Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week 4: The Dreaded Forms

4 weeks to go to my publication deadline. I took this week off work to put on my publisher hat and focus on what needs to be done. It's been an extremely busy week. I'm looking forward to getting back to work for a break!

Here's what I've been up to:

The Dreaded Forms
One day alone went to understanding what is, why do I need and how do I get an ITIN? 

If you're a non-U.S. citizen, like myself, the U.S. government will take 30% of your U.S. earnings unless you can prove you are in a country that has a tax treaty with the U.S. Since I'm paying tax in the U.K. I should have to pay 0% to the U.S.

However, CreateSpace, Amazon KDP and Smashwords etc will pay that 30% on my behalf at the time they pay my royalties unless I supply them with an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number). Unfortunately, applying for an ITIN is a bit of a pain. I have to send the IRS a W-7 form along with identification (my passport) and a letter from my distributor confirming this ITIN is for royalty purposes. The W-7 form is quite tricky and I actually ended up having to ring the IRS for help despite the fact that CreateSpace do give step-by-step instructions. Also, the process will take up to 8 weeks.

Alas, we haven't finished with forms yet: Through CreateSpace and Amazon KDP I still had to demonstrate I'm not a U.S. citizen in order to avoid paying that 30% on my European sales as well. So that involved filling in a W-8BEN form. Through KDP, I could submit this online but I had to snail-mail it to CreateSpace. I'm still waiting for confirmation from CreateSpace that this is all okay.

That was the least fun part of my week!

The First few Pages
Is there a difference between the first few pages of your paperback and your ebook? I had a look through the books on my bookshelf and they all seem to follow a similar formula:

Page 1: short author BIO with the book title as heading
Page 2: mostly blank page with book name, author name and publisher name/logo
Page 3: copyright
Page 4: acknowledgments/dedication
Page 5: table of contents
Page 6: chapter 1

I don't think I'll put a table of contents in the paperback but otherwise, I'll follow this layout for both. 

The Logo
I also noticed, looking through those paperbacks that they all have a publisher logo; on the spine, back of the book and on that page 2. I thought my book might look a bit bare without that so I've asked my book designer to also come up with a personal logo. Just so the finished product looks as near to a professionally published book as possible. A logo is quite expensive but I've taken a look around online and find they're all quite expensive unless you get the off-the-shelf ones which in my opinion don't look great.

The Interior
I ordered a proof copy (using a CreateSpace standard book cover since mine isn't ready yet) and on receiving it realised I wasn't happy with the book dimensions or the font size. I've changed the dimensions and the font, which resulted in a change in page count, and forced me through all the steps again, redoing the book cover, all the way to: 'waiting for approval' before I can reorder. I imagine I'll go around this process a few times before I'm happy with everything! I also had some tricky fun with Word, trying to get page numbers to start at chapter 1 rather than at the very start of the document. If you're trying the same thing, type 'Section Break' in Word Help and you'll find the instructions.

The Photo
Finally, I had a narcissistic morning, taking a selfie. Selfie is Oxford Dictionary's Word of the Year, by the way. I looked into getting a professional photo taken, thinking again about trying to make everything look professional, including myself! But portrait photos are extremely expensive. So after finding a spot in my flat with the right light, and holding out my camera, I concluded a professional is not necessary after finally taking a photo that isn't too scary. I'm told I resemble a certain J.K. Rowling - a good sign, no?


  1. Fiona, on an e-book, especially on Kindle, I saw a recommendation that you put the bio and acknowledgements at the back of the book. The fundamental reason for that is that they offer a limited view of the book on the sales page. In the recommendation, it noted that devoting this space to the actual "meat" of the book is a far better marketing tool than your bio and acknowledgments. In addition on the Kindle book site, there is a link to your bio (if you have an author's page) as well as a book summary. A tight summary with a hook is a good addition there, but I'm sure you already know that.

    1. Hi Bradley
      Thanks so much for that advice. I appreciate it! I've also seen examples of the ack and bio at the back and it makes sense to put them there for the reasons you say so I'll rearrange - that's another proof copy round trip :)
      Thanks again

  2. YIKES! That is a lot to go through for publication.

    Wow, I never even thought of it!

    1. I know! It's the reading up that is the main job. Once you understand what you're doing it's not too bad. When you think about it as launching an international product though, it doesn't seem so unreasonable that there's a few steps!
      Thanks for your comment :)