Tuesday, August 14, 2012


(Morguefile photo.)

Everyone has a different challenge, but we all have them.

Here are just a few of the challenges I face in the next few months. Yes, I have a plan, and I will win, in the long game.


In order to get royalties from Smashwords without paying a thirty percent withholding tax, I need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, (ITIN.) To do that, I need a birth certificate. Then I can apply for a passport. Then I can properly identify myself to the IRS and fill out W8EN forms, etc. Smashwords would be happy to put money into my Paypal account (next quarter,) but I don’t want to pay the withholding tax.

I have some qualms about mailing a passport and birth certificate to the IRS. There must be a better way, but that’s my immediate interpretation of their letter.

I’m very stubborn, incidentally.

Of course on an Ontario Disability Pension, finding $35.00 for a birth certificate application, $15-20.00 for a passport photo, and $80.00 for the passport may be challenging. That’s because I live 35 % below the poverty line and I’m already performing the miracle of the loaves and fishes on a daily basis as things stand now.

Why I don’t use Kick-starter to get some marketing images.

If I received a gift or series of gifts via ‘Kick-Starter,’ the ODSP would see it as income. They would allow the first $100.00 and then take fifty cents on the dollar in income penalties. They are notoriously ignorant when it comes to allowable expenses or investing back into a business. They make a ruling, and then I can appeal. It takes a year to get a hearing. I do not trust the process, which takes up an inordinate amount of time and you can’t get any justice from them anyway. If I can’t pay the rent, (65 % of my income,) I end up on the street. I find that sort of thing very disruptive to my work.

Getting the electronic funds transfer capability to get small royalties from Amazon is another challenge. The threshold is only $10.00 a month, but of course banks have monthly fees. The trick here is to get an account with access to U.S. banking. The royalties have to be more than the fees, and at some level it’s just not worth it. There’s not much point in getting that account, and paying fees, until I have the ITIN, and qualify under tax treaty for no withholding tax.

Marketing Images.

In order to get marketing images, I can’t get images without money, and I can’t get money without selling books, also subject to ODSP rules. Bit of a vicious circle, eh? That’s why it’s hard to break the cycle of poverty. Unpopular subject, so let’s move on.

Pen Names.

There’s not much point in opening up four or five more Smashwords accounts, and using a few more e-mail accounts, as long as the marketing images aren’t up to snuff. But I do see a point, hopefully not too far off, when I will probably do that. I would have a pen-name for the mysteries, that makes sense, and maybe one for the WW I parody memoir. Do I really need a pen-name for horror, fantasy and science fiction? Argh. Do I get more Twitter accounts and Facebook pages and pretend to be four or five different people? Argh. More workload—that’s what I see here, with a crappy old computer and not enough band-width. Everything takes forever.

Write more books and stories.

While suffering from a singular lack of motivation, and battling strong depression, I need to write more books, taking it on faith that somehow I will find the marketing images to give them an even chance in the world. Also, I would be taking it on faith that people will do the right thing by these books, by purchasing and reading them. Otherwise it would be pointless, as selling a half dozen copies a month is a waste of time, especially if I can never see any hope of improvement in sales or even getting what small monies are due. There’s not much point in getting angry. It is a waste of time.

Submit more stories to pro magazines.

Yeah. While attempting to back up all my work on a disc, due to the incipient and imminent computer crash that I expect will happen any day, I somehow locked up all the stories in my science fiction folder. What that means is that the stories are there, I simply don’t have permission to open them. I think this happened because one folder was just too big for the disc, and yet for some reason there was no way to back out of the process. While I can recover any story e-mailed by clicking on ‘sent’ in my e-mail box, I have never e-mailed anyone my list of submissions. What this means is that I have no idea if I have submitted a given story to a given market. I would prefer not to re-submit a story someone rejected previously, as it looks like sheer cussedness or ignorance, or not being able to take no for an answer.

I guess the answer here is to write more stuff.

When I get a minute.

Less serious is the fact that my document, ‘Titles,’ just a bunch of ideas for stories that I may or may not have gotten around to doing, is also gone. Again, I’ve never e-mailed that to anyone, so it’s not backed up in the e-mails. There may be a copy of that on a disc somewhere, but like the list of submissions, which was up to #700 last time I looked, it won‘t be up to date or complete.

I suppose any idea I had once I can have again. However, there was one incomplete story in my folder, and that one had never been e-mailed either. ‘The Deposits,’ the story in question, was sort of inspired by Robert J. Sawyer, but the world may have to live without such a tribute or parody for the foreseeable future. If you would like to know what that one was about, you’ll have to pay me $1,000.00 because I’m tired of people reading my blog and then running off with all sorts of ideas, and never even giving me a mention. You know who you are.

Over the next little while, I will be using my paint program to enhance my marketing images. Adobe CS6 requires a Pentium 4 chip to operate. I'm doing the best I can with what I have.

You'll notice I don't have a 'donate' button. If you seriously wanted to help in the success of this enterprise, the best thing anybody could do is to buy a book.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment on the blog posts, art or editing.