I’ve a few ‘writerly’ things to impart this week:
Amazon Tax Form
Those of you with e-books for sale on Amazon will have received a request to complete an on-line tax ‘interview’ or risk having your books removed from the website. I was a bit concerned when I saw this, in case I had to go through the palaver of getting a US tax exemption certificate. But the ‘interview’ was very easy and quick to complete and no certificates were needed. The benefit of the tax exemption certificate is that it stops Amazon withholding 30% of the royalties on US sales but the downside is it necessitates a trip to London to get ID validated – not worth it financially for me because the vast majority of my sales are in the UK.
If you want more information on this, have a look at Nick Daws’ blog.
By the way, I wonder if the UK government withholds money from US citizens? I doubt it somehow.
A Good Review
Talking of e-books. Brian David, from the CheerReader website, has sung the praises of ‘A Writer on Writing – Advice to Make You a Success!’ on his site’s homepage (scroll down this page to see the review). He describes it as:
‘a superb little tome that gives you all the hints and advice you need to make your writing as good as you want it to be’.
Win a Toothbrush
Last Monday I picked up the Metro newspaper (free on some public transport) on a train to Milton Keynes and spotted the Rush-hour Crush competition. Just write a few words about that dishy man/woman you’ve spotted on the bus/train/tube and you could win a Sonicare HealthyWhite electric toothbrush. There’s a prize each day but you’ll have to be quick, the competition ends on 13th September 2013. Entry is by an electronic form here.
Finally, I had a phone call this week to tell me that I’ve won the Friends of Morley Literature Festival Short Story competition, judged by Gervase Phinn. The story was originally written for last year’s Jeremy Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing competition and it came nowhere. But now it’s won me £50 so I’m chuffed to bits! (By the way, I also won this competition in 2011 so maybe I shouldn’t enter next year …)
#1 by Writer / Mummy on September 8, 2013 - 7:04 am
If you want to prevent Amazon (or Smashwords) withholding 30% of your US profits, you only need an EIN number. This can be acquired by calling them or by faxing over an SS-4 form (which takes a few days). I did this last week and wrote about it on my blog. Having stressed about it for over a year, it was actually fairly unstressful. Now I just need a few more US sales!
#2 by Writer / Mummy on September 8, 2013 - 7:05 am
Oops, this is the link to my post (assuming this comment doesn’t get spammed!) http://writermummy.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/f-ein-tastic-2013-365-challenge-247/
#3 by Sally Jenkins on September 8, 2013 - 11:16 am
Thank you so much, Writer/Mummy. I’ve just had a quick look at your post and you make it sound simple! I must follow your example and get this done.
#4 by Writer / Mummy on September 8, 2013 - 1:01 pm
I think Catherine Caffeinated needs to take the credit: there is so much advice on her website about the process. It is quite simple, although the forms look quite daunting.
#5 by Wendy Clarke on September 8, 2013 - 7:10 am
Great about the Friends of Morley win – clever you for winning it twice. I’ve just checked and realised I haven’t got A Writer on Writing – will remedy that now!
#6 by Sally Jenkins on September 8, 2013 - 11:17 am
Thanks, Wendy and I hope you enjoy the book!
#7 by Lesley Dawson on September 8, 2013 - 8:54 am
Congratulations, Sally, on your success with the short story competition and for having the faith in yourself to re-submit your story elsewhere! Thanks also for the advice on tax for Amazon Kindle Publishers, as I’m planning to self-publish on Amazon in the near future. I’ll have to look into it further. I suppose it’s really like going self-employed and I will need to pay my own insurance stamps. Can you point me in the right direction for more information – I suppose the Kindle Publishing pages would be a good place to start?
#8 by Sally Jenkins on September 8, 2013 - 11:38 am
Lesley – Not being an accountant I can’t really advise on going self-employed but there was a good article in last month’s Writing Magazine about it (not the current issue in the shops). Regarding US tax and not letting the US take 30%, see Writer/Mummy’s link in a previous comment on this blog and, yes, also see the Kindle Publishing pages. Best of Luck with the book!
#9 by Lesley Dawson on September 8, 2013 - 8:42 pm
Thank you for your reply, Sally. I’m sending you a Sunshine Award and you can find it here:
#10 by Sally Jenkins on September 9, 2013 - 6:41 pm
Thanks, Lesley. I’m touched.
#11 by susanjanejones on September 8, 2013 - 11:22 am
Congratulations on winning again Sally, you have got the knack. Also I need to get A writer on writing. Not sure if I’ll bother with the tax form thingy, but I’ll take a look at writermummy’s link and decide. Thanks for all the useful information, and the metro competition.
#12 by Sally Jenkins on September 8, 2013 - 11:40 am
It’s a pleasure, Susan.
#13 by Nick Daws (@nickdaws) on September 8, 2013 - 12:00 pm
Thanks for mentioning my blog post, Sally, and many congrats on your competition win!
Regarding the Amazon tax interview, yes, you only need to visit the US Embassy (or something equally drastic) if you want an ITIN. Nowadays, most Kindle authors go for an EIN instead. This is much easier to acquire via letter, fax or phone call, and still qualifies you for exemption from the withholding tax.
Even if you don’t want to do this, though, as you say in your post it’s still important to complete the KDP online interview, to avoid having your e-books removed from sale by Amazon.
#14 by Sally Jenkins on September 8, 2013 - 6:21 pm
Thanks for clarifying this, Nick. Until now, I hadn’t realised that an EIN was easier to obtain than ITIN – so that seems the way to go.
#15 by Jean on September 8, 2013 - 12:48 pm
Thanks for all the tips, advice and information, Sally, and congratulations on your win. It was really interesting that it was not the first competition you submitted the story to. I have been put off resubmitting when I haven’t been shortlisted, thinking my work is not good enough. It does show that competition judging can sometimes be subjective. Of course it also depends what you are competing with each time.
#16 by Sally Jenkins on September 8, 2013 - 6:24 pm
Jean, it’s always worth trying a story elsewhere because, as you say, judging is so subjective. One judge might love a story that a different judge hates. Also some competitions get a lot more entries than others, which can have a bearing on the result.
#17 by Carl D'Agostino on September 8, 2013 - 2:39 pm
Here in US sales royalties reported to IRS for end of year filing but no withholding as in paycheck. For as much money as I have put up, I’d have to sell a bazillion books to break even so losses exceed profit so no tax if itemize.
#18 by Sally Jenkins on September 8, 2013 - 6:28 pm
Thanks for the US view, Carl. Our UK sales royalties aren’t reported automatically to the Inland Revenue (as far as I’m aware). We would have to include them on our tax return, along with any sales in the US and other countries – so we could end up paying tax twice on US sales because of the 30% withholding.
#19 by Julia on September 8, 2013 - 4:40 pm
I had the Amazon email and thought I’d just ignore it, figuring that if it’s important they’ll be in touch again. Maybe I should dig it out of the Bin.
#20 by Sally Jenkins on September 8, 2013 - 6:29 pm
Don’t ignore it Julia – not worth risking your books being withdrawn from sale!
#21 by hilarycustancegreen on September 9, 2013 - 10:20 pm
Congrats about the short story prize. (My only prize ever was for a 50-word story in The Oldie, £20 and a bottle of whisky was the best return per word I have ever earned).
#22 by Sally Jenkins on September 10, 2013 - 9:01 am
A very good return per word, Hilary! Perhaps you should look out for more flash fiction competitions!
#23 by Anne Harvey on September 16, 2013 - 6:51 pm
Good news about yet another win, Sally. I finally tackled the Amazon tax thingy today, having had problems with it in the past. I must have missed something out on previous attempts because i had no problems today.
#24 by Sally Jenkins on September 17, 2013 - 7:21 am
Anne – good to hear you got through the tax thingy without problems this time!