Tuesday, June 10, 2014

#Indie Authors - Information you should have to help you publish on #Amazon

So - I guess the biggest hurdle in spreading your work is getting the accounts set up on these various places. I ran into a hurdle with nearly every one and had to struggle my way through. I’ll try and remember the difficulties I was up against and do up a blog explaining how I overcame each problem.

Amazon’s blog:

The first outlet an Indie author wants to publish with is Amazon. When you open an account with them on the KPD ( Kindle Direct Publishing ) page, you must remember that they need to have the proper tax papers filled out for you and on file. If you’re not an American, you can be subject to a 30% withholding tax (depending on your country and what rules apply). I went along for months with them holding back that amount before it finally dawned on me (procrastination is my nickname when it comes to stepping out of a comfy box) that I needed to get this done. My accountant warned me that old rules had changed and I needed to have the full amount of money paid to me because I would have to pay tax in Canada.

So, I had to obtain a tax identification number – called an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number). This is for individuals. For a business, you’d need an EIN (Employer Identification Number).

I know some of my friends phoned in and got EIN’s by setting themselves up as a self- publisher and that works just fine. They said it was easy and quick. Personally, I didn’t know you could do that and so I went the long route by filling in the ITIN form and getting my publisher to send a signed letter stating they were paying me royalties. Then I had to go to the Canadian tax office to get a specially signed copy of my passport. Once I had these three pieces of information, I sent it to the taxation office in Texas and waited weeks for the letter to get processed and for me to get my ITIN number in the mail..…only to find out I'd missed a question..... had to resend it.....trust me - You don’t want to go my route.

For the EIN, don’t be put off by the reference to ‘employer’ – if you are a director of your own publishing company, you can apply. If you’re a self-published author, then this works for you.

Step: 1 Download form SS-4 from the IRS website (PDF) http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss4.pdf

Step: 2 Read the notes on page 2. Since you are applying to get this EIN for tax withholding purposes, they will confirm there are questions you can ignore.

Step: 3 Complete the form – fill in the necessary information online and then print it.

Step: 4 Now, call the IRS’s dedicated line for businesses that are located outside of the US: 1-267-941-1099. Have the completed form SS-4 beside you.

Step: 5 They will give you the EIN number over the phone and you can expect the paperwork in the post in the next 2-3 weeks.

Next, you will need to fill in and send a form W-8BEN (PDF). Make sure to enter your EIN on it. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw8ben.pdf

Keep a few extra hard copies on hand and leave this form on your desktop where you can have access to it later for when you apply with the other publishers.

***The other accounting you will need to do is fill in the details for their banking. I’m an old-fashioned check girl myself and love getting those envelopes every month. But, they do transfer the funds right into your bank accounts so I imagine if you fill in the information correctly, there won’t be any problems.

As far as uploading your books to Amazon, it’s quite simple. They have well-written steps for you to follow and they make it quite easy with instructions as you go along. (If you still run into trouble, let me know and I’ll be glad to help out :-) Truly, this company does work with its authors and considering the number of us that they’re interacting with; I certainly feel that they do a wonderful job.  

There is one more question you need to ask yourself when you publish with Amazon. Will you put your book into their 3 month Select program or not? If not, you’ll want to watch for my next few blogs as I go through each publisher and the headaches each gave me while I stumbled and cursed my way through their sites.  



  1. Thanks, Mimi. I've received my business licence which is fairly expensive in B.C. and my EIN number which was easy to obtain using the steps you mentioned. The only complaint I have is don't trust them when they put you on hold for fifteen minutes, it can turn out much longer. I waited the thirty because I didn't want to hang up in case my turn was getting close, then forty-five, now you don't want to hang up because you've already wasted that much money(yeah, not toll free) finally after an hr I got through, after that it went smooth.
    I didn't know about the W-8BEN though, so ty, going to look into that now.
    Jacquie Biggar

    1. Hi Jacquie - maybe my weeks of waiting weren't as stressful as your hour long telephone adventure :-) You'll be needing the W8-Ben when you start signing up to the different publishers. It's something they need on file in order to pay a non-resident. I'll be doing the Apple-iTunes debacle next so stay tuned :-((

  2. Thanks for the article, Mimi! but since I'm in the US your help won't help me, huh?

  3. Just the info I was looking for!

  4. Just the info I was looking for!

  5. Urgh. I've been putting this off since forever.
    Probably should get round to it soon.

    1. Anna - the sooner you get started, the sooner it'll be behind you!!! :-))) Okay - that's what I've been telling myself and you know what? It actually got me into moving my butt and things are happening - slow but sure :-)

  6. Thanks for these tips! The rules for people working in a foreign country are tricky, and you have to be sure that you won't get taxed twice. Getting advice on these things helps a lot in keeping tabs on which goes where, and by how much. People would have to do this eventually, and seeing how things are done by reading your post can greatly help on what to do if it presents itself.

    Sergio Boyd @ Patrice Mills CPA, Inc.

    1. Thank you, Sergio. I know how totally frustrated I felt when I couldn't find the answers to my problems. I hope to make things easier for others by reading about what happened to me.

  7. Mimi
    This post is a goldmine!. Thank you.