Friday, November 9, 2018

The Writing Groups I've Joined in the Last Year

On the path through any journey, you need to keep educating yourself about your craft, reading, listening, watching, learning from all others that went before and all that have come after you. 

It's a great way to learn of all the new things that are coming our way.

As authors, we need to be across the board and on the ball because the publishing field is changing so much and so fast, that sometimes, we can't keep up. 

But one way of doing so, is to look at all of the writing/publishing groups you come across. Figure out if you can learn from them, if they are supportive of each other and not egotistically narcissistic in dictating how the publishing business is, and how authors should be.

Find a group that loves to learn and help each other out instead of pull each other down. And believe me, there are quite a few of those, apparently.

But the two I belong to, aren't.

Alliance of Independent Authors I joined last year. Known as Alli, it was started by Orna Ross for authors like herself and grew from that. Alli has partnerships with companies such as Ingram Sparks where we self-publishing authors get a great deal on publishing our books with them.

There are book designers and editors who will do Alli members a deal, and John Doppler wades through all of the information on publishing houses and whether or not you need to beware and stay away.

For an author who's already published, it's a yearly cost of $129AUD. Varying levels of membership have varying costs, it all depends on where you are in your writing journey. Also, as a member, you get free books to publishing written by Alli members themselves, and you get to join the Facebook page.

The next group is Self Publishing Formula by Mark Dawson.

A former lawyer and trad pubbed author, when he was dumped by his pub house, as so many authors are, he started self-publishing and slowly built up Self Publishing Formula. You can join the Facebook group, buy the courses, watch or listen to the podcasts, and learn so much it's ridiculous.

I really wish all of these things had been around 12 years ago when I wrote my first book. Back then, I only had my local writing centre and Romance Authors of Australia. I left both behind years ago.

If you're a writer or author and are looking for your tribe, these are two groups you need to check out and  join.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Quick Business Post About Taxes!

Now that we're into November and it's the last month of blog posts, I thought I'd just touch on a few writerly business things that could help anyone reading them.

When you take on the role of author or writer, there are so many business issues to deal with, such as taxes, do you want to be a business, will you need an ABN and website, do you need ISBNs for your books, will you set up a publishing house for them, etc. 

So today, I thought I'd do a quick post about taxes.

Here in Australia authors come under Special Professional, income averaging for authors. 

Now, something I've recently found out while getting my taxes ready, is that if you sell on a book site that's not your own, and other companies sell your product, Amazon, Kobo etc, then you DO NOT pay GST on royalties earned. You do need to deal with the whole 5% treaty with the US and the IRS however, but if you set that up yourself then you'll have no issue. Otherwise, your accountant will have to deal with it.

If you DO sell your books on your own website, then yes, you will need to pay the GST on sales over $75,000 AUD. Even if it's as little as $1.

You just need to make sure you have the right accountant for all of this, and that they know about the income averaging. I had to sort this out with my accountant last week. When I first got my Australian Business Number (ABN) it was for my jewellery company and in that name. But now that I've set up a publishing house (more on that in two weeks) I needed to change things around a little.

So, decide what you want to do and make sure you're doing it right!

Friday, October 26, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: The Key and The Woman in the Window

I've read two books in recent months, The Key by Kathryn Hughes and the, apparently, wildly popular The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn.

First up...The Key (available at Amazon here)

It's Ellen Crosby's first day as a student nurse at Ambergate Hospital. When she meets a young woman admitted by her father, little does Ellen know that a choice she will make is to change both their lives for ever...

Sarah is drawn to the now abandoned Ambergate. Whilst exploring the old corridors she discovers a suitcase belonging to a female patient who entered Ambergate fifty years earlier. The shocking contents, untouched for half a century, will lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy and lost love, and the chance to make an old wrong right . . .

I can't remember how I found this book, I think I was looking for something else and saw the blurb and became interested. 

It's sad, I'll put that out there now. I cried a lot at the mistreatment of Amy (won't tell you who) and found the small twist to be surprising, but understandable since I figured someone's father was someone of importance. I'm surprised it turned out the way it did, and yes, again, it was sad so have tissues ready.

It held my interest, had large print, even though it wasn't a large print book, and I managed it in 2-3 hours. I may also read some of her other books as they seem along the same line and genre as this one.

Next up, The Woman in the Window (available at Amazon here)

It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

I found out about this book when the author appeared on an Aussie tv morning show. It seemed really interesting so I got it from my local library, and while it's just another one of "those books with woman/girl" in the title, and it is, there was a twist I didn't see coming, BUT...

Within the first five chapters I figured out what happened to the husband and daughter.

By page 180 I wanted to punch the female lead in the head.

By page 200 something I wanted her dead she was annoying as hell. She was to blame for what had happened and quite frankly, who the fuck did she think she was, so, I take it the guilt trip she was laying on herself was the reason she stayed a drunk.

I understand WHY she was doing what she was doing became all about her needing a crutch and not wanting to deal with what had happened even though she was seeing a doctor.

I cannot stand women, or people in general, who wallow in their self-pitying bullshit. Which she did.

I know this is being made into a movie with Amy Adams, but I have no need to watch it since I've read it, and don't want to see the stupidity of this character on the screen.

I also think this book has been put in the thriller category, but it's not actually thrilling. You can guess the storyline, and except for that one twist near the end which will leave you wondering about another tiny twist, it's still not a thriller. I'd put it in the adult contemporary genre. It's not horror, and not a thriller, but I guess publishing houses put anything under a genre these days. They're not as picky as they used to be.

Have you guys read these books, and if so, what did you think?

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