa Gijsbers

About Melissa Gijsbers

Melisa Gijsbers is a children's author, blogger, mum, and bookkeeper. She lives in Melbourne with her two sons and their pet blue tongue lizard.

Keeping track of your expenses

Keep track of your expenses

Keep track of your expenses

Last month, I talked about keeping track of your income. It’s now time to look at your expenses.

The expenses you have may vary depending on whether you are self-publishing or are traditionally published. In general, your expenses could include:

  • Workshops and conferences
  • Editing and manuscript assessment
  • Equipment such as computer purchases
  • Professional support – graphic design, accounting fees, virtual assistant etc
  • Memberships
  • Book promotions – advertising, bookmarks, banners
  • Books that count as being part of your professional library – the rules are not clear here, so be prepared to justify book purchases if needed
  • Purchasing printed copies of your own books to onsell
  • Postage and envelopes
  • Parking at conferences and events

As discussed in my last post, the easiest way to keep track of your income is with accounting software or a spreadsheet. You can use the same method to keep track of your expenses.

With any of your expenses, be sure to keep a copy of your receipt, especially if paying with cash.  This way you can match these up to any expenses you have so you can claim them at tax time. Sometimes it can be helpful to write notes on the receipts so you can remember what they were for. For example if you park at a conference, you could write what the conference was on the receipt. This can also help if you are asked to justify any purchases.

Keeping track of your expenses is just as important as keeping track of your income. By keeping track of both of these, you will know if you are making any money as an author or not.

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Keeping track of your income

Keeping track of your income can be a challenge for authors, however it is important so we can declare any income at tax time.

We can receive income from a number of sources including:

  • Sales of books – this can be sales directly from the author, online via sites such as Amazon, and royalties from your publisher
  • Workshops and speaking – these could include school visits, author appearances at libraries and bookshops, workshops that you run, workshops where you are invited as a presenter, conferences,
  • Articles and blog posts – any other writing that you may do that you get paid for

There are a number of ways you can keep track of your income. Work out what works the best for you so you can keep your records up to date. If you need to, talk with a bookkeeper or accountant.

  • Invoice/receipt book – you can purchase these from any newsagent. Make up some stickers with your details so you don’t have to write them on every invoice or receipt. You can fill these out with sales of books as well as workshops and speaking engagements. When you write out an invoice to be paid at a later date, mark on the invoice the date it was paid.
  • Spreadsheet – you can create a spreadsheet in a program such as Microsoft Excel, or even in Google Drive, and record any income.
  • Bookkeeping software –  you could invest in some bookkeeping software to keep track of your income. This software is designed to keep track of your income and expenses, however it may be more than you’re looking for when you are starting out. I will look more at bookkeeping software in a future post.

Whatever method you choose to use to keep track of your income, be as accurate as you can. the main things you need to record when you are keeping track of your income are:

  • Date money was received
  • What the money was for
  • How much you received
  • Method of payment – eg cash, PayPal, direct deposit into your bank account

This way you will be able to reconcile your income at the end of the month, quarter or year, ready to report when you do your end of year taxes. You will also be able to keep track of your income for you own curiosity.

Money will come in at different times, and if you are recording it accurately, you will be able to track when you are likely to receive income and this can help you with future planning and budgeting. More on this at a later date.

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Boring but Important

Boring but important stuff

Boring but important stuff

Did you know that being an author, especially an indie author, has many similarities to running a small business?

Our main industry is writing and publishing. For most of us, the second thing would be speaking and running workshops. We love nothing more than dreaming up new stories and creating books that children can read.

Whether you are self published or traditionally published, there are still some business activities that everyone needs to do. These are the boring but important tasks that will help us know how much money we are making, how to get paid from our workshops, how to provide information to the tax man at tax time, and similar questions.

The third Wednesday of every month, I’ll be bringing you some of these boring but important topics that kidlit authors need to know about. These will have an Australian flavour, but some of the things can apply to authors all around the World.

As a bit of background, I ran my own small business for nine and a half years. In my day job, I’m a bookkeeper and business manager for a small business. At night and on weekends, I get to do the fun stuff of writing my own books for kids.

If you have any questions about these boring but important topics, please add comments and I’ll do my best to answer them in upcoming blog posts.

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