The Things They Don’t Tell You About Publication

Question: What’s an ITIN?

Answer: Why it’s an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number! That thing that stops the IRS from withholding 30% of your profits when you sell your book in the US from outside of the US. It lets them know: “Hey guys, my country has a tax treaty with your country so, don’t do that thing you do. Okay? Thanks!”

If you live outside the US and you’re planning on making use of a distributor like Amazon.com, Smashwords, etc, make sure you get one of these and get it early on. If you’re approved for an ITIN, it’s going to take them six weeks to mail it to you. Also, from what I’ve been reading, your ITIN doesn’t apply to the year in which it’s issued to you, so if this is your first time selling to the US, you’d better start this process while you’re still writing your first draft.

I don’t recall seeing a self-publication guide that so much as mentions this so, as you can guess, it was a nasty little surprise I stumbled upon while uploading my book. All I can say is: wow this is way more complicated than I thought it would be. I have way more respect for self-pubbed authors now that I’m running the gauntlet myself.