The Self-Published Author and the 30%

Widdershins On Red VelvetI read this article today by David Gaughran on his blog, ‘Lets Get Digital – How To Self-Publish And Why You Should’. It’s on his ‘Practicalities’ page, and if you scroll down to the last topic you’ll come across this information:

Amazon, Smashwords, etc, are obliged by US law to withhold 30% of a self-published authors royalties unless they are provided with a Social Security Number? (for US authors) They hold on to that 30% until the end of the tax year. If it’s not claimed then it goes to the IRS.

International authors are subject to the same law, and they can apply to get that 30% released as well.

There are two ways to do this – get an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) from the IRS, which, from what I’ve just read, is a painfully long process, or you can get an EIN, (Employee Identification Number) also from the IRS, which is slightly less traumatic.

If you don’t live in the US and are, or are planning to, Self-Publish, these two posts give you step-by-step instructions on how to obtain these numbers.

How to get an EIN (Employee Identification Number) which I got from Catherine Ryan Howard’s Blog, Catherine, Caffeinated.

How to get an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number)

If, after reading these posts, you’re tempted to think it’s not worth the effort, take a moment to study this chart.


Just as writing is an art, it’s also a business, and making sure we get all that is due to us in return for our blood and words, we need to take care of business … and then get back to writing!


“No, there is literally nothing on the business side that I wouldn’t sacrifice in a heartbeat to have an extra couple of hour’s writing. Nothing” J.K. Rowling


The Infernal Chatter of the Spotted Mind

After watching this wonderful video I came across on a Frog’s (friend through a blog) post, I started to think about how we surround our inner selves with constant chatter and how much of a challenge it is to shut it off.

Point in case. I have sent out requests to various carefully selected review blogs, newsletters, periodically etc. Selected because they’re in some way connected with LGBTQ readers/community, or SF/Fantasy readership/community.

Today the first of them emailed me and said they’d love to read my book, and would I send them my ARC? (Author Reader Copy – usually one proof read away from the published product)

This is how my admittedly adrenaline fueled mind-chatter went from the moment I saw who the email was from …

“At last, someone’s responded. I wonder what took them so long? Well, better open it. What if they say, ‘no thanks’? What will I do then? What if they say ‘send us a copy?’ I think I need a cup of tea before I open this. OK, the kettle’s on, I suppose I should open the email. I mean, what’s the worst thing they could say? They want to read it! This is fantastic. This is terrible. I probably should go clean the toilet before I send the ARC off. Maybe I should read it again before I do. What would be the point of that? It’s a PDF. I can’t change anything anyway. Jeez Widder, you’re a grown-up. Just email the bloody thing off will you!!!”

… And that was merely the warm-up act.

Thankfully I have this inbuilt ‘Whack Self Upside The Head’ button that fairly quickly derails these gerbil-on-a-wheel thought processes, otherwise I’d drive not only myself completely nuts but those around me as well. Mrs Widdershins and the cat are very accommodating of my writerly eccentricities but even they have their limits.

The metaphorical head-whacking worked and I did send the ARC off without, too much, further ado.

Back to my intro wherein I ponder the strange force that is mind-chatter.

It’s a very useful trait in a writer … to a point. Character voices gain depth, scenes can be plotted to their conclusion, etc. But after that it just gets in the way, because sooner or later writer’s gotta write.

If my mind is skittering all over the place chasing moonbeams and lollypops, I won’t get that word count up, or that edit finished, or that ARC sent out.

The real trick is figuring out how to deliberately turn it off – without consciousness altering substances, mostly because they really wreak havoc with the eye to hand to keyboard motor skills.

Thankfully in a previous life (as in prior to naming myself a Writer, not reincarnation) I studied various Shaman meditation techniques, which give me a quick and easy way to shift from a beta state to an alpha, to shift gears so to speak, and allow the creativity of writing to come through, rather than the creativity that can be found in mind chatter.

If all else fails, I make a cup of tea.


I leave the last word to one of my heroes, Alice Walker,  she of ‘The Color Purple’, and so many other wonderful and challenging books.

Doing work you love (writing) and where it can take you.

Irony and Serendipity

Irony and Serendipity … (Reminds me of that wonderful song by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder)

Imagine my surprise when I opened up my emails this morning and found . . . My First Edits awaiting me!

Now, of course my editor has been working on them for a while, it’s 300 double spaced pages after all, but as my twin Muses Serendipity and Irony, are wont to point out, it’s interesting that her email turned up today.

I’m preparing myself with several bracing cups of tea before I open the file. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Another of Serenditpty’s Life Lessons here. You never know what’s going to happen once you let go of something.

I’ll continue chortling quietly to myself over here in my corner.

However Irony has the last word. Up until last week I’ve had exactly 4 migraines in my entire adult life. Last week I had 4 in 5 days! OUCH. Migraines effect (or affect – I can never get those two to make up their minds) the vision, and I kinda need my vision to edit 300 pages. The good news is that they seem to have subsided and I know what’s causing them.

Menopause. Irony’s last laugh, I am now officially a Menopausal Butch!!!


“Brain research tells us that only twenty percent of human beings have a sense of irony, which means that eighty percent of the world takes everything at face value”Doug Coupeland

The link may not be to the right Doug Copeland, but after reading about him, this quote seems to fit.

Bare Bones + “Waiting …”

Oh Brave New World … I go forth into a new theme …

This is ‘Almost Spring’, which is appropriate given that Spring has only just/almost/nearly given way to Summer here in Lotus Land. I’ve not played with all the formatting I want yet, but this has … um … possibilities.

Note to Self: Do something about the font size and background! (Might just use my signature ‘Endora’ icon until I figure out how to crop my cover artwork so that it fits)


And now, on to the post of the, well,  it’s been a while, so I’ll call it Post of the week-or-two!

Patience is Not the same as Waiting

Patience is an inner process whereby our actions are determined by how comfortable we are with our inner processes in any given situation. A task that needs to be done can either be seen as tiresome/time consuming or just as something that needs to be done to move our life forward. We can either grumble/have a hissy fit/spit the dummy (pacifier for North Americans), stamp our feets-es and otherwise use up a whole lot of energy we could put to better use, i.e. doing the task!

Waiting however, is a whole ‘nuther kettle of kittens. Waiting involves having to respond or react to external events/people/forces/time frames that have very little to do with how we live (or want to live) our lives more often than not.

I have patience … now. I learned patience in a very hard school of knocks. I learned patience when I had no other choice but to wait for my body to heal after my motorcycle accident. During those long months I learned how to change my perception of Time. I learned how to tap into my Inner Knowing. I learned patience with pain.

I never learned how to wait, but patience helps.

I’m still waiting on an editor. My ‘pencil’ publish date of 30th July looms closer, (I check the email containing the agreed upon date regularly to convince myself that it still reads 30th July 2011, not 2012! – A perfect marketing opportunity at Gay Pride Festival is passing by at a great rate of knots) but, in the interests of sanity and getting on with the rest of my life I’ve let that one go. It will happen whenever it happens. See, I’m not waiting anymore, but I’m patient! . . . And I have a very long memory.


“The way I see it, I can either cross the street, or I can keep waiting for another few years of green lights to go by”Camryn Manheim

Tags: Patience, editors, Vancouver Pride,

Writing in your Jammies

Working from home has it’s ups and downs.

We live in an area that’s a combination of older low-rise apartments and a whole bunch of lovingly restored free-standing houses, some of which date back to the late 1800’s. Very impressive they are, however . . . they also have pocket-handkerchief sized areas of grass, and whenever there’s the slightest hint of sun out come the lawn manicuring power tools. I’ve only come across one that’s electrical, the rest are gas powered, and very loud. My best writing times are late in the evening so consequently I sprrrrroing out of bed at the crack of 10.30am. It’s not worth trying to have a conversation with me until I’ve had my third cup of tea, so imagine my – how shall I put this delicately – displeasure this morning when the sound of leaf-blowers, edge-trimmers, mowers and a high-impact nail gun (no idea what they were doing!) that echoed along our sleepy chestnut tree lined street.

Haven’t these guys ever heard of grass rakes and reel mowers? They even conduct their lawn maintenance-erly duties when its raining. I want to sit out on my patio sipping my tea and listen to the rain, not the two-tone buzz of a weed-wacker.

One day a friend and I contemplated the sort of vengeance we could extract from the situation. She concluded that a paintball gun might be useful. It’s not deadly force but will undoubtedly catch their attention. And if a few balls impact on the much hated noise-makers, well, so be it!

Another aspect of working from home is not having to dress for the office. Not having to dress at all. I don’t mean that I scoot around the apartment naked, the neighbours are too close to subject to that sort of treatment, but in what I call my schlumping clothes. Scruffy, frayed at the edges, comfy, and definitely not for company clothes; aka, jammies.

Way back last century when I realised that I was not suited, either by temperament or desire, to work in an office for someone else, I heard that one should dress as though one were going to the ‘office’ in order to instil the correct mindset in oneself; that of going to ‘work’, and thereby being able to ‘produce’ whatever it was that one was producing.

In a fit of virtuous workethic-ness I got up, had my three cups of tea, showered, dressed ‘business casual’ and walked briskly into the spare bedroom that I’d converted into my office/workroom. In all honesty I probably lasted three days of such insanity.

This strategy may indeed work for some folk, but not for this little black duck! I felt uncomfortable, a fraud, and anxious about entering the rest of my house until after ‘quittin’ time.

I do understand the rationale, but as a motivator, going for a bicycle ride with my trusty notebook in my pannier is far more effective for me when I enter the doldrums of the writerly life.

These days I turn my computer on in the (late) morning, make my tea, run through my emails, and start to write. Simple, straight to the point.


“Did I ever tell you how I shot a wild elephant in my pyjamas? How he got into my pyjamas I’ll never know” Julius Henry Marx 

Who is Julius Henry? If you haven’t guessed, check out the link.