Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I need a new bookkeeping system

After spending several frustrating and confusing hours organizing a year's worth of invoices, I realized I need a new system. The paperwork had piled up because of the massive time suck called grad-school, but that's not the biggest reason I need a new system. Going through all the sales for the last tax year (July 2009 - June 2010), I see that I'm not getting the information I need from my records. I created my system to track one book, Traveling Blind: Life Lessons from Unlikely Teachers, and to know how much to pay Laura Fogg in royalty. But now I have three books to track, so the old system just doesn't work anymore.

What kinds of information do I need now?

I need to know how many copies each book has sold of course, and which sale is taxable (meaning I owe the State of California money). I need to know who bought the books and when. I need to keep track of royalties and how much to donate to Gilman Street. I need to know how much I've earned each quarter, subtracting unit cost and shipping.

The old system gives me that info, but is too cumbersome for three books. There must be a way to streamline the info so it's easy to input and easy to access, with clear numbers for each book. I know there are programs I can buy, but my press is too small to justify spending thousands on a publishing data-base. Instead, I'll create my own system again, and when I've figured it out I'll share it with you.

Anyone have an idea to get me started?

3 comments:

Christine Autrand Mitchell said...

As a (former) bookkeeper, I can help you. Have you thought about QuickBooksPro? If you don't want that expense, though it isn't that bad and I can help you set it up, there are other ways. But I do recommend this software as easy to use.
Still have my phone number? Call me.
Christine

Miss E said...

I am a newbie at managing as a self-publisher, but I've chosen Tinybooks to start: http://www.winograd.com/ftinybooks.html It's only for the Mac, but on the off chance you can work with Apples as well, I'd be interested in hearing what you think of this app. Good luck!

Terena said...

thank you Christine and Miss E. I haven't heard of Tinybooks, but I'll check that out (I'm a Mac user). Christine, I've tried Quickbooks in the past, but I need to figure and track royalties and I couldn't find out a way to do that in Quickbook. Maybe I missed something?