Being an author is a business on its own. This holds true whether you self-publish, are published through a traditional publishing house—and yes, that includes small and indie presses, or hybrid, which is a mixture of both. The most important part of your business is obvious. You have to write the books.

The second most important part of your business is keeping a record of your income and expenses. Although the reasons are many and varied of why it is imperative to keep track of your finances, here are a few of the higher priority ones.

  • Keeping track of your income and expenses as you go will make it easier to file your taxes when the time comes. If you use an accountant, they will be especially grateful for your keen record keeping skills.
  • When you have a good record of your income and expenses, then it's easier to provide records if you're ever audited. Although none of us welcomes the idea of the IRS pawing through our financial accounts, it could happen anytime and without warning.
  • Knowing how much you earn and spend through your authorship gives you an idea of how the scales tip at any given time and allow you to adjust your marketing accordingly.

3 Tools for Tracking Your Author Finances

Now that you know why you should track what you make and spend as an author, It's time to select your tools. Believe it or not, you do not need to spend a fortune on fancy software to track your author finances. 

Here is a list of five tools to fit a wide range of budgets. Although each of these methods or programs has worked for other authors, your mileage may vary. Be sure and research for yourself before making a final decision.

  1. Google Sheets are free, easy to use, and don't require you to buy Microsoft. You can download CSV or PDF formats and sharing with others allows multi-level access from view-only to full collaboration. CNBC has an article with more information on how to set up Google Sheets for accounting purposes.
  1. Mint is part of of the Intuit platform, the same people who make QuickBooks and TurboTax. Mint not only helps you track money coming in and going out of your account, but it also keeps an eye on your credit score which is highly important if you ever need to apply for a small business loan.
  2. QuickBooks allows you to track income and expenses, but it also has a lot of bells and whistles. You can accept online payments, manage payroll for your team, and so much more. Of course, all of these extra perks come with both a price tag and a learning curve. If your accounting needs require more than plus and minus columns, then it could be worth the time and expense to go the extra mile.

Most authors have little to no experience in accounting. If you fall into this category, it shouldn't stop them from keeping track of the finances related to writing, publishing, and marketing your books. 
Regardless of your math skills, if you need help organizing your income and expenses, or anything else related to your authorship, check out Novel Publicity's list of services today!

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