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Messages - GinJones

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Romance fiction - explicit! - advice sought
« on: May 15, 2020, 08:07:26 am »
It doesn't matter how YOU define romance. What matters is how the genre's readers define it. And they (we) define it as a story that focuses on the relationship AND has a happy ending. If your definition doesn't match the reader's definition, the reader will be turned off and not buy in the first place, or will buy one book from you (expecting to read a story that meets her definition), but never another book. Don't mess with reader expectations (except in a plot twist way, rather than a genre expectation way).

Writers' Cafe / Re: Self-Publishing LLC
« on: April 10, 2020, 06:27:22 am »
Ditto to consulting with an attorney. The laws with respect to corporations vary from state to state.

This is complicated: "3. You are able to deduct half of your Self Employment Tax from your Federal tax, which, essentially matches the 7.5% that everyone else has to pay anyway for MC and SS. Basically, the complaints that self employed folks pay a bunch of extra taxes isn't actually accurate."

You deduct it from your INCOME, not from your tax. So, if you have a 25% tax rate (forget what the rates are these days), then you're saving 25% of the half of the self-employment tax, NOT 100% of it.

In other words, if the SE tax is $200, and you then deduct $100 from your income, then at a 25% tax rate, you'll reduce your income tax by $25, not the full $100. Or whatever your tax rate is, multiply that times the half of your self-employment tax, and that's how much you've reduced your income taxes by.

Deductions are NOT the same as tax credits. Credits are subtracted from the tax due. Deductions are subtracted from the income on which the tax is calculated.

Not giving individual tax advice here, just general information.

Shares of a corporation don't automatically go to the surviving share owners if the shares are owned individually. (And that's how most corporations are set up, with one owner of all or the majority of the shares.) Think about, say, Microsoft. If you owned shares of Microsoft and then died, those shares wouldn't go back to Microsoft's other shareholders, but would either be sold for the benefit of your heirs or transferred to your heirs. The same thing is true of smaller corporations.

So, the author's shares in the corporation would still need to be addressed somehow. Some corporations (and other business entities) do buy/sell agreements that REQUIRE the surviving share owners to purchase the shares of the deceased owner and limit the ownership of the stock to certain people (e.g., the surviving share owners and their descendants). But you'd still need to provide for the distribution of the money from the purchase. And to provide a way to value the corporation.

I'm assuming the author wouldn't give up all control, and so would own probably the majority of the shares in his/her own name. It's different if the author owns no shares or owns them jointly with a spouse, like a house might be owned by husband and wife, tenants by the entirety (which gives the surviving spouse the ownership of the entire house when the first spouse dies). It's possible to own shares of stock jointly like that, usually with a spouse or significant other, and then, yes, the surviving owner would inherit the remaining half of the shares automatically, without going through probate. BUT what happens when the surviving spouse dies? Or if they die simultaneously? Or there's a divorce? At some point, the automatic transfer is going to break down and the shares will have to be probated (or valued and purchased/sold).

A corporation (or LLC) does simplify the passing of control over intellectual property, since, e.g., nothing would change at Amazon in terms of the publisher's name or the bank account. But it doesn't mean there's no need for probate unless the shares are owned jointly with the right of survivorship, and that's specified on the shares themselves.

This is just general information, not intended as individual legal advice. You should always confer with an experienced lawyer in your jurisdiction before deciding whether to incorporate and how to hold the shares.

In the U.S. estate taxes are paid by the estate, not by the heirs, regardless of who receives it (unless otherwise provided in the will). Also, for most people, estate taxes aren't an issue, since there's no tax (at the federal level; there may be on the state level) on the first five-plus million dollars (net), and not many people have net estates of that size.

Also, might as well mention my own book for an overview on estate issues for authors:

Writers' Cafe / Re: Timeline for a murder mystery
« on: July 03, 2018, 05:10:26 am »
Ben Aaronovitch's first "Rivers of London" book took place over, if I remember correctly, MONTHS. At least several weeks. (It's urban fantasy, but essentially a mystery.) I remember being surprised by how long a time period was covered, and I suspect I'm not alone in feeling that way and wanting a faster pace, because all the subsequent books have taken place (I think) over a much shorter timeframe of a week or so. Stretchng it out can drain the tension out of the story.

Estate planning.

Or you may be thinking of "literary executor."

This is not really a do-it-yourself project. I would strongly recommend consulting an estate planning attorney in your jurisdiction. The rules vary substantially from state to state (and of course country to country).

Except, as I understand it (not a tax professional, so consult someone who knows more than I do!), from reading the Forbes article, the 20% deduction is capped at the lower of two figures, one of which is half of the WAGES paid by the pass-through entity (monies paid with a W-2 issued), so if you're a sole proprietor with no employees that are paid actual wages with a W-2, and you don't pay yourself a salary with payroll withholding and a W-2 (and most don't, and instead do quarterly payments, not payroll withholding) then the lower of the two figures is zero, so the deduction is maxed out at zero.

Just saying -- don't spend the anticipated savings until you consult with a tax professional!

Writers' Cafe / Re: What happens when I die?
« on: September 06, 2017, 10:48:55 am »
A quick Google search brought this book up, but I have no idea if it's any good.

I'm a little biased (since I wrote it), but I think it's good.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Are 3 murder suspects enough?
« on: July 12, 2017, 01:24:51 pm »
That seems a bit light to me (I write cozies with that word count), especially if one of them is actually the killer (as opposed to some other character who isn't an obvious suspect who turns out to be the killer). I'd have to check, but I usually have more like four or five, although some of the time only three or four of them are considered obvious suspects and there's someone else who actually dunnit.

Just want to reinforce what Rosalind says. Read a BUNCH of romance written for female audiences, regardless of whether the authors are male or not, regardless of the POV.

I tried to write romance for a long time and was terrible at it. It's not as simple as following the rules (HEA, no main character dying, focus on the romance). There are subtleties to what the audience expects that I never could tap into. And that tends to be where a lot of male authors fail when trying to write romance. They're writing romance elements or characters that embody the fantasies and experiences of men, not of women. (Oversimplifying a lot here.) The only way to get a feel for those subtleties is to read a ton of romances. And even then, as my experience shows, the subtleties may not be something you can tap into.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Copyright question
« on: May 19, 2017, 11:14:54 am »
You're conflating two sets of rights here. Copyright and publicity rights are different but overlapping fields. Copyright applies to the work of the photographer; publicity rights apply to the subject. So, in your scenario, the person photographed is giving you the publicity rights to use the picture of her, but there's still a copyright issue in terms of the creation of the photograph. I have no idea if there is an exception from copyright in the situation you describe.

 I'm not an expert, and that's pretty much the limit of my knowledge on the topic, but when I was doing some research in a conference-attendance context (a nonprofit holding a conference and wondering whether the "if you register, you agree to the use of your picture by us" things in registration programs would hold up), and I found this blog:

I don't know him, and this was never my field of practice (I'm retired from law now), but what he said sounded right and he offered enough evidence to convince me he knew what he was talking about. Poking around there might give  you some solid information.

While I'm a fan of being prepared, a safe percentage depends on a number of things, including whether it's going to cover ALL taxes (state, federal income and federal payroll tax -- Social Security and Medicare) or just federal. And it depends on whether the person has other income.

For federal income tax, a TOTAL NET income of $10K (without having any income from other taxable sources) is unlikely to generate much, if any, federal income tax, due to personal exemptions, but it will still generate close about 15% in payroll tax (Social Security and Medicare contributions). State tax will depend on local laws, ranging from zero to ... I don't know what the top rate is.

On the other hand, for a person with a day job, earning say $50K, and having just enough to cover tax liability deducted from the paycheck (so no refund), then the federal income tax liability is likely to be about a third of the net writing earnings PLUS there would be a payroll tax due of about 15% for Social Security and Medicare.

Bottom line: work out the safe percentage with a qualified professional licensed in your state.

Not giving individual tax advice other than to seek advice from a local licensed professional.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Chromebook?
« on: December 31, 2016, 07:23:43 am »
Just adding to the love for Chromebooks. I don't travel a lot, so I couldn't justify an expensive laptop, and I wanted something as light as possible. I don't need to have an entire manuscript on it, just chunks I'm working on while traveling. This fits the bill.

Mine is approaching its three-year anniversary, so I've definitely gotten my money's worth, and the only problem I've encountered with it was in the charging cord/plug. It's a little wonky (although it does work if I wiggle it around), so I got a replacement in case it stops working completely.

One nice, unexpected lesson from working with the Chromebook -- I found that I can write lots and lots and lots while on airplanes (without internet distractions, which I'm too cheap to pay for), and it makes the flight go quickly!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Fliploud for promotion?
« on: December 08, 2016, 02:45:07 am »
I just got the same email and had the same reaction. Took a quick look at the site, and it's littered with grammar errors too.


Writers' Cafe / Re: Writing a phone call - both sides or one only?
« on: August 27, 2016, 07:50:56 am »
Write what the POV character experiences. If he/she is on the phone, then it's both sides of the conversation (plus whatever else the POV character can hear, like background noise). If he/she can only hear one side, then write only that one side.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Advice on why book sales are low
« on: July 18, 2016, 10:04:26 am »
Also, watch out for switching your main character partway through the blurb. It starts out as a story about Jackson and ends up a story about Zac. And in the longer version, there's a detour to its being a story about Izzie.

Writers' Cafe / Re: A question for romance readers
« on: July 03, 2016, 01:27:29 pm »
Just dittoing what Rosalind James said:

"If the point of the story isn't the two people getting together, it isn't a romance."

If it's one of SEVERAL points, but not the lead point, then it's not a romance. Sort of like romantic suspense can be either romance with a suspense subplot or suspense with a romance subplot. The former is classified as romance; the latter is not.

Also, in my experience as a reader (I can't write romance), most romances have women's fiction elements (in the sense that the female lead confronts and deals with emotional baggage), but those elements are secondary to the romance.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Question for other mystery writers
« on: June 18, 2016, 07:02:02 am »
Oh, I do the chapterless thing too, JRTomlin. I write in scenes, and then either during or after the final draft, I figure out where the chapters break. Sometimes I'll make a note when there's a cliffhanger-y spot as I'm writing and plan to have a chapter break there, but I don't think in chapters, I think in scenes.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Question for other mystery writers
« on: June 17, 2016, 04:02:20 pm »
I did with my first book, and then had to stop, figure out whodunnit, even write a scene from the killer's POV of the murder itself, and then finish the book. Since then, I've figured it out in advance, before writing a single word. Just works better for me. I change some of the details, sometimes change my mind in the course of the initial plotting, but the killer remains the same, once I start writing.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Contemporary mystery fiction
« on: May 21, 2016, 01:05:51 pm »
British-set historical mysteries have been hot for years. Check out Ashley Gardner and CS Harris, who are my particular favorites among current writers in that genre.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Author Convention Questions
« on: May 12, 2016, 11:22:32 am »
I can't speak to RT events, but RWA events (and there are tons of them, at both the national and local levels) aren't really conducive to directly selling books. They're far more craft/writer oriented than reader-oriented, although the national conference and some local chapters have literacy signings and often have a bookseller there (as opposed to authors in booth selling their own books).

The RWA events are excellent for learning craft and doing some networking, but I wouldn't expect sales that you can directly link to the conference. Sure, it's good for name recognition, but you'd probably be better applying to be a workshop speaker (especially at the local chapter level) for that. And even then, it's a long game, so don't expect to see any immediate sales. Yes, writers are readers too, but between the free books being handed out and the fact that EVERYONE at these events is also a writer, I've never seen much in the way of on-site book buying. I've checked out some book afterwards, but can't say that I ever bought one on-site (and I've been to probably more than a dozen RWA events, some national and some local, all before I realized it really wasn't my genre as a writer).

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon taking notice of KU2 scammers
« on: March 21, 2016, 01:39:54 pm »
I've been watching the keyword-stuffing "publishers" in my genre (cozy mysteries) since this scandal came to light last week, and I thought I'd seen a drop in new releases after the recent discussions, but today I'm seeing a new flood of them, complete with blatantly wrong categories (bloody, serial-killer covers and references to torture in the cozy genre), keyword-stuffing and the clickbait. It's disheartening.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Do you print your manuscript?
« on: March 18, 2016, 01:18:55 pm »
I print out the penultimate draft so I can do a final read-through on paper, for a different perspective. (Which is what I should be doing right this minute, but procrastinating is my middle name this week.)

But I print it (with laser printer, so toner is relatively cheap) with tiny margins, two columns, landscape, single-spaced, no page breaks at chapters, so it's not that many pages. And when I'm done, I save it to print the next manuscript on the back.

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