Giving unto Caesar

If you’re a non-US writer, and you’re selling books with an American e-publisher, you’ll know the big annoyance we all face: American e-publishers (like, oh, say, Kindle and Smashwords–the biggest ones) withhold 30% of non-US citizens’ royalties for tax purposes.

To get that money back–or more importantly, to avoid their hanging onto it in the first place–seems like a difficult problem. The labyrinthine series of forms to submit to nearly everyone involved, faxes to send, flaming hoops to jump through, and bricks to hurl through government offices’ windows is just a little bit difficult to sort out. And if you’re like me (lazy, jaded, hung over) you tell yourself that it’s not worth the onion, and sigh and play yet another game of Bejewelled Blitz.

It doesn’t have to be this way, as it turns out. Don’t worry–you can still play Bejewelled Blitz (try to stop me!) and you can still be lazy, jaded, and hung over (ditto!)–but you can fairly easily get those royalties in your pocket instead of the IRS’s.

Here’s how.

A lovely Irish writer, Catherine Ryan Howard, posted some clear and understandable, yet precise and detailed instructions devised by another lovely Irish author, David Gaughran, about how to finish the process quickly and painlessly.

I don’t use the word “hero” very often–for which I am often myself considered heroic–but these are real heroes living in our midst. They ought to be showered with the most fragrant rose-petals and lily-stems and rhubarb-leaves and pumpkin-husks that the gardens of the world have to offer.

Thanks to you both, and good luck to all those other authors who will now have approximately 30% added to their e-publishing income. I don’t know about anyone else, but that better than doubles my monthly budget for rye whiskey.

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