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Abe F. March
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Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

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PostSubject: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 11:19 am

Return on Investment (ROI)

In our society, time is calculated as money.

Has any author on this forum calculated the time it took to write their book?

Time thinking about it ( )
Drafting ( )
Writing ( )
Re-writing ( )
Editing ( )
Research ( )
Getting critique ( )
Making changes ( )
Writing a Synopsis ( )
Writing a Query Letter ( )

What is your time worth on an hourly basis? ( ) x hours ( ) = ($ )

Time spent sending query letters ( )

You try the traditional publishers, get rejections.
You try POD publishers and get a positive response. You are excited. You will get published.

You are finally published and you await a return on your investment. Now the publisher gives you an offer to purchase 50 of your books at a discount. With shipping, you pay
($ ).

You now spend time promoting you book on the I-Net. How much time ( )

And then the day comes when you receive your first royalty check $3.13. Your spouse rolls on the floor laughing. That laugh has cost ($ ) so far. You receive more offers for the purchase of your own book at another special discount. Did you buy more? How much did it cost? Now your friends want a free copy. Did you succumb? How many books did that cost you?

If you want your publisher to promote your book at a book show, they will do it for the purchase of (x) books. Assuming that the publisher goes to the book show and takes your book along, how much time did they give to promoting your book to other agents/publishers or were they placed on a pile of other books?

They you get an offer to have your book(s) promoted via the I-Net for a fee of $150 - $200. You are asked to send a copy of your book to 10 – 15 people who will read and review it. How much did that cost?

What is the ROI so far?

Of course, none of that matters. We love to write. We don’t mind spending hours sitting at the PC. We revel in rejection. We authored a book. We learned much. We are ready for the next story. We hope not to make the same mistakes again – or will we?
The benefit of being a published author is meeting new people. We spend time on forums helping others and exchanging ideas. We are happy with our lives. We are ready to do it all over again. Authors return on Investment 921805
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alice
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alice

Number of posts : 15672
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 72
Location : Redmond, WA

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 11:23 am

Abe,

It is very costly venture. Only a few make it. I am not among them. I am in the hole. My first book was written to benefit Pd patients. I would have been far ahead to donate money.

Live and learn.
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joefrank
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joefrank

Number of posts : 8210
Registration date : 2008-11-04
Age : 71
Location : Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 11:34 am

4/17/2011


My time was worth $150,000-
I need an advance of $250,000-


Cheers..Joe
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alice
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alice

Number of posts : 15672
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 72
Location : Redmond, WA

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 11:43 am

Joe,

You need more than that.
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alj
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alj

Number of posts : 9633
Registration date : 2008-12-05
Age : 76
Location : San Antonio

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 11:50 am

I actually did that very thing, once. On another thread, just now, I posted about my first publication experiences, at the schools where I taught. One year, the state made so many mass curriculum changes that every course we taught had to be re-written. Our anal-retentive AP (every school has to have at least one; we were a small school, so we only had one AP. There was no way getting around dealing with him.) insisted that we were to have the new program entirely in place by the end of the semester. For us, this meant about 15-20 textbook supplements per course, of about 20-25 pages apiece, which we wrote and produced ourselves. The entire department, and especially our Dept chair, were in tears.

I had spent my summers, while I was in college, before I dropped out to get married, (went back & finished after divorce) working for my dad, who ran an engineering department. One day he came to me with an assignment, to help him put together a man-hour proposal for an upcoming job. He gave me a huge stack of papers and reports, and some general directions, and said "just do your best."

I had not expected to ever do anything like that again, but when our department was faced with this impossible task, I offered to go through the ordeal again, and produced a man-hour report for the production of English modules for 30-odd classes (15-20 per semester course for 4 grade levels and 3-4 ability levels per course plus a half-dozen or more electives)

The result was that our principal took my report to Central Office and we were given paid writing time over a full year to get it all accomplished.

And, incidentally, this project, along with the modules themselves, as I wrote about on LC's thread, are a major part of my reason for believing that all of our lives are directed by a Higher Power, even and including those that seem negative at the time we are experiencing them.

Ann
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Al Stevens
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Al Stevens

Number of posts : 1727
Registration date : 2010-05-11
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 1:07 pm

Before making the ROI calculation, ask yourself this: If I wasn't writing a book, what would I be doing with that time?
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alice
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alice

Number of posts : 15672
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 72
Location : Redmond, WA

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 2:12 pm

Al Stevens wrote:
Before making the ROI calculation, ask yourself this: If I wasn't writing a book, what would I be doing with that time?

Good point! When I worked, I had no time to spare . Now it is a pleasant pasttime except for the publishing and marketing aspects.


For me, marketing is difficult.
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

Number of posts : 12624
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 2:15 pm

I set up Mandinam Press in January 2008. I have published nine books (an average of three books per year). I have made very little profit but have covered my costs (website, books, bookmarks etc.).

One of my poems, Hope for a Safer Place, is in two anthologies -- one to raise money for disaster relief charities and the other to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support.

One of my short stories, Leo's Dauighter: Mistress of the Web, was published in a Greek Sci-fi and Fantasy magazine.

My flash fiction story, Not a Hill of Beans, was published in an e-zine.

My novel, The Power of Persuasion, was on the list for Wales Book of the Year (2009).

Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine was serialised on Preston FM Community radio (over 40 daily episodes and weekly omnibus editions, May-July 2009).

I edited and published the anthologies, Forever Friends (2008) and Forever Travels (2010). I wrote short stories and poems for both anthologies.

I published two volumes of interviews, Literature & Fiction Voulme I (2009) and Volume II (2010).

IN 2011, I published Living By the Swamp, a story for children and adults by Alice Crooker.

In my spare time, I play golf. I pay hundreds of pounds per year to chase a ball around parkland trying to knock it into eighteen holes that the ball does its damnedest to avoid.

_________________
Authors return on Investment 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ Authors return on Investment 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ Authors return on Investment 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ Authors return on Investment 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ Authors return on Investment 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ Authors return on Investment 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
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alice
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alice

Number of posts : 15672
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 72
Location : Redmond, WA

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 2:18 pm

Shelagh,

Well done!
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Pam
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Pam

Number of posts : 1790
Registration date : 2008-02-01
Age : 53
Location : Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 3:19 pm

The fact there is a return - whether it is money or satisfaction is the bonus. For me, if I wasn't writing I know I'd be watching TV, or knitting, or maybe exercising. I manage to squeeze most of those things in at one time or another. I've just about completed my calcs and tax returns and can tell you I am happy with the numbers so far. And with life.

I have not done any golfing in a few years, but my goodness how I do love to whack that little ball maniacally off the tee. Authors return on Investment 973110
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Domenic Pappalardo
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Domenic Pappalardo

Number of posts : 2557
Registration date : 2009-04-27

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 3:56 pm

I think many new writers would be happy for a $0 advance if taken on by a standard publisher.
Writers who are considered good, or have a household name can expect a $600.000+ advance.
My feelings on the matter; If a big standard publisher wants any of my work...they must think it's good. I would get a swelled head, and hold out for the big $6. If they said okay, or told me to go fly a kite...would not matter to me...my work would have passed the high standard held my big publishers.
I would have reached my goal...to be a good writer, published, or not. My goal is to be able to write as good as the best of the best.

How would I spend the time if not writing? Not liking myself for surrendering my dream to my weaker side.
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LC
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LC

Number of posts : 5044
Registration date : 2009-03-28

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 4:43 pm

I agree with the "what else would I be doing?" philosophy. It's not like writing my books took me away from doing something more important or productive. I see it as entrepreneurial. Maybe all the work will pay off, maybe it won't. Like with everything else.
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Betty Fasig
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Betty Fasig

Number of posts : 4334
Registration date : 2008-06-12
Age : 76
Location : Duette, Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 4:51 pm

I have finally given up. At first, I went to book signings out of town, bought my own books from PA, paid for hotel rooms for myself and my daughter ( not going alone!) eating out, gas, promotional materials (big signs, audio recordings, book marks, cards, and things too fierce to mention) and the gain for me financially was nothing. I smiled all the way through that with hope in my heart. Finally, enough was enough. At 12.00 a book, (my wholesale price from my publisher) I could not do it any more. I gave it my best financial shot, which was one of the most futile efforts I ever had hope for.

I met some nice people with big hearts along the way. Everyone was hoping for the big break. When I look back upon that time, it was like pissing in the wind. My publisher knew it, took advantage of my hope and ignorance and socked it to me and everyone else they printed a book for.

I stand here before our Shelagh, humble and grateful for her honesty.

I do not go out and try to market my book. I do not have the skill.

Love,
Betty
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Al Stevens
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Al Stevens

Number of posts : 1727
Registration date : 2010-05-11
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 5:11 pm

Keep in mind that writers of fiction, poetry and memoirs are over-producing product in an industry that has already been saturated with product. Supply overwhelms demand.

Add to that the convenience of self-publishing and its absense of quality control and we substantially increase the saturation with substandard product and dilute the customer base.

I am a believer in high expectations. But don't count on it; it's like basing your retirement plans on winning the lottery.
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Al Stevens
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Al Stevens

Number of posts : 1727
Registration date : 2010-05-11
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 5:19 pm

I must add this. When I worked with my writing coach, she was more concerned that I write something that would grab attention (and sell) than that I would write something good. She always lost that argument. I don't know how long I'll be here. My legacy is important to me.

One of the characters in "Nursing Home Invasion" makes the following observation:


“All you take to the grave are your good name and a suit of clothes, and nobody remembers the suit of clothes.”
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alice
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alice

Number of posts : 15672
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 72
Location : Redmond, WA

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 6:57 pm

Al Stevens wrote:
I must add this. When I worked with my writing coach, she was more concerned that I write something that would grab attention (and sell) than that I would write something good. She always lost that argument. I don't know how long I'll be here. My legacy is important to me.

One of the characters in "Nursing Home Invasion" makes the following observation:


“All you take to the grave are your good name and a suit of clothes, and nobody remembers the suit of clothes.”

I like this book already.


Last edited by alice on Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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alice
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alice

Number of posts : 15672
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 72
Location : Redmond, WA

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 7:02 pm

Betty Fasig wrote:
I have finally given up. At first, I went to book signings out of town, bought my own books from PA, paid for hotel rooms for myself and my daughter ( not going alone!) eating out, gas, promotional materials (big signs, audio recordings, book marks, cards, and things too fierce to mention) and the gain for me financially was nothing. I smiled all the way through that with hope in my heart. Finally, enough was enough. At 12.00 a book, (my wholesale price from my publisher) I could not do it any more. I gave it my best financial shot, which was one of the most futile efforts I ever had hope for.

I met some nice people with big hearts along the way. Everyone was hoping for the big break. When I look back upon that time, it was like pissing in the wind. My publisher knew it, took advantage of my hope and ignorance and socked it to me and everyone else they printed a book for.

I stand here before our Shelagh, humble and grateful for her honesty.

I do not go out and try to market my book. I do not have the skill.

Love,
Betty


Neither do I. I gave up when I couldn't even sell
Dick's Normandy!
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RicardoTheTexan
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RicardoTheTexan

Number of posts : 21
Registration date : 2011-04-17
Location : New York

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 8:05 pm

It's all about the price of an individual book. In order for the author's compensation to be less humiliating, the price needs to go way up, to about $200. The alternative, i.e. selling more copies than there are literate people on the planet, is impossible to achieve without a huge publicity campaign that includes McDonald's toys, a Universal movie deal, and discounted unsold copies stacked in drugstores, would necessitate being in the right place at the right time, and there's a long line of folks of both genders and all ages awaiting their turn outside that one. The winner's success at that place has nothing whatever to do with their writing prowess. I know a few of those winners personally, and most of them (not all) are as boring, unimaginative, and politically correct as their product.

Back in the novel's heyday, in the late 19th Century/early 20th century, books actually did sell for something like the equivalent of today's $200, maybe more. To expect a GOOD new book (containing, say, great shocking ideas, a revolutionary narrative style, etc, etc) to sell a hundred thousand copies in the first forty days is unreasonable to begin with.

It is even less reasonable to expect a book that has passed through twenty corporate pseudo-editors to contain a single brilliant passage. The moral of THAT story is that big corporations should leave new literature alone and focus on republishing the Bible and reprinting the classics and calendars. There should be a law against them meddling in that which is none of their business more or less by definition. They're not very good at it. They don't know how.

The whole problem of writing "what sells" has to do with this seldom-posed question: whom are you trying to sell it TO? Not the reading public: they have no say in it whatsoever. You're trying to sell to a corporation. Whose idea of commerce is pasting up heaven and earth and everything in between with ads (instead of allowing product to win customers based on its actual ... uh ... shall we say, merits? ...

Authors today are just too docile.

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JoElle
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JoElle

Number of posts : 1311
Registration date : 2008-05-09

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 9:47 pm

When I can go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, my website guestbook page, and Goodreads and read reviews like this ...

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/A-Bridge-in-the-Forest/JoElle-Mart-n/e/9781590923726/?itm=7&USRI=joelle+martin#TABS



... I consider that ROI enough. Smile
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Abe F. March
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Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptySun Apr 17, 2011 10:30 pm

Love all the comments. I forgot to mention an important positive side - the tax benefits as a self-employed person that allows you to deduct all your business expenses from your taxable income. That includes promotional costs. Keeping a record of time and expenses are important. You can declare that portion of your house where you do your work, your writing, as a business expense. Remember, a penny saved (on taxes) is a penny earned.
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dkchristi
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dkchristi

Number of posts : 8594
Registration date : 2008-12-29
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptyMon Apr 18, 2011 5:11 am

The IRS allows an author five years to show a significant profit. After that, writing is considered a hobby and expenses are no longer deductible.
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Abe F. March
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Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

Authors return on Investment Empty
PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptyMon Apr 18, 2011 6:44 am

DK,
how many authors have used even one year? Five years of no profit should be a wake up call for the author and the IRS.
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Abe F. March
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Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

Authors return on Investment Empty
PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptyMon Apr 18, 2011 6:46 am

JoElle wrote:
When I can go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, my website guestbook page, and Goodreads and read reviews like this ...

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/A-Bridge-in-the-Forest/JoElle-Mart-n/e/9781590923726/?itm=7&USRI=joelle+martin#TABS



... I consider that ROI enough. Smile

JoElle. Great review. You have received the greatest reward.
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alice
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alice

Number of posts : 15672
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 72
Location : Redmond, WA

Authors return on Investment Empty
PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptyTue Apr 19, 2011 10:13 am

In my opinion, there are too many writers.

Some writers should never see the light of day and if they starved it would be sad, but beneficial to the profession.

Maybe those who can't market their books should find somthing else to do for money and make writing a hobby.
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dkchristi
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dkchristi

Number of posts : 8594
Registration date : 2008-12-29
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Authors return on Investment   Authors return on Investment EmptyTue Apr 19, 2011 10:55 am

That's what the IRS calls it ....
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