2014-01-06

Copyrights and taxes

I'm a day late with this post - sorry. The copyright issue with Scribd and Dragonverse has been resolved. Apparently, their text scanning algorithm mis-identified my book as having been nearly the same as another. Not sure of the details because Scribd did not share them with me. The whole incident did serve a purpose though in that it got me thinking and researching about copyright issues. For a very informative discussion of why every author should pay the $35.00 fee to register their novel with the U.S. Copyright office, please take a look at this blog post by Sarah Bird. I registered all 8 of my novels yesterday using the Copyright office's electronic submission process which you can find here. As government websites go, this one is pretty easy to use especially if you create a template and use it to register each of your novels.

It's coming up on tax season and I thought I would share some interesting information you should watch out for. If you sell books on Amazon and some of your sales are overseas, you will need to keep very accurate records. Here's why: Last year, I had a rather large discrepancy between the 1099s I received from Amazon and total of the actual payments received. It took some back-and-forth with Amazon before I discovered that the difference is the fee Amazon charges for currency conversion. This is about 3.33% of the total foreign sales. What's surprising is that the amount of this fee is never disclosed! Here is how the Amazon agreement reads:

5.4.3 Payment Currencies. ...If we pay you in a currency other than the Sale Currency, we will convert the Royalties due from the Sale Currency to the payment currency at an exchange rate we determine, which will be inclusive of all fees and charges for the conversion.

The full text of the agreement can be found here

Because Amazon does not tell you how much you're being charged for this conversion, the only way to find out is to compare your 1099 numbers with what Amazon actually deposited into your account. I have a problem with this because there is no proof from Amazon that this is indeed why there is a difference. If you're audited by the IRS then you might have a problem. I urge every author to write Amazon and ask them to begin disclosing this fee when they inform you of a pending payment.

In other news, I've started work on Peacekeeper 2. That's the title for now until I come up with a better one. Peacekeeper had some pretty mixed reviews and I'm hoping to address them in the new novel. I'm thinking a lot of people preferred the big battles and space warfare stories instead of a more character-driven story. I'm hoping to combine the two in the next book to satisfy every reader. If you would like to share your thoughts on this topic please feel free to write me. I am very open to feedback.

Until next Sunday (or there-abouts).