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Going Self-Employed As A Kindle Author

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Offline alexroddie Reading The Terror by Dan Simmons
26 Jun 2013, 08:40 AM | Post: #11

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RE: Going Self-Employed As A Kindle Author

[quote pid=117774 dateline=1372229140]

3 - If you're out of the benefits system get a part-time job to cover basic expenditure - even serving in a shop or pub - it gives you a break from writing, a structuire to your day, and you'll meet people who can help character development. You can always be thinking about writing while you do it. It can also count towards those 30hrs.
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^^ This.

I only know one full time professional writer well, but she swears by having a part time job for all of these reasons. Some writers thrive with the tactic of devoting 100% of their time to their art but most don't in practice!

I currently work part time hours at a day job, not entirely by my own choice but it has certain advantages. I'd be more financially secure if I worked full time (and my partner and I might be able to start thinking about buying a house!) but would I be any happier if I had fewer hours to write? I doubt it...
Offline Mads Sorensen Reading A Quiet Life by Natasha Walter
26 Jun 2013, 10:16 AM | Post: #12

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RE: Going Self-Employed As A Kindle Author

I agree with Alex. Having a job, even one or two days a week, keeps you grounded in the real world.
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Offline Ghoststorywriter Reading Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
26 Jun 2013, 02:52 PM | Post: #13

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RE: Going Self-Employed As A Kindle Author

(26 Jun 2013 08:40 AM)alexroddie Wrote: Wrote:  [quote pid=117774 dateline=1372229140]

3 - If you're out of the benefits system get a part-time job to cover basic expenditure - even serving in a shop or pub - it gives you a break from writing, a structuire to your day, and you'll meet people who can help character development. You can always be thinking about writing while you do it. It can also count towards those 30hrs.
^^ This.

I only know one full time professional writer well, but she swears by having a part time job for all of these reasons. Some writers thrive with the tactic of devoting 100% of their time to their art but most don't in practice!

I currently work part time hours at a day job, not entirely by my own choice but it has certain advantages. I'd be more financially secure if I worked full time (and my partner and I might be able to start thinking about buying a house!) but would I be any happier if I had fewer hours to write? I doubt it...

Good advice there, Alex. The only problem with me in trying to find a part-time job is that I live in one of the worst unemployment blackspots in the UK, namely the Wirral, where hundreds chase so few vacancies. I am fed up with sending off my CV and not even getting a reply. It's disgusting. I have over 25 years of good admin experience too, mostly gained in the Civil Service, but with all these cutbacks by Cameron and Co., I can't even get back in there. Constant unemployment has had a horrible affect on my general well being. I have often thought of moving away from this horrible jobless dump, but then arises the problem of finding suitable accommodation wherever it is I choose to go. Plus I would have to make sure that whatever area I go to really HAS got a lot of jobs (have heard Aberdeen and Leeds are good for jobs, but I then again, I haven't actually gone to either yet to see for myself). It really is a Catch 22 situation. Every day is the same depressing thing: getting up, nothing to look forward to, not getting any replies from employers, struggling financially etc.

Employers only exacerbate the situation when they don't reply to job applications. I realise they must be getting bombarded with other applications, but what's a quick email to let you know if you have been successful or not? And there is NO excuse for those who don't reply when you send off a speculative letter. It is just plain IGNORANCE. Life STINK in Britain at the moment. I don't know what to do to get out of this horrible rut.

This is why I have now taken the step of getting off the dole and started my own writing business. Seeing that some of my ghost story Kindle books are starting to sell, I thought I would have a go at self sufficiency and churn out as many new books as I can, in the hope that my business will grow enough to enable me to never bother the dole again. I am doing my best to promote my site in every way I can, and I am ALWAYS open to approaches from anybody on here who would like to exchange reciprocal links with me, guest blog etc. In return, I am always happy to help out fellow writers wherever I can.

So there you go. That's my story. As I say, unemployment is HORRIBLE, and I am hoping to God that my writing business does take off. Wish me well, everybody.
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Offline Scribbler Reading TBR list - I hate you!
26 Jun 2013, 04:58 PM | Post: #14

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RE: Going Self-Employed As A Kindle Author

All the best, Alan, I hope everything works out for you.
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Offline George Hamilton
26 Jun 2013, 08:13 PM | Post: #15

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RE: Going Self-Employed As A Kindle Author

Best wishes for you and your venture, Alan.
Offline Ghoststorywriter Reading Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
27 Jun 2013, 12:48 AM | Post: #16

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RE: Going Self-Employed As A Kindle Author

(26 Jun 2013 04:58 PM)Scribbler Wrote: Wrote:  All the best, Alan, I hope everything works out for you.

Thank you so much. Just checked my Amazon sales stats and was pleased to see that I have sold a couple more of my True Ghost Stories books today. What I could do with, though, are more reviews for my books on Amazon, which are quite hard to get.
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Offline Kristen Stone Reading Children of the Plantation by Faith Mortimer
27 Jun 2013, 12:28 PM | Post: #17

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RE: Going Self-Employed As A Kindle Author

Very brave decision. Hope it works for you. I know according to the JobCentre there is no such job as 'writer'. Hope the sales keep c0ming.
Kristen Stone -author, editor and publisher
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Offline Ghoststorywriter Reading Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
27 Jun 2013, 12:50 PM | Post: #18

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RE: Going Self-Employed As A Kindle Author

(27 Jun 2013 12:28 PM)Kristen Stone Wrote: Wrote:  Very brave decision. Hope it works for you. I know according to the JobCentre there is no such job as 'writer'. Hope the sales keep c0ming.

Thank you for the well wishes. Have been feeling a bit down today due to yet another day of no replies from employers to whom I have sent my CV (their ignorance is disgusting). Still, never mind, I have got my little writing business to keep my mind occupied.
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Offline Katherine Roberts Reading I keep forgetting to update this!
27 Jun 2013, 02:20 PM | Post: #19

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RE: Going Self-Employed As A Kindle Author

Alan, I sympathise with you not wanting to claim unemployment benefit. I registered as an author several years before I got my first publishing deal (I was writing short stories for genre magazines back in the 1990's, earning what I suppose would be the equivalent of a modestly selling ebook these days... i.e. 3 figures annually). I asked the Inland Revenue for advice at the time, and they said I must register as self-employed since I was writing regularly with the intention of getting paid, even though my earnings were tiny at the time. I had a part time job as well (riding out racehorses), so I added up my earnings from that and my earnings from writing and did the tax returns with my small figures.

I didn't have to pay any tax or Class 4 NI because my earnings were too small, and was also exempt (by small earnings) from paying Class 2 NI for a couple of years. This actually worked out to my advantage, since at the time you could do "literary spreading" over 3 years. So when I got my first book advance, I spread the income backwards over 2 low-earning years, and reduced my tax bill. (Now you can only do "literary averaging" over 2 years, like farmers do, but it still helps!)

One thing to consider if you're self employed is the Class 4's - currently 9%, which means you're basically paying 29% tax on all earnings above your personal allowance, and (rather sneakily) the Class 4's now kick in at a lower threshold than the personal allowance, which means I think you still need to pay them even if you don't quite earn enough to pay tax.

I've never earned enough from my writing to register for VAT, but understand you can register voluntarily to claim back VAT on things like agency fees, and there is a simplified calculation you can use for smaller earnings.

I only found out about Working Tax Credit a few years ago, when I was between contracts and getting quite desperate. You need to have a bad year before you qualify, but you can claim as an author provided you work the required hours on your writing activities - I know several published authors who currently need to do this. You complete an annual review, and if you qualify they are paid direct to your bank account. I understand this is changing in 2014, though, to a Universal Tax Credit so I'm not sure what will happen then.

I'd suggest visiting hmrc.gov.uk - they have answers to most things and forms you can download, helplines to call, etc.

Good luck.Smile
Offline Tim_A Reading strictly murder by Lynda Wilcox
27 Jun 2013, 03:17 PM | Post: #20

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RE: Going Self-Employed As A Kindle Author

I'm interested in this too, as my app writing business basically tanked last year. Clients just dried up, and the stuff I wrote on spec failed to find a market (in some cases it hasn't made enough to cover the cost of the artwork, yet alone provide any income). So I'm looking to concentrate on book writing, where the product at least has a long shelf life (compared to an app), and build up a decent body of work. I'm already registered as self employed as an app developer, so presumably it's just a matter of telling HMRC about a change of primary business.

What do they mean by review? Presumably they want to look at time sheets, word counts, stuff like that?
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