Setting up as a self-published author on Amazon (Part 2)

Intro and disclaimer: I am a UK-based writer. I signed up to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service during September 2012 with an aim to publish a selection of stories on Kindle and Kindle apps. These posts are aimed to describe the process I went through and shouldn’t be considered professional advice. This is the internet after all. Still, I hope you find it of use. Okay, let’s get stuck in.

Part 2 – Joining Amazon KDP

In part 1 I discussed the merits and drawbacks of publishing your work through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) service. In this part I’ll discuss the process of joining KDP.

You can find Amazon’s KDP service via this link to their homepage. Alternatively look towards the bottom of most Amazon pages and you’ll see a link that says “Self-publish with us”.

Once on the homepage you can sign up to KDP using your existing Amazon account, which is a cinch. (I don’t believe there is anything to stop you creating another Amazon account if you wish to keep things separate.)

Once in you will be asked to complete a few details about yourself, such as name, address and phone number. Finally, on this same page, you can enter the details of a bank account for your royalties. (Amazon will send you a cheque each month subject to a minimum of £100/$100/€100 if you do not supply a bank account.)

UK authors should be aware that sort codes and account numbers won’t cut it here. Instead you will need your account’s IBAN number and your bank’s BIC code. Your IBAN will contain your sort code/account combination prefixed with a country code and some check digits. The BIC code is used to globally identify your bank. You can often find these details on your bank statement. If you bank online should be able to find your IBAN and BIC after some digging. (Look for anything that allows you to print a statement.) Failing that you can contact your bank.

UK authors should also note that providing a UK bank account will cover royalties for most Amazon marketplaces (currently UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy), but not Amazon US. I think for the US marketplace you need to provide details of a US$ bank account, for which a UK bank may charge. (I think that’s a reasonable assumption to make in this day and age!) The alternative is to have Amazon send you a cheque, as mentioned earlier. Annoyingly this too will be in US$, and your bank will likely charge you a sizeable sum to pay it into your account. I sincerely hope this arrangement changes the more that Kindle catches on in the UK.

Finally, and this is absolutely crucial for non-US residents, make sure you don’t pay any unnecessary taxes. By default Amazon has to apply 30% withholding tax, payable to the IRS, on all royalties it pays to non-US residents. If that’s not bad enough authors then need to apply their own domestic income tax to whatever remains! Thankfully there is something you can do, but it requires a fair bit of legwork. A number of countries have a tax treaty in place with the US so that all or some of the withholding tax can be waived. You will need to apply for a US tax number, called an ITIN, and complete a form for each US-based publishing platform you intend to use. (I’ll cover this in a separate “General Setup” post as I’ve only recently started the process.)

So that’s the initial setup of KDP performed. Next we’ll move onto the fun stuff!

Coming next in part 3: Publishing an eBook via Amazon KDP.

Final note: If you see anything that is incorrect in any of these pages please let me know. It’s not my intention to misinform!

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