I was up past midnight yesterday getting my latest issue of the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine out. Today has been a catchup day, plus it was my monthly day to see my accountant and make sure everything is clicking.
A few comments caught my eye:
Daan wrote several comments that somehow got caught in my spam filter. Sorry Daan! It’s usually very reliable, but it must have seen something it didn’t like. I sent that spam filter to bed without any dessert.
I have returned from vacation yesterday and I spent quite some time reading all the posts by you and Susan as well as all the comments and questions. It was great!
Two months ago, I was inspired to translate an English novel in Afrikaans and, thanks to the holidays, I have translated 216 of the 338 pages, which is 73 326 words.
Randy sez: Yes, Susan’s series of guest posts is probably the most popular series I’ve ever done. Wow, Daan, you are really cooking on that translation. I know how hard translation is and what an art it can be. Have fun and good luck! Welcome back to the blog. We’ve missed you.
What is the advantage of incorporating your business? It sounds like a lot of work and at least some expense, so what is the advantage to you?
Randy sez: That’s an excellent question. I only recommend incorporating when you have a business that is earning a substantial part of your income. Incorporation has some advantages, but it also has some costs. Bear in mind that I am not a lawyer or accountant, so the following does not constitute any sort of legal or accounting advice:
The advantages are as follows (and you can talk with any accountant about whether these apply to you):
1) A corporation is not you, so if somebody sues your corporation, they may conceivably bankrupt it, but they won’t bankrupt you. This is a minor point, but we’re writers and we say things in public that may make people angry.
2) There can be tax advantages for having a corporation that earns the income and then pays you a salary. An accountant can explain the differences between a C corporation, an S corporation, and an LLC, along with the tax advantages and disadvantages of each. Which of these is right for a writer depends on circumstances. I have an S corporation, but one of my writer friends has a C corporation and another has an LLC.
3) Drat, I forgot the other advantages. But the above two can be quite important. In particular, the tax advantages are very important.
The disadvantages are as follows:
1) It costs something to register as a corporation. The State of Washington is a good state for corporations and quite inexpensive. I have to pay my registration fee every year and pay a corporate agent.
2) A corporation is not you, and it must have at least one annual meeting of the Board of Directors and another for the Shareholders and proper minutes must be kept. My wife and I are the entire Board and the entire set of Shareholders, so we held our two meetings back to back in about half an hour. I wrote a President’s Report which I presented at the meetings and wrote up minutes and that was that. My accountant looked it over today and said I did an excellent job.
3) You can’t mix your personal money with the corporate money, because the corporation is not you. If you mix money, then the government can decide that the corporation is just a sham and can take away your tax advantages, which are generally substantial. The laws are written to make life good for corporations, so it pays to be one.
4) You have to have a good accounting system, which usually means getting an accountant. The fact is that if you’re earning much money, you need one anyway to keep track of it all, because doing the taxes just gets more complicated every year.
Thanks Randy for your blog. Your last one, asking us to tell what we planned to do that day, got me motivated to choose something that would help clean up the clutter in my office as well as in the rest of the house. The job is far from done, but a lot of progress has been made. Some of this is because my husband also jumped in to help with this chore . . . and I didn’t even have to ask him.
Randy sez: I’ve found it useful to take a 15 minute break each day and get up, stretch, walk around, drink some water, and then declutter one small part of my work area. That may be my out-box or my desk or one shelf or whatever. The other day I cleaned up one drawer that contains my checkbook, checks, and all that. Not a big job, but that drawer had been causing me confusion whenever I opened it. Now it’s in good shape. You need to take breaks every hour or two anyway, so you might as well do something useful (and boring so you’ll be happy to get back to work).
I don’t know what your take is on the critiquing the work of other writers in an online fashion. I mentioned that I have joined a critiquing website www.critters.org which is basically a web version of the writers getting together to look at each others work. I must say it is a good move because just reading how to critique and then doing it forces me to edit my own work that much better. I would highly recommend this site for two very good reasons: First it has writers from novices to published and it archives all of the critiques so you can see what actually catches the eyes of people. The only way it could get better is if it had seasoned editors. Secondly it is free! You must perform critiques in order to be allowed to post your own ms. Seems fair to me!
Randy sez: This sounds like a great organization to me! When I started writing, nobody was online except us techie geeks, and there was no web. I lived for my monthly in-person critique group where we used real paper and red pens and sat around a table. But some months were well-attended and some weren’t. Online, somebody is always there, and you don’t have to be there at the same time. It’s a whole new world, and an online critique group can move you forward massively.
Getting critiqued is part of continuous improvement, and that is Xtremely important.