I sat down and did my taxes last night, and it turns out I made a whopping $8000 or so from writing last financial year.
That’s not going to set the world on fire, true, but that’s not a bad sum for someone writing on the side while working full-time. Still means I’d need to write about 8 times as much in order to give up my day job, and since 95% of that was for writing freelance case-studies, rather than anything creative, that’s not a hugely appealing prospect.
Nor, frankly, is paying the $3500 tax debt I’ve racked up as a result of doing this extra work. Does that seem excessive to you? It seems excessive to me. But it turns out that the extra cash pushed me into a different tax rate/HELP repayment bracket, and suddenly I owe the government about half the extra money I made – money, I must point out, that I have already spent.
So that was a bit of a kick in the pants, and for a few minutes I was thinking that it would be simpler to give this whole writing game away and just edit maths books for the rest of my days. Then, of course, I realised that the easiest way to pay for all this freelance writing tax debt would be to do some more freelance writing. Okay, selling a kidney is probably easier still, but I have to draw a line somewhere.
A better solution would be to sell a thousand copies of both Godheads and Hotel Flamingo in the next 8 months or so. Somehow I don’t see that happening, at least not without some kind of tidal wave of visibility, positive reviews and maybe a knighthood. I did land one review of Hotel Flamingo this week; unfortunately, it wasn’t all that positive. That’s the way of things, and an honest-but-lacklustre review is still a valuable thing, but I do need more reviews and better reviews if sales are going to pick up. (So if any of you readers know of a good review site, or indeed run a good review site, TELL ME.)
Still, while my ebook sales are kind of pants, I’m not that glum about it. It’s not like I write for the money. Well, let me rephrase that – it’s not like I write for the money at the moment. I did back in my White Wolf days, because the money I made from that work pretty much kept me alive in those unemployed times. And I’d like to write for the money some day in the future, when I’ve given away the day job and my career involves turning out a string of popular novels while working from home in my underwear. Right now, though, I’m as close to writing for the love of it – or at least the experience of it – as I’m going to get. It’s refreshing, in its way, and low-stress until you get to the tax debt.
But you can still feel free to give me money. I won’t object.
In other writing news, Arcadia continues apace:
What’s milestoneworthy about this week’s work is that I’ve finished another chapter of the book, and a tricky chapter at that. I will admit that I’m not all that happy with it, but it’s a first draft, and ‘finished’ is more important than ‘happy’ at this stage.
And hell, I even started on the next chapter. So I seem to have some kind of momentum happening. We’ll see if it holds up.