Thursday, March 27, 2008

Writer Fantasy Tax Deductions

In the April '08 print issue of The Writer, Holly A. Johnson has an article on some general ways writers can save money at tax time. If you're mystified by qualifying deductions, loss years, whether the IRS considers your writing a hobby or a profession etc., it's worth a read.

So much of being a writer is not covered under general business deductions that I think we need to create some new ones. Such as:

Agent Angst Allowance: deduct $200.00 for every day a writer waits to hear from an agent; +100.00 if the agent is considering a query; +$500.00 if the agent is collecting money from a publisher for the writer; +$1000.00 if the agent is waiting for the Times list to come out to see if the writer's latest release is on it; +$5000.00 if the agent is meeting with a publisher about the writer's debut novel submission.

Booksigning Abuse Rate: deduct $100.00 for every time a writer is asked "do you work here?" by a customer at the book store; $500.00 for every time a reader grabs and hugs a writer at a booksigning (add $100.00 if this occurs in the book store rest room); $1000.00 for each time a reader who spits when they talk leans over the booksigning table; $20000.00 for each time a reader lays in wait for the writer in the parking lot "just so I can talk to you privately about how much I hated the ending of your last book!"

Check is in the Mail Depreciation: deduct $1000.00 per day a writer has to wait for a publisher to issue a payment; $1500.00 per phone call writer makes to the editor asking where the payment is; add an additional $2000.00 per lie the publisher tells and $10000.00 if at any time the editor uses the words "forgot" or "lost" in regard to a missing check.

Frantic Phone Calls Credit: deduct $100.00 plus costs for every call the writer makes to crit partners or very good friends at two a.m. to ask, "Tell me the truth -- everything I write is complete crap, isn't it?"

Rejection Rebound Expense: deduct $500.00 for each rejection a writer receives within a one-year period (special note: deduct an additional $1000.00 if the rejection is particularly crass or $5000.00 if the rejection is scribbled in pink ink in the margin of the writer's query letter.)

Review Recovery Consideration: deduct $10000.00 for each unpleasant mental and physical side effect endured from reading inappropriate, unfair, crass, revenge-driven or otherwise bogus reviews of their work (qualifying tantrums, facial twitches, benders, weeping sessions, consumption of inordinant amounts of chocolate, cookies, tranquilizers etc. to be listed on return as Symptom, Post Traumatic Hatchet Job Disorder.) An additional $2000.00 deduction is permitted if the writer's editor e-mails the review in question to him/her.

Title Change Exemption: deduct $1000.00 for each time the writer's story title is deemed "unmarketable" and the writer is told it must be changed; +5000.00 if the editor demands a new title within 24 hours; +10000.00 if the editor suggests a new title with the word "kissing" or "ravishing" in it.

Troll Handling Charges: deduct $500.00 for each time a blogging writer must delete an offensive comment posted by an anonymous troll; +$1000.00 for each subsequent hate-mail the writer receives from said troll; +5000.00 for each 1-star review the troll posts for the writer's latest release within 48 hours of being blocked from commenting.

All right, you writers out there, what are some of your fantasy tax deductions? Post them in comments.


  1. ROFL. These are great. Thanks for the morning giggle. =o)

  2. Adding to Agent Angst: 100.00 a day for every day your project is out on submission. 5000.00 for every rejection. 2500.00 for rejections that include the phrase "we don't know how to market this."

    Or would that go under Editor Deductions?

  3. Plus $500 for every time the neighbor wants to leave her brats with you for the afternoon, "Since you're not working..."

    Plus $1000 if husband wants you to run errands for him for the same reason.

  4. How about a $500.00 deduction for everytime somebody asks you if you wrote someone else's book.

    (I met someone who honestly thought Anne Rice wrote Dracula!)

  5. All coffee and chocolate is tax deductible, and consumption of said items at a restaurant or coffee shop qualifies as a business expense. :)

  6. Symptom, Post Traumatic Hatchet Job Disorder.

    I love it, lol!

    $100.00 for every day your requested ms has been "misplaced, but we're sure it's in one of the slush piles here somewhere."

    $10000.00 for every e-mail you must field from a reader wanting to know why your petite, African American heroine is a blonde, blue-eyed Amazon on the cover.

    And all charges for week-long stint in rehab after your writing buddy calls to tell you about the Good Deal someone just got for a book that sounds exactly like the one you've been working on for the past year.

  7. These are all so great. LOL on the chocolate and coffee, Ann!

  8. The Inane Comment Deduction: $100 for every time someone asks, "Why don't you write a book like that Harry Potter woman?" $500 for every time someone says, "I'm gonna write a book someday too."

  9. Editor Angst Allowance
    Because that wait is murder.

  10. Anonymous8:13 PM

    $100 per page of every unreadable manuscript a writer is forced to critique because the author is a good friend, a close relative, or a close relative of a good friend. $1,000 per page if the author refuses to learn the first thing about writing and won't edit. "Get out paying your taxes for five years" if the author changes genres every ten pages.

  11. Anonymous3:17 PM

    That was great. I'm an especially big fan of the Frantic Phone Call credit. There should also be special reimbursement for every time a writer hears, "Yeah, I've been meaning to write a book someday, too..." Extra credit if the person a)goes into exhaustive detail about what s/he would write about if only they had the time or b) offers to tell the writer their fantastic plot idea and split the proceeds with them 50/50 if the writer writes it.

  12. Anonymous10:59 PM

    $1000 for when a friend reads your book and then decides that since she helped you out with a few suggestions she should probably go on the cover as co-author.


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