Guest post by Marie Landry
If you’re a self-published author in the United States, there’s not much standing in your way. You can receive royalties and pay for promotions in your own currency, plus upload your book directly to most distribution sites. Self-publishing isn’t always as easy outside the US, though. I’ve been self-publishing in Canada for almost five years now, and I’ve noticed a few differences over the years, plus have heard various complaints about publishing obstacles from some of my friends who publish in the UK.
Here are a couple of the main differences I’ve encountered:
Royalties: It seems that no matter which site(s) you choose to distribute your self-published novel, if your book is priced at $2.99 or higher, you make 70% royalties. For Canadians, companies like Amazon and Smashwords deduct an extra 30% for tax withholding purposes, which means we only actually receive 40% of the money from each sale. You can get around this problem by applying for a Tax Identification Number. It’s a fairly involved process; I’ve heard people say it’s only worth it if you’re making a ton of money in royalties and losing that extra 30% makes a real difference. If you’re interested in obtaining a Tax Identification Number, a simple Google search will help you find the forms for Smashwords, Amazon, and even CreateSpace (for authors who publish paperbacks as well as ebooks), and often come with step-by-step instructions and tips.
If you don’t feel like going through the process of obtaining a Tax Identification Number, or you feel you don’t make enough in royalties for it to be worth it, there is a plus side: with the Canadian dollar being so low in the last couple years, it’s often possible to make back most of that 30% on the exchange!
Currency Conversion: On the flip side of that, when it’s time to pay for promotion, we often lose money because of the exchange. Most tour and promotion companies are American or set their prices to US dollars, so an inexpensive promo for, say, a book blitz ends up costing more once that money is converted from Canadian to American dollars. My best advice when it comes to this is to use PayPal and if you make money from American companies like Smashwords, leave money in your account so you can pay for advertising in American funds. I always leave part of each USD paycheque in my PayPal so I can pay for various promotional services like blog tours, NetGalley, etc.
Until recently, Canadian authors who published on Amazon had to wait for royalties to reach a minimum of $100 USD and then we were sent a cheque. For some authors, reaching $100 in sales could take ages or maybe never even happen. I think it was earlier this year that they finally changed it so we can set up electronic funds transfers, which pay out every month, regardless of the amount. It’s steps like this that make me hopeful that companies are working to make things more fair for those of us who are publishing outside the United States.
Thank you, StoryDam, for letting me share a bit about publishing outside the US!
About the Author
Marie has the best job in the world—one where she gets to make stuff up for a living and shamelessly eavesdrop on everyone around her. She writes happily ever afters while dreaming about the day she’ll have her own epic love story to tell. Most days you can find her writing, reading, fantasizing about traveling the world, listening to U2, watching copious amounts of TV on DVD, or posting bookish pictures on Instagram.
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