Happy March, reader, from KRW!


"You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write."

    --Saul Bellow

Good morning, fellow romance writers! KRW has an exciting meeting planned this month featuring screenwriter Amy McCorkle!

Less exciting is our article this month on taxes. But enjoy anyway, and don't forget to check out what else is happening in Romancelandia this month. Definitely consider checking out Duke University's Unsuitable Series where they invite authors, editors and agents to discuss women, history, and popular fiction. Many of their conversations hit directly upon the romance genre.


Business or Pleasure: What the IRS says about your writing career

 --by Evie Jamison

As we all become more serious as writers, there comes a point where we will inevitably consider the tax ramifications of our careers. As far as the IRS is concerned, writing can either be a business or a hobby. The purpose of a business, generally speaking, is profit, while the purpose of a hobby is recreation.

For businesses, income and losses are generally reported on a Schedule C, and the profit or loss is then carried over to the taxpayer's Form 1040. Being able to deduct losses against against income is the big advantage of operating your writing as a business. On the other hand, the U.S. government does not permit a taxpayer to deduct hobby expenses but does require income to be declared. (And here's a warning: Beware articles written prior to 2018 about hobby expenses. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 changed the way hobbies are treated by the IRS.)

The IRS provides some factors as guidance on whether you're operating a business, and I've adapted them to be more writer-focused:

• Whether you carry on your writing in a businesslike manner and maintain complete and accurate books and records. Do you keep accurate records of all your income, royalties and expenses? Do you advertise? Have a separate checking account for your business? Attend conferences or classes? Keep receipts for all business expenses? All of these can help establish your claim to the IRS that you are operating a business.

• Whether you have personal motives in carrying on the activity. Yes, for most romance writers, we write because we were driven by some amount of passion. However, there's a difference between a writer who, for example, only hopes to publish one novel just to say she is published and a writer who plans a career of multiple novels, marketing, and generally learns the rules of the business. If you find yourself in the former category, the IRS may say your writing is a hobby. Having a profit motive is the most important factor the IRS looks at when determining whether your writing is a business.

• Whether the time and effort you put into your writing indicate you intend to make it profitable. The more time you dedicate to your craft, the less it looks like a hobby. Are you spending time on your writing that is comparable to what a full-time corporate job requires?

• Whether you depend on income from writing for your livelihood (or intend to rely upon it). Let's say you make $50k from your non-writing job, have a large savings account, and you made $1200 from writing last year, the first time you've ever made a profit on writing. This will probably trigger IRS scrutiny as it would be difficult to argue that you rely upon that money for your livelihood when you make significantly more income from your non-writing job.

• Whether your losses are due to circumstances beyond your control (or are normal in the startup phase of the writing business). Ask yourself if you could have made a profit but for factors in the book marketplace. Examples of losses beyond your control might be the cancellation of a book contract by a publisher or the failure of a publisher to pay royalties. If you find yourself in that situation, point out to the IRS what you did to mitigate or contain costs.

• Whether you have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business. (Good thing you joined KRW!) Do you have the knowledge to carry on your writing as a business? Are you keeping records, keeping an eye on profitability? Making changes when necessary to increase profitability?

• Whether your writing makes a profit in some years and how much profit it makes. The rule of thumb is generally it needs to be profitable three out of five years to be presumed profitable. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you can show a trend of decreasing losses over the years, and you're getting closer each year to being profitable, you might convince the IRS that your writing is a business even though it doesn't meet the Safe Harbor rule of profit in three of the last five years.

Be encouraged, hobbyists. While the hurdles to becoming a "business" may seem daunting, today's hobby can easily become tomorrow's bona fide business with dedication. Yes, the IRS does put a lot of scrutiny on writers, mainly because for many writers it's a labor of love and not profit. But writing can be a passion that brings you income with some work.

Disclaimer: I'm not a tax expert by any means! This article is only meant to get you thinking about the tax implications of your career. Please consult a qualified tax preparer for updated tax laws and further advice about how these rules might apply to any individual tax situation.



Mini Nano

Our March Mini-Nano Competition has arrived. Come compete in our Google forum to win our coveted Gerard the Sock Monkey.


New Member Alert

KRW is pleased to have welcomed Kathryn McCubbins and Skye McKinsey in February!



• If you have something you'd like included in our "Member News," be it an upcoming or recently published book, an award, etc., send us an email!

• We're always on the lookout for speakers. Please send us your ideas to krw@kentuckianaromancewriters.com

• Likewise, we're always looking for someone to write an article for our newsletter. If you're interested, send an email to the address above.

• Finally, don't forget to check out the "Members Area" of kentuckianaromancewriters.com. We're constantly updating to include meeting minutes, presentation handouts and powerpoints, and our new writer "toolboxes." The password is in our Google Group forum or you may email us for it.


March Meeting

Kentuckiana Romance Writers is thrilled to host Amy Leigh McCorkle for a screenwriting Q& A following our business meeting on March 27 at 11am. Amy McCorkle was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She has lived in New Mexico and Texas as well but she currently makes her home in Shepherdsville,KY.

An award winning blogger she is also a successful author in both the sci-fi erotic romance genre with No Ordinary Love and the upcoming release a dark romantic suspense tale Another Way To Die. She, along with her writing partner and longtime friend Melissa Goodman, began screenwriting in 1999. In 2019, they filmed their passion project Letters to Daniel. Letters to Daniel has won 20 awards on the circuit, received distribution on multiple platforms, and been review by critics both independent and mainstream. Across their body of work, (28
novels, 37 scripts, and 23 films), they have won over 120 awards since 2014. They continue to write, direct and produce, proving their sisterhood and creative partnership able to withstand hardship, good times, and success.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 879 6554 7970
Passcode: 941372


What's Happening in Romancelandia  

A sliver of (non-KRW) online happenings coming up in Romance and the broader writing world:

March 7, 3:00-4:00pm: Tucson Festival of Books: Julia Quinn and Beverly Jenkins in conversation about the elements of writing historical fiction with romance at its center, and what the future of the genre looks like. Free!

 March 3-7: AWP Conference: The Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference is virtual in 2021.

March 10, 7pm: Special Q&A with Romance Author Mary Balogh! - Cary Library Free!

March 12, 12pm: Unsuitable #32: Writing Closed Door Romance with Piper Huguley, Free!

March 13, 8:30-9:30pm: Join @ladrianaherrera @BecMcMaster @JeannieLin for the 5th #Read4Pixels YouTube Live panel to discuss writing about #ViolenceAgainstWomen in Romance. Free

March 21, 9pm-10pm: Read for Pixels with Julia Quinn (Reading followed by Q&A), Free!

March 24, 12pm: Unsuitable #34: Made for Each Other: Developing Protagonists with Caroline Linden, Free!

March 31, noon: Unsuitable #35: What Makes A Great Romance Novel with John R. Jacobson of Carina Press. Free!

April 2: KissCon One Night Stand




If you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at krw@kentuckianaromancewriters.com.