The Riddle Report 01 04 2021
I’m starting this year by bringing important news regarding your writing career whether you have written a book or plan to write a book. This is important information that I would have benefited from having when I first started.
I’m Just a Writer, not a Businessperson.
You’re thinking I just want to write and sell books. But surprise, that is a business! While writing can certainly be fun, it is for me, it can also be profitable. And for that reason alone, you need to think of your writing career, no matter how many books that entails, as a business.
The Government thinks you’re a business.
That’s right. When you do your income taxes and show that you made money through royalties or the sale of your books, the government regards that, and you, as a business. So, you should also!
But all I’m doing is writing a story.
Actually, your Business includes the authorship, publishing, and marketing of your book(s). And like any business you need to think like a businessman or businesswoman. And this thinking will impact your whole life.
For example, do you dress like a businessperson?
I am speaking of what you wear in public, especially when you are out in the public signing books, being interviewed, etc. I dress casually in normal situations, but if I am marketing myself, I wear a shirt and tie, at least. Your appearance matters whether you think it should or not. If you are attending a book club or making a speech or doing an interview how you dress makes a difference.
As a general rule I’d recommend business casual. You might consider business attire (suit & tie for men, dress for women) or something a little more casual yet still reflecting that you are serious about your business. In previous videos that I made I opted for a shirt and tie. It suggests business without being overpowering.
What about having an Office?
That depends on you. I have an office at home although I have considered having an actual office independent of my home. There would be certain advantages, but it is not necessary. The whole matter comes down to what works best for you. Some writers like a formal setting like an office, while others prefer a more casual setting. I’ve found that I can write in just about any place.
Publishing nowadays requires access to the Internet. You can get that just about anywhere. So, if you are a publisher your manner of dress may not be important unless you are meeting someone formally in the course of business.
We all know the standard ones: Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. But there are new players on the field now, such as WeMe (alternative to Facebook), Rumble (alternative to YouTube), and Parler (alternative to Twitter). I’m currently investing time and energy to see if these work, but if they
How do you carry yourself?
Another aspect of thinking like a businessperson is how you carry yourself. This is something I had to learn. Slouching, hands in pockets, and staring at your feet are not positive selling points. I wasn’t that bad, but I did have to learn to not only be confident, but to act confident (although not overbearing).
But that’s not all!
But the concept goes deeper than clothing and acting like a businessman. It also includes having an idea of how you are going to run your business. For example, you have a book. Who’s going to publish it? How do you plan on selling it?
In our case we created our own publishing business, T&R Independent Books. The T stands for Teresa and the R for Ron. We are the exclusive publishers of our books. I have blogged in the past about having your own publishing business and probably will again. But for today I will just say that it gives you all the power and all the profits but also entails you doing all the work. We use Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for our Print and eBook formats.
There are a number of items you need to know to be a successful businessman. Before moving on, lets nail down the concept itself.
When I think of myself as a businessman, I have several pictures in mind. I see myself being interviewed about topics other than my books. I see myself as someone people respected and wanting to know. I also see myself making decisions, supporting charitable works, and so forth.
Face it, you’re a businessperson. Face it and embrace it!
So, What do I Do?
Below is a breakdown of what you need to do to set up your business.
Name: [Title of business]
This is important. Your name is going to be used on your website, your advertising, business transactions, bank accounts, etc. This should reflect you as an author, a business, or a career.
My business began as RFRiddle referring to the fact I was an author. But after I began writing more books, I began marketing my business instead of a single book. In 2014 Teresa and I cofounded T&R Independent Books as Indie Publishers. At that time we were only concerned with our own books, but we have now evolved into helping others get published, so we have a subdivision of T&R Independent Books named TR Writing Services.
Your name is vitally important!
Website: [Get yourself a website]
If you are only going to write one book, the name of your website can be variable. But if you are going to write two or more books you will want a website that reflects you or your business.
I had a personal website where my name was paramount. So, it was called RFrederickRiddle.com. And it was R Frederick Riddle that I marketed. However, when my wife and I formed T&R Independent Books the emphasis shifted.
Now I emphasize T&R Independent Books plus my name and later Tess’s name. Originally, I had a large website and didn’t want to kill it. But we decided that having a publisher’s site with individual author sites under it was the right way for us to go. So, for reasons too complicated to explain here, we took over my blog website (RFrederickRiddleBlog) and built our website there. To make it easy for customers and clients, we use tr-writingservices.com as an forwarding address.
The new website became a publisher’s website with RFrederick Riddle having a home page and Tess Riddle having a home page. In addition, we have a Catalog where people can view what’s available and order directly from Amazon.
And, of course, we have landing pages for TR Writing Services. By the way, we have useful videos available for free that provide additional information about being an Indie businessperson.
If you have the money you might want to invest in business cards with your business name and website on them.
For starters think of words or phrases that best describe your book(s). You can update later. To help you do this Google any authors who write in your genre. What are their key words?
A simple way to find out is to go to the author’s website. Right click on the mouse and click on “view page source.” Don’t be overwhelmed. At the beginning of the html document that you see you will find the word meta name=”keywords” followed by a series of words or phrases. This is what you are interested in knowing.
PO Box # [Not necessary, but maybe desirable.]
Mission: [What is your mission or dream. This is not the purpose.]
Organization type: This can be a DBA (Doing Business As), Corp. (corporation) or Partnership or Limited Corporation(LLC). You would also need a State Sales Tax certificate.
Purpose: Your stated purpose is a statement outlining what you will do. Sample: “To publish and promote our own books, cards, etc.” Or a simple, Author.
Structure: Officers, such as President and Vice-President
These are some of the basics you need to put some thought into from the very beginning. Don’t put it off. For example, the name of your business will be on your books, marketing tools, internet website, and more. It’s important.
When deciding upon officers you need to consider a number of things, such as Who or What are you marketing, Who will be making decisions, and What tax breaks exist that you can take advantage of?
For example, we chose the T&R Independent Books with the T representing Tess and the R myself. Since we both are authors the purpose was related to both of us. And because my wife has a Masters in Business and there are tax breaks available to business’s run by women, she became President and I became Vice-President.
Just as the business name is important, the Logo is important. This logo will go on your advertising materials, your books, website, and business cards.
Experiment. Your goal is to create a logo that reflects what you want people to know about you.
Here you need to be aware of your state’s legal requirements. Increasingly states are demanding sales tax on internet sales. Whether you think that is right or not it is here.
But aside from the internet, you will probably be selling books on your own and will need to get a Sales Certificate. Each state handles it differently, but you should be able to discover their requirements by going to [state].gov.
If you are collecting taxes and/or paying income tax you will need to keep accurate records. Again, you have multiple ways of handling this. You can purchase a tax program, hire an accountant, or some other tool.
More and more authors are discovering the value of the Indie approach. Yes, it requires more work on your part, but it’s worth it. Go to our website and check out our videos, all free, that give you a head start on building your own writing and publishing business.
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For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”) contact us at email@example.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.
AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.
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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to email@example.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.