Thursday, September 12, 2013

My venture into self-publishing: picking retailers

I had hoped to have The Cure out for sale by now, but things will be postponed for a couple more days at least. I'm taking an online course on self-publishing offered by Author E.M.S., which runs from September 8th to October 4th. I'd been wondering before I started the course as to whether or not I should delay publishing until after I'd completed the session (I have so much to learn!). After the first day of reading, I was feeling overwhelmed with all there was to cover and was pretty sure that I ought to read through at least a few lessons before I plunged in.

**The moderator of the online course I'm taking just popped up on the discussion board to make an important distinction between publisher v. retailer. Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Nobles, etc., are all retailers. They aren't publishers, they just distribute my work. That's the thing about self-publishing, YOU'RE THE PUBLISHER! I have to promote and protect my own novel.**

Part of my concern was what to do in regards to tax claims on Amazon. The way I understand it is, that although I don't have to pay American taxes, I need an International Taxpayer's Identification Number (ITIN) in order to get paid. Additionally, I'm subject to a withholding tax on any royalties I make, unless I show that I'm from a country that has a tax treaty with the US. I'm actually lucky here, since I'm currently residing in the US and have a visa, my route to an ITIN may be easier than if I was living in Canada. I'm still being paid by a Canadian company, by the way, which is why I currently don't have any other reasons to interact with the IRS.

If you're looking for information on how to get an ITIN, you can check out this blog post by Joan Leacott.

So, that was one of my big concerns about rushing ahead into publishing on Amazon. The other was, how on earth to price my novel, but that's more easily overcome with a little market research.

Something that came to my attention during my first course reading was, why hadn't I thought of publishing on Kobo Writing Life, a Canadian company? I'd been focused on Amazon's Kindle Direct, assuming that since Amazon was so huge, it was the best way to go, but considering the difficulties surrounding the payment and tax issues, why not go with Kobo, at least to start?

To be clear, I don't want to publish with only one company, and there's no need for me to publish with only one (although depending on which program I sign up with on Amazon, I may have to agree to an exclusivity period). In order to gain exposure and make sales, I need to get on as many different platforms as possible. My current intention is to get onto Kobo as soon as I get my ISBN (maybe I'll post about that another day...), meanwhile I'll begin the steps towards obtaining my ITIN. Once that comes through, I'll publish on Amazon. After that, we'll see. There are lots of other companies to self-publish on. It's just a matter of how diverse do I want to get/have the time for.



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