Sunday, August 25, 2013

The business of writing

I haven't talked about writing in a while now, but it's still very much in the forefront of my non-work life. After family and vacations and other such things, of course.

Tiamat's Nest is still working its way through the critique queue. Should be finished in October, then I'll let it rest a while before getting stuck into revisions.

Meanwhile, I'm skirting the fringes of self-publication of Ghosts of Innocence. This is a three-steps-forward-two-steps-back kind of dance. I'm a planner in most aspects of my like, and this is no different.

Having the text of a novel is only the first (and an obviously important) prerequisite. But step back a bit, and there are all the other elements that go into a finished book, not least of which is the book design and formatting. Back up further, and you need cover art. Long before I started writing, I had dreams of seeing my own artwork on the covers of books. Now maybe I can realize two dreams at once.

But that means I need relevant artwork. Right now I'm working on some rough drafts and at some point will post the results for feedback.

So far, so good. But to get to the point of this post - how much do you treat writing like a business? I'm curious because I'm considering setting up a formal business to handle the sales (if any) of my books.

Yes, you can self-publish with very little financial outlay ... if you don't care too much about the end result.

However there are costs involved in doing it properly. And costs are tax-deductible if you are a business rather than just an individual.

The above-mentioned book design for a start. Plus setting up and running a promotional web site. And if I'm planning to distribute through US-based avenues such as Amazon, they'll automatically deduct 30% US tax unless I register either as a non-US individual or a business. The former route is complex and involves hefty fees. The latter is easier and free, and alone is worth the expense of registering as a business.

So, those of you who've trodden this path already, how much do you treat writing like a business, rather than just a hobby?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Google Minus

There's a creeping infestation spreading its ugly way through the blogging world these days.

It's called Google+.

A few blogs I follow have switched over to using Google+ comments. And I have sadly stopped commenting on them.

I have two issues with Google+.

Firstly there's the way comments are shared.

Maybe I'm just out of step with the rest of the world, but if I wanted every one of my online acquaintances to know every time I speak, breath, or scratch my butt, I'd go on FaceBook.

I don't. So I don't like the way Google+ assumes you want to share everything with everyone who knows you.

When I comment on a blog, the implicit deal is that I'm sharing my comment with the blog owner and anyone else who visits that blog. In my mind, the connection and community is centred around the blog and its readership.

I might visit and comment on two entirely unrelated blogs, and to me those are two separate communities. A bit like separate conversations with different circles of people at work, at home, or in the gym.

But Google, in it's infinite wisdom, seems to have turned this on its head. The sharing of comments is now centred around me and my circles of friends. It's cut the blog and its community out of the picture, unless I want to share my comment with everyone who knows me - regardless of whether they care about the blog in question. It's as if instead of the blog being the centre of a community, the blog is now a subject of discussion about it amongst groups of strangers whispering secretively amongst themselves.

Sorry, but that to me has seriously eroded the point of blogging.

That might be tolerable, but then there's the question on online identity. I've spent years establishing myself as "Botanist" both here and in other forums. It's not that I'm strict about remaining anonymous - folks out there who know me know who I am - but I chose not to broadcast my real name everywhere I go.

Google+ has taken that choice away from me.

Sorry, but when I want to go online as my real self, I would rather it was on my terms and for reasons that make sense to me. It's not up to some faceless executive or gormless tech-head to make that choice for me.

So if I still visit you but have gone quiet on the commenting front, please know that it's not personal. It's not you, it's Google.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Flying platypi, and fields of puppies and kittens

I felt it was about time to toss out another Blog of Outstanding Natural Beauty award.

Today I'm honoring Valerie, lady of the Flying Platypi.

Valerie's blog never fails to make me laugh. It's a surreal slice of life, with mannequins, drunk texting, and puppies. And nothing is safe from the impulse to lick everything in sight.

There is nothing to do on receipt of this award, no obligations, no questions to answer, no requirement to pass it on. Just bask in your own awesomeness.

And this award is free for anyone to hand out. If you see a truly beautiful blog, feel free to bestow this award. You do not need to be tagged first. Just grab the image, say why you are awarding it, and let the recipient know.

So if anyone's still out there after my highly sporadic blogging this year, pop on over to Valerie's blog and say "hello". And give her a big hug. She likes hugs.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...