Author to Business Owner is designed to provide first-hand business tips for any writer. Each special guest has graciously imparted knowledge of their writing business in hopes of encouraging fellow authors to grow and manage their own businesses.
I am eager to introduce Mike Lawson, top-selling novelist! I first met Mike at the Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie, IN in July 2011. We both attended a series of workshops on the business of writing led by Gary Hensley, a former IRS auditor. Boy, did Gary have stories to tell! After speaking with Mike, I knew he would have great advice for aspiring writers. Take a look at his quick tips.
Tell us what you write:
Political Thrillers. My most recent novel is #6, House Divided: A Joe DeMarco Thriller, shortlisted in USA TODAY’s list of Top Summer Spy Novels.
Do you write full-time? Or do you still have a day job or outside income?
I write full-time.
What is your business structure?
Great! Could you share a brief summary of your writing career?
I’ve published six novels; number seven is finished and will be published in July 2012. I’m a two time Barry Award nominee, a Nancy Pearl pick, and Indie pick, reviewed in the New York Times, and my books have been included in the lists of “Top Thrillers of the Year” multiple years, multiple times.
What was your big break?
Getting a great New York agent in 2004 after ten years of trying to get published, my first two book deals, and being published in fourteen countries.
Switching gears to business savvy, have you ever hired a CPA? How does your CPA help you?
Yes, my CPA does my taxes and provides some tax advice.
How do you do your record keeping?
I use Excel spreadsheets to keep track of all business income and expenses.
How are you improving your business?
I’ve hired an outside publicist and I am doing a lot more social media stuff than I have in the past. It’s very hard to measure, however, the payoff of publicists and the Facebook/Twitter stuff.
Do you have any parting advice for other authors about being a business owner?
Keep track of all business-related expenses and see a tax accountant regarding legal deductions so you don’t miss any. Carol helped me.
Thanks so much, Mike. I purchased one of his novels, House Rules, from the Workshop and couldn’t put it down! I am sure his latest novel, House Divided, will be just as enjoyable. Check out his website to keep tabs on his latest work. While at the workshops on writers and taxes, I was able to answer some of Mike’s specific questions about tax deductions and record keeping. If you have questions about your writing business, why not arrange a consultation by phone? We can set a pre-arranged, convenient time to talk. Drop me an email at Carol@TaxesForWriters.com .
Carol Topp, CPA