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Topics - Christa Wick

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So, my husband's employer has multiple offices in all of the US states and at least one in all of the US territories. Rather frequently, opportunities for promotions pop up with the need to relocate. We look at whether we have a general interest in the location and, if so, we look at things like state and city income taxes, property taxes, cost of housing, state sales tax, etc.

In my current state, since I provide a product to Amazon, B&N, etc., rather than to individual customers, and my distributors are responsible for sales tax, etc., I can be a fiction writer without jumping through any kind of legal hoop whatsoever (no business registration, no mandatory DBA, etc.). I have heard of some US states where you are required to have at least a dba to use a pen name even though you are contracting with publishers and not selling direct to the public. In some cases, while you there are no local or state income taxes, "businesses" do face a business tax. Some states with this rule do not consider what we do as a business, some states aren't clear on their definitions.

So, I was wondering if there was any kind of resource that has state requirements listed.

Writers' Cafe / Change from within - should SPs join Authors Guild?
« on: July 11, 2014, 02:08:05 pm »
There are at least a few self-publishing authors, including me, who do not feel like The Authors Guild represents our interest. They do, however, accept self-published authors.

Writers (including self-published writers) earning at least $5,000 in writing income as a book author or freelance writer in the 18 months prior to applying for membership. Writers earning at least $500 in writing income in the 18 months prior to applying for membership may qualify for acceptance as Associate members of the Authors Guild.

Under the "change from within" concept, should SP authors join TAG? Would the exposure to the "mass" of authors meeting their eligibility criteria begin to change their mind on issues affecting SPs?

Writers' Cafe / B&N Shut Down MP3 Audiobook Sales
« on: July 09, 2014, 02:37:38 pm »
Looked and couldn't find a WC thread on this

Link is to cache of The Digital Reader site because their site is pretty wonky right now.

Basically, B&N is saying the MP3 experience does not meet their high quality standards, so they are shutting down new sales (and advised buyers to re-download existing purchases ASAP for backup). They intend to re-launch digital sales of audiobooks, but have no timeframe for doing so.

Writers' Cafe / Do you include trigger warnings/content notes?
« on: May 19, 2014, 01:36:48 pm »
Interesting article, set in an academic context, but applicable to all published writing

At least I thought it was. However, will have to point her to for another perspective on the money side.

Writers' Cafe / Your Barnes & Noble "No Results" page
« on: February 18, 2014, 07:26:19 pm »
I think I just need to vent, and I hope that's okay. B&N went from $3,000 a month February 2013 to barely scraping over $1,000 (and probably not hitting that this month). I know, cry me a river, right. It's still $1k. But the thing is, it didn't have to go down. It seems to be happening primarily because of glitches on the website. As an example, just a few minutes ago, I went to my author page and got a "no results" page. I put my name in the search box and get a no results. I put James Patterson's name in the search box and get a no results page. I put Nora "Freaking" Roberts in...yep, same.

I've also seen reader reports on inability to log into their accounts that started back around September and hasn't abated. Say they followed a link, and the book page opens. They click the sign in button at the top because they want to buy the book. Site won't let them sign in. They find a work around -- always go to the main Nook page and sign in, then go to the book. Then that starts working only about 1/3 of the time. Heaven only knows what happens inside the Nook trying to shop the store and buy.

It's getting harder and harder to imagine them still having a viable online store a year from now.

/rant (with my apologies - I just hate seeing their slow corporate suicide)

Writers' Cafe / Apple 1099-K
« on: January 31, 2014, 03:06:13 pm »
Ehrm...I was not expecting this. I get my information return from Apple today. I notice it's 5k less than it should be, then I notice it's a 1099-K --

Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions
A payment settlement entity (PSE) must file Form 1099-K for payments made in settlement of reportable payment transactions for each calendar year. A PSE makes a payment in settlement of a reportable payment transaction, that is, any payment card or third party network transaction, if the PSE submits the instruction to transfer funds to the account of the participating payee to settle the reportable payment transaction.

Why, Apple, why?

ETA: Also, I'm not sure, but if your $ was <20,000 OR your # of transactions was <200, you won't get an information return from Apple.

Writers' Cafe / Pen name on your Smashwords 1099
« on: January 31, 2014, 07:58:22 am »
Shout out to my erotica Peeps -- under account #, it will also have your account name, which for many, I imagine, is your pen name.

Edited to add: I tweeted my dismay at Mark and he was quick to respond. Contact the SW support team via the "support" link at the bottom of the page and give them hyperlinks to the author profile pages (not the tax form page) of each affected account and tell them you want a new 1099 without the pen name.

Writers' Cafe / ACX now offering direct deposit
« on: November 25, 2013, 09:58:37 am »

Update your info by November 30th to get your November payment DD.

Writers' Cafe / Genre "power" forums for writers?
« on: November 23, 2013, 07:58:42 am »
Not to impugn the utility of the WC, but I'm wondering if there are genre specific writer/publishing forums out there and what their links are -- doesn't matter the genre.

For romance, I know of -- you have to join (free) to see the forum and sometimes they put a hold on new members (don't think there's a hold on now, so hop to it if you're a romance/erotic romance writer!)

I think genre-specific forums are a better use of time because genre-specific industry news and tips are being shared and not lost in an avalanche of other posts, general industry news gets shared as well, and genre-specific marketing opportunities arise whether it's trad authors or self-published authors or both. You can have re-tweet and FB share threads that are likely to hit a more interested audience, etc.

If you list one, I'll add it to this post.


So, if you haven't noticed, I write erotic romance and erotica. I've participated in two multi-author box sets and will do at least one more because my experience has been very positive. I see a lot of romance and erotica authors doing them. While I do shop and buy from SF & fantasy categories on Amazon, I have yet to find a multi-author box set in those categories (although I haven't search specifically for one and am referencing a lack of visibility rather than non-existence).


(1) do you have one (or have you done one that's no longer available) in SF or fantasy or any other genre that isn't romance/erotica
(2) if no on #1, would you consider doing one?

I ask #2 because one thing I notice is that a number of writers dismiss the romance and erotica genre as being "special" in terms of being able to make sales, but I see a ton more collaboration among writers in these two genres that help them gain audience. (Not that there isn't also a ton of backstabbing in the genre and, of course, I spend 90% of my time looking at what romance/erotica writers do to gain audience, leaving me ample opportunity to miss innovation in other genres.) Many of the erotica/romance writers I know who also write in other genres lament they cannot find enough participants to take what works from a marketing perspective in romance/erotica and deploy it with the "side" genre they write in.

I guess that leads me to

(3) What collaborative marketing efforts have you participated in within your non-romance/non-erotica genre
(4) Is there a collaborative effort you've seen in another genre you wish would translate to yours but don't think will?

Thanks for answering :)


ETA - I need to clarify, I'm not looking to start a box set in our out of my current genre.

Writers' Cafe / When Authors Need to Collect W9s and Issue 1099s
« on: November 04, 2013, 02:49:11 pm »
So, I've never had to think about this in all of my self-publishing history (which started before 2008) before because I haven't purchased any services before in my business.

I am talking about U.S. requirements and anyone should consult their own tax adviser before taking any action or refraining from any action. But if you pay an individual or an entity (except for a C corporation) over $600 for services in a year (aggregate), you need a w9 before you pay them (because how else do you know if you have to do backup withholding?) and then you have to issue them a 1099-MISC before January 31st of the following year. The "corporation" exception does not apply to service providers who are LLCs.

Such payments could include your cover artist, your editors/copy editors, web designers, narrators, translators, etc.

Okay - debate away. I'd like to be wrong, as I'm not keen on paperwork!

Anyone know? I'm in a box set with 9 other authors. As soon as I saw the book was available on Amazon, I went to author central and it's had a nice impact on my author rank. Some of the other authors, it definitely should have positively impacted their author rank, as well, so there was the question of whether or not they claimed it and if that was the dispositive difference.

If so, yet another reason to always claim your books!

Writers' Cafe / FANFIC your own book -- Alternate Serial Installments
« on: September 24, 2013, 08:54:00 am »
So, not the choose your own adventure type of discussion, but something a little different

I just published a three-part serial. I knew, for #3, that I was breaking pretty strongly with some expectations established in 1 & 2 (not with the characters (generally), but with surroundings and the plot catalysts). It's performing well, but I did get some negative feedback of the "WTF" variety. :D

When I was writing #3, I knew I could go in a different direction (the one most likely expected from the readers giving me the WTF comments - which they are totally within their rights to give), but that felt really cookie cutter for the genre. (Yes, there are reasons we sometime use cookie cutters! Cookies made with cookie cutters sell.)  

Now I'm thinking of releasing a separate #3 completely different from existing #3. Characters introduced in the original #3 would still get stories. This in turn could result in different alt stories for some of the characters who existed in all 3 installments, because they will encounter different characters in alt 3 than they did in original 3. It also means that add-ons for the original #3 will be irrelevant to alt #3, which won't get a similar add-on because the scenario doesn't extend to the facts developed in alt 3.

It's sort of like Bobby Ewing's wife waking up to find Bobby in the shower and that she had just dreamed an entire season of his being dead...

To me, the idea that a story could have developed ever so many ways is exciting. That I can publish some of those different ways is both exciting and scary (scary in that I believe one should not p*ss off the readers -- at least in volume, some people go around angry to start with).

Thoughts? I would clearly delineate the paths, and alternate paths that weren't available at the same time as the "original" path would definitely get a sale period so readers could experience multiple paths without feeling too milked.  

Writers' Cafe / What KB author are you reading right now
« on: September 20, 2013, 09:09:40 am »
:D I have a lot of KB author books on my iPhone (kindle app) but it's going to take me a while to read them, that's for sure.

Right now, I'm reading Slouching Towards Kowloon by Alison Ripley (and, big mystery -- why is this no longer on Amazon?)

It is fabulous, but very intense and dense on a chapter by chapter basis -- so I've been reading it between other things.

Here's the blurb

In a world destroyed by a virus called Revelation, Ruby has a problem: she's immune, and people are out for her blood. Her only chance at survival is to battle her way through the streets of Hong Kong to the viral shelters, but as her memory slowly dissipates and her body is slowly broken down by her enemies, how long will she survive?

So what KB'r book are you currently enjoying?

Writers' Cafe / "Pages" templates for Createspace
« on: September 15, 2013, 07:48:08 pm »
Since going direct to Apple, I switched from creating on a PC to using a Mac. Since I write fiction, Pages has been sufficient for most of my needs, but I transfer my finished file over to a Createspace Word template when I am ready to do print. I'd love a Pages template, but "pages" as a search term for this of course comes up with a billion search results that are not at all relevant. Does anyone know of any Pages templates for Createspace? Paid is cool.



Writers' Cafe / Createspace, Expanded Distribution & B&N
« on: July 22, 2013, 05:52:00 pm »
(There is a tip embedded in here for syncing print/ebook on B&N)

As a preliminary point, I only intended to put a few books into expanded distribution because the royalties are so low. And, while I put all the care and love I can into print versions as if I expect them to make me money, I don't expect them to do so directly. I expect them to increase visibility of my overall brand, make the ebook price look more attractive with its "discount," get some library readers into the store for my other content, increase my reader list (I note it 3 times in the book - back cover, front and back matter), and guide readers at the expanded distribution platform over to Amazon/Createspace for the rest of my print list (or preferably turn them into new ebook readers).

Here's my consternation from my first print book (Must Love Curves) to go live. It is in expanded distribution and only took a few days after going live on Amazon to go live on B&N. It doesn't have a description yet (I'm told by another author that can take up to 30 days - yikes!), and originally wasn't linked with the ebook.

I emailed [email protected] asking how to accomplish this, and (here's the tip) their reply was

The print and NOOK Book versions of your books will link automatically within 72 hours of both of them being on the site. However, in order for them to link, their titles, author names, and series names must match exactly. This includes middle names/initials (and spaces between initials), punctuation, and capitalization, so please check the NOOK Press version carefully to make sure it matches the print version exactly.

For some reason, the Createspace version came over with a colon after the title, before the subtitle (which I had in parens). So I updated that and within a few hours I had linked books. That should be a hooray! but it is, to adopt a much despised word of HR origins, "my pain point." Now (1) author page only says paperback @11.24. (2) You have to open the page to see there's an ebook version,  (3) because there's NO DESCRIPTION yet for the paperback, you have to go through a number of clicks to see the actual ebook page, which has the description.

I know I'm only one day into it being live and linked together, but the way it is now FEELS like it's going to hurt sales of the ebook on B&N beyond the effect a print version might normally be expected to have (mitigated once the description appears). Must Love Curves is my lowest seller on B&N, so not a huge deal/loss, but Pet and Curve Contract (for which I've paid for ED and am in the process of proofing galleys) are 5 & 8 on B&N for my order of sales and Curve Contract only gets me 20 cents per paperback (it was meant as a print loss leader).

Now, I can mitigate the lack of a description by ensuring they do not link up until the description appears on the paperback - and I can ensure they never link up by keeping the title slightly different. But, overall, this is making me leery of any more expanded distribution titles.

All of the above being a prelude to my asking for input/insight on how best to use expanded distribution and whether you've found the concern about sales of ebooks being more negatively impacted on B&N by having a print version available there to be true.


Writers' Cafe / Vanishing quotation marks in Kobo
« on: June 24, 2013, 11:02:30 am »
Anyone seeing this? I just noticed on my recent uploads (all IDPF verified epubs) that my quotation marks have disappeared from my files. This is in the iPhone app and the mac app and web browsing on Kobo site. Files are fine on all other non-Kobo readers/displays. Thoughts (beyond whether Kobo or B&N will beat each other to the bottom)?

ETA - Patty's suggestion to upload mobi worked for a new file. Off to replace the other affected titles with my mobi versions (will leave worst selling one for support to muck with).

Writers' Cafe / Are your books missing from
« on: May 08, 2013, 12:24:19 pm »
Go and check!

Some people are reporting the problem, and it has happened with mine, too.

Direct links work, if you have them, but a search for your pen name either comes up empty or less than all the books your authorized for the territory. Doesn't matter, if your pen name does come up, that you click on the link for your name, you still won't get all your books.

Writers' Cafe / Has anyone submitted their blog to Flipboard?
« on: March 24, 2013, 03:03:35 pm »
I finally broke down and indulge in an ipad purchase and then a friend turned me on to flipboard - and I love it. I want to get my blog (blogger) on it but the "optimize your feed" page looks very daunting. I'm wondering if any interpretation is necessary - wouldn't blogger blogs already be optimized (aside from a few things that are user choice, like the size of the image you post).

Anyone have any experience in this?

Writers' Cafe / Pirate site selling copies?
« on: March 02, 2013, 07:10:20 am »

They say they can discount because of display ad revenue but they have no display ads and they otherwise look illegetimate as all f**k.

Writers' Cafe / How to notify purchasers of updates on different platforms
« on: February 15, 2013, 09:38:22 am »
I have a 10k story that has been out for around a year. Many readers expressed an interest in a sequel, but I have decided to update it so that it remains one file, just 2.5 to 3x longer. I know KDP will, if requested, send a notification to purchasers so that they can download the new file. Similarly, Smashwords onsite sales give the purchaser the option to DL any version of the file that has been uploaded since their purchase. (Is anyone aware of Smash sending out notices?) The title also is available on B&N and Kobo.

I will of course make an inquiry with BN/Kobo - but does anyone know whether they do this, if the request needs to be sent to other than regular support/help and if the request identifying the title is enough or significant justification has to be made?

I know I could release a standalone sequel free, etc., but don't wish to do so because, among other reasons, I've also added more to the portion already published. Plus Amazon isn't guaranteed to price match, particularly when a title sells well enough on the store.

Thank you for any insight you can offer.


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