When the mail came today, there was a plain #10 white envelope from InterGalactic Medicine Show. Taking one look at it, I knew what it was. Every writer knows. It was a rejection slip for a story that I submitted to them not too long ago. Plain white #10 envelopes are burned into the psyche of every writer after a dozen, a score, a hundred or more rejection slips. Reluctantly, I tore open the letter, grimly disappointed in myself, and was momentarily confused at what was within:

It was a 1099-MISC tax form for the payment I received for the story I sold to the magazine back in 2007. It’s my first, and hopefully, not my last.

Incidentally, if you’ve never seen a 1099-MISC form, there are some interesting boxes on it. Some of them make sense: (1) Rents; (2) Royalties; (3) Other Income. But how about these: (5) Fishing boat proceeds; (10) Crop insurance proceeds; or lucky (13) Excess golden parachute payments.

Mine is listed in box (7) nonemployee compensation. Interestingly, the instructions for Box 7 reads (in part) as follows:

Box 7. Shows nonemployee compensation. If you are in the trade or business of catching fish, box 7 may show cash you received for the sale of fish.

What is this obsession the IRS has with fish?

Published by Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.