A New Look at Journalism: Takeaways From Last Weekend’s Society of Professional Journalists Conference

figures and newspaper.jpg(www.inkthinkerblog.com) — The Society of Professional Journalists Region 2 Conference on Saturday, March 28, offered some fascinating insight into the changing face of journalism in an economy that’s killing newspapers left and right amid reader demands for electronic content.

I tweeted diligently until my iPhone battery died (note to self: purchase a battery extender), but there was a lot of excellent content and advice that didn’t quite make it to Twitterland. Here are my notes from the conference, A New Look at Journalism, organized by session. Important: These are notes and impressions, not necessarily direct quotes, and boy did they ever take a long time to type up! Settle in for a good, long read. Continue reading A New Look at Journalism: Takeaways From Last Weekend’s Society of Professional Journalists Conference

25 Tax Resources for Freelance Writers

(www.inkthinkerblog.com) — April 15 is just over a month away, and you know what that means. Tax time for US freelancers! If you’re self-employed, doing your taxes can be a daunting task. Here are 25 products, books, and articles to make tax time easier.


Click on the image for more info.

turbotaxpremiere.jpg The #1 rated, best-selling tax software in the US , and the only tax software to include e-filing and audit support with every federal return. You can prepare and print unlimited federal and state returns; e-file up to five federal returns (per IRS guidelines) at no additional charge. TurboTax also searches for more than 350 deductions. Order the boxed software or download it immediately after purchase.

Also, if you purchase TurboTax on Amazon, you can get some pretty hefty discounts on Quicken 2009 boxed products.

hrblocktaxcut.jpgDon’t want to pay full price for “people”? H&R Block’s Tax Cut software includes up to 5 free federal e-files in every version, DeductionPro to help you maximize your savings, live tax advice from an H&R Block tax professional via one-on-one phone or e-mail consultation, and personal assistance from an IRS-licensed Enrolled Agent with audit representation expertise in the event of an audit.

FileLater online income tax extensions Need an extension on your taxes? FileLater makes it simple to apply for an extension for your business or personal taxes. Filing an extension means that you won’t be penalized for filing late, but you still may face interest charges on your unpaid taxes. Contact your favorite accountant for more details on what an extension may mean in your individual situation.

FreeTaxUSAWant to file your taxes online for free?You’re in luck, because that’s exactly what FreeTax USA does. Residents of 31 states who have a gross adjusted income of $56,000/year or less are eligible for a free online tax return. Others can file for just $9.95.

QuickTax, Try it for FREE!And for Inkthinker’s Canadian readers… QuickTax is the #1 tax software in Canada. Options range from a basic free edition to the $39.99 CAN QuickTax Business Unincorporated Online Edition, geared specifically for contractors, sole proprietors, and small business owners.


Click on the book cover for more info.


From Amazon: Updated and revised for the 2008 tax year, Taxes 2009 For Dummies is the only tax guide on the market that walks readers through the major tax forms line by line, including the 1040 Schedules A through E. Filled with helpful tips and strategies for filing income tax returns accurately and on time, this book is aimed at individuals who want to do their own taxes without hiring a preparer.


yourincometax2009.jpg From Amazon: J.K. Lasser’s Your Income Tax 2009–the nation’s all-time top-selling tax guide–is a proven, accessible resource with important strategies, useful recommendations and of course, all the latest tax law changes. With over 39 million copies sold, Your Income Tax 2009 is the #1 choice for taxpayers around the country.

1001taxdeductions.jpgFrom Amazon: J.K. Lasser’s 1001 Deductions & Tax Breaks 2009will help you take advantage of every tax break and deduction you may be entitled to. It’s clearly organized by subject matter so you can easily find situations that may apply to you. Each tax benefit is also clearly explained–along with the eligibility requirements for claiming the benefit–while planning tips and common pitfalls associated with the benefit in question are discussed in detail. New tax law alerts are also included throughout the book, so you can make the most informed decisions possible.

smallbiz2009.jpgFrom Amazon: J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes 2009 gives you a complete overview of small business tax planning in an accessible manner. Focusing on strategies that help you use deductions and tax credits effectively, shield business income, and maximize other aspects of small business taxes, this valuable guide will show you how your actions in business today can affect your bottom line from a tax perspective tomorrow.


Happy tax preparation!

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King


Recommended Reading for Writers: Linkety-Link List — February 24, 2009


(www.inkthinkerblog.com) — In my ongoing quest to help you work through the wealth of freelancing-related information out there, here are some recent reads that may be just what you’re looking for. Some are oldies, but they’re ALL goodies. Enjoy!

For more reading recommendations throughout your day, follow me on Twitter!

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King


Recommended Reading for Writers: Linkety-Link List — February 23, 2009


(www.inkthinkerblog.com) — It’s hard to keep up with all of the great content out there for writers. Here are some posts and articles I’ve stumbled across.  Enjoy!

For more reading recommendations throughout your day, follow me on Twitter!

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King


What Exactly Is $70,000 in Freelance Income?

What does $70,000 mean? (www.inkthinkerblog.com) —  A whole heck of a lot of work, that’s what! But seriously, Susan asked and I’m glad someone is interested because I’ve been thinking I should break this down for you folks who (a) don’t believe I did it, (b) don’t believe it’s possible, or (c) want to do it, too.

Susan said…

Since you’re so open with your financials, I’m curious where the bulk of that income comes from. If not from blogging, then from speaking? Or print work? Or consulting?

I think we all know that it’s tough to get rich relaying on blogging or consumer pubs, after all.

Here’s where that $70,000 came from:

  • Blogging, ~$1.5K — Including base pay and traffic for paid blogging and ad revenues for my own blogging
  • Editing, ~24K — Mostly oncology clinical research articles, but also books, websites, and miscellany
  • Copywriting, ~$8K– Websites, brochures, etc
  • Writing for publication, ~10K — Print and online mags, etc
  • Resume writing, ~$24K — This was all since May, btw. If I did it independently rather than through a company and maintained the same workload, I would make literally twice this much (which, btw, is part of the plan for next year: more independent resumes!)
  • Other, ~$3K– random other writing, consulting, etc.

For the sake of simplicity, projects that combined consulting with copywriting are under copywriting rather than breaking it out. Whatever the dominant task was determined where the money was categorized. So in other words, blogging and writing for publication make up a mere 16.4% of my freelance income.

Now, where does the money go? Well, at my old job, the salary was only about 75% of my total compensation package, so let’s use the same proportion. If you take out 25% of my freelance income to cover taxes (which in my case is 15% of 93% of my income, or 13.95% — I don’t know why they don’t just say that in the first place), vacation time, sick leave, and health insurance (which, btw, is costing me way more than it was at the old job — $574 a month!!!), you get only $52,500. Oh, and retirement matching. I don’t get any of that, and I haven’t been saving for my retirement since I became self-employed, which I really need to start doing.

Then, factor in overhead expenses: phone, Internet (absurdly pricey out here in the boonies, where satellite is the only option and high-speed costs several pints of blood and your first and second born, or $200 a month on top of the $700 dish), Efax, website hosting, postage, PO box, electricity and mortgage (based on percentage of the home used for office space), business cards, advertising, office supplies, and of course the not-so-cheap computer parts, etc… Not to mention travel, conferences, subscriptions, and training that would all be covered by an employer. Average it all together and we’re talking somewhere around $500/month x 12 months = $6,000.

So after that, I get a measly $46,500. Yeah, I’ll definitely be getting a refund on mileage, tuition, and my overhead and other expenses, but that’s a lot of money to shell out throughout the year! And there’s a lot I don’t get back. So the bottom line is, I got a raise in take-home pay from my “real job,” but I’m not exactly rolling in dough. Hence, my new goal.

To follow: what I’m going to do to reach that goal.

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Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King

Professional Handling of Your Mistakes (or “why I heart the IRS even though they take all my money”)


I’m a dummy.

I got my EIN last July and had to send in a W9 for a new client before I’d committed it to memory, which I discovered yesterday when we realized based on my updated W9 with my new address that I’d transposed two numbers in the original one. As such, the client reported my EIN incorrectly on their 2006 taxes (which they didn’t realize, of course, until now) and were concerned that they’d be fined for the error.

Well, I called the IRS and explained what happened, and they assured me that it was no problem so long as we corrected the error within 30 days of receiving notice from them. Since we’ve already corrected the error, there’s no problem at all. They have a corrected W9 and I just need a corrected 1099, and all is right with the world.

I e-mailed the client with the info (and the agent’s ID number for confirmation if necessary) and received a very grateful response from accounting and a commendation from my contact there thanking me for handling it so professionally.

But my question is this: What other way is there to handle it? I can’t imagine NOT doing the things I did. And if it weren’t for the IRS and their incredibly helpful people, I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere with it. How could you not TRY? How could anyone even consider being a jerk about it and not getting it taken care of? That is just beyond me. But the fact that they were so pleased with my response leads me to believe that it was a new thing for them, or at least somewhat unusual.

Have you ever screwed up and had to fix something so a client wouldn’t be penalized? What was the problem, and how did you handle it?

Finalist in 2006 Writer’s Digest Best Writer’s Website Contest

Contents © Copyright 2007 Kristen King. All rights reserved.

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King