Tag Archives: amazon

IndieView: Scott Nicholson, author of, The Skull Ring

Cover for The Skull Ring, by author, Scott Nicholson

If you’re a reader, reviewer or writer, you should spend some time reading what Scott Nicholson has written. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

“Some writers say they only write for themselves, but I don’t believe in that, either. I think about the story. Tell a good story.” – Scott Nicholson 3 December 2010 Continue reading

Foreign Authors wishing to publish on Amazon. Read this, it’ll save you a lot of time.


Image via Wikipedia

This post is for Foreign Authors wishing to publish on Amazon; the complete lowdown on how to get a US TIN (Tax Identification Number) and file a W8-BEN.

Below is what it says on DTP Amazon:

2. I am a foreign resident in a country with a U.S. tax treaty and have provided a Form W8-BEN, but the W8-BEN does not provide a valid U.S. TIN. Will taxes be withheld at the applicable treaty rate?
NO. Taxes will be withheld at the 30% standard rate because a valid U.S. TIN on your form W8-BEN is a prerequisite to obtaining a reduced treaty withholding rate under applicable U.S. tax law.

O.K. That’s me. So I need a W8-BEN and a TIN right?


Read on it’s not much more complicated – you need w8-BEN, an ITIN and a W-7.

This guide will help you.

First check that your country of residence has a tax treaty with the US (IRS). You can get that information from the IRS web site. If your country doesn’t have a tax treaty then I suggest you sell through Amazon UK which doesn’t withhold taxes at source or Smashwords. But Amazon is the dominant distribution channel in the ebook space, and Amazon US is a lot bigger in terms of market than Amazon UK. So if your country does have a tax treaty and item 2 above applies to you then read on.

The first form you need is a W8-BEN. You can download it here. I highly recommend that you read the instructions for filling out the form, because in there you’ll find out you also need an ITIN.  What does a form W8-BEN do?

  • Establish that you are not a U.S. person;
  • Claim that you are the beneficial owner of the income for which Form W-8BEN is being provided or a partner in a partnership subject to section 1446; and
  • If applicable, claim a reduced rate of, or exemption from, withholding as a resident of a foreign country with which the United States has an income tax treaty.

To get an ITIN you need a Form W-7 (I swear I am not making this up). WTF is an ITIN! It’s an Individual Tax Identification number. What does an ITIN do?

  • If you do not have a SSN and are not eligible to obtain a SSN, but you have a requirement to furnish a federal tax identification number or file a federal income tax return, you must apply for an ITIN.

Got it?

A list of Acceptance Agents and Authorized offices that can accept documents for ITIN are the IRS website.

In Summary

  1. Download forms W-7 and W8-BEN
  2. Fill in form W-7.
  3. Take Form 7 and your passport along to an Authorized Agent. or mail them to: Internal Revenue Service, Austin Service Center ITIN Operation P.O. Box 149342 Austin, TX 78714-934
  4. Wait for 4-6 weeks
  5. When you have received your ITIN number fill out form W8-BEN (HEY Wake up we’re almost done).
  6. Mail the forms to Amazon.
  7. You’re done – you just saved 30% of your income

Now I’m going to drink a snifter of Cognac and smoke a large cigar. Bureaucrazy and Taxes have that effect on me…

eBook Distribution

As the title says this post is focused on eBook distribution. For Print On Demand (POD), there is a whole bunch of players, same good and some really bad. A really good post on the subject written by David Carnoy is here. If you’re just starting out on this journey then David’s post is a valuable use of your time. I really liked;

Creating a “professional” book is really hard.

Barrier to entry may be low, but creating a book that looks professional and is indistinguishable from a book published by a “real” publishing house is very difficult and requires a minimum investment of a few thousand dollars …

On that same page you’ll also find a link to how to publish an eBook. This world of Digital Publishing is changing fast – very fast – so please be aware that what I write here is relevant to this time – it will change. For distribution for “Tag” I have chosen DTP Amazon and Smashwords. Between these two you cover pretty much the whole market for eBooks and they’re both free to join.

Quick Note for writers living outside of the USA. Both of these sites will require you to get an US Tax number. You can do without, however you will then be subject to a withholding tax of approximately 40%. Of the two above, according to everything I read in forums, Amazon is by far and away the most important. Distributing to the Kindle will get you to a market that buys eBooks at the moment authors are saying that the difference between the two is 8 to 1. No doubt that will change as more devices (like Apple’s iPad) come on-line, but that’s how it is right now.

A word of advice; you may be tempted to get your book out there quickly. Remember then that first impressions count – a lot. Make sure that your product is the best it can be, editing, cover plus all the other little bits and pieces that you will need. That’s the reason I have not yet published ~ I’m still working on the product. When I was still trying to get the book traditionally published I was amazed at how long it took to get a book out. Working in the technology space I am used to getting things to “go-live” in 3 or 4 months and suddenly people were talking YEARS. Well, if you go the non-traditional route it doesn’t have to take years but it can, and probably should, take months.

Regarding David Carnoy’s comment above about how much it costs… I am just below US$ 7,000 for Tag. That of course excludes my time and also any of the marketing costs which are coming next.