B&N Press is excited that Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand authors can now publish direct with us! With this new expansion, we asked one of our bestselling, non-US based authors to lend some helpful insights into publishing from abroad.
3 Tips to Self-Publishing For Non-US Authors
By Bree Wolf
Today, the release of a new book is often only a few clicks away—even from halfway around the globe. If you write in English as I do or had your book translated into English, but are not located in the US, you might wonder how to best publish your work in the US market. You might be wondering about royalties and tax withholding, pricing your book, and marketing it to US readers.
A quick heads-up, don’t allow yourself to be intimidated because it’s a lot easier than it might seem. Here are a few pointers to get you started:
1. Royalties & Tax Withholding
If you decide to publish your work directly with a major retailer, such as B&N Press, there are usually two sets of royalties (details may vary with different retailers), which depend on the pricing of your book.
$0.99 – $2.98 — 40%
$2.99 – $199.99 — 65%
Generally, royalties are accumulated over the range of a month and then paid in full (usually through a bank transfer) about 60 days later. In order to give you an idea of how your sales are going, B&N Press provides meta data with regard to unit sales so you can keep better track of how your promotional efforts transfer into actual sales.
Of course, whenever money is earned, taxes need to be paid. The US is required to withhold 30% of income tax from sales payments of non-US vendors. Yes, that’s bad news, but there’s also good news!
In fact, the US has income tax treaties with a number of foreign countries in order to avoid double taxation. This means that as long as you pay taxes in your country of residence, you can apply to have your US tax withholding rate reduced (often even to 0%), which means you do not pay taxes in the US after all. See, good news!
B&N Press facilitates the application process by providing the necessary form for you to fill out. Then you simply fill in your information, send it in and give it a little bit of time to be processed. Voila! You’re ready to sell in the U.S.
2. Pricing Your Book
When pricing your book, there are two goals to keep in mind: increasing your income and getting your books into the hands of as many readers as possible. Of course, these two goals often go hand in hand.
Especially when writing in a series (but not limited to it), authors often price their first ebook at $0.99 or even offer it for free. At $0.99, you are paid 40% by B&N Press, which of course is less than the 65% you’d get if you’d priced your ebook higher. However, at a lower price, your book might be picked up by more readers than it would otherwise. That in turn means that there is a higher chance for more readers to continue on to the higher-priced volumes of the series.
At $2.99, I’ve found I receive the best return with regard to both goals. On the one hand, you receive a 65% royalty on sales, but it is also considered a relatively low price point so that many readers will still pick it up. Nevertheless, it is often recommendable to have a lower priced book in order to gain new readers.
Depending on your genre, books price differently. I recommend looking at comparable books in your genre and checking their prices as well as ranking to give you some idea of how they are doing. But keep in mind that there are many aspects that influence a book’s success besides their price, such as cover, blurb, reviews, etc.
You also have the option of publishing box sets, which are a wonderful way to earn extra royalties as the work is minimum and the price point can be set rather high.
EBooks are a big selling point today with readers as they are a comparatively cheap option. However, B&N Press also offers the ability to publish a paperback or even a hardcover edition of your book as well.
3. Marketing to US Readers
Naturally, marketing in person at book signings and readings is more difficult when you aren’t in the same country as your readers. However, most marketing is done online today anyway, so your country of residence is less of a factor here.
For example, one of the biggest eBook promotional sites today is BookBub, which sends out a newsletter to its large US (as well as international) subscriber pool every day, advertising eBook discounts. I recommend you claim your author page and start collecting followers – in the US as well as internationally. This way, you can send out pre-order alerts in advance of your book release. BookBub being only one of the many options there are to promote your book online.
Other promotional efforts, such as building an author platform through your own website as well as social media sites are not hindered by a difference in location. There are so many options out there these days that it’s often difficult to find the one that works best for you and your books (a lot depends on the genre in which you write).
Another thing to keep in mind about publishing as a non-US author, book covers vary widely from one country to another. I’d recommend you work with an American cover designer and have a new cover designed for the US market in order to have your book be appealing to US readers.
So, if you want to see your books published in the US market, there is nothing holding you back, but fear of the unknown. And that is never a good reason not to do something!
I am the author of Love’s Second Chance Series (Regency Romance) and the Forbidden Love Novella Series. Check out www.breewolf.com where you can see how I best use my website to market myself and my books (including a link to follow me on BookBub!).