5 Things Writers Can Expense

Five items writers can write off on their taxes

When you write for a living, writing becomes your career. That sounds extremely obvious, but it has certain implications when you operate a business specifically around your taxes. In fact, you can write off (or expense) certain things related to your career.

Before we dive in, there's a few things to keep in mind. First, BlueJay is a writing tool, not a tax tool. You should probably consult a tax professional before attempting to write anything off for your career. Second, this post is slightly catered towards independent authors. If you're under contract with a publisher, they may have specific tools they expect you to use or requirements for expensing purchases through them.

It's worth mentioning that writing off the following items doesn't make them free, but it does help return a little extra money around tax time.

Equipment

That's right. You can expense that new MacBook that you've been dreaming about. How about your desk? Sure, if you use that desk predominantly as a workspace for your work. That's kind of the key to anything in this category. You need to use that piece of equipment almost exclusively for your career. If you do, you should be good to write it off as an expense.

That Editor/Publicist/Agent that you hired

When thinking of the biggest expenses that an indepenedent writer can face, your hired help likely comes to mind. As an independent author, you'll likely find yourself shelling out money for an editor, publicist, or cover designer. If you do spend a little extra for some external help, you'll find that you can deduct their wages.

If you're unsure of how that works, we've got an example for you. If you hire an editor at $50/hour and it takes them 20 hours to edit your book, you can write up a $1,000 deducation. Factor in that you're doing that for a graphic designer and likely a publicist as well and you've accumulated a fairly large deduction. Cha-ching!

Conferences

Are you going to writer's conferences to connect with like-minded individuals? How about a trip to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference this year? Your ticket cost for that conference (and similar workshops) can be deducted on your taxes. With some of these conferences costing in the thousands of dollars, being able to deduct the cost of admission can be a huge boon to your tax return.

Advertising

Are you doing a midnight launch with an ad campaign on GoodReads? Maybe sprinkling a little bit of advertising money ontop of Facebook? First, we think thats an excellent idea -- A little marketing goes a long way. Second, you can deduct advertising expenditure when tax time rolls around!

Here are some examples of "Advertisement" type deductions:

  • GoodReads ads
  • Google Ads
  • Facebook Ads
  • BookBub Promos
  • Paid blog tours
  • Amazon Promotions
  • and much more.

As always, talk to a tax professional before making any large purchases that you plan to deduct.

Software

Almost all writers pay for and use some type of software to aid them in their writing. While we're big fans of BlueJay (and you can certainly expense your BlueJay subscription, too!), you can expense just about any software tool that aids in your writing. In fact, we make it easy to expense your subscription by emailing you your monthly bill. Just save those as a PDF or print them off and take them to your tax professional.