Book Marketing: Facebook

Using Social Media as a marketing tool is a multifaceted subject. But we will only be looking at a few uses.

What is Facebook?

According to Wikipedia: Facebook is a for-profit corporation and online social networking service. Founded by Mark Zuckerberg on February 4, 2004 it is located in Menlo Park, California.

Primarily it is a very popular social networking site where users can easily interact with one another. Facebook has grown tremendously and is now not only for personal communications but has a strong business flair as well.

Facebook ads give advertisers an alternative to Adwords. For authors it might just be the preferred format for advertising.

I can only speak for myself but I have been very disappointed with Adwords whereas Facebook ads have done better for me. At the very least Facebook offers a credible competitor.

One of the factors that I like is that Facebook has a large database that can be defined narrowly. While Adwords has similar capabilities Facebook offers, in my opinion, a stronger defining tool that allows me to determine or customize my audience by geography, age, gender, interests, and more.

It is also tied to my Business Page which is a plus.

Do you have a Facebook business page?

Whether you use Facebook Ads or not having a business page gets you name recognition. And it can serve as a landing page. In my case I have designed other Landing Pages, but I do use my Facebook Business Page as a Landing Page in some ads.

You can also use your Facebook business page not only to inform existing and potential customers, but to act as a conduit. For example, at the bottom of this blog article you will see a statement that reads, “Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.” This allow you to comment on my blog, plus while on the page you can “Like” my page and “Signup” for Authors Academy.

I have barely touched on what you can do with Facebook, but I think you get the point: Facebook deserves to be an integral part of your marketing.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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 R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

The World That Was: Using Science

Last issue we looked at the supercontinent Rodinia. In this blog I will discuss science and how I used it.

First of all when discussing science you must decide which of the three viewpoints of science to which you adhere.

  1. True Science
  2. Evolutionary Science
  3. Creation Science

 Many of you might say that you adhere to true science. Unfortunately, that is impossible. True science, you see, is not really a viewpoint (yes, I tricked you). True science is the raw scientific data that exists in our knowledge base. It must be interpreted and interpretation rests upon viewpoint or theory.

Evolutionary science is a theory that believes that man evolved over millions and billions of years and interprets true scientific facts accordingly. At one point it held the day but today more and more scientists are questioning its validity.

Creation science is a theory that interprets true scientific facts according to its belief. It believes that a Higher Being, Who we Christians and Jews call God, created the world and man. There was a day that Creation science held the day, but then Evolutionary science came along and people thought it was better and more intelligent. But now the pendulum is swinging back to Creation as an increasing number of scientists are returning to a Creationist viewpoint.

I am a Christian who accepts the Creationist theory as the correct theory. Which brings us to today’s topic. Most writers don’t have to worry about such things, but when writing Biblically based stories it is a must.

Why?

Because the Bible record of events is at odds with evolution. It is true that people often twist the Bible to mean anything they want, which is why it is important to always read “in context.” When you read it that way it removes a lot of silliness.

So how did I use science? Being a Creationist I chose sources that I had complete confidence in having their facts straight. Two of these are Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and Answers in Genesis (AiG). There are others, of course, but those are in my opinion the best.

When writing the story of Creation itself I found these resources to be highly accurate and informative. I was able to draw out the knowledge I needed to undergird my book Perished: The World That Was. Not only for Creation, but also regarding the earth itself (see Rodinia) and the Flood (see Historical Perspective).

Science is a useful tool. Once you know which theory you embrace you can start researching your novel. Now, I will say this: If you embrace evolution you will have a very difficult time writing a Bible based novel or non-fiction book. Evolution simply doesn’t work well with the Bible. And, unfortunately for you, there is no middle ground such as Theistic evolution (a belief that is largely discounted by Evolutionists and Creationists).

So settle that in your mind. That is your starting point.

Actually when writing about Biblical events and people you will find you are using both the historical and the scientific resources at your disposal. I did. My primary was, and is, the Holy Bible. I rely on the King James Version because its history traces all the way back to the beginning (another subject) while other versions have broken histories and are suspect in their accuracy.

The best way that I have found to understand the science of Creation and other Biblical events is to:

1.     Let the Bible first interpret itself.

2.     Then use science to help understand.

Always use the Bible first. If you use science first and then try to fit the Bible within its realm, you will have problems. God gives us wisdom (science) to help understand not contradict His Word.

If you follow that simple rule you will do fine. You have no reason for hesitating at using science. It is a tool that can enrich your writing when done properly.

Will you be criticized? Perhaps. But such criticism will more often come from either non-Christians or Christians who don’t really believe that the Bible is inspired. (How can you know you are saved if you don’t believe the Bible is the Inspired Word of God? How do you know that Jesus really said you must be born again?)

Now be forewarned. When researching science there is a lot of information available. And it can get boring. So you will have to dig deep and persevere. You will learn more than you will ever need to put in your story, but you may need it to understand how best to use the information.

Remember this truism: Scientific and Historical data need to be accurate in your story, but they should not be the primary thing.

If you write science fiction novels the science will play a much bigger role. But in writing Bible based novels, the Biblical story is paramount.

What if you are writing a novel not based on the Bible? You still want your science and historical data to be accurate. All sorts of people will read your novel. Some of these may have a deep understanding of science, or of a particular historical era. You make a mistake and they will see it.

So how did I use science in regards to the Ark? First it required a lot of research. For Perished I used the latest scientific knowledge then available. Currently I am writing a Special Edition book about the Ark. There is much more information available. Back when writing Perished there were theories abounding about the Flood and the Ark, but now there has been more scientific discoveries both about the worldwide Flood and the possible construction of the Ark.

I have investigated these new facts and have used them where appropriate. As stated above, I learn more than I ever use. But that gives us another principle: New discoveries are always being made, so you need to keep in touch with the facts even after you have published your book.

Why?

Because you may some day write another book that would need the same facts or you may rewrite the book you just published. Your readers will be current so you should be also.

If you liked this blog visit our Facebook page, like it and post a comment.

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. Authors Academy offers training in writing, publishing, and marketing.

Third Person POV

Viewpoint or Point of View (POV) is critical to your story. The Point of View allows the reader to experience someone else’s (yours or the character’s) view of the world. Last Monday we looked at First Person viewpoint. Today we take a look at Third Person.

This is a lesson we teach in Authors Academy and much of the material comes from there.

 Third Person, in my opinion, is the preferred method to use. It is the “he”, “she” or “it” viewpoint. This is the POV that I consistently use when writing my books. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of this viewpoint.

 The advantages of this POV are:

  •  an outside view of the person

You, the narrator, can talk about other facts, events and people.

  • you can have additional characters in third person

you can have other POV characters.

  • unlimited worldview
  • In the first person you were restricted by the author’s or character’s thoughts and opinions.
  • But in third person the narrator and reader have access to other information – thus expanding the scene.
  • greater objectivity – in first person you only have the character’s opinion of self, but in third Person you see much more and can make better judgments.
  • hidden information – In third person the author can keep some facts about the character secret until later in the story.

 The above advantages simply overwhelm the disadvantages below. While I have read and enjoyed First Person viewpoints, for the most part I have enjoyed Third Person much more.

 But there are disadvantages. These include:

  •  separated involvement

With first person you had instant involvement, but here there exists separation or distance between the character and the reader.

  • language

It is more difficult to identify the class and education of the character.

  • range

Awkward. The thinking, etc, is not as visible as it is with first person.

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 Tip #1 – Choose your POV carefully. First person identifies more closely with the character, while third person more distant. Also, third person is better, perhaps necessary, when dealing with multiple characters.

 Tip #2 – When conveying a character’s thoughts put it in italics. Not a hard rule, but I recommend it.

___________________________________________

 Example

 First Person: I thought to myself, What a wonderful day!

 Third Person: He looked about, smiling. What a wonderful day!

 Application

 Be careful with your POV. It is very easy to forget which POV you are using. The result can be disastrous.

 I do not recommend First Person, although many authors have done so successfully. It takes a lot of hard work and skill. And in my opinion is too limiting.

 Be aware also that there are many variations of both first person and third person viewpoints. I recommend that you buy a good reference book on the subject. There are many resources, including Writers Digest.

 That said, I indicated earlier that I write in Third Person. Actually I practice something a little different: Multiple Third Person. It is the most difficult of all to master. But if you do, it is worth it. We will discuss it next Monday.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

The World That Was: Rodinia

Last issue we looked at the Resources I used. Today we are going to take a scientific look at how I came up with Pangaea, plus new discoveries.

First of all I am a fervent believer that an author has the responsibility to make his novels as realistic as possible. I am not referring to language or graphics, but rather to the underlining facts the novel is based on.

When I wrote Perished: The World That Was I used the latest information that I could find. That was 2010. Since then there has been increased details coming forth.

In fact, up until 2014 it was believed that a supercontinent called Pangaea was the world wherein the events of Perished would have taken place. Now we know that there was another previous supercontinent.

According to scientists the original supercontinent was Rodinia (Russian for “Mother Earth.”). While much is known about Pangaea they are still debating on the structure of Rodinia.

We do know that the Appalachians (located in Eastern U.S), Caledonians (located in the UK and Scandinavia), were not in existence at that time. Nor were many other modern mountain ranges.

When the Flood occurred Rodinia broke up and pieces of it formed Pangaea, which was underwater. They suggest that Pangaea lasted only a few weeks until our modern continents were formed.

This blog is not meant to be a scientific resource, but you can see how the dynamics of telling the story has changed. In fact, I am currently doing a rewrite of my very first book Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles as a Special Edition with a new title. This book will reflect the latest scientific knowledge on the subject of the Flood and, for that matter, the Ark.

Which brings me to the point I want to make: When writing a novel based in history always use resources that cover geography, climate, flora, fauna, manners, customs, and whatever else you can find.

For example, by including the latest facts in the novel the story will resonate with the readers, especially any who might know a thing or two about that historical period.

Some day I may rewrite Perished. If I do I will certainly include new information, thus enriching the reading experience.

For a list of resources I refer you to my recent blog on resources. You should find that a good starting place.

If you want to comment on this or any blog posts, please feel free to post your comments at RFrederickRiddlesWorld on Facebook.

 

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

First Person Point of View

Viewpoint or Point of View (POV) is critical to your story. The Point of View allows the reader to experience someone else’s (your’s or the character’s) view of the world.

 Before looking at the viewpoints let me give you another related principle: Make sure your reader knows when the character is thinking and when he is speaking. And try to avoid “he thought” or “she thought.”

 We are going to take a look at 1st Person.

 This is essentially “I”, “Me”, “Mine”. The POV is from the speaker. He/She tells the story from His/Her perspective. Personally, I don’t like this POV but I have read some excellent books using that technique.

 There are a few advantages to this viewpoint, such as:

  • Instant involvement

Because the reader is inside the character’s head all thoughts and actions are immediately known. There is no delay.

  • Language

Because the reader is inside the head and knows the thoughts of the character the reader is able to instantly know the education, and class of the character.

  • Range

How the character thinks. The reader learns a great deal about the character because every facet of his/her thinking is open to the reader.

 But there are also disadvantages; such as

  • it requires the presence of the character in virtually all scenes.

  • the character can’t keep secrets from the reader. If the character knows something, we do also.

  • you cannot include any information that the character doesn’t know. In other words, you know what the character knows. No more and no less.

  • The “I” becomes both you and the character. This can be troubling.

  • limited view. Since you only know what the character knows there is a whole world of unknowns.

First Person, in my opinion, is harder to write and to pull off. Some authors do and succeed quite well. I have read some excellent first person narratives. A recent example is The Knight by Steven James.

This is an excellent book that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. The author wrote the book in first person, so I knew everything the hero (Patrick Bowers) knew. But the author threw some third person events into the fray as well. Thus, in chapters involving the hero I knew what he knew, but in other scenes I saw more and knew more. Even so, the author kept me wondering who the villain was until almost the end of the book.

That’s quite an accomplishment for any writer. I’ve read quite a lot of books and consider myself pretty good at figuring out the villian. But by deftly mixing the first person accounts and third person accounts the author kept me from guessing the outcome.

So if you are good at the craft you can write an entertaining novel in the first person. But be forewarned: it can be unwieldy. Therefore, unless you have a great deal of experience in writing, I would recommend you stay away from it.

 

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

The World That Was: Resources

The World That Was: Resources

Last issue we looked at the Historical Perspective. Today we are going to take a look at the Resources or Tools that I used.

 In the issue on Historical Perspective I was actually using several tools. There were a host of resources (tools) I used. Biblical Research is more than a tool – it is a system of tools I use. Each one of us have a system. So I am not promoting a particular system. Rather I am trying to get you to be as prepared as possible. Use your system as full as possible.

 Let’s look at some of the tools you have available. Some of these are aimed directly at Biblical information, but others are more recent.

  1.  Answers in Genesis (online Biblical resource)

  2. American History (Google this)

  3. Books on the Manners and Customs of the Bible (Library or Google)

  4. Books on the Manners and Customs of differing countries (Library or Google)

  5. Civil War books (Library or Google)

  6. Google search (almost any subject can be found here)

  7. History books (especially older ones predating the evolutionist influence)

  8. Institute for Creation Research (online Biblical resource)

  9. Revolutionary War (Library or Google)

  10. The Holy Bible (It is loaded with history)

  11. World History books (Library or Google)

 And the list goes on. These are the kind of tools I might use since I write on ancient history (especially Biblical history) and American History. The point is that there is a great deal of information at your fingertips for whatever subject you are interested in writing about.

 The computer and Internet has revolutionized how and what we can research. Use it!

Was this interesting? Helpful?

 Feel free to comment.

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Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

 

Profanity in Writing: Is It OK?

Profanity in Writing: Is It OK?

Profanity sells!

That is a fact. Which is one of the reasons writers employ it. Some will say they do it because they want their characters to be real. But this argument falls flat when you view real life.

Sure many, not all, people swear. I was a sailor and learned to swear, but that doesn’t mean that all sailors swear (though they have that reputation). But the truth is that even those who do swear usually are mindful of the people around them. It is rare to find someone who swears all the time.

Personally, I don’t like swearing or any kind of profanity in writing. One critic read a recent book review in which I explained my 2 star rating of the book was partly based on the excessive profanity. It was a book that left me feeling dirty, and I don’t think I was able to finish it. In fact, I eventually threw it away.

 Back to the critic. He took exception to my condemnation of profanity. Called it absurd and proceeded to attack me personally because of my Christian stand. I replied to that critic that I felt that way about profanity before I ever became a Christian.

 This critic had also defended profanity in writing because “most” people swear. This is dubious at best. Perhaps if you are talking about an occasional swear word this might be true. But constant swearing? Kind of depends where you frequent.

 The truth of the matter profanity in writing has less to do with creating “real” characters and more to being a crutch. Instead of investing time and effort into creating believable characters some authors opt for profanity and graphic text. These are crutches usually designed to cover poor writing.

 The sad part of this is that I have read (or started to read) books that were well written. They had good plot and strong characters. But then they inserted profanity. Ruined the book which ultimately landed in the trash.

 If you have been around for awhile you may remember some of the classics of old. Rarely did you see a swear word. Actually the authors often used symbols for swearing, such as “#$@&%*!”. And I am going to say something that may astound you.

Using symbols in place of actual swear words is more effective than the swear words.

Did I really say that? Yes. And here is why.

The writing of fiction, whatever genre you are in, has a primary goal of connecting with the reader. And how does a reader connect with a book? His/her imagination! It is the author’s job to trigger that imagination, to excite it and pull it in. That is why so much emphasis is placed on strong characters and well developed scenes. When describing a scene the author doesn’t get bogged down in details but gives beautiful (or ugly) descriptions that leave it up to the reader to fill in the smaller details. That is why two or more people can read the same words and ‘think’ it described something altogether different.

Same thing with language. Using a symbol actually triggers the reader’s imagination. One reader will supply a word or phrase, while another reader will apply an altogether different meaning. They personalize the text, making it something they are familiar with in their own lives.

Unfortunately there are famous authors who have used profanity in their books. Why? I can’t read their minds, but all to often it is because profanity sells. And that is sad. Especially if they are able to create strong characters without it.

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page.

How To Build An Author’s Business You Can Be Proud Of

How To Build An Author’s Business You Can Be Proud Of

Here’ the big misconception.

Writers, especially beginners, think of themselves as only authors. They fail to see the whole picture.

But there is much more! An author is:

  1. A writer of stories

  2. A publisher

  3. A marketer

Let’s look at each of these.

A WRITER OF STORIES

What do you know about writing? Here is a partial list of things you should know:

  • your genre

  • how to set up your page

  • grammar

  • plotting

  • building characters

  • scene structure

All of these are tools. You have a trade, a business that involves writing. These tools are important. Lack of knowing and using these tools can devastate your business.

A PUBLISHER

Whoever and However you publish, you are a publisher to some degree. If you want to have creative control of your book, then you need to know certain things:

  • What is a traditional, self, and indie publisher

  • What is an ISBN and how do I get one

  • What are the publishers/printers guidelines

  • What publisher/printer offers the best features

  • What are the expected royalties

This is just a partial list of things you need to know.

A MARKETER

Today almost all authors are responsible for selling their books. If you’re a celebrity you may only have to do book tours. But the rest of us have to work to sell the books and this is the hardest thing to do. You need to know:

  • traditional book tours

  • virtual book tours

  • book trailers

  • social media marketing

  • TV/radio marketing

Again the list goes on.

Once you decided to write you became a business person whether you wanted to or not. And if you are like I was when I first started then you know very little about the business of writing.

When I first dreamed about being an author I had no idea of the real work involved. And when I wrote my first novel, I had next to no knowledge of what publisher to go with or what my involvement in marketing would be. These are things that are needed to know, but while there are courses on writing available there is scant information relating to the business of writing.

UNTIL NOW!

I have prepared a free mini-course on the business of writing that delves into:

  • why you as an author should consider yourself a business person

  • how it impacts your life

  • most importantly, how to set up a business that won’t detract from your writing.

The course consists of three videos, each answering one of the questions. The third video gets into the actual setup of the business.

I mentioned this is free. There is absolutely no cost.

Free Authors Mini-Course on Business of Writing

Answers 3 questions:
1) Why you are a Business person?
2) How it impacts you as an author?
3) How do you setup the business?
Click here to access Mini-Course

The Indie Movement

The Indie Movement

I’ve written on this subject before, but today I want to expand on the subject.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE INDIE MOVEMENT

The Independent Press is sometimes referred to a small press. This is understandable as the Indie Press sprang from the small press. So first, let’s get a handle on small press.

Basically a small press has been categorized as a publisher with annual sales below $50 million dollars in the U.S. In addition they are categorized as publishers publishing an average of fewer than 10 books per year. However that is only an average, some do more.

According to Wikipedia these are “defined as publishers that are not part of large conglomerates or multinational corporations.”

WHAT IS AN INDIE?

What I am referring to, however, is authors becoming independent publishers of their own books! This was the purpose and inspiration for founding T&R Independent Books. We don’t handle any other authors, just ourselves. For this reason I suggest their is a clear line of separation between small presses and indie publishers.

Orna Ross (director of The Alliance of Independent Authors) says, “Being an independent author is an approach to writing and publishing, a matter of self-definition. If you see yourself as the creative director of your books, from concept to completion and beyond, then you’re indie.”

You could take that statement and expand on it. You could say, Being an independent publisher depends on how you see yourself. If you see yourself as a person wanting more control over the creative process (writing) plus the publishing, and marketing processes then you are an indie.

Being indie involves much more than just writing, but the potential rewards are also out there. Think of it this way: If you control most, if not all, aspects of writing, publishing, and marketing, you will also reap most of the profits.

Orna continues:

“At ALLi, “independent” is an inclusive description and always relative (everyone needs help to write and publish well). Some of our members are fiercely indie-spirited, as DIY as it’s possible to be. Others are happy to collaborate with a publisher where that seems advantageous, some working with paid publishing services, others with trade publishers.

So what marks out an indie from other authors? The Alliance allows that you are an independent author if:

  • You have self-published at least one book.
  • You recognize that ‘indie’ does not necessarily mean ‘self-publishing only’ and acknowledge that even the most indie-spirited self-publisher works in collaboration with other publishing professionals (editors, designers, distributors) to produce a good book and reach readers. You are open to mutual beneficial partnerships, including trade publishing deals where appropriate for you, so long as the author’s status as creative director of the book is acknowledged.
  • You expect your status in the partnership to be reflected in contracts and terms, not just lip service.
  • You recognize that you are central to a revolutionary shift in publishing which is moving from seeing the author as resource (in the new parlance ‘content provider’) to respecting the author as creative director.
  • You are proud of your indie status, which you carry into all your ventures, negotiations and collaborations for your own benefit and to the benefit of all writers.”

Well put. If you are an author this is something that you should take a serious look at. But I go one step further. To me you are a business person and need to take a close look at establishing yourself as a legal entity.

WHAT DOES IT COST?

There are quite a few resources out there for authors to use. For example you could join ALLi, but they have an annual fee. There are others that offer you training at various prices, some reaching over $100. Then there are some who will give you some basics for free.

Some of you may be aware that I now offer a free package on the basics of writing. To learn more about the business of writing click Yes, Show Me More and discover our 3 in 1 free package.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that you are more than just a writer. You are a business person!

After Setting Up my business, what’s next?

After Setting Up my business, what’s next?

In my last blog I mentioned a video with a special offer, but today I want to expand on the subject of a writer being in business. This may be a rather new concept to you, but it is true nonetheless.

In the above mentioned video I also talk about our Mini-Course. And in that course I look at three aspects of business. I begin with why you are a business person, then follow up with how this impacts you personally, and end up showing you how to set up your business.

In this blog I want to discuss how your writing career benefits from your business.

Assuming that you have taken the necessary steps to establish the legal and structural aspects of your business, what next?

Obviously I think that the Authors Academy should be the answer. But let’s consider the real needs of an author. That brings us to the very first need: to educate yourself on writing.

Now you may already know everything you need to know about writing, but I am always seeking to learn more and you should also! Wherever you seek that knowledge you need to learn new or improved techniques for crafting a book that people will want to read. Fortunately there are many resources out there to help you. Resources on grammar, editing, and much more.

The second real need you have is to learn about publishing.

When I was doing my research for the academy on the subject of book publishing I discovered a great deal of information on the internet. The internet is a wonderful source of information, but you have to be careful. And this warning applies to the subject of publishing.

I have never come across a publisher yet that highlighted their shortcomings. So when reading their material you need to read with a little bit of skepticism. Do your research and discover not only the positive things, but the negative as well.

The same advice applies for marketing, but even more so! There is conflicting advice on how you are to market. The ‘experts’ can’t even agree on the best marketing strategy.

Yet, at the same time, if you pay attention you can discern common facts and truths that will help you. Then, of course, you will need to pull them all together to form a cohesive strategy.

But those are only the beginning phases of your business. You will need to track your income and expenses throughout the year. You may, depending on the type of business you are registered as, be required to file periodically with the government as well.

While most of you would not have employees that is not out of the question. And if you do hire employees you will need to comply with federal and state laws.

I am not trying to scare you but simply give you some practical advice. These increased responsibilities will require time and effort, but they will also give you more control and time for your writing. And after all, isn’t that what you want to do?