Archive for April, 2013

I am SO glad that I chose to self-publish my book, but unfortunately, there is more to self-publishing than just writing and editing. I want to give you some tips to help you with the not-so-fun side of self-publishing–the business side of it.

If you have self-published your book or are considering self-publishing a book, here are some things you should know:

1. You will need to get a sales tax license, and you will need to carry a copy of it with you when you go someplace to sell your books (for example, say you have a book table set up when you go to speak in a library…you are selling the books directly from YOU, so you need to charge sales tax. It is illegal to charge sales tax without having a sales tax license, so try to get your license BEFORE your book is released so that you will be ready to sell once the book is out!) If your book is being sold through someplace else (for example, Harding’s in Otsego, MI, carries my book, Illegally Innocent), that store will collect sales tax on the book for you. You can obtain a sales tax license through your state’s website (example: if you live in Michigan, go to

2. Once you have a sales tax license, every year you will receive paperwork in the mail that you have to fill out and send in with your collected sales tax money. I don’t know if the due date on this paperwork is the same in every state, but in Michigan you should send it in before the end of February.

3. This is optional but worth considering…You may want to get a P.O. box if you do not already have one. I don’t enjoy spending the extra money but feel like it’s necessary to protect my privacy. This way I can put a mailing address on my business cards without having it lead people directly to my house. I decided to choose the second largest size of P.O. box so that if I mail a book out to someone and it ends up getting returned to me, it will fit inside the P.O. box. For this size of P.O. box, I pay around $160 every six months.

4. Keep track of your writing expenses, including mileage when you are driving to and from a speaking engagement or other business-related travel. You can use these expenses as deductions on your taxes. Keep all receipts for your writing expenses because if you’re ever audited, you’ll need to be able to prove that you really spent money on these items.

5. Keep track of the number of books you sell as well as the number of books you give away. You will need to know this information in order to properly fill out your sales tax forms.

6. Make sure you take change with you when you are selling your books at a speaking engagement or someplace else. This tip may seem a bit like a no-brainer, but when you are trying to remember everything you need to take with you to speak, it can be easy to forget simple things like change. Most of the time people who are paying with cash will not have exact change. It is also helpful if you have a sign on your book table that states who your customers can make their checks out to.

7. Decide what course of action you are going to take with bad checks BEFORE you receive one from a customer. In just the few months that my book has been available, I have already received a bad check from a customer. Not only did I not receive the money from the check (which came from a closed account), but I was also hit with a $20 fee. Create a bad check policy and make sure you keep photocopies of previously received bad checks so that you do not accept one from the same person again. You may also wish to limit the number of books people can purchase with a personal check, just in case their checks end up being bad. As someone who has several years of experience working in retail, I can assure you that many times people who are knowingly writing bad checks will attempt to write the check for as much money as possible. It’s up to you how much you want to trust people, but I would recommend keeping your limit to five books or less purchased per person when he or she is paying with a personal check.

8. You may wish to study up on how to detect counterfeit money. Chances are high that you’ll never receive a counterfeit bill in exchange for one of your books, but it might be a good idea to know the important features of authentic money just in case you’re ever questioning a bill someone hands to you. I thought this was a pretty good article on tips for detecting fake bills:

Hope these tips help you! The business side of writing can be kind of boring and tedious but will be much easier if you keep yourself organized as much as possible.


This past weekend my fiance Mike and I attended FamilyLife’s ( Weekend to Remember marriage conference. Initially, we went to it mostly because my parents had previously attended the conference and enjoyed it (and also because my parents paid for it). As we are currently somewhat overwhelmed with wedding plans, at first this conference felt a little bit like just one more thing using up time we could be spending on wedding details, but once we were in the middle of it, we enjoyed it.  🙂 The conference began Friday evening and concluded early Sunday afternoon. Each attendee is given a book that contains notes from the conference as well as blanks to fill in information in the outline to help you stay focused. I heard there were six Weekend to Remember conferences going on in different cities this past weekend; the speakers at ours were Brett Ray and Joel and Cindy Housholder. They did an excellent job and combined humor and factual information in a great way. There were ten sessions, and most of them were held in one large conference room with all 250 couples present, but Sunday morning they divided up the men and women for an hour and a half to address the topic of the differing roles of husband and wife. Also, because we are “pre-marrieds,” Mike and I attended two sessions that were specifically for the pre-married group. Interspersed with the sessions were various times for projects, in which you used a workbook to complete recommended relationship-building homework. At the end of the weekend, the speakers passed a microphone around the room and encouraged people to share how the conference had impacted their marriage relationship. It was cool to hear how couples were drawn closer together in such a short amount of time–one man even shared that up until the conference, he and his wife had been living in separate apartments for seven months but had decided after the conference that they would move back in together and would try to save their marriage. Whether you are struggling in your marriage or not, I would encourage you to check into this conference–it is well worth your money.

You can now find me on Pinterest! Here is the link: I admit that most of what I’ve pinned so far is wedding-related, as I’m in the middle of trying to figure out wedding details, but I plan to expand and pin more book-related things as well.  🙂

Also, if you have any questions about self-publishing, email them to me at I’ll be answering self-publishing questions in this month’s e-newsletter. You can sign up for the e-newsletter on the homepage of my website,  🙂 Have a great Tuesday!

Last June I wrote about the documentary Lunch Hour, which I enjoyed watching while attending the Health Freedom Expo in Chicago (you can read my post about Lunch Hour here). An opportunity has come up for all of us to do something to try to improve kids’ school lunches! In a March article “Dairy Industry Tries to Hide Artificial Sweeteners in School Lunches,” the Alliance for Natural Health website posted that aspartame is already being used in the flavored milk that kids receive for their school lunches, but now the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation want to remove aspartame from the ingredient label WITHOUT removing the aspartame! Aspartame can cause many health problems (you can read about them here:, and it would be ideal to remove aspartame from kids’ milk altogether. Reducing people’s knowledge of the fact that they are consuming aspartame by eliminating it from the ingredient label is definitely yet another step to keep aspartame in the milk in the first place. Please read the article and consider clicking the “Take Action” button at the bottom of the article. It just takes a couple of minutes to fill in your information and send a quick note to the FDA to let them know you think all ingredients in food should be labeled. Thank you!

So I’ve been watching a lot of episodes of the show “Extreme Couponing” this week, and I came across a website called I’ve never been one to spend much time searching for coupons because it usually seems like the majority of coupons are for junk food. I was excited to find some links to coupons for healthier options on Some of the links I liked included coupons for Celestial Seasonings tea (, Chobani Greek yogurt (, and Blue Diamond gluten-free crackers ( There were also tons of coupons for products at Whole Foods, if you live near one of those stores. If you catch healthy items on sale and use a coupon on them at the same time, you’ll save a lot of money! Maybe you won’t get them for free like so many people get food for free on “Extreme Couponing,” but it will definitely make healthy eating not such an expensive choice.

What is your favorite website to find coupons? Let me know!