In Good Company

As regular readers will already realise, one of my goals is to be a published writer. One possible option to achieve this was always author-publishing. I had intended to approach it in the sensible and careful manner appropriate to a Briton and a Lawyer. Instead I have found myself jumping off a cliff.

Earlier this week (for reasons not relevant to this story) the publisher of Fauxpocalypse made the courageous decision to ask if any of the contributors would be ready to take over as publisher. I put my name forward, and was rather pleased to discover none of the other contributors objected. So – rather than my original author-publishing strategy of investigating the steps needed and allowing myself to plenty of time to do each step – I endeavoured to set myself up on KDP and CreateSpace as fast as possible. Which was quite stressful for someone who constitutionally favours considered thought.

The first and greatest obstacle is that US tax law requires that royalties to non-US entities are subject to a 30% withholding against potential US tax liabilities unless the recipient has filed paperwork confirming they are subject to an international treaty on tax that waives or modifies the tax burden. The United Kingdom is party to a treaty waiving the withholding; however, certifying that I benefit from the treaty requires that I have a US Tax Identification Number. The standard guidance is that individuals without a US Social Security Number can obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, a process which takes up to eight weeks and involves either posting your passport to the US or getting the US embassy to make a certified copy. However, my wife found this article last night; if you register as a business with a sole proprietor instead of a private individual you obtain an Employer Identification Number by telephone.

So, although most of yesterday was spent struggling with ITIN application processes and this morning was spent waiting for the IRS to wake up, a 10 minute telephone call to the US just before lunch provided me with the number. It might not have been cheap but was probably still cheaper than travelling to the US Embassy in London. More importantly it took minutes instead of weeks. Completing the exemption certificates was similarly the work of minutes, so now I only await confirmation that the various branches of Amazon have received and successfully processed them.

With my status clarified enough that I no longer received hideous warnings on my accounts that the world would end without a tax code, I could finish initial set-up. So now all I need to do is:

  1. confirm I have a clean and final draft of everything
  2. work out the final order for the stories
  3. compile all the Fauxpocalypse stories, author bios, copyright notices, &c. into a single document
  4. proof the document
  5. upload the perfected document to KDP and CreateSpace
  6. create proofs for both ebook and print copy
  7. fix random artefacts of the upload process
  8. wonder where all the coffee went
  9. upload the cover
  10. proof the cover for both formats
  11. discover everything I had forgotten

All in all, a wonderful opportunity to operate outside my comfort zone, and justify the consumption of more coffee. Updates on key triumphs, obstacles, and absurdities will follow.

Therefore the release date of Fauxpocalypse remains indeterminate, but it is now my indeterminate and I love it dearly.

Feel free to add thoughts or gestures of support in the comments. Or to send me good quality coffee beans to power my quest.


8 thoughts on “In Good Company

    1. The disparity between the ease of proving I am a UK citizen and proving I am a UK business entity is definitely lawyerly.

      Although the deeper question of whether it is a product of lawyers takes us into the discussion of whether the US has a legal system, which I will not get into because it is only actually fun for legal theorists.


    1. Thank you. From my initial check through the files Misha sent, he has given me a sound starting point.

      Getting myself set up was only really stressful because I wanted to avoid the project languishing. If I had been gearing up to publish my own work having to potentially wait a few months to set up US tax records might not have bothered me.

      Most of the remaining tasks (proofreading certainly) only need me to spend time carefully checking things, so – while they will still no doubt bring hiccups – will allow me to have more control over how they get done, and how long they take.


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