We covered how to publish your ebook on Amazon KDP in detail in our last post. But the big question everyone wants to know is this: HOW DO I GET PAID?
You gotta have several things first before you start seeing any money:
- A US bank account
- A W-8BEN
Amazon pays royalties “approximately 60 days following the end of the calendar month during which the sales were made.” This means two months after the month in which you sold your books, so if you made any sales in January, you’ll probably receive your money at the end of March/beginning of April.
Yay, money! Right? Unfortunately, as a Malaysian, it’s not that easy. You’d wish that you could just enter your bank account number and see the money roll in. Nope.
The first we can’t help you with. Sorry. For the other two, here are some general tips on how to get set up.
Update your Author/Publisher Information
Go to your account (the link on the top right-hand corner) and fill up your publisher information.
Full name here is your official name, according to your IC. This is NOT your pen name. This information will not be shown to the public anywhere—it’s only for finance use.
I’m pretty sure you know how to fill in your own address so…
If you’re a super patient person (or you don’t have a bank account with any of the recognised marketplaces), you’ll have to wait for a cheque. Which will only be paid AFTER you reach $100 in the respective marketplace. Note that this is AFTER applicable tax withholding too. Meaning, you’ll need to get about $143.00 in royalties in the US Kindle Store before you’ll get a cheque ($143.00 – 30% = $100.10).
And no, Amazon does not pay out through Paypal, so that’s not an option.
What IS an option (and the one we’re currently using) is Payoneer (referral link). What Payoneer does is it sets you up with a US bank account (and others, but you mainly only need US) so that you can opt for payment via direct debit/EFT. Enter the bank details given by your Payoneer account into Amazon and voila, you’re getting monthly royalty payments*!
Malaysia does NOT have a tax treaty with USA, so all your royalties is subject to a 30% withholding tax. What you need to do is fill up the W-8BEN, which is a very simple document.
Some websites will ask you to download the form, fill and upload, others (like Amazon) allows you to fill it directly on the site. Most of the stuff is self-evident, but here are the parts you’ll probably have questions about:
#5 – Leave this blank. The SSN (Social Security Number) is only applicable if you live and work in the US (which, if you’re reading this, you’re probably not) and the ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) is only applicable if you’re paying taxes in the US (which, if you’re based in Malaysia, you’re probably not). You CAN apply for an ITIN, but we can’t give you any advise you on that.
#6 – Fill in your Malaysian tax number here (usually SGxxxxxxxxx). If you don’t have a tax number because you’re not taxable yet, you should write “not legally required.”
#7 – Leave this blank. This is usually if you have some funky tax arrangements, which if you’re just trying to self-publish an ebook, you likely don’t.
Leave this whole section blank because Malaysia doesn’t have a tax treaty or any special rates to claim. 🙁 You have to pay that 30% withholding, okay? (Not happy? Take it up with the gomen.)
Right! So now this is filled up, sit back, relax, and wait for your money to roll in*!
More questions? Ask away! We’ll dig up some answers for you.
*Assuming you’re making some sales la har. 😉