Business & Accounting for Authors

How to treat your writing as a business, manage your money, and use your accounting data to make better decisions.

Accounting and money management literacy for authors. Learn how to treat your writing as a business. This easy-to-understand guide simplifies a process that many find daunting.

The information in this book isn’t limited to spreadsheets and money management—but provides you with resources to help you be successful in your writing career.

I love being an Indie Authorpreneur! My hope is with the tools and business basics provided in this book, it empowers and encourages new–and established–writers to take the plunge to be Indie Authors!

Buy from me and SAVE!

Avaliable as an Ebook, Print, and Audiobook

EBook $5.99       Print $7.99        Audio $4.99

   About The Book

You have a dream …
… become a successful Indie author.

Your book is finished and your finger hovers over the publish button. Your dream is about to become a reality. Have you set up the foundation for success?

Too often authors wait to consider their writing as a business. Most beginning authors, and far too many experienced wordsmiths, don’t have any idea what it takes to manage the business side of their career.

There’s more to being an indie author, or authorpreneur, than just writing books and uploading them on the distribution sites.

This book will help!

You’ll learn to:

  • Set up your business
  • Track your money
  • Know what you own and what you owe
  • Build an accounting system
  • Analyze your business for growth
    …and much more!

No matter where you are in your writing career, it’s never too late to treat your writing like a business.
You’ll love this easy-to-understand guide, because it simplifies a process many find daunting.

Get started today!

As a fantasy author, and a former Certified Public Accountant, Tora Moon knows what an author needs to manage their money and business. She has used this expertise to help her make sense of her own writing and publishing career. Her information isn’t limited to spreadsheets and money management. She provides you with resources to help you be successful in your writing career.

Yes! Accounting illiterate no more!

I highly recommend this book, for both writers who are just starting in their business and those who have been doing this for a while.

–Amazon Customer

Look Inside!  


  What’s inside

   Look Inside!

An Author Is a Business

Treat Your Writing As a Business

Have you written or are you writing a book? It’s a good idea to treat your writing career as a business from the beginning. It doesn’t matter whether you plan on writing as a hobby, a secondary income, or as your primary business. It’s still a business. But don’t worry if you’ve been writing and selling books for a while, you still can apply the business basics and accounting to your business at whatever stage you’re in. As the saying goes, better late than never.

In today’s publishing environment, even if you’re traditionally published, you need to track your income and expenses. Most authors must cover many of their own expenses, which offset the royalties they receive from the publisher.

As an independent or “indie” publisher, you are doing everything a traditional publisher does for your books. It doesn’t matter if you do this gig full-time or part-time. It’s still a business. You do these business activities:

  • Hire editors and cover designers, and maybe even formatters and copywriters
  • Pay for advertising to market your books
  • Make decisions on distribution channels to use
  • Determine what forms of your product to publish
  • Build relationships with others within the industry

I don’t consider myself “self-published.” For one, I use a team of professionals to help me produce the highest quality product possible. I don’t do this by myself. And for another, I’m an independent small-press publisher. My publishing company publishes books, just like any other small-press publishing company. I simply only publish one author—me. If in the future I decide it’s right for my business, I can choose to publish another author’s books—because I’ve set up a publishing company.

Even if you’re writing as a hobby without a profit motivation, you’re still in business. You’ll be doing the same tasks necessary to produce a high-quality product, such as hiring editors and cover designers. You’re probably also marketing your book so that readers can find it. In the US, if you consider your writing a hobby, you can only deduct your expenses up to the amount of income you had. You can’t take a business loss; whereas, if you’ve set it up as a business, you can deduct your business losses against your personal income. And who knows? If your books take off, you’ll be glad you already set up a business. It’ll be one less thing to worry about later.

Who This Book is For

Whether you are Indie Published or Traditionally Published, you need to understand business basics and how to manage your money to be successful. This book will go over the various forms of business available to you (in the US) and how to set up your business. I will give you a basic system to track your business income and expenses. (Note: this is NOT a book on taxes, although I’ll briefly touch on the tax aspects that will affect how you set up your business.)

You, as an author, are a business. The products you produce are books, whether they are ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks. Your business generates revenues (at least you hope it does) and incurs expenses (which they all do). At the most basic level, a business is successful if it generates more income than expenses. But how do you know what exactly those numbers are?

Through accounting. It captures your numbers and gives you a picture of how your business is doing.

Understanding business and financial basics will give you an edge over most of your competition. If you know how your business is doing, what streams of revenue are doing well—and which aren’t—and what your expenses are, then you can make much more informed decisions. A look at your financial statements will tell you if you can afford to spend more money on a marketing campaign, or if you should cut back. They can tell you if you’ve spent too much money, or just how much you’ve really made.

Many people consider if they have money in their bank account, their business is making a profit. That isn’t necessarily true. Just like in your personal life, you have bills that need to be paid, so too, your business may have outstanding bills and debts that need to be considered. And because of the way Amazon and the other book retailers pay, you have sold books this month, but you won’t receive the funds for them for sixty-days.

Even if you’re writing as a hobby, you still need to keep track of your income and expenses for paying your dreaded taxes at the end of the year.

Although much of this book is targeted to fiction authors, the principles apply to nonfiction authors as well. My intention is to make understanding your money and business as easy as possible. If you take your writing seriously and want a better chance of your business succeeding, then this book is for you.

My Background

Why on earth should you listen to me?

First off, I’m an author of both fiction and nonfiction. I write genre-bending fantasy books, and I currently have one epic science fantasy series published and am writing an urban fantasy series. I’m an Indie Authorpreneur (I love that term!). My publishing company is organized as a Sole-Proprietorship that I publish all my work under. As a business owner, I need to track my income and expenses to make the best financial decisions I can. I’m in the trenches every day, so to speak, living the life of a full-time author.

Secondly, I’ve been a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for over twenty-eight years. Most of my accounting career was spent working with small business clients, setting up their accounting systems, doing their accounting, and preparing their financial statements. I’ve had an accounting practice where I worked with small publicly-traded companies. I did their accounting, worked with their financial auditors, and prepared and filed their quarterly and annual financial statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). For three years, I served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for a publicly-traded software development firm with operations in four different countries and listed on two different stock exchanges. I’m what I term, a financial accountant. The only taxes I’ve done for the past fifteen years are my own. Even when I did work for an accounting firm that did taxes, I did all the business clients’ returns because they usually needed some accounting work done first.

With my combined experience as an Indie Publisher and an accountant, I know what an author needs to manage their money and business. I’ve used this expertise to help me make sense of my own writing and publishing career.

Note for International Readers

I only have experience setting up businesses in the United States. The information on forming a business and the little bit about taxes apply to the USA only. However, the business basics and accounting are the same no matter where your business is located. Some of the terms may be different, but all businesses generate income and incur expenses.


Chapter 1: Setting Up Your Business

  • Type of Business
  • Choosing a Name
  • Separate Your Life

… and more.


Chapter 3: Tracking Your Money

  • Why Tracking Your Money is Important
  • Financial Issues
  • Cash-Basis vs Accrual Basis
  • What to Track and Record Keeping

Chapter 5: What You Own and What You Owe

  • The Balance Sheet
  • Assets – What You Own
  • Liabilities – What You Owe
  • Equity or Capital – What’s Left Over

Chapter 7: Analyzing Your Business

  • Metrics
  • Break-Even Point

Chapter 2: Business Plan and Strategy

  •  Your Business Plan
  • Writing Business Goals
  • Production Plan
  • Marketing Plan

… and more.


Chapter 4: Money-In, Money-Out

  • The Income Statement
  • Money-In; Revenue Streams
  • Money that Isn’t Income
  • Money-Out; Expenses
  • Paying Yourself

… and more.


Chapter 6: Accounting Systems

  • Accounting Software
  • Accountants
  • Accounting Systems

… and more.


Chapter 8: Samples and Resources

Purchase from your favorite retailer


These links are to the US stores. For international stores, click the “More” button. It will take you to a page where you can choose your favorite store. You can ask your local library to get the ebook for you. ISBN: 978-1-946132-21-5

Print books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and can be ordered from your favorite bookstore, or from your local library. ISBN: 978-1-946132-20-8

Audiobook is available most places where you can purchase audiobooks, or you ask your local library to get it for you. ISBN: 978-1-946132-22-2

You can get it here:

APPLE                          BARNES & NOBLE                  KOBO                 AUDIBLE                      GOOGLE PLAY                  SCRIBD                                   CHIRP

Yes! Accounting illiterate no more!

I highly recommend this book, for both writers who are just starting in their business and those who have been doing this for a while.

A week ago, I was accounting illiterate. Sure, I could keep track of my expenses via receipts and my bank statement. I was familiar with the terminology (profit/loss statement, balance sheet, expenses). That was about it. I won’t say I’m ready to be a CPA, but armed with the information Tora provides in this book, I will be better able to treat my writing as a true business. And this is a mistake many of us make—not treating our profession as a business. Business and Accounting for Authors can help you with that.

Tora’s information isn’t just limited to spreadsheets and money management. As an author herself, she also offers information that every writer needs. Her links and resources will arm you with just about everything you need to be successful as an author. And even after several years of writing, I found information I was sorely lacking. This book will stay in my library. Thanks, Tora

Amazon customer


This book summarizes methods for starting a writing business. In it are discussions of business formations, accounting, tax issues, and what makes a business viable. In addition, the author offers a variety of model forms and other information on her website. Many new authors don’t realize that they are in business. This is a comprehensive summary of the challenges facing a new business owner and gives directions for finding solutions. An excellent, easy to understand business book. The online documentation gives added value.

M. Graham

A great introduction to accounting for authors.

Business and Accounting for Authors takes the mystery out of turning your writing into a serious business. Fantasy author and former CPA Tora Moon explains what the different types of businesses are and how they work; how to set up spreadsheets and/or accounting software to keep track of book sales, merchandise sales, and revenue from public speaking events; and a clear, concise look at laws from state to state in the U.S. as well as internationally. In addition, Tora includes several resources, sample spreadsheets and documents, so you can set up your own system with ease. A must-read for any author who feels intimidated by mathematics and legal issues. Highly recommended.

C. Wilder

full of beneficial information

A very informative book for authors. I’m a brand-new author and I can certainly see what applies to how I want to move forward. It is obvious that Tora Moon has a massive amount of experience with finances, and she applies it very well to publishing. I’m going to read this book several times before I publish, because there’s a wealth of knowledge in it, and I’m sure I can learn something new each time. Great read for new authors like me! I highly recommend it.

M. Ackley

Thoughtful and Detailed

This book was put together with a lot of thought and detail. It is clear that the author knows what they are talking about. I learned a few things while reading this book. I was lucky enough to have a sneak peak of this book prior to the release, in exchange for an honest review.

S. Sharrah

  About the author.

Tora Moon is the author of the genre-bending fantasy series, Legends of Lairheim, and the forthcoming, Sentinel Witches. As a full-time author, she knows what it takes to be an Indie Authorpreneur.

 Tora spent over 25 years working as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and served many clients as their Chief Financial Officer (CFO). She worked with numerous companies setting up their accounting systems and managing their business. She has worked with many publicly held companies to put their books in order to be audited, written their financial statements, and filed their quarterly and annual statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For five years, she served as the CFO for a multinational software development company.

 Tora shares her combined experience as a fantasy author and former CPA to help Indie Authorpreneurs, new and experienced, to succeed in their writing businesses.

Business Plans for Authors

Upcoming book!

How to plan your author business for success.

Every business owner needs a plan to guide them in the myriad decisions they have to make to be successful. Your business plan is a living document of the decisions, plans, and goals—even dreams—you have for your author business.