Oh? I need a budget?

In our house, I’m the budgeting nerd. I’m the one who knows how much things cost and how much we can save each month.

Which is why I was confused when, the past couple months, we hadn’t really been saving. I looked at the numbers and saw why: We were pouring a lot of money into launching my indie author career.

There are the normal expenses, such as editing, proofreading, cover design, web hosting, RWA dues, etc. And then there were expenses I didn’t expect, such as getting a P.O. Box because, apparently, you have to make your address public to create a newsletter through MailChimp. Lesson learned. I also found out that I need to apply for a copyright on my work, which costs about $35 per work. And I need to buy ISBNs.

It’s going to take some sacrificing, and it means slowing down a little, but really, I needed to slow down anyway and give each story time to become whatever it needs to be. Time for the characters to whisper in my ear and reveal their secrets. Time to add layers to my stories.

And, going forward, I actually have a budget for my indie author business instead of just randomly paying editors and designers. Yet another lesson learned.

A midweek ROW80 check-in…

Writing: The Faerie Key is finished! I had one scene that really wasn’t working, but I hunkered down and dug in deep, and now it’s where I want it to be. My plan for the rest of the week is to finish the second draft of Silver’s Stray. Next week I’d like to start revisions on Spellfire’s Kiss.

Reading: I’m currently reading Harvest Hunting by Yasmine Galenorn, and it’s an enjoyable, fast-paced read full of magic and adventure. I haven’t read any craft books this week, but I need to read Let’s Get Visible and finish reading The Anatomy of Story.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

What about you? What lessons have you learned on your creative journey? Any cost-saving tips for a new author?

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14 thoughts on “Oh? I need a budget?

  1. I handle all our finances as well. When I ask the Hubby if we should make a large purchase or even something small that we don’t need, he automatically says, “buy it”, without even asking where the money is coming from. The one month that I let him pay the bills, it was a disaster. Sometimes I hate the stress, though, of being the one in charge.

    You’ve got a good idea though. The rest of our household expenses are accounted for in the budget. Maybe I need to include my writer’s expenses. Thanks!

    • LOL. My hubby does the same thing! I figure I’m the nerd, so I don’t really mind making the budget.

      I actually didn’t include mine at first, but then I was scratching my head wondering why the budget was off. Mystery solved. I’m also keeping close track of how much I pay and to whom so I’ve got that info come tax time. Good luck, Chris!

  2. My RWA dues are up this month! My romance novels are still being queried, and so as of this year I’ll be an associate member, which is fine with me. I just wish it was cheaper than a full membership.

    When I publish my SciFi, I don’t buy ISBNs. I go through Smashwords and Amazon, both of which provide them for free. However, that means Smashwords and Amazon are listed as publishers.

    I’m hoping to put my short stories into a collection soon, and make that available in print. However that adds cost for professional formatting (tables of contents are a PITA) and cover art. I’m not sure that’s in the budget.

    • I think mine are due soon–September, maybe? Yeah, I got a letter saying that they’d made some changes to membership. I’ll have a couple short stories out by then (fantasy with strong romantic element) so I’m not sure which type of membership I’ll need.

      Hmm. Free ISBNs. I’ll have to think about that, especially for short stories. Thanks for letting me know!

  3. Budgeting! I’m horrible at it, but from what I’m reading here, I guess I should learn. Thanks for a lesson shared…

    It sounds like these lessons will be helpful when you have more things ready and waiting for publication.

    • Now that I’ve actually added my work expenses to the monthly budget, it’s helped a lot. And organizing my receipts, keeping track of expenses, etc. will be helpful come tax time, I’m sure.

      Definitely!

  4. Oddly, my Accomplice and I were just talking budgets – for the nutritional analysis he needs to sell his sauces, and me for things like professional editing, cover art, and the rest of it…

    Since income is very tight right now, we were considering learning more about crowdfunding, since we don’t want to get into a loan situation.

    I’d love to hear more of your journey! =D

    • Oh, he’s selling his own sauces. Cool! What kind? You’ve piqued my curiosity. And yes, those types of expenses (editing, cover design, etc.) add up quickly.

      Yeah, crowdfunding is definitely a viable option. Helen Sedwick touches on that a little in the Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook. It was a valuable read for me. She mostly deals with it from a legal perspective, but I bet there are some resources out there that go into more detail on the subject. Good luck!

  5. Budget. Excellent idea Denise. You are a planner. But that’s a good thing. It only means that you will publish because you made plans. You know where the costs lie. So it WILL happen!! I am so excited for you. Meanwhile, you’re making great strides on your writing. Excellent! 🙂

  6. Very helpful comments on finances. My hubby is a retired tax consultant, so he strategizes the budget. I do write everything down (income and expenses) and get teased by other writers for being very frugal. My favorite is using fiverr for covers (but that’s only after staring at covers on Amazon and reading what the pros suggest). Some expenditures (like $$$ for BookBub) pay for themselves; others are investments. And isn’t that also an investment when we read about the craft of writing/self-publishing, work on editing, and study what others do? My favorite budget line item is when I travel for research and can take part off for taxes! Congratulations on finishing one work and making progress on the other. We’re leaving on vacation and I’m taking my pesky conclusion with me. Maybe walking on a mountain trail will help me craft a satisfying ending! Have a great week.

    • Really good points, Beth. It’s all an investment in our work. I haven’t traveled much for writing research (yet) since most of my stories are fantasy, but I love the idea of exploring and adventuring for the sake of our stories. I haven’t tried fiverr yet, either, but will have to check it out. Thanks!

  7. Writing expenses really do add up quickly–that is a good idea about keeping a budget for writing. I have been working on our website for about 8 months so far (it’s fairly new), and I’ve already run up about $400 in costs. That’s pretty expensive for a college student these days! How do you go about determining how much your writing budget will be?

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