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I am very lucky that I do not have to rely on my writing to make a living.  One day, of course, I would love to be a full-time author, but that’s probably a retirement dream.  But if I had to rely on my writing income, I’d be in dire straits.  I have just completed my 2015/16 tax return.  (For non-UK readers, our tax year runs – bizarrely – from 6 April one year to 5 April the next year.)  Most of my return is to do with my day job – anti-money laundering consultancy – but I do have to include my writing sideline.

So this morning I dutifully retrieved all of my Amazon royalty statements, my bank receipts for cheques from bookshops and cash from speaking events, and all other evidence of my writing income.  And then I turned to my writer’s expenses: buying the books to sell to bookshops and at speaking events, membership of the Society of Authors, cover design work and so on.  I added it all up and subtracted it from the income.  And I can proudly report – drum roll, please – that in the last tax year, being an author cost me £48.77.  Yes: I spent more on being an author than I earned from it.  So creating the Sam Plank series not only costs me virtually all my free time, it also costs me hard cash – and that’s without counting the cost of my writing retreat in the summer.  Rather depressing, but will it stop me?  No!  Onward and upward with “Plank 4”.