MORE Than Gold?

There are hundreds of how-to books for writers, but one that really kick-started me is “How To Succeed As A Freelancer In Publishing” by Charlie Wilson and Emma Murray. I picked it up by chance in a library, and the no-nonsense advice fired me up. They recommended that you do not take the plunge and give up the day job until you have saved at least three months’ wages.

This week, I am finding out why.

In fact, it’s been a difficult month. Not through lack of work – I’ve been busier than ever. Extracting the fruits of that labour is a whole new world of pain, though.

In life, things happen. Payments pop up. Bills arrive. For example, I have always paid my self-employment tax through PAYE as I’ve been partly employed. In January, I gave that up – and suddenly my tax bill was due. My rather large tax bill. I took a deep breath and paid it, knowing that I had other payments coming in. I let a house out, and my tenant got her dream job in another town, and had to leave – suddenly I had a mortgage to pay with no rental income. Another blow.

And the payments that I was owed… stalled.

I’ve spent this week chasing them up. I’m owed money from about six different directions, from magazines to self-publishing distributors. I totted it all up, but it comes to more than £1200, which is terrifying. GIVE ME MY CASH!!! Ahh the cry of the freelancer.

Some things are worth more than gold. Which reminds me… there’s a book out today called, co-incidentally, More Than Gold. Check it out – it’s on Amazon here. Janis Pegrum Smith has crafted a rip-roaring tale set in the gold rush of 1890’s Klondike. Here’s the description (lifted straight off Amazon): How do you attempt to win back the heart of the girl you love in July 1897? You tell her you are going to the Klondike. Well, you do if you are young Lars Niklasson—even though you have no real intention of joining the thousands flocking northwards, in the greatest gold rush the world will ever see. Unfortunately for Lars, his little white lie snowballs out of control, ripping him from his cosy, indulged life in New York to plunge him into an alien world of mountains, snow and ice. Surrounded by lawless desperadoes and wild, immoral women, the race is on to reach the Yukon before freeze-up, when the entire region becomes sealed off from the world and nothing can get in or out for six months! Camera in hand, to record the spectacle for his father’s photographic studio, he gains the company of a Bostonian socialite and her maid; a law student; a dance hall queen and a nun. Together they face the perils of the four thousand mile journey, each hauling their required year’s worth of supplies across the glacier covered mountains. Life and death situations become a daily occurrence on the trail to Dawson, but for those who make it that far the adventure has only just begun. Trapped on the rim of the Arctic Circle, where the fading remnants of the Wild West reign supreme, men quickly discover that all the gold in the world is worthless when there is nothing to buy, nothing to eat! Klondike kings and queens, Vikings, adventure, love, enmity and murder transform the boy into a man in a world where no one and nothing is what it seems—and where Lars’ innocent white lie leads him to stand trial for his life.

Check it out!


  1. #1 by Phil on March 22, 2013 - 9:26 pm

    Tax tip – Pay 1/3rd of everything you earn into a seperate bank account. Then you have enough to pay the tax bill and some. This is then split into different pots marked car, Christmas, etc.

    I had the opposite of a late payment recently. A mag paid me twice for a job as their system can’t cope with the idea I work for more than one arm of the company. They will be deducting the overpayment next month so I have to hedge some money against that…

    • #2 by autumnbarlow on April 5, 2013 - 8:22 am

      Definitely! Great advice and one I keep meaning to take. I like the idea of being paid twice – I was once issued two cheques in error. I sent one back.

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