One of the great mysteries of life is the self-assessment tax return. I have had to do these for years, ever since I left the ranks of the employed in about 1989 and became self-employed, and then my own employee, and now a freelance writer as well. I’m terrifically organised and gather the required paperwork through the year, so completing the return holds few fears for me – but it is always a complete surprise when I find out (a) what I have earned, and therefore (b) what I owe the taxman.
A couple of years ago I confessed to you that being the author of the Sam Plank novels had cost me £44.87 over the year. Frankly, that’s a bargain hobby compared to my husband’s spending on cycling and golf, but still, I will admit to a slight disappointment on realising that full-time profitable authorship was so far beyond my grasp. But the picture is much better this year.
Taking into account my earnings from the novels in all their formats, and the outlay I have made on such fripperies as cover design and celebratory stickers, in the period April 2017 to March 2018 I made – made! – £1,338 from being an author. I’m in the black! Granted, it’s only £25.73 a week, which would hardly keep me in Jaffa Cakes and trashy magazines, but it’s something. And on the bright side, by using the National Archives’ nifty historical calculator of spending power, I see that £25 in Sam’s day would have bought me four cows. Martha would not have been best pleased.