What are the start-up costs when self-publishing?

When starting a business so you can self-publish a book, you’ll likely need to purchase materials so you can write. These start-up costs are the expenses you incur before you actually begin business operations.

These costs usually are capital expenses (equipment or buildings). For an indie writer, start-up costs might include:
• Computer and printer
• Desk and chair for computer
• Software purchase or subscription
• Internet connection
• Telephone and its connection
• Paper and ink cartridges for printing out manuscripts
• Notepads and pens for writing
• Vehicle so you may travel to and from a place for research/interviews

Most of these items you probably already have. If so, they likely cannot be considered start-up costs; after all, you never spent any money to acquire them purely for the purpose of running your business.

Some of these costs can be considered assets. Generally, this would be machinery or office equipment. You usually recover costs for a particular asset through depreciation (more on this in a future entry).

As of this writing, on Federal income taxes, you can elect to deduct up to $5,000 of business start-up costs and up to $5,000 of organizational costs paid or incurred after Oct. 22, 2004. Rarely, however, are organizational costs a consideration when starting a self-publishing business, though you almost certainly can deduct the costs of a new computer you purchase just to write a book.