8 July 2011


ITIN number.
If you live outside the USA and do not have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), Smashwords and Amazon (or whoever you are selling your books through) will withhold 30% tax.  However, you are not obligated to obtain an ITIN if you are happy to live with this fact.

If you choose to obtain one, the process is as follows:-

Download a W-7 form from the IRS website along with instructions for filling it out.  At the same time, download a W-8BEN form.  When you have uploaded your ebook onto Kindle Direct Publishing, you will be able to download a letter from them explaining why you need an ITIN number.  Enclose this letter along with your completed W-7 form and other necessary identification documents and mail to:-

Internal Revenue Service
ITIN Operation
PO Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342

I think this process takes about six weeks.  When you receive your ITIN number, you then need to fill in W-8BEN forms with your ITIN number and send them to whoever you are selling through, eg., Smashwords, Amazon.

7 July 2011


Many people still prefer to hold a book in their hands so I think it’s important to make a paperback edition available.  There are a number of print on demand companies.  The ones I have looked at are LuLu, Lightening Source and Createspace.  I’ve decided to go with Createspace who is owned by Amazon.

I’ve only just started this process, but so far my steps are:

I have created an account with Createspace.

I have bought an ISBN number and a barcode.  (You have to have a different ISBN for your paperback edition).

The person who created my eBook cover is working on a full cover for me.

I found it difficult to format my manuscript for a paperback edition so I went in search of someone who could produce what I needed.  A pdf file that can be uploaded to Createspace.  This has cost $164AUD up front and the process took approximately two weeks.

I am now awaiting the final proof of the full cover.

When I upload the pdf book file and cover to Createspace, they will send me a proof copy by mail so that I can check through it.  When I have approved it, it will go onto Amazon in the USA, UK and Germany as the paperback edition.  Createspace will print copies as they are bought by customers.

I can set my own price and change it if I wish.

More on self publishing a paperback edition when I get through this process.

6 July 2011


Kindle Direct Publishing is your avenue to publishing your eBook onto Amazon.

I opened an account, created a profile and read the information about eBook publishing provided on the site.

I then made a copy of the formatted eBook I had uploaded onto Smashwords, and after a few minor changes, uploaded this and my book cover onto the Kindle Direct Publishing site.

Within half an hour, my eBook was available for sale on Amazon in the USA, UK and Germany.

To check for sales and royalties, you go into the Kindle Direct site.

So far, this whole exercise has cost me $147.  My eBook is on Amazon in three countries, on the Smashwords site as well as for sale through all their distribution partners.

4 July 2011


eBook formating for Smashwords
As I said earlier, you can download the Smashwords Style Guide if you wish to do your own formatting, or alternatively, Smashwords will email you a list of people who can do this task for you.  At a cost.

I like to try things for myself so I made an extra copy of my manuscript and following the Style Guide meticulously, I went to work.  It took me a few days to complete, and after checking and rechecking everything, as well as deciding on the cost of my book, I took the plunge.  I clicked on the Publish tab on the Smashwords site and uploaded my cover and my book.  When you do this, your book and cover goes through what they call an Auto Vetter that inspects your book and gives you instant feedback on potential formatting problems.  Thankfully, I had none.

Once your book is uploaded successfully, it is available for sale straight away on the Smashwords site.  At the same time, it is placed on a pending list for entry into the Premium Catalogue.  This is a manual process and can take up to two weeks to complete.  Once again, if any formatting errors are found, you will be notified and given the opportunity to correct them.

It is important to get accepted into the Premium Catalogue because once there, Smashwords distributes your eBook to their retail channel partners such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, The Diesel eBook Store, Amazon and Scrollmotion.

2 July 2011


If you had asked me in June 2010 whether I would have considered self publishing my second book, Murder At The Rocks, I would have given you a blank stare because the thought had never occurred to me.  I planned to do what many authors do - look endlessly for an agent to represent me or a publisher who would consent to read my unsolicited manuscript.  As you know, this can take months before you get a reply be it positive or negative.  After spending two years steaming ahead writing a book it’s like you have come to a brick wall built right across your path.  Everything comes to a standstill.  A year ago I would have accepted this however frustrating, but now I’m not willing to.  Not since I can now self publish.

I’m going to cover my self publishing journey over the next few blogs hoping that it will help others if they choose to go down that road.

Where to start
I wanted to publish my book as an eBook as well as a paperback, and after looking into the process for both, I decided to start with the eBook edition first.  This you can do through Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing which is owned by Amazon.

·         I started by opening an account on Smashwords and reading all the information they make available.
·         Next I chose someone to create a book cover.  (On request, Smashwords will email you a list of people who can create a cover.)  I supplied my own background photograph and the cost ended up being $57.  I think the cost depends largely on a number of things such as time spent, images used, and how many proofs are done.
·         My next step was to acquire an ISBN number.  This I bought from Thorpe-Bowker for $40 plus a (once only) registration fee of $50.  It is possible to get a free ISBN number from Smashwords, but not until you have been approved for their Premium Catalogue.
·         With my book cover in the making and having entered my ISBN number onto the site, I looked into formatting my manuscript as an eBook.  This process is rather more challenging, but not insurmountable with the help of Smashwords Style Guide.  It is a 75 page document and free to download.  There again, Smashwords will email a list of people who can do this for you at a cost.  I decided to try it myself.