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”.