Publicity Tip #1
Making money is not the goal of every author – this may come as a surprise to many of you, but it’s true. One of the first pieces of advice given to most authors who want to be published is, “Know your goal for publishing.” If you just want to write a memoir for family and friends as a keepsake you are not writing to make money, nor do you need to worry about publicity.
Publicity is for writers who want to get their work out to as many people around the globe as humanly possible because they have an awesome product that they want to share. But the fun doesn’t stop there, by earning money on your first publication you will hopefully be able to fund the next, and the next, and so on.
So here it comes – how do you make money?
By keeping it.
Yup, it’s that simple. Don’t get me wrong, you need to publicize and that’s no easy task. However, once you get the word out there and sell, sell, sell you want to make sure you are earning every penny possible on the sale of those books. Yes, the publisher takes a cut, and the distributor(s), but what’s left is yours – right?
I have one word for you:
You need to know your rights and make sure that if your books are being published by a company not native to your country, they will take a percent of your earnings by taxing you.
I am a Canadian. I have chosen to release my nonfiction book Publicizing Yourself: A Beginner’s Guide to Author Marketing through Smashwords, and American-based company. If I do not officially file as an earning entity with the IRS and prove my status as a Canadian Citizen and engage the NAFTA agreement I will lose 30% of my earnings to the United States Government.
Okay, you’re saying, all I understood there was that the US wants my money. The point is, any foreign governing body will want your money if you choose to publish outside of the country you legally pay taxes to.
You want to keep your money.
And you’re right – because you’re dealing with governments and taxes and policies and treaties it’s not easy to keep that money. But there is always a way! If you are publishing traditionally with a company then their accountants will help you through this process – just be sure to ask about it. Make no assumptions. The newer smaller publishing houses might not be completely on top of the situation and three months after you start earning royalties you’ll notice that money being withheld if you don’t catch the snake before it bites you.
Self-publishers, you need to know your rights.
Canada and the United States signed the North American Free Trade Agreement back in the ’80s. What that agreement does for writers is allow us to sell and earn tax-free in either country. The catch is, you have to fill out the paperwork within the first 3 months of publication (and it takes a minimum of 6 weeks to process the paperwork, so you do the math).
So, for all you Canadians out there – look up the IRS and download yourself some information on W-7 forms and how to fill them out. Once you do that and send the form and your pertinent information down to the States, you will receive an ITIN or TIN number.
Now, I did mention this wasn’t going to be easy…
Once you have your ITIN # you need to either fill out a W-8 Ben form or an SS-4 form (that will take another 6 weeks to process). What’s the difference? you ask… simply put: a W-8 Ben form is used when a publisher acts as your “Publishing House” or “Imprint.” An SS-4 form is for self-publishers who become their own publishing company. There’s more to it than that, but you get the idea.
No matter what, read all of the documentation you can get a hold of in order to make sense of it all BEFORE you book is published. That way you’ll be prepared and can stay ahead of the numbers game.
Remember – If you want to make money, you need to keep it.