Friday, 1 April 2011

Author Visits by Gill James

I do a lot of these – some of them paid (at £350 a day plus expenses – recommended Society of Author rates) and some for free. The free ones are book promotion events where I read, talk, answers questions, sell and sign books. I still ask for travel expenses for the latter. I’m all sorts of lists but have found the most effective way of getting schools’ attention is a direct email. These cost about £200 to send out but if that is shared between several authors it can be real value for money. I recently did an up-market one which cost us £66.00 each and did £1200 of business from it – plus I now have those schools as contacts.

If you would be interested in joining in one of these mailings, email me - and we’ll set something up. Let me know the most you’re prepared to pay. Each writer would have a small bio, a book cover, room to say what sort of workshop they offer and contact details. I’ve done this often as well with six or so of us paying about £20.00

Incidentally, we’re currently offering a free school visit and five copies of Alex Smith’s Calling For Angels for £25.00 plus travel expenses. I’m currently offering the work shop (one hour long). Alex Smith is our Red Telephone Competition winner and was just 14 when she wrote the book. If you know any schools that would be interested, please let me know or get them to contact me direct. I do take some of my own titles along as well

Why we're not Kindling yet...


This looks like an absolute no-brainer, however, it is not quite what it seems. What could and should be a great leap into the future will falter at the first hurdle. It looks great. Publish direct to Amazon Kindle and you don’t even need a publisher. An author or publisher will get 70% of the price Amazon charges and we set the price. It takes seconds to upload your book. Just think, you could bring out all of those out of print books whose rights have reverted to you. Or one that is for such a niche market, no publisher will touch it.

Amazon Kindle UK now exists but because all the publishing actually happens in the States, they will withhold 30% for tax.

If you have an American tax number that says you are exempt from US tax, they will let you have everything and then it’s up to you to report your earnings to the UK authorities. However, they will not issue the letter you need to prove to US tax people that they may be holding some of your money. Smashwords will issue this letter incidentally. Even with the letter, you have to risk your passport being sent to Texas for three months. Or you can go to a US approved notary and pay £400+ for the privilege of having a copy made. You can go and get it done at the US Embassy and I have heard of one person sending her passport special delivery and getting it back a few days alter by special delivery. Maybe a day in London wouldn’t be so bad. Whatever happens, it will probably take three months. Once you have that number, though, it does mean you can open a US bank account. You could then have your money paid directly into that.So, it’s difficult even for individuals.

Small publishers face even more problems. The US tax form does not seem to recognise the term LLP. Bridge House is being knocked back every time we say we are that sort of company. We certainly do not match the other types they describe.

Amazon suggests you ask your tax advisor. We did. The best they could suggest is that one of us opens a US bank account as an individual. This does not seem a very good way of doing business.

Some have suggested telling the UK Inland Revenue that the US is withholding payment. Apparently, they’ve been awarded tax refunds.

Oh, and one final Amazon nicety. Even with the US tax number, they are still deducting the 30% from your earnings. They have forgotten to change the forms!

We really must get this sorted.

Let’s hope that these are just teething troubles. The Kindle is really exciting. We want our books out there on it. Lots of people are how talking about it, so lets hope it gets solved soon. At the moment, we daren’t risk your royalties.

New Charity Book coming in May


After selling more than 1000 copies of Gentle Footprints we are pleased to announce that our children's charity book is due for release in MAY!

Hipp-O-Dee-Doo- Dah features stories by Alan Gibbons, Laurent St. John and foreword by Michael Morpurgo.

Cover also donated by Anthony Browne.

The book will retail for £7.99 with a donation of £1 per copy to Children's Hospices UK

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