The Deixis Press Weekly - Issue #2
Welcome to the second week of Deixis Press. I did it. I spent a weekend not thinking about work. Meanwhile, a lot of work came in. So all weekend, instead of thinking about work, I was thinking, “Don’t think about work, don’t think about work…”
Monday, 15 March
Deixis Press is now officially a business at Companies House and everything, so I can proceed with applying for a business bank account. I’m aiming to finance the press through what I earn with my freelance editorial work, as I mentioned before. I have worked out that as a freelancer I am a sole trader, and as a (the) shareholder in the press, I can give the press a shareholder loan, rather than trying to route my sole trader payments directly into my business bank account. I guess doing it directly will make taxes more difficult later. As I also mentioned, this part feels complicated to me, so if you have any advice, please feel free to impart it.
Today I am looking over a draft of the contract I will send to my authors. It’s … a lot. I guess it isn’t enough just to say “I’m sure we all know that I will be fair to you and you will be fair to me and I’m not going to run away with your money” even though I fully believe that to be the case with any author I would work with. And it’s good to write down the basis on which you are working, so that everyone stays on the same page.
For example, for Print-On-Demand (POD) copies of the books I publish, I intend to use a printer/distributor that pays the press a bottom-line figure after all printing/distribution costs have been taken out. It makes life (which in this case means accounting–bear in mind that “life” never means accounting in any other circumstance) much simpler to calculate royalties based on that net profit figure. But at big publishing houses, authors typically get royalties calculated on net receipts, which are basically simple sales figures, with no printing/distribution costs taken into account.
If I tried to give my authors typical paperback royalties (around 10%) on net profits, they would be vastly worse off than they would be with a typical contract that delivers 10% of net receipts. So, if I am going to take advantage of easier accounting by working on the basis of net profits, I have to set my royalty percentages much higher to make up for the fact that printing and distribution have come out of that final number.
Where was I? Oh, contracts. So contracts are a good place to write all that down, since I can’t be sure my authors aren’t reading my newsletter.
Tuesday, 16 March
Today is one of those days I have to do the paying job, so I’m proofreading an extremely racy memoir. I have had a wonderful distraction, though: Aretha Franklin’s impromptu performance of Nessun Dorma at the 1998 Grammys.
Watch this and I guarantee that in less than 5 minutes you’ll be smiling.
I also found out that my business bank account has been approved–not sure how that happened so quickly! I opted for NatWest’s Mettle product, which seems like it has everything I personally need for the moment.
I’m trying to write this journey down in part as a helpful guide for anyone else who wants to start a small business, and I did do a fair amount of research into business bank accounts, but I quickly learned that your best option will entirely depend on your kind of business and how it will operate: whether you will do a lot of international transactions, whether most of your revenue will come from cash, whether you need to make large single deposits, and so on. So my reasons for choosing a particular bank account probably won’t be your reasons.
Wednesday, 17 March
I’m reasonably tech-savvy, but so much goes into making a modern business look legitimate online that even just laying the foundations is a full day of work in itself. I spent a long time deciding on the name of the press, and part of that involved making sure the various usernames and websites were available. Once I had made the final decision, I nabbed everything immediately–but as I mentioned last week, all the sites have just been sitting there, waiting.
I have now set it up so that general info requests, personal emails to and from me, and submissions all have their own distinct email address @ deixis.press, and I’ve made it so that the .com and the co.uk addresses automatically forward to the .press domain. I very much wanted to use Query Manager for my submissions, but it turns out that you have to be in business for a year before you can get an account there–fair enough, I suppose.
There’s still so much to do. Twitter and Facebook are up and limping, Instagram is alive but empty, YouTube exists conceptually but not content-ually. The website is alive-ish, too, in that if you go to it today you won’t see anything except a notification that it’s currently private. But plenty is going on behind the scenes …
And! My logo is being sorted out today. It’s a snek! A Victorian snek, based on a piece of agate snake jewellery from 1860. Queen Victoria herself wore a snake engagement ring and a snake bracelet which apparently conveyed the message that she “aspired to the ‘wisdom of the serpent.’ ” according to the internet. And, as the old proverb goes: The internet says it, I believe it, that settles it.
I made my poor designer work on all kinds of nonsense (and I still think the gravestone she mocked up with DEIXIS PRESS and MMXXI carved on it was perfect), but a snek makes the most sense as a logo, both visually and metaphorically. And it scales (no pun intended) up and down a lot better than other, more complicated designs we considered.
Thursday, 18 March
This is one of those days where I was behind before I even woke up. I dropped the kids off at school, where I’m sure the other parents were wondering why I was sitting well apart from them and scowling into my phone.
I’d recommend you don’t start a new venture in the midst of a pandemic, when you have four paid-work projects to complete, when your friends and family are all having crises large and small, when you have 2.5 hours of school-run time most days, when your partner is working all hours, when your children need to do their homework and practice five instruments between the two of them daily, when your dog has a tumor on her toe (which is probably fine but does require repeated trips to the vet), when you’re the one who makes dinner and you’ve foolishly committed yourself to making food rather than heating it up …
… but then you’d never start anything new. Because that’s what life is like. At least, I’ve never known a time when life wasn’t like that. So I have to face the fact that this is one of those days when I have to prioritize other things.
Friday, 19 March
For reasons outlined yesterday, I feel that I haven’t got much done this week. But in reality, what I have managed is:
One large (paying) proofreading project
One small (paying) developmental editing project
A first draft of my author contract
Technical website/email doodads
Several real meals (that were not simply heated up)
Two trips to the vet
10+ hours of commuting to and from school
Oversight of 4 days’ worth of homework
Successful insistence on cello, oboe, piano (x2) and voice practice, including 437 renditions of “The Miller of Dee”
One episode of The Good Fight
I also forgot EVERY SINGLE DAY to go to the post office. Even on the two days when I had to wait outside the vet’s office, which is NEXT TO A POST OFFICE.
Well, that’s it. I suspect I won’t be able to keep my hands off some bits of work this weekend, since I wasn’t able to do much with the press over the last couple of days, but I’ll do my best. You should try it too.