Rather than statistical or craft things, I figured some administrative items that I wished I knew that would have my life easier when I started indie publishing.
- Cover designers, editors and proofreaders all take time. It’s best to get started arranging them while you’re in the draft (2nd or 3rd or however you do it) stage than when you’re done.
- Set-up a Transferwise account. This allows you to accept money in originating currencies, often in the same location (e.g. US$ bank account for US$ transactions) which will save you in minimum payout amounts in some cases (Amazon) and in exchange fees in all cases (from banks/Amazon/etc.).
You can also use the Transferwise account to pay ACH fees or Euro fees to your suppliers. Who, if they have an account too, would cost them (or you!) nothing.
- Set-up your KDP account immediately and input your bank account details as soon as you can. This will allow you to pass the ‘wait’ time when you change/add account details rather than forcing you to wait again if you do it last minute. Amazon in particular only pays once a month so if you miss the payment window, you’d be waiting an extra month.
- PayPal is useful for small business transactions between cover designers, etc. Don’t send as Friends/Family because you lose a lot of protection (from PayPal), incur fees on your side (which the supplier should have priced in) and also put your account at risk. A business accounts lets you take much higher transaction amounts without an issue, but takes longer to set-up.
- If you are not native to the US (in particular, Canada), you can set-up an EIN via a phone call. At the time I did it, this was a much better option than setting up via their online portal (and had to be done I believe because I was in Canada).
As an indie published author, you are considered a sole proprietorship and thus, yes, a business and are eligible for an EIN. You can use your social insurance number too for Amazon tax reports, but it can sometimes cause weirdness in tax withholdings. So, the EIN is actually easier I found.
- Creating and signing up for an Author Central account will let you put your author bio, a photograph and claim your books which will allow others to review your work.
- You are allowed up to 10 categories per book (yes, ebook & paperback!) on Amazon. You have to e-mail KDP support to get your books added to some categories and you have to have the exact string of categories, but it can be done. This is useful to get your categories added before you launch (i.e. during pre-orders).
- As a Canadian you can get free ISBNs via Collections Canada. Get them, use them. You need one ISBN per format type (ebook, paperback, hardcover, audiobook, etc.).
For Americans, you’ll have them buy them. It’s best to buy in bulk as I understand it to get total cost per ISBN down.
- Check what kind of fonts you use. While it doesn’t matter for ebooks in the majority, it makes a difference in print. Don’t use Times New Roman. Sans serif fonts are the best for paperbacks.
Adjust your first line set-up. If you use the automated indent from Word, it’s actually too deep (I believe it’s 0.5″) and it shows. Also, it’ll make formatting hell. I use 0.31″ and it shows up with just enough of an indent to be noticeable but not too deep to make the paragraphs looks weird on ebooks.
If you use word, make sure to use Styles including styles for normal paragraphs and headings. Done right, you’ll have an easy set-up for paperbacks right after.
- You can get a Facebook Author Page for free. You can get a newsletter service like Mailerlite for free. They are both very useful to keep fans coming back. Link to them at the back of your books. A website is good too, but not free (though often you can get it cheap!)
- Use an Excel sheet or an actual bookkeeping software to track expenses IMMEDIATELY. This will save you time and effort at the end of the year.
You can often include a lot of different expenses that you might not consider into your business, but ask your accountant for help. Jurisdictions and laws will alter what you can claim.
Those are all the ones that come right now. I might edit if I remember anything else. Feel free to comment if you have any administrative tips for new writers!
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