So, how do you define a serious writer?
Well, if the definition is being made by an entity such as the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) then it really comes down to whether or not you are actively engaged in a business with your writing – you know, actually writing and publishing and promoting – or if your writing is just a hobby that you dabble in from time to time. Answering this question is not a simple process but it is a very important question to answer.
The importance of this is not only for the individual writer/author but also for the organizations to which they belong.
A recent communiqué to members of the Romance Writers of American (RWA) spelled this out quite clearly and germane to both RWA and the members of this organization is whether or not the members are actively in pursuit of publishing their written work. This is important for a number of reasons to include the tax-exempt status of RWA which can affect the types of services provided to its members.
If you are a member or RWA you really should pay attention to all communications from RWA on this subject matter because changes are predicted for how members are classified and this classification looks to be centered on if you’ve published and how often you continue to publish.
So, just a “heads-up” to all writers to take a moment to assess whether or not they are just dabbling in writing or are genuinely pursuing writing as a business/career. From there the fun begins on making sure that the writer complies with all the tax rules that distinguish a business from a hobby each year until the writer decide to “retire” or die.
You know the saying about the only two things that are certain are death and taxes? Well, in MHO even death doesn’t let you escape taxes. Just ask someone who has dealt with an estate.