TBOWT 039 – How to Start a Publishing Business with Carol Topp, CPA

by Peggy on October 13, 2014


How to Start a Publishing Business TBOWT 039

October 7, 2014

Today’s episode features an interview with Carol Topp, CPA. Carol Topp is a Certified Public Accountant and author specializing in advising authors on tax and business issues. She helps her clients understand the complex rules and language of tax and business. Carol has written several books including Business Tips and Taxes for Writers. She is a contributing writer in Writer’s Digest 2014 Writers Market and the new Writers Digest Guide to Self-Publishing.
Carol has been married to her husband Dave, for over thirty years and they have two daughters. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. She enjoys traveling, art museums, hiking and books. Her website is TaxesForWriters.com.
Listed below are the questions and highlights of Carol’s answers. To hear more listen to the complete podcast.


Peggy: Hello Carol. Let’s get right to it. Why do I need to treat my writing as a business? What are the advantages of doing that?
Carol: If you plan to make any money from writing you should treat it like a business and to take advantage of tax deductions you will need to separate your business expenses from your personal expenses.
Peggy: What is the easiest way to start a publishing business?
Carol: The easiest way to begin is to open a business checking account with your local bank. Use this account for business expenses only. You may consider filing for a fictitious name (or Doing Business As name) if you use a business name and not your own.
Peggy: What about expenses? Can I deduct the expenses related to my writing as a business expense?
Carol: You can deduct mileage to and from conferences, books, professional training and many other expenses. Here is a good rule of thumb: If you am spending money that will help you make more money in your business (such as a writing class or a book on writing), then it is probably a legitimate tax deduction.
Peggy: Should I start a limited liability company? Is it more expensive?
Carol: A limited liability company is a way to create an additional “layer” of legal protection or a legal “fence” around your business. I recommend LLC status if you are providing additional services that could open you up to liabilities or if you want to insulate your personal assets from damages from a lawsuit.
Peggy: What should I call my company?
Carol: Many authors simply use their own name, but if you form a publishing company, your business name should be different from your name. My publishing company is called Ambassador Publishing.
Peggy: Is there an easy way to keep records of my expenses?
Carol: Many authors can start with a spreadsheet. If you want to download a bookkeeping spreadsheet from my website at www.TaxesForWriters.com, go to the welcome page on the lower right hand side. I also have a free e-book with lots of tax tips on my website. Sign up for my newsletter and get it free.
Peggy: What’s next for Carol Topp? How can our listeners get in touch with you?
Carol: I’ll be speaking at the Indiana Faith and Writing Conference in Anderson, IN October 31 and Nov 1, 2014. Additionally, I plan to upload videos and audios form my recent speaking events to YouTube and my website, http://TaxesForWriters.com . If readers sign up for my email list, they will be notified when a video comes out.
Other Important Links:
Kentucky Secretary of State: http://sos.ky.gov

Book Fairs for Authors by Larry DeKay with Peggy DeKay, published by Darby Press is available now at Amazon.com and on Kindle. Book Fairs for Authors teaches authors how to apply to a book fair, improve their chances of being accepted, and how to leverage their attendance at a book fair to garner speaking engagements, book signings, and sell more books. The book comes complete with vetted book fair links to dozens of book fairs, book festivals and book expos around the country. If you plan to make book fairs a part of your marketing plan, and you should, Book Fairs for Authors is a must have for your book marketing library.
Get your copy today:

We love to hear your comments, please
E-mail us at
peggy@tbowt.com or larry@tbowt.com

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Connie Myres November 5, 2014 at 6:03 pm

This is great information, I’m going to start my own publishing business. Thank you!


Peggy November 7, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Great! I am glad you want to start your own publishing business. It is a lot of work but very rewarding.


Carol Topp CPA October 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Thanks for a great interview Peggy! I hope it’s helpful authors and writers at all stages!

Want to see a picture of Carol Topp, Peggy DeKay and Larry DeKay ? Go to http://taxesforwriters.com/how-to-start-a-publishing-business/
The photo was taken at the Business of Writing International Summit in Louisville, KY in August 2014.


Peggy November 7, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Thanks Carol. You gave our listeners some great information.


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