Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Death, Taxes, and the Writer" and other advice

In 1998 I wrote two articles for writers: "What Have You Done with my Manuscript?" was originally published in the June issue of Speculations and described the process of dealing with manuscripts in Marion's office; "Death, Taxes, and the Writer" was in issue 41 of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine.

The first article was in response to the writers who kept asking for the status of their manuscripts right after they'd submitted them. The second was inspired by the horrified dismay of a guy who had just discovered that he had to pay self-employment tax, but had failed to save the money to do so because he had never heard of self-employment tax, and by several writers who died without wills, forcing Marion to figure out how to pay royalties to estates in conditions that rivaled Jarndyce and Jarndyce (see BLEAK HOUSE, by Charles Dickens).

Manuscripts are easier to deal with now that electronic submissions are the norm -- I'm certainly glad not to have to deal with piles of paper and folders of SASEs. Inheritance, on the other hand, has NOT become any easier. So if you are ever going to be paid royalties, do the editor a favor: make a will, and leave your royalties and copyrights to one person or organization. It's hard to split $1.27 among four heirs.

Both of these articles are on the Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust website, along with several articles Marion wrote. I've always liked "Why Did My Story Get Rejected?"