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Never-Ending List of Things to Do, Feb ’16 Edition

9 Feb

Write a blog post.

Quiet, brain, I’m working.

Write a blog post!

Working. Hush. I’ll give you cookies.

Write a blog post or I’ll remind you about this thing you did when you were eight.

Fine. Okay. Right. Let’s organize the work schedule for the next few months, shall we?

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Pickwickian Pickers Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers

25 Sep

Why’s it “pickled peppers” anyway? You can’t pickle vegetables on the vine…Or can you? she asks, turning to Google… Oh. Hmm…an entire subculture dedicated to the Crabtree effect and aerobic fermentation…BUT I DIGRESS.

So. Last week I asked for feedback on my Patreon and what could be changed or improved. Answers were varied. And thoughtful. And varied. Extremely varied.

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Open Call for Patreon Feedback

18 Sep

Part Eighty Kabillion in my ongoing series: What Is This Thing? What Can I Do With This Thing? and How Can I Make This Thing Better?

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VAT MOSS and Taxes

29 Nov

Earlier today, my buddy Ursula linked to this article, What You Need to Know, If You’re Relying on Your Payment Processor to Dig You Out of the VAT-MOSS Mess. If Ursula didn’t post quality content, I never would have clicked. VAT-MOSS? Mess? Obviously this was Somebody Else’s Problem.

Nope. It was mine. And apparently had been since 2006 when the Sixth Directive of the VAT was recast and these directives put into play. (Possibly earlier: one article noted that a similar arrangement has been ongoing regarding businesses who are selling into the EU from outside, [and] this has been the case since 2003″.)

In a nutshell, this is a Value Added Tax (VAT) imposed by the European Union on providers of certain digital products. It is business-to-consumer specific, meaning the provider is responsible for the tax; and location-dependent, meaning the location of the consumer at the time of purchase determines how the tax burden will be allocated. “MOSS” refers to a “Mini One-Stop Shop”, or a store which is registered to participate in the VAT and which sells digital items to customers. The legislation goes into effect in January of 2015.

The non-nutshell version is extremely knotty and I’ve spent most of my Saturday yelling at my monitor about how if I wanted to study international tax law, I’d have a lot more money and wouldn’t be so invested in how international tax law was about to screw me over.

(If you want specifics of how the VAT-MOSS works, I recommend starting with this Q&A held by HM Revenue and Customs. It’s a good breakdown of most major issues. If, like me, you had one question–I am located in the United States, so does the VAT-MOSS even apply to me at all?–I can answer that for you. Yes. Whether the tax applies depends on where the customer is located, not where the content provider is located.)

The VAT-MOSS impacts me directly, as I sell PDFs direct to customers. In fact, since October 2014, PDFs of ebooks and bonus comics are my only store items available to overseas customers, because international shipping and handling costs have become prohibitive. (Not that I won’t ship if asked: just this past week, a reader in Estonia asked how much it would be to send a copy of MAKER SPACE to him. I replied that it would be more than the book. He very reasonably declined.) If I register as a MOSS, I could still sell overseas, but I would be responsible for everything required by the VAT.

I will now relink to that first article to show why voluntarily registering may be a sign that you are certifiably mad. It is also worth noting that the main point of this article is that your payment portal (e.g.: Paypal) is not a solution.

So. It seems I have three options.

1) Registering with VAT-MOSS and complying with their tax laws.

2) Restricting all of my digital products so they are no longer available to EU customers.

3) Use a third-party content distributor.

(Okay, okay, there’s a fourth option, which is to ignore the whole thing and hope it goes away. Shall not be doing this, because Legal Reasons.)

I don’t want to shut off all product sales to EU customers, so the smart money is on the third-party option. I’m looking into different distribution platforms. Some of these I’m already using for .mobi (Amazon) and other digital formats (Smashwords). There are problems with both of these: Amazon is Amazon, and Smashwords will crush a layout like a hummingbird egg. I haven’t gone through either company’s Terms of Use recently, and need to go back and reread the fine print to determine my obligations when/if the EU comes knocking.

I’m not happy. I don’t sell comics or bonus stories anywhere but through my own store. The products look the way I want them to look, and I can accurately track sales. I’m already paying service providers (Big Cartel, Pulley, and the finance people), in addition to my own tax responsibilities. Going through additional service providers to do what I’m already doing will nickle-and-dime me to death.

Finally, I am extremely concerned about how this might affect my Patreon campaign. On the one hand, Patreon is arguably set up as a monthly donation service, rather than a subscription service, and all digital content set up and distributed accordingly. It is not a shop per se, and nothing is being sold. On the other hand, taxes. I think the VAT-MOSS will shake itself out for a few years before Patreon-like service providers are directly affected, but as I’m becoming increasingly reliant on Patreon, this is a cause of concern.

Apparently I have a live Patreon campaign

30 Jul

I must have missed a form or a checkbox or something, as I’ve been setting up a live Patreon account. And by “live,” I mean “I thought it was a hidden draft but no, apparently anyone on earth can drop in and see that I’ve just entered OH HELL in the Describe Your Project section and $10 PLACEHOLDER BALLS for most of the Goals.

Anyhow.

The campaign is now live. Which is ahead of my original timeline, but, you know. Placeholder balls.

I’m excited about the monthly $5 tier, which gives me the opportunity to do Literal Dick Jokes. I didn’t want to put this particular image on the Patreon page, but someone asked me a while back where the dick jokes had gone and I was… Inspired?

"Inspired" is a horrible word to describe this.

“Inspired” is a terrible word to describe this. Doesn’t capture the sheer divinity of the moment.

The perfectly clean dick joke delights me. For $5 a month, a Patreon supporter gets one of these Crude Humor(tm) doodles every morning. It might not always be a happy penis, mind! I’m looking forward to serving as the scribe who chronicled the slow but violent deterioration of the unhappy friendship of Richard Dickerson and Martha Von Vagerton.

Here’s the link to the campaign again.

I really need to go work on a comic. Please stop starting fires, Internet!

 

Patreon bonuses?

2 Jul

It looks as though I’ll be starting a Patreon campaign soon, which I said I wouldn’t do until everyone and their sister had one, and since everyone and their sister now has one, I should really get my butt in gear. This means planning bonuses to entice readers to donate. Here are a few ideas I’ve been playing around with…

The Return of the Joshsmut

Josh has been married eight times (Mare was both Wife Three and Wife Eight… Look, they’re complicated), so there are seven novellas left in the series. I’d love to do these as some sort of serialized incentive program for Patreon donors, then turn these serials into a finished product for everybody.

The Disasterhouse Blog

This house, man. Today–this very afternoon!!!–a structural engineer will conduct an assessment of what must be done to keep the southern side of the house from collapsing. Guys, this house is literally falling down and the problems keep getting worse. We’re also trapped in it due to financial reasons: what was supposed to be an investment in cute structurally-sound fixer-upper has become a freakin’ nightmare. And we’re forced to live in it!So you can forgive me if I load up the home blog, look at all of the topics that would make a great (for you) update, and think, “NOPE.”

In addition to updating that blog at least once a week, Brown and I have been kicking around the idea of doing a podcast. Or, as he says, “I will happily argue with you in public if it means I get to review new tools.” Patreon donors would have access to this podcast before it goes live.

Speedy’s Kids

Speedy has over fifty kids throughout the United States, and will soon have a couple hundred more in Australia. None of his offspring can talk, and they aren’t quite as bright as he is, but they still have human-level intelligence. I’ve wanted to do a simple one-panel inkwash comic featuring four of these young koalas on Tumblr for ages… Think Chopping Block, only cuter and much, much darker. Patreon donors would have access to each comic before it goes live.

Other Stuff?

I dunno. What do you want from me?

Caveat:

None of this will happen immediately. Kickstarter fulfillment takes priority, and I need to also finish the thank-you gift for people who bought the serialized version of Digital Divide before it went live. Which was over a year ago and… ugh. Anyhow. In my opinion, it’s dickish to ask for more money before fulfilling prior obligations, so I’m at least going to get the bonus gift, the Digital Divide audiobook, and League Night (the .pdf of the Kickstarter bonus story) sent out before putting up a Patreon campaign.

Thank you for reading. Please enjoy these owls.

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