Posted In:Writing Archives - Pligg

standard

5 Suggestions for Writers Doing Their Taxes

August 7, 2017 - By 
taxes

Welcome to the world of the independent contractor.

You have all the freedom to set your own hours, regulate the flow of work that you take in and be your own boss. But with this freedom comes additional responsibility.

As a writer, you’re now your own HR, payroll, accounting, marketing and IT department.

Writer’s taxes is a very important money management role to embrace as a freelancer.

Let’s explore what you need to know.

Self Employment Tax

As an employee, employers don’t just offer you benefits. They pay half of your medicare and social security tax.

The rest is withheld from your paycheck.

But when you’re self-employed, you’re your own employer. No one helps you pay part of the bill. Plus you’ll owe income tax.

This can catch some freelance writers off guard. Your taxes will be as much as 1/3 higher than your office-bound friends’.

But don’t dismay. You also have deductions, credits and depreciation that you can claim to offset this.

Irs.gov is the source of truth for understanding what you can claim. Additionally, professional tax software will guide you through the process.

The Hobby-Loss Rule

You work part time at as a grocery clerk. And you pick up articles to write from time to time. It helps you pay for the unexpected expenses. But most of the time, your grocery job pays the bills.

Is writing a job or a hobby?

It’s very important to know the difference.

A job is something that you do to try to make a living. Even if that income is very small at the start, if your goal is to make it a profitable business, then it’s a job.

If you don’t really need the money, work when it’s convenient or only do it because you love writing, it’s a hobby.

If it’s a hobby, then you can only deduct your business expenses from the income that you earned. If those expenses take the income down to 0, you can’t deduct anymore.

If it’s a job, then you can take a “loss”. That’s negative income. You spent more than you made.

Commonly Over-Looked Deductions For Writers

We can’t possibly cover all the deductions here, so here’s a list of commonly overlooked deductions that you need to know about:

  • Depreciation – The declining value of a large asset like a computer
  • Home office – The space in your home that you use exclusively for work
  • Depreciation of your home – You can also deduct a portion of the value of your home
  • Utilities
  • Internet
  • Insurance

If any item is used for both personal and business, you can only deduct a percentage based on the amount of business use.

Commonly Mis-Claimed Deductions

  1. You can only claim a phone for your business if you have two phones or lines.
  2. Travel & Food must be related to the business, like meeting with a client. Not your daily lunch.
  3. Lounge outside while working? That doesn’t mean you can claim landscaping,  pool chemicals or a new privacy fence. Sorry!
  4. You must subtract the value of your land before claiming home depreciation. Land, theoretically, doesn’t depreciate.

Quarterly Tax Payments

If you’re making money as a writer, then you need to pay quarterly payments to the IRS on April 15, June 15, Sept 15, and Jan 15.

They’ll give you a pass the first year if your income isn’t steady yet. But after that, expect penalties. You can pay the IRS online.

Doing Writer’s Taxes

Invest a little time to learn about taxes. It will help you pay what you owe and avoid surprises down the road.

Would you add any quick tips for writers doing taxes? Comment below.


standard

6 Blogging Tools That Will Make Your Life Easier

July 24, 2017 - By 
Blogging tools

So, you love to write and you think it is time to capitalize on those skills. But you don’t feel fully confident with your blogging ability and don’t really know where to start to fix that.

You’ve come to the right place! There are plenty of blogging tools out there to enhance your experience as a first-time or rookie blogger.

Keep reading for six of our favorite blogging tools.

Portent’s Title Maker

Let’s start at the very beginning: your title.

What is it that you are writing about? What’s your subject?

Portent Title Maker is an awesome blogging tool which takes your subject and uses it to generate catchy titles that make the reader want to click.

The tool even gives a breakdown of why it generated the response that it did.

Aren’t pleased with the turnout? Keep refreshing until you find a title that you feel is the perfect fit for your piece.

Evernote

Time to get your thoughts organized.

So you have a topic and you’ve generated a title. It is time to dump all those ideas swirling around in your head into one place.

You can put anything and everything you may need to create your content into this blogging tool: websites, photos, notes, snippets, the list goes on and on.

Keyword Planner

Now it’s time to talk about your reach.

You want your content to reach as many people as possible, right? The Keyword Planner blogging tool is going to help you do just that.

Powered by Google, Keyword Planner lets you enter a variety of keywords and will return results summarizing the search volume of your keyword and the popularity of the topic.

This is an essential blogging tool for you to use prior to writing. Where SEO is concerned, you want to be using a keyword that is highly searched already (but easy to rank for) so you know that your content will be seen.

Toggl

Let’s get writing, shall we?

We all have days where we can’t seem to stay focused on a single task. When you have loads of brainstorming, writing, and editing to get done on a given day Toggl will be your best friend of the blogging tool world.

Toggl is a time tracking tool that allows you add different tasks you are working on and start the timer. It is helpful when you are looking to compare how much time you spend on specific tasks like brainstorming, writing, or editing so that you can better plan your work time.

Hemingway

Once you have completed your piece it is time to use the Hemingway App. This app will scan your content for readability and highlights sentences that are confusing or don’t read well.

This blogging tool can cut your editing time in half!

Canva

Now that you’ve written your blog, you will want to add some visuals to catch the eye of your reader.

Canva can help you take your photos to the next level. It is user-friendly and perfect for those who don’t have a ton of design experience.

Put These Blogging Tools to the Test

Now that you have our tips, get out there and get creative! These are our favorites tips but there are tons more out there. Don’t forget to check out our blog!


standard

How to Successfully Publish Your Novel

June 15, 2017 - By 

Many writers dream of two things: to get their novels published and win a fiction Pulitzer.

While winning a fiction Pulitzer isn’t an easy feat (you have to earn a nomination, and sometimes there isn’t even a winner in this category), getting your novel published isn’t quite as hard.

This doesn’t, however, mean it’s a walk in the park, especially if you’re a rookie novelist. You will find walls along the way, and your ability to climb or knock them down depends on how well you understand the process.

In this article, we’re sharing insider-style tips that will help you ensure your manuscript morphs into a book.

It’s Not Just About How Great Your Writing Is

Of course, to get your novel published you must be a master of your craft.

Anything less than a thought-provoking story, a delicious turn of phrase, and an ending that leaves the reader with more questions than answers, chances are high publishers will turn your novel down.

But then, most writers know their art. Publishers literally read thousands of captivating manuscripts every year, yet only a handful get the nod.

You see, publishers are in this business to turn out a decent profit. This means you have to offer more than just a great story.

Are you, for instance, a professional who can excel at publicity campaigns such as TV and radio interviews? Given the platform, do you have the gift of gab to draw potential readers to your book?

Find a Competent Literary Agent

The literary industry can be a jungle. Publishers rule this great land.

They, with the pickiness of a fashion model and her shoes, determine what books hit the shelves. And they have a systematic way of doing this.

Even though various publishing companies have different book acquisition strategies, most rely on literary agents.

If you can’t directly get a publisher’s eyeballs on your manuscript, perhaps a good literary agent can help you.

These professionals are industry experts. They have contacts with influential people (mostly commissioning editors) in publishing companies.

Although this will cost you (agents typically take a cut on your book’s earnings (advance plus sales), it’s one of the best routes to getting published.

Self-Publishing. Anyone?

There is a huge benefit of getting published by an established publisher. Their powerful marketing and publicity machinery can get your novel on a front table at a popular bookstore.

But what if you keep getting rejected by these publishers?

It’s time to shake off the rejections and self-publish (publish privately). You get to be in control of everything, from using your favorite book mockup generator for cover design to printing, pricing, marketing and distribution.

What’s the end game here?

A great first self-published novel can launch your career and get you noticed by top publishing companies. When it comes to publishing your second novel, you’ll likely choose your seat at the table and negotiate a good deal!

OK. That’s probably an exaggeration (unless you’re Harper Lee), but you catch the drift.

Write Your Way to the Bookstore!

In a writer’s world, there’s probably no greater pain than living with an untold story.

Sure, you might have the story in a manuscript, but of what importance is it if you’re unable to share the story with the world?

Follow these tips closely, and sooner or later, your novel will see the light of day.