Calling All Canadian Authors discussion

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Thoughts on Canadian Work > Getting Your Canadian Book onto Kindle

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message 1: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Bell (kathybell) | 10 comments I have seen excellent sales volume through listing Regression on the Kindle platform (enough sales to constitute a Canadian best-seller, except the sales aren't in Canada!), but found it a real pain in the neck as a Canadian. I expect very, very few Canadian books through small presses and indie presses will in fact be able to post to the Kindle platform at this time due to their rules about US bank accounts and addresses for creation of a listing account.

If anyone wants to hear more about the process I went through, I'd be happy to fill you in. The first thing to know is that you - not your publisher - must have the digital rights to the book, or you won't be able to do anything with it if your publisher does not have a Kindle platform account.

Please let me know if this is something that's been discussed already, I didn't find anything in the Canadian files but might have missed it!


message 2: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 163 comments Mod
Hi Kathy,

Your post is really a vital one. I'd be interested in hearing more about the process, including costs, rights etc. Don't most houses have a Kindle account by now? I have an American publisher, but if I hold the digital rights would I post it as a Canadian. Seems complicated. Would love to hear more. Thanks.


message 3: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Bell (kathybell) | 10 comments The wonderful part about Kindle publishing is there is NO cost associated with the platform - just post and collect royalties. The main barrier to Canadians is the requirement for a US SSN or TIN (business #); US postal delivery address; and US based bank account. For small Canadian presses, this is not possible due to the fact that one cannot open a US business bank account unless there is a true brick and mortar storefront for the business in the USA - the reason why Northern Sanctum was unable to publish on the Kindle and I ended up doing it myself. So, the process is complicated to initiate, but exceedingly simple once the account has been established.

If your American publisher has the ability to post on the Kindle platform - there are different levels of access, if I understand correctly, so some publishers will not automatically have full platform setup - then it might be easier to have them publish for you. But, if the publisher would be going through the DTP, used by small presses and independent authors - their share of the royalties would likely make them not even bother to use the platform. At the moment, small users/DTP users only get 35% royalties, but this is changing in June to 70% for any books priced over $2.99.


message 4: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 163 comments Mod
So, if you did it yourself, how did you go about doing it? Don't you, as the author, also need a US address, bank account and so on?

Also, if my publisher does not own the digital rights, does that mean i can set things up independently? I'm Canadian but my publisher is American.

Also, is there info/a link that explains the various levels of access to Kindle and how to set it up? I mean a sort of step-by-step outline.

I'm considering Kindle for the near future, so thanks so much for posting this thread, Kathy.


message 5: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) I want to echo Erma's questions and weigh in as well. I think this is an excellent thread. thanks for adding, Kathy. I hadn't even considered this. Actually I didn't know that it was American only. Very interesting and somewhat irritating. I wonder what the odds are that Canada will be able to use it without the American accounts, etc.


message 6: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Bell (kathybell) | 10 comments Erma, because of other business interests in the US, I already had a US account, US post office box, and US SSN but anyone else might have to go down and open them.

Some Canadian banks have agreements with either a US institution, or have a physical branch in the US. If your bank is one, then you don't have to go across the border for that. I'm not sure which all have agreements, I use BMO.

You can find out lots on the DTP forums, http://forums.digitaltextplatform.com... , but Canadians are not overly represented.

You must make a declaration that you have the rights to publish digitally, so there should be no problem as long as the fine print of your publisher's agreement does not give them the rights to digital.

Renee, you can successfully begin the process but cannot finish listing a kindle book until you give them a valid US bank account, Tax ID #, and mailing address. A little message in the corner states "complete your account information to publish items", and the field form verifies if your account number is valid as a US account.


message 7: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 163 comments Mod
You weren't kidding when you said it was a real pain in the neck. Surely, the Kindle platform will change in the near future to make it more accessible to Canadians. It doesn't seem right.

In the meantime, I'll check out that link. Also, if my publisher goes to Kindle, do you know what the standard split in royalties would be? The same as a printed book?

Also, how did you submit your book to Kindle? In electronic form and that was it? Is there a direct Kindle submission address?

Thanks Kathy


message 8: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 163 comments Mod
Okay, i just went to have a quick look at the DTP link you posted, and i think many of my answers are there. Will have a better look tomorrow.


message 9: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Bell (kathybell) | 10 comments Erma, at the moment the total royalties for the DTP are only 35%, that changes to 70% on June 1 with certain stipulations (minimum pricing, etc). Large publishers get better royalties because of volume. So, the author royalty would be a percent of 35% - I think many publishers give 50% or less on ebooks.

The book can be in Word Doc, HTML, or Mobi format, and some basic editing might be required to take a print formatted version to an ereader version. I now own a Kindle, so was able to check the appearance and had to change some fonts because they did not display well. You use the dtp.amazon.com platform to submit. You can create a file there and play with it right now, but cannot publish for sale without the verified accounts.


message 10: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 163 comments Mod
Thanks so much, Kathy, you're a great help. Are your hard copy sales comparable to your Kindle sales in the US? Do your Kindle sales outsell hardcopy in Canada? Before you went to Kindle, did you already have a strong reader base? In other words, does a book have to be doing fairly well in hard copy to do well on Kindle? Thanks for the dtp link, I'll start playing around with it.


message 11: by Kathy (last edited Feb 23, 2010 06:09PM) (new)

Kathy Bell (kathybell) | 10 comments The Kindle sales drove hardcopy sales way up, because at one point the book was in the top 100 SciFi bestsellers list on Amazon, meanwhile is not with a big distributor in Canada so is not even readily available yet. Working on that. Canadian sales have been okay considering the minimal promotion; I've only had a dozen or so book signings, one radio interview, and one trade review.

Kindle sales happen spontaneously for the most part, with a few promotional posts now and again on the Amazon.com discussion boards and some other very target specific websites. Mostly, Kindle users browse through the category listings and use that wonderful 'One Click' button, LOL! Kindle users tend to be a different beast than paperback buyers...most no longer purchase any print books after becoming a Kindle owner, but there are the benefits of exposure, reviews, and the hope for recommendations to their non-Kindle friends.


message 12: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 163 comments Mod
Thanks for all the info Kathy. I appreciate it a lot and it's been very helpful. Also, given the difficulty of getting a Kindle platform for Canadians, would you recommend giving rights to my American publisher, if they already have a platform? I realize, of course, it would dramatically affect royalties.


message 13: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Bell (kathybell) | 10 comments I think it would depend, Erma, on what those royalties were. You will end up doing a large amount of self-promotion to sell the Kindle version anyway - such as posting on Kindleboards.com and Amazon's discussion boards, so would still be actively involved in the sales.

Because I went through all the steps, and know how much of a pain it was, I've toyed with the thought of posting other people's books on the platform for them, but wasn't sure if people would even be interested in that. It depends on how comfortable you are with doing things yourself verses having someone else do them for you. I just recently was doing a speaking engagement where a woman was discussing her job as a stenographer for authors. I compose directly onto the computer, and so couldn't even imagine paying someone to type it out for me, but she has lots of clients! We each manage what we are comfortable with, and delegate what we are not;)

As of June, the royalties become a much more reasonable ratio for the DTP users, which is a nice factor to consider as well. Personally, I will be keeping my first novel at a lower price to build readership for the later installments in the trilogy and also potential future releases, but the new releases will garner the benefits of the increased royalty ratio.


message 14: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 163 comments Mod
All right Kathy, you've given me lots to think about. One more question: You mentioned that an author might be able to post on your platform. How would that work in general and in terms of costs, royalties and so on? Would you collect fees from authors etc? How many other books can you post, an infinite #? Given the difficulties of obtaining a platform for Canadians, I would think there might be a demand for this.


message 15: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Bell (kathybell) | 10 comments I haven't thought too much about it, just in passing. But, one account can post unlimited number of books, and does get itemized statements each month on revenues and sales volume for each title, so keeping track of individual titles is relatively easy. I'll think more on it over the weekend!


message 16: by Kaycee (new)

Kaycee Jane (KayceeJane) | 2 comments I hired this company to create the kindle version and do the financial transaction-turn key solution.
Humanus Publishing, Inc.
2885 E. Quail Ave.
Suite 900
Las Vegas, NV 89120
United States
866-907-4084
info@humanuspublishing.com
best,
kaycee jane


message 17: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Bell (kathybell) | 10 comments Thank you for the information, Kaycee. I note they do formatting for both POD and ebooks. Perhaps there would be a demand for such a service being offered by a Canadian, makes the financial aspect much simpler to stay within the country!

Does Humanus now have the digital rights to your book, and are paying you royalties? In order for them to post the book, they must click off that they have the publishing rights to the ebook.

This is my main stumbling block regarding trying something similar in Canada, the issue of taking on the digital rights to someone's book. But, since I'm already a registered business it isn't that big of a deal, I'm already doing income tax forms anyway for my kindle sales!


message 18: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 163 comments Mod
Kathy, didn't mean to put you on the spot, but was just wondering what you meant by posting other authors on your platform. Am just interested in the info out there, but if it's too complicated to even begin to explain/tackle, then that's okay.


message 19: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Bell (kathybell) | 10 comments Well, will you look at that! I was just browsing around the DTP, and they've just begun to support international authors! Looks like they will now allow you to set up the account to receive payments by manual check to a Canadian mailing address, when before you were required to enter a bank account and US mailing address. All checks are subject to a 30% withholding tax by the sounds of it, but at least there is a way for Canadians to post. Step One now possible!

Step two is the file. If you have the digital file for your book, then basically you strip it down to the bare minimum in formatting - the Kindle doesn't always show fancy fonts very well, and sometimes inserts strange spacing, so the fewer hard returns, etc, the better. You can even do a table of contents, it is really nice as a reader to have one of those at the beginning of the book when rereading parts. Some also have the cover image embedded, which is nice too.


message 20: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 163 comments Mod
Hi Kathy,

What a discovery! This simplifies everything. Thanks so much for all your footwork. When ready to make the leap, I now have much to go on. And thanks for the tip about fonts, strange spacing, inserting table of contents and so on.

So glad you're having much success on Kindle, and even outside Canada! Thanks once again.


message 21: by Krista (new)

Krista Breen (kristamichellebreen) | 9 comments Oh man! Now I've got a whole new project for this week. Good thing the Olympics are over.

Thanks for the push Kathy!


message 22: by Kaycee (new)

Kaycee Jane (KayceeJane) | 2 comments I do not know the answers to the details you are asking about. I suggest you contact Peggy at Humanus publishing as she would know. best, k


message 23: by M.A. (new)

M.A. Demers Kindle does indeed support international publishers as we are not required to have a US bank account or tax number. Nook still requires this, as well as a US credit card, so Canadians who do not have these in place have to publish through a US aggregate, who are, IMHO, nothing more than parasites. This is because B&N only pay by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) and US anti-terrorism laws forbid transfers to personal bank accounts outside the US. Because Amazon now offers the option of paying by cheque, you don't need a US account anymore, though you would benefit highly from one.

Banks in Canada all have relationships with US banks so they can request an account be opened for you so you don't have to attend in the States; however, transferring the money from the US bank to your Canadian one is very expensive: on average $35-$40 per wire.

The better option is to open an account with a US subsidiary of a Canadian bank, though at the moment only RBC offers this (TD used to, then legally separated the entities, lost a bunch of business and are now reintegrating their Canadian and US banks but this isn't expected to be finalised until next year at the earliest). By doing so, you can transfer money from your US account to your Canadian account with no legal obstacles and for no charge because it is treated as an internal transfer between bank accounts.

You can also go with HSBC, who have a global account called Premiere, which allows you to have accounts around the world, so you could have a US account for US dollar sales, an account in London for UK sales, and another in Germany for Euro sales. But the account is expensive to maintain: $28 per month unless you have a minimum balance of $100K.

Amazon must indeed withhold 30% income tax and remit it to the IRS; however, Canada and the US have a tax treaty that reduces the tax to 0% for book royalties. If you have a US tax number (ITN) you can supply Amazon with a form W8-BEN that specifies the tax treaty number (11087) and Amazon will no longer withhold tax. For any tax already submitted while you waited for your ITN to arrive, you can apply to the IRS for a refund.

To get an ITN, you need to download form W7 from the IRS website and provide to the IRS the relevant documents: a copy of the Amazon/Kindle page that explains how they withhold tax on your royalties, a copy of your Kindle account page, preferably also a copy of your publisher's dashboard that shows your book is live, and a copy of your passport (preferably, though other forms of ID are also accepted). If you’re fortunate to live near the U.S. border, you can simply drive across to the nearest IRS office with your completed form and your passport and submit directly; the clerk who handles your application will copy your passport and stamp the Form W-7 indicating s/he personally reviewed your ID.

If you’re not fortunate enough to live near the border, it gets a lot more complicated — and expensive. This is because you will need to apply by mail and you cannot send original documents, like your passport or driver’s licence, to the IRS. The IRS instead requires a certified copy of your identification and this certified copy must be notarized either by a U.S. notary or a foreign notary (the term “notary” as used here will mean either a lawyer or a notary public). However, as the Instructions for Form W-7 state:

"[F]oreign notaries are only acceptable as outlined by the [Hague Apostille Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (1961)]. The Hague Convention provides for the simplified certification of public (including notarized) documents to be used in countries that have joined the Convention. A certification will be issued in the form of an 'apostille,' which will be attached to the copy of the document."

And therein lies the rub: Canada is not a signatory to this convention, so we don’t have an apostille system. Instead we rely on what is known as “legalization and authentication,” whereby a notarized document is sent to the notary’s governing body (a provincial Law Society or Society of Notaries) who verifies the signature and seal of the notary; and then both the notarized document and the governing body’s authentication document are submitted to a U.S. consular office for their authentication.

Instructions for Form W-7 further state that “If the document originates in a country that is not party to the Convention, applicants should have the document certified by the foreign authority that issued it.” Now, on the surface of things that sounds cheap and easy: you just go down to the passport office and have them certify a photocopy of the identity page in your passport. But Citizenship and Immigration Canada will not certify a copy of your passport unless you have a letter from the IRS requesting such, as if that’s going to happen.

Instead, you must first have the copy of your passport certified by a lawyer or notary ($25.00 - $100.00 + tax), then you need to have the governing body authenticate it ($25.00 + tax in BC), then you must submit it to the U.S. consulate to add their stamp of approval (U.S. $50.00). However, there is a shortcut: you can use any one of the notaries whose signature is registered with the U.S. consulate, thereby bypassing the need to have the governing body authenticate their member’s signature, and thus save yourself $25.

Unfortunately, the U.S. consulate doesn’t provide on their website a list of registered notaries. Luckily, most notary societies (but, I discovered, few law societies) keep a list of their members who are registered with the U.S. consulate; if you call the notary society and give them your address, they can give you the names of appropriate members in your area. If such a notary is not available in your area, you can, legally speaking, courier your passport to them to be copied and the copy notarized because the notary is not certifying the authenticity of the original document, only that the copy is that of an original document. Whether the notary will do so without you in attendance is another matter; inquire as to their policy when seeking their services.

Once you have your notarized copy and, if necessary, your governing body signature authentication document, you then need either to mail your document(s) to the US consulate or make an appointment to attend at the consulate. To make an appointment you must do so online, but it’s hidden under “U.S. Citizen Services> Notary Information.” Scroll down to “Authentications” where you will find a hyperlink to “schedule an appointment.” Make your appointment and don’t forget to take fifty U.S. dollars with you.

This is from my upcoming book on self-publishing, using Baby Jane as a case study. The manual covers stuff like this as well as copyright and trademark issues, ISBNs and UNIX, formatting for specific ebook formats, global distribution, etc.


message 24: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 163 comments Mod
Thanks for all the indepth info. Your self-publishing book sounds like a must-read for all authors. Please keep us posted!


message 25: by M.A. (new)

M.A. Demers Erma:

I just had my application for a US tax number rejected because, contrary to what Amazon tells its foreign authors, a copy of your account page and info pages from Amazon are not enough to satisfy the IRS. You need a SIGNED letter on Amazon letterhead stating they require this info. So now I'm eight weeks behind and have to go back to the States.

Also, the treaty number is 11087 but the article number is 12, and that is what needs to be put on the form.


message 26: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 163 comments Mod
Just came across 'Amazon Shorts', where an author can post a short story and offer readers a free download -this is a way to promote author's work (with a sample). Has anyone made use of this? Would be interested to know.


message 27: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) That's interesting Erma. I'll have to check it out.


message 28: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) I just looked it up and it says it's been discontinued.


message 29: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 163 comments Mod
Hmm, I just came across someone on FB with a short story download for free on Amazon. Will go back and check it out some more. But it was there. Can you send your link if it's handy?


message 30: by Renee (new)

Renee (rjmiller) http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html... Maybe the ones already published are still available? I don't know.


message 31: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 163 comments Mod
You're right - nothing to do with Amazon Shorts. The author started clicking on the link on the page to report it was cheaper other places. Amazon then set it as 'free', which is what she wanted. She ended up getting 8,000 downloads.


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