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How to Hang on to Your Writing Dollars
by Beth Fowler
The 15 bucks I hope to earn if this article is
accepted will stretch far because Ive learned how to hang on to my writing
dollars. While Im tight with money, Im generous with money-saving tips.
Search and Save Subscriptions to Literary
Marketplace cost $399.00 annually or $19.95 weekly. To get info about
publishers listed at LMP (without a subscription) register at www.literarymarketplace.com. Search for publishers. When you find a publisher that
you want to know more about, enter the publishers name in your search engine.
If the publisher has a website, it will probably be among the links your search
Join the Club Compare prices for office
supplies. Sams Club, for example, (http://www.samsclub.com) has good deals. Plus, Sams Club Business Member cards
are cheaper than other categories of Sams memberships.
Be Thrifty Buy notebooks and other supplies at
thrift stores. Thrift shops and second-hand goods stores supply only whats
donated, so when you see something you might need, buy it.
Read Already Read Books Search online at
http://www.allbookstores.com and www.alibris.com and in bricks n mortar secondhand stores for books
costing a fraction of new ones.
Deduct "Every year the IRS discovers millions
of mistakes on tax forms," writes Leslie Haggin Geary, of CNN. In some cases
taxpayers fail to claim all the deductions to which theyre entitled. My
accountant advises recording writing-related expenses as well as income.
Expenses for me include miles traveled to teach Writing for Children and
household utility bills reflecting the area of my "used-for-writing-only office"
in relation to our homes total square feet.
Donate Donate books and other stuff you dont
need to recognized charities. Ask for receipts. Visit http://www.irs.gov and find answers to FAQs donors have in Publication 526,
Charitable Contributions and Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated
Ban Vanity Avoid vanity publishers. Visit
http://www.sfwa.org and click on "Writers Beware" for more info on vanity
publishers and their ilk. Read Johnathon Cliffords advice at www.vanitypublishing.info.
Pay Zilch to Get Agents "If you follow this,
you automatically eliminate the frauds," writes Chuck Rothman at www.sff.net. "A
few years ago, scam agents charged reading fees. Lately, as word has slowly
gotten out that this is the sure sign of a rip off, the same agents are charging
for expenses." Literary agent and head of ethanellenberg.com, feels the same: "I would avoid agents that request
payment. They'll get paid, when they sell your book."
Click "Everyday" Documents are legible when
printed with less ink density." For Microsoft, click "Print" then "Print
Quality" then "Everyday" to extend the life of printer ink.
Squeeze Ink After the low ink warning appears
on screen, continue printing. Squeeze as much ink out of that cartridge as
possible. Ive actually printed nearly 100 pages after my cartridge was low and
the light was blinking.
Buy Discount Try http://www.inkjet101.com
and similar sites for discounts on ink.
Play with Color Print documents for your own
use in colors to conserve black ink for documents youll send to
Bend Over Swoop down to pluck coins off the
sidewalk. Money is money. "I did notice I found pennies every time I was working
on my book, or doing any kind of writing, or doing readings with people," writes
Carla Houle at www.metaphys.com/.
Bend Over Again Ditto for paperclips, pencils
and pens and even books set out for the garbage collector.
Stamp out Waste Most editors prefer
snail-mailed over emailed queries and manuscripts. Rather than driving to the
post office for stamps, cut gas consumption and traveling time by ordering
stamps online http://www.usps.com or through the (surprise!) mail.
Ship it Media Mail According to the U. S.
Postal Service, special postal rates are, "Generally used for books (at least
eight pages), film, printed music, printed test materials, sound recordings,
play scripts, printed educational charts, loose-leaf pages and binders
consisting of medical information, and computer-readable media." My friendly
postmaster tells me that manuscripts shouldnt be sent via "Media Mail" because
they havent been published.
Mail Direct Julie Wilson, owner of A+ Mailing
Solutions (www.aplusmailingsolutions.com) says, "You have your mail piece
you have your list
now how should you send it? The first thought might be to place a 37-cent stamp
on it. If you do, you might be wasting money!" Before you mail 200 or more press
releases or invitations to your book signing and other mass mailings, read "USPS
Service Guide Publication 95" to find out how to qualify for discount postage
Let others call you a cheapskate, a penny
pincher, a tightfisted miser. Simply smile and say "Thank you for the
compliment," as you hang on to your writing dollars.
© Copyright 2004, Beth Fowler
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