Cheque please!

We are now so close to being indie authors we can feel it tingling on our tongues, like the first sweet taste of a new Red Bull. We are so excited we can barely keep still. After nothing but rejections since June, we’ll finally be able to see our work in print again. And we’ve done it all ourselves. We’ve learned how to format, how to do cover designs, make book trailers, how to upload to Amazon and Smashwords, how to confuse bank staff with international dealings.

We decided to test things out by uploading our book to Amazon and Smashwords to make sure the formatting was good. We’ve heard from other indie authors that Smashwords can be a nightmare so we wanted to be prepared. On Amazon, the answer was no. It had done weird things to some of the lines. After a brief strop and rant, we figured out what the problem was – we hadn’t uploaded it in HTML. Future note – upload to Amazon in HTML, to Smashwords in .doc. Problem solved. For Amazon you must put the account in your real name then once you’ve uploaded it, you click on Contributors and that’s where you put your pen name. That all caused a headache. We didn’t realise it went live on Smashwords immediately and before we’d had a chance to download and check it, two people had already downloaded the free sample. Panicking, we unpublished it and downloaded it in epub format to Adobe Digital Editions and to our Kindle app. Both look great 🙂 We’ve now shrunk the font and it’s all looking good. Seeing it in our Kindle app makes it so real, so exciting. Our mum is very impressed with what we’ve done. So are we. We can just about figure out Word!

But we knew it wouldn’t be that easy. The problem lies with Amazon’s royalty payments. As soon as our brains see numbers, they melt into a big pile of goo. Amazon give you the option of cheque or electronic transfer. We chose electronic transfer for Britain, spent ages hunting out our international bank account number and Bank Identifier Code then clicked on EFT for America. It asked for a routing number. We stared at the screen blankly before asking Google what it was. We spent ALL AFTERNOON Googling routing numbers. Apparently they’re something American banks have. We managed to find the routing numbers for almost every American branch of HSBC but none for the UK. So the next day we headed to HSBC. And utterly confused 3 members of staff, including the manager. They’d never heard of a routing number. To think they were probably having a nice easy day before we showed up in our Gothic clothes mumbling about international payments like we were rogue pirates trying to stash our booty in off-shore accounts. We were taken aside while the nice man in a suit searched the database. We helpfully told him he’d learned something new today. He said he’d be going home with a headache. We were there for half an hour. Cat’s phone text kept going off, blasting Alice Cooper’s Poison into the proceedings. In the end the manager gave the man a directory of numbers. From 2007. Our branch wasn’t listed. How we laughed. We left him confused and probably needing a good lie down then changed our Amazon option to ‘cheque.’ One problem – they only pay by cheque once your royalties reach $100. What if they never reach it? Do they withhold our money? Are we going to have to don our pirate dresses, grab our swords and steal back our booty? After scouring the KDP forums, we were none the wiser. No-one knows what happens. This seems totally unfair to those publishing outside America, who have no choice but to choose cheque payments.

Pirate dresses it is.


  1. That is highly annoying and a big suspect because all banks have a way of communicating with each other which is why you can transfer/wire money all over the world.

    I wouldn’t worry too much, though, because I think you’re publications will earn more than 100 bucks…

    • they obviously took one look at us and thought ‘shady. We’re not giving them a router number’. 😀 We figured we’d have to sell 286 copies on to get the $100, so it seems a bit steep, when a lot of indie authors are lucky to sell 100. But we’ll keep our talons crossed.

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