Two Things a Canadian Author Learned Self Publishing Outside the USA

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-landry-authorMarie 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.

For more on Marie and her books please visit She also loves to chat with fellow book lovers, so feel free to tweet her @SweetMarie83 any time!

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Find Marie’s books on Amazon CAN/US ~ Kobo ~ iBooks ~ B&N ~ Smashwords

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About Patricia Lynne 208 Articles
Patricia Lynne never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and band in high school and college. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn't regretted a moment. Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow. She writes New Adult under the pen name Patricia Josephine.


  1. Thanks for sharing this info, Marie! I didn’t have a clue about the different challenges you face self-publishing in Canada versus the USA. I’m glad to hear companies are making it a bit easier.

    I did, however, notice how expensive it is to send books up to Canada! Wish they’d come up with an international media rate. 🙂

  2. Interesting post. I had no idea the tax rate was that high. I’m a Canadian married to an American, and living in the US where I self-publish. The fact the Canadian dollar is dropping even more is scary. Usually my mom comes down here to do all her shopping, but not any more.

  3. I got myself an ITIN back when I was signed with a publishing house. It was a prerequisite with them.

    It was expensive (I live in South Africa), but it’s worth it because I’ve been saving on the withholding for all of my activities that are taking place in the US, and they’re just becoming more and more.

    My biggest pain with the exchange rate is editing. It’s the one thing I’d love to be able to hire someone for, but a standard cost for comprehensive edits is almost a year’s worth of minimum wage here. >_<

  4. Thanks for the post, Marie. Even in the US, the 100$ limit affected authors because we also were waiting to hit that mark, so it was nice to have that changed. I got a nice deposit to my account from the sales in other countries.

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