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can show that you were engaged in another activity that occupied significant amounts of your time. Keep in mind that even if you are no longer actively writing, any activities to promote your existing books would be considered business activity.

Finally, be aware that any change in a pattern of reporting may potentially be a red flag for the IRS. If you have been reporting royalties on a Schedule C for many years then suddenly begin to report them as “other income,” your tax return may be subject to greater scrutiny by the IRS. Report correctly, but be prepared to support the position you’ve taken on your return.

For more information, see IRS Training Manual 3153-103 at:

Diane Kelly is a retired CPA/tax attorney and the author of the humorous Death and Taxes romantic mystery series and a self-published romantic comedy.

Real Pros

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I think our industry needs to make sure that it celebrates the Real ProTM and that it strives to reach for those standards. One of the things that concerns me about the lowered barriers to entry in the book business is that there’s a downward creep of standards that is accompanying it. Many covers are fine, but not truly exciting. A few dozen typos in a book are acceptable. A publicity plan generated by printing out an Excel spreadsheet of contacts is okay. This isn’t something that I’m only seeing with indie-published books. Many of the imprints at Big Six houses (Big Five? How has the Penguin Random merger changed our vernacular?) have staffs filled with people who know nothing about history, best practices, or the high end of the craft.

Does it make a difference? I think it makes a considerable one, though mostly to our unconscious. When we see an original and beautifully composed cover, we react to it differently. When we read a book clean of errors, we feel more satisfied. When we see a genuinely clever promotional idea, we respond. To me, it might be more important than ever that we pay homage to the Real ProsTM and that we try to emulate them.

In honor of Len Leone and all of the Real ProsTM I’ve worked with over the years, I’m going to redouble my efforts to do so.

Lou Aronica is a New York Times-bestselling author of fiction and nonfiction, former President of Novelists Inc., former Publisher of Avon Books, and current Publisher of The Story Plant and Fiction Studio Books. He served as editor of the NINC anthology, I Never Thought I’d See You Again. You can reach Lou at

Business Briefs

Authors & Librarians Should Be Allies for E-books?

The American Library Association launches an advocacy initiative with authors for e-books. Cory Doctorow, Ursula K LeGuin, and Jodi Picoult are leading the author efforts. ( ALA is using the term “equitable access.” The ALA’s Digital Content & Libraries Working Group wants authors to discuss issues with their publishers and take the fight to their web sites, Facebook pages, etc.

NOTE: I looked over some of the website and find they haven’t mentioned some details. Most libraries purchase through aggregators, not publishers. The libraries have the choice of one user, three users, or unlimited in their purchasing. The average library can usually afford one user. One aggregator has dominated the market until recently—Overdrive. Library pricing with the aggregator isn’t limited to the book price; the libraries also pay platform prices to the aggregator. This shouldn’t stop authors from discussing the library issues with publishers, but it should be part of the discussion.

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