I wrote yesterday about my decision to become a Kindle author. I plan to put some of my teaching stuff up down the road, and hope to promote them and make them a side business. But this first book was a passion project and I don’t expect to make money on it. It was simply a book I wanted to read myself! And since the work was done anyway, why not share it?
The sharing process was both straightforward and fiddly at the same time. Here is what happened when I was ready to get my book uploaded.
1) Setting Up a KDP Account
The Amazon.ca link for setting up a KDP account redirected me to the .com portal, which was interesting. It was no problem to fill in my personal information, and that was done in a matter of minutes. But there were two sections of the profile set-up which took special consideration: the payment information and the tax interview.
Amazon.ca had billed the experience as a straightforward one, where you could get wireless transfers and be paid in your local currency. That only works if you set up a bank account with Amazon though, and that proved impossible. Amazon wanted some very specific information which my bank did not have available.
There was one mandatory field which ground the whole thing to a halt: the BIC number. I did not know what this was and could not find it anywhere on my online banking system, so I turned to Google. What I found was a discussion thread on the TD website where various people ask for the BIC number and are told that Canadian banks simply don’t use them. Various alternatives are suggested, and various people reply that they tried to put those in to no avail. Their German bank/French bank/Swedish bank wants a BIC number, and that is that.
So I threw in the towel on adding a bank account. Amazon will pay me by cheque, when or if I accumulate at least $100 in sales. And that is every portal of Amazon—the Brits will send me one in their currency when I hit $100 there, the Japanese will send me in their currency when I hit $100 there and so on. A hassle, but what can be done?
2) Doing a Tax Interview
The second thing which had to be done was the tax interview. Although the .ca portal has worked out the permissions for me to link my account to the Kindle publishing service, it still seems to be run by the American parent company, So, the first thing I had to do was establish whether I was an American or not.
This was a comical process. I ticked the box which said I was not American, and then was given several screens worth of prompts to prove or disprove this theory. Did I have an American passport? Was I born in America? Did I have a property in America and did I live in that property? Did I have an IRS number? Was I really, really sure I was not an American?
The final proof was that I filed taxes in a country other than America and had a tax number. I put in my Canadian social insurance number, virtually signed my now-complete W-8 form (for citizens of countries who have a tax treaty with America) was was now ready to upload my book.
3) Uploading my Book
Because my book contained public domain materials, it had to go through a special process. I had to include every one of the original authors and translators names, and then I received a follow-up email asking me to provide a URL which documented the dates of their births and deaths.
I sent them the Internet Archive page, and waited. And waited. And waited. It struck me as ironic that they were putting my carefully proof-read book through such a long verification. If they had spent even a fraction of the time running that $18 version through a basic spell-checker, they never would have allowed her book onto the Kindle store, and my book would not exist!
Finally, after a follow-up email where they asked me to spell out who the authors were and what were the dates of their lives more explicitly so they would not have to read the page I sent them. my book went up. And here we are.
My next steps? I want to get a website up, and start putting up some other things. I have several readers I made to use with my students and I want to put those up next. It should be easier now that I have everything set up. Wish me luck!