Blogger: Rachel Kent
Location: Books & Such main office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
What’s in your files?
An author should be able to open up his or her files (typically in a filing cabinet) and find a bunch of information. Here’s what I suggest you keep:
1) Copies of all of your royalty statements and sales figures.
You should be able to pull these out for each book to get an idea of how well your book is doing, and also you need to include sales figures in future proposals. It’s a good idea to create an Excel chart with title, publisher, date of publication, and the most current number of copies sold.
2) Check stubs for all royalty checks.
Believe me, you need these for taxes. 🙂
3) Copies of contracts and contract addendum.
Make a copy of your contracts for yourself when you sign them and keep them on file for reference.
4) Copies of marketing plans given to you by the publisher.
Check these frequently to see if there’s something you could be doing to help the publisher get the best results from the marketing they’re doing. For instance, if you know the publisher is running an advertisement with your book featured in a magazine or on a website, invite people to check it out on your Facebook page or blog. Even if your fans don’t go look, you’re still obtaining exposure for your book without directly saying, “Go buy my book.”
5) Copies of reviews from your books.
These reviews can be included in future proposals and promotions. A quote from a great review might end up on future book covers. Even if a review is really nasty, keep it, maybe in a different file folder. It’s important to look at bad reviews now and again to learn from them, and you never know what they might mean to you 20 years down the road. Maybe you see it as a nasty review now, but give yourself some distance, and it might become more meaningful.
6) Fan letters that were “gems.”
These letters can provide encouragement and laughs. Author Debbie Macomber has some really cute ones that she shares when she speaks at writers’ conferences. Keep some of your own for days of discouragement.
7) Receipts from business expenses.
These are also important to keep for taxes. If you make any money from writing in a given year, you can write off all of your writing-related expenses. Plus you can go for a specified number of years developing your craft and submitting projects without earning any money and still write off expenses. (Talk to a tax accountant to gather the specifics.)
Did I miss anything?