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Reflections on a Writer’s Tax Return

It’s that time of year again… you know the one.

It turned out that, even though I made a loss, completing my tax return for the year April 2013 – 2014 was a surprisingly positive experience. In that single twelve-month period, I released the paperback versions of I STOPPED TIME and THESE FRAGILE THINGS, released A FUNERAL FOR AN OWL and incurred all of the production costs for AN UNCHOREOGRAPHED LIFE, which launched later in the month.

Though I have been described recently as a prolific writer, nothing could be further from the truth. Some self-published authors work to a tortuous production schedule, releasing a new book every three months. I am not one of those authors. On a day-to-day basis, it can feel as if I am making very little progress in the process of writing a novel. I refuse to measure my success in terms of a growing word count. Writing slowly, editing as I go, and then revising, my chief concern is quality. This means that my word count may actually go backwards. (Stephen King advises writers to cut one third from their original drafts and, while I would never stick religiously to that rule, the waffle has to go.) The ease of self-publishing is both its advantage and its peril. The first sin of self-publishing is to publish too soon. Writing needs time to sit, to mature.

Is There a Place for a Slow Writer in the Digital Age? is a great post from Anne R Allen. It’s all about resisting the urge for speed.

No, my output in 2013 – 2014 was the fruition of eight years’ work. The end result is that I have five books out, something I take a great deal of satisfaction in. I now have evidence of cross-selling emerging, which suggests I am finding my readers. In the year 2014 – 2015, I hope that the tax man will be happier with my results.