Common Business Mistakes Made by Writers

March 12th, 2012 → 8:00 am @

Your writing business can thrive! Avoid these common mistakes by writers:

1. Failure to have a written contract with a publisher, graphic designer, editor, etc.

Identify the commitments of both parties and formalize the agreements in a written contract. Draft an agreement that is acceptable to all of the parties. Having a written document is the best protection you can ever give to your business.

2. Lack of know-how

Many small businesses fail because the owner lacks knowledge in some aspect of business. You may be good at writing, but you may need help in setting up an accounting system or marketing your book. Find some advisers or a mentor. These people can be your family or friends, as long as they are knowledgeable. Professionals such as a small business lawyer or an accountant are vital to have as advisers.

I offer a business and tax consultation service for writers if you do not have a local CPA that you trust.

3. Spending too much money

It is very easy and even fun to spend money on logos, websites, business cards, etc. Until you have income from the business coming in, you should avoid spending too much money. Let the business pay for itself. Obviously, some businesses require cash to start, but authors can easily start a business on a shoe string.

4. Spending too little money

There are some things you should spend money on to launch a writing business. Essential expenses include an editor and graphic designer for your book and an accountant for business advice. You may also need to spend some money on launching a website, although prices in that area have come down significantly in the past few years.

Need a website or an upgrade to your site? See my list of Helpful Products under Resources tab for a link to my web host and designer, Kelly McCausey of She’s good and reasonably priced!

Carol Topp, CPA

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