Q & A on Becoming an Independent Author
As a courtesy to those participants who did not feel comfortable asking questions in front of a group, I provided a sheet to attendees so they could submit questions at the close of the workshop which I would later answer on my website.
I also acknowledged that I was not the Wikipedia of independent authors and did not know the answers to all questions asked during the workshop. I encouraged participants to write down the questions I was unable to answer and submit those to me as well.
The questions below are those collected at the workshop.
I put © on the first page of my Kindle books. Did I need to do something else to register the copyright?
Copyrighting your work and registering your copyright are two different things. As soon as you write your book, it is considered copyrighted. In fact, you do not even need to publish the work in order for it to be copyrighted. However, simply putting the symbol on your work or writing the word copyright does not register your copyright. What does this all mean? It means that even though your book is copyrighted when you write it, you cannot file a lawsuit in a court if someone has infringed upon your copyright until you have registered your work with the copyright office. If someone has infringed on your copyright and you have not registered, you can still register and then file your lawsuit, however you will not be eligible for certain benefits that you would have been eligible for if you had registered your copyright before the infringement.
How do you get an LLC? What does that mean? Do you put the DBA under the LLC? Is this for the IRS or State?
Before I answer this question, I want to say that there are all different types of ways to structure your business, from incorporating (INC) to forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC), to setting up a sole proprietorship. The difference between the structures revolves around level of record keeping, tax liability, and personal liability. The easiest, especially if it is just you, is a sole proprietorship, this however does come with the highest personal liability because the owner and the business are the same thing, which isn’t generally a problem unless the business you are conducting is one that might open you up to lawsuits. On the other hand, sole proprietorship also comes with the least amount of record keeping. As far as tax advantages, there are advantage and disadvantages related to each type of structure.
LLC stands for Limited Liability Company and is a legal form of a business. You can file for an LLC through a local lawyer or over the Internet (however, you will want to make sure you use a reputable company). You will need to check with your state for regulations regarding LLC’s. LLC’s generally involve more than one person, however most states do allow for single-member LLC’s. An LLC is a legal entity and with that comes specific rules and regulations you must follow. Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal on how to form and LLC
For more information relating to the IRS, check out – Single Member LLC’s
DBA stands for “Doing Business As” and is separate from an LLC. A DBA lets people know you are doing business under a name other than your legal name, in this case, the name of the LLC. The only time you would need a DBA for an LLC is if you are doing business under a name other than the name of the LLC. For example, you have a LLC named – Apple Fritters, LLC, but you write cookbooks under the psuedonym Ima. Goodcook and you sell scented soaps under the name Apple Pie Soaps. In this case you would want to register two DBA’s, one for Ima Goodcook and one for Apple Pie Soaps. As a Sole Proprietor, you would want to file a DBA if you are doing business under a name other than your actual legal name. So if you are writing under a pseudonym and expect to be receiving checks in that name you will want to file a DBA and let your bank know.
The DBA should be filed with your state government. Filing for the IRS is done under your legal name or your company’s legal name. Remember in order to deduct expenses for your writing; you will need to show that it is a business and not a hobby. If you never show a profit, the IRS may have a hard time agreeing with you that your writing is a business rather than a hobby. If you can show that you have made a profit 3 out of the last 5 years, this helps your case. But, a lot of businesses are not profitable for a long time and are still considered businesses. The important thing here is to treat being an independent author like a business. Things that help are keeping a business bank account, having a business card, and demonstrating that you are marketing and advertising.
As I said in the workshop, I am not an accountant and I am not a lawyer. These answers are provided for information purposes only. If you have questions regarding your own personal situation as it relates to these areas, I would suggest contacting a professional.
I have direct deposit and made $30.62. Would you recommend changing the description of the book?
If you are unhappy with your book sales, I encourage you to keep in mind that being an independent author is not a sprint, but a marathon. As you continue to publish and market, you will hopefully see an increase in sales. The first thing you should do is look at the product you are selling. Is the cover interesting and engaging, and does it look as professional as possible? Does the interior of your book reflect the quality of the product you would like to purchase as a consumer, formatted nicely and free of errors? If you answer yes to these questions, then begin to look at your marketing efforts. Your book description is a good place to start. When you read your description, is it compelling? Does it make you want to buy the book or does it just feel like a summary? I threw together the following examples, not perfect, but it will give you and idea of the difference between a plain summary type description and one that tries to hook the reader:
OPTION 1: Betty always dreamed of going on an African safari. When she was old enough she went on the safari and while there she met David, a school teacher. The dream turned out to be a nightmare when David and Betty were taken hostage by some militants. Eventually they escape and find their way home and get married.
OPTION 2: An African safari is a dream vacation for many and Betty is no exception. When she empties her savings account and books a South African vacation, she expects the trip of a lifetime. What she gets is an experience that will change her life. Kidnapped from her hotel by militants, Betty is taken hostage along with David, a school teacher she’d met at the hotel bar. Dragged into the remote lands of South Africa, Betty knows her life is in danger and attempts to reason with her captors only to be brutally beaten in return. As each sunset fades, Betty and David communicate in secret, developing a plan for their escape and deepening their bond. When the chance to implement their plan arrives, they realize only one of them will be able to make the dash to freedom.
If your description seems perfect, then you will need to look at how you are promoting your book. Do you tell people about your book wherever you go? Do you distribute bookmarks? The only way someone is going to know your book is there is if you tell them!
How do you get a domain name? Where do you buy it?
Getting a domain name is simple. You can go to www.OwnThatName.com or any other domain reseller. Type in the domain name you wish to purchase and It will tell you if the name is available or not and also offers other suggestions if your first choice is taken. Once you find one that you like, you just follow the process for checkout. If you are not ready to start up site, you can simply skip getting a hosting account and just purchase the name for now. You have to renew your name every year unless you purchase it for multiple years. You can always come back and sign up for a hosting account or go to any other domain hosting company to host your website.
QUESTIONS REGARDING WRITEWAY PRO
How do you get consecutive page numbering with WriteWayPro?
The question relates to being able to print a scene or chapter of the book and have the page numbers show up as they would be if you had printed the entire book. Currently when printing a single scene or chapter it starts the page numbering from 1. WriteWayPro does not currently have this feature, however it is under consideration for a future release.
A work around for you is to export to a PDF file or you can print the entire book to an Adobe PDF file. This will put your book in PDF format with the correct page numbers. Then you can print the particular pages from that PDF file. To print to an Adobe PDF file, you would select the Adobe PDF option from your printer options instead of your normal printer. If you do not have a PDF print driver installed on your computer you can download one from the Internet.
On the standard storyboard feature, can you move the individual cards within the storyboard?
You can move the cards; however moving one card will move the entire scene to the new location. For example, if you position your cursor over the card you want to move, then click and hold until you see a red box with an X show up, then drag the card to the new location. You will notice on the outline that the entire scene has been moved to the new location.
Can I get a download & CD of WriteWayPro?
Currently you can purchase a download version or a CD version. If you purchase the CD version, once you have the license code, you can download WriteWayPro at any time and register it on up to 4 computers