Createspace for Self Publishing and Sticky Royalty Payments for Canadian Authors

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I’ve got this nagging peeve that I wanted to use my page here to beef about. It has to do with the royalty payment structure Createspace uses with Canadian authors. I find it quite unfair.

 

 

The situation is this: When a Canadian author self publishes a paperback version of their book with Createspace, we aren’t given the option for Direct Deposit for royalties accumulated. Our only option is to be paid by cheque…and their is a HUGE drawback. Royalties paid to Direct Deposit accounts are paid soon after royalties accrue past ten dollars, pounds, euros, depending on the currency books were purchased in. If you don’t have a Direct Deposit account, us Canadian authors have to wait until $100 is accrued in royalties in EACH currency to be paid by cheque.

 

When I first published with Createspace I wasn’t too thrilled about the lack of option for Canada but I had no choice if I wanted to publish there. When my book Conflicted Hearts came out I had sold some paperback copies through there as I was told it may take a week until the paperback version would be linked to the ebook version on Amazon. After Amazon linked the two versions it was much easier for people to purchase the paperback from Amazon than emailing me for a link where they could buy it elsewhere. Hence, all my paperbacks sold after the initial release of my book, had been sold off Amazon.

I am not one of the author types who checks her sales hourly or even daily on either site and quite frankly, when I visit my Createspace sales page, it just seems to light a fire in me. I had often emailed Createspace asking them why on earth they don’t have a Direct Deposit option for Canada, yet they have one for such countries such as U.K., Netherlands, Portugal, France and a few more. I mean geez, we are part of North America? The same responses came back with the usual, “We are sorry we don’t have that option now.” After awhile I would abandon my frustration and try not to think about it. So maybe once a month I pop by my page there to visit my $78 being held ransom until I hit the $100 mark so I can have my funds.

 

 

Today was one of those days I visited again and it pissed me off enough to write about it. I just don’t get it. I don’t think it’s fair and as an author I am trapped at their mercy.

I wanted to post about this, not only to vent (yes, it feels good!) but  also to put an awareness out for those who may not be quite aware of how the system works. I have given up emailing Createspace.

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As most self-published authors know, ebooks outsell paperback versions by a landslide, so it can take quite awhile for these paperback royalties to meet the threshold, particularly because paperback royalties bought anywhere other than from Createspace, are quite miniscule compared to Createspace purchasing. The cost of the book is the same everywhere but the royalties diminish. And I will also note although there doesn’t seem like a price advantage purchasing from Createspace, the shipping is cheaper and the author makes a higher royalty.

For the time being, I have added a “buy” link to my Conflicted Hearts page here. This will allow anyone who visits that page to purchase it directly from Createspace by the click of a button without having to surf around and look for the link. You can also click on my Meno-What? page and find a link there as well.

 

 

Have any of you faced this problem?

April 2015 addendum:

I have received a few questions regarding the tax holdback on royalties for Canadian authors. Please see Diane Tibert’s update on the new process for filling out tax exempt information now for author’s by Amazon. http://dianetibert.com/2014/11/07/update-on-canada-tax-information-with-the-united-states/

DGKaye©2014

 

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77 Comments

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  1. Debby,
    You are going to have another book to write about all the lessons you have learned! Sounds unfair to me too! 🙁
    I wish they had another button here besides… LIKE …. how about AGREE? 😉

    1. Lol thanks Di, hmm I shall look into the ‘agree’ button. 🙂

  2. That is a very understandable gripe…

    1. Sure is and thanks for visiting Suzanne, nice to hear from you 🙂

  3. This is a problem for us. I hope they do to CreateSpace what they did to Kindle and give us direct deposit.

    I manually reblogged this post here: http://dianetibert.com/2014/04/07/the-intricate-world-of-createspace-royalties/

    1. Thanks so much Diane! Yes I find it quite annoying and I wanted to share it for others as sometimes we tend to overlook these things when we don’t understand them as a new author until we are caught in it. I know I am grateful for all the good info I get from others such as yourself. 🙂

  4. Hi DG,

    Well your post above and the related story behind made me think in a sort of bureaucratic epic voyage… Kafka would probably pick up your author’s dilemmas for a brief story or something..
    I think you have been already warned, so as you have highlighted in the last paragraph, you will be prevented…
    Are realeasing a new book soon?… Great. I’ll get it then !!!.

    Best wishes to you xo, Aquileana 🙂

    1. I love your equating my story with Kafka! Thanks dear Aq for stopping by and yes….my newest book will be out in a few weeks! Thanks for your support.xo:)

  5. It’s not right that CreateSpace is like that – I mean we are in Canada and it’s not a small country here! You are fine to vent and you are not the only Canadian that I know is aggravated by the policy (I know other writers who are too).

    1. Thank for your thoughts Christy. It just doesn’t seem fair, I mean we are part of North America! I wanted to vent yes, but I wanted to make other new writers aware also. 🙂

  6. So frustrating for you. Here in the UK we have a different issue. Although we have that direct deposit facility, we only earn a pittance if the book is purchased in the UK where, naturally, our bigger readership tends to be.
    I priced my first novel at $13.95 and Amazon has arbitrarily reduced it to $13.25 which, it appears, I have no control over. If the book is purchased in the US, I earn $2.22
    If, on the other hand, it is purchased in the UK, I earn all of 38 cents.
    You might think this was due to postage, but no, there is a European printing facility and they come from there – so why only 38 cents? I haven’t yet had an answer to that one 🙁
    So in the usual manner of finding a way around things, as most of my paperback sales are done face to face, I buy them from directly from Createspace, have them shipped (takes several weeks) and sell them at full price, making around £2.50 a copy.
    Complicated, isn’t it?

    1. Yes Deb it is very complicated and unfortunately they hold the reins on us. But that is so bad that your own country makes you the least profits! It isn’t any better here, only they juggle the payment structure around accordingly for all countries. My sales are more from the U.S. than Canada, as well as U>K, my UK royalties are quite laughable as well. They don’t seem to miss too much when it comes to being in their favor. Sometimes I wonder if they are more for the readers than the authors – it sure appears that way. 🙂

      1. I’m certain of that – paying customers will always come first; there’s always another eager author to supply material when one gives up 🙁

        1. 🙁 So sadly true.

  7. That’s too bad….maybe one of the only times you probably wish you lived in the States. At least you have universal health care and free higher education. I’ll take that anyway over the ransom of my $100 from Amazon 🙂

    1. Lol thanks Adam, agreed even though our system is buckling down and believe me, after 6 months of winter I am tempted to move to the US for winters (Arizona) 🙂

  8. Just doesn’t make sense that Createaspace would do this to Canadians. But all other countries get the royal treatment. What? That needs to change.

    As for coming to the states for winter, Arizona is great, I have a niece who lives there and loves it. I am going south to Florida just as soon as I can. I like the water/the beach, and well Arizona has none. :)-

    1. Hi Annie. Yes, the CS things is crazy, holding my money captive, as though Canada is a distant foreign country. We go to Florida every year and spend time before hopping on our winter cruise. But we actually love the desert and mountains and especially the dry temps in Nevada/Arizona. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  9. Just wondering, cause I was about to publish on there–can you suggest a better self-publisher (that has a distributor) for Canadians to publish? Thanks! Lisa

    1. HI Lisa! Thanks for dropping by. Personally I really like Createspace. Publishing with them is really simple and free. Also, being that my ebooks are currently solely on amazon, the link between both sites is user friendly being that they are sister companies. The only drawback, which is the one that annoys me, is that paperback royalties sold directly from CS site need to accrue to $100 before Canadians can get their royalties. I learned this after I had given the URL out to purchase when I was excited it was first available. If you publish an ebook version with amazon, the paperback from Cs will link automatically to the amazon site, within a few days later. Because I didn’t want immediate family and friends to wait any longer they purchased it from CS before it was available on amazon. Once your paper book is available on amazon, purchases from there are added to ebook royalties and there is no minimum limit to wait for payment.
      So, my advice is if you are going to publish on CS and ebook on amazon, don’t tell anyone to purchase the paperback until you see it linked with your ebook on amazon and you will circumvent this. My next book will be published next week and once again I will tell friends to purchase from CS so I can meet the threshold and finally get my royalty, then I won’t be advertising it from CS. I hope this helps. 🙂
      And yes, there are other options such as Lightning Source and Bookbaby and Lulu. You can go their websites and see the differences and note they all cost money, some more than others. I hope this has helped. 🙂

  10. Interesting post. I published my book with Createspace when we were living in the US. We’ve recently returned to Canada and I’m working on learning the lay of the publishing land here now. Appreciate the info!

    1. Thanks for dropping by Linda. Glad if I could help! It is certainly a different game from this side of the map. 🙂

  11. Finally catching up, Debby. Wow, you have been busy. So weird about the Canadian connection and CS. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Happy to as always. 🙂

  12. I just uploaded my first sci-fi novel to CreateSpace, so I’m no expert. But I can’t imagine why they treat Canadian authors this way! Have you ever tried ordering a batch of paperbacks form CreateSpace to sell yourself (at book fairs or some such?) I wonder if that ever works out… but it does seem like I could undercut the on-line price and still make a profit – and sell signed copies at that. I’m new at writing… what do you think?

    1. Hi Kate, thanks for dropping by. Yes, I have purchased my own copies for promotions. I’m quite sure you could sell your books below the online price, but keep in mind that even though when an author purchases his/her own copies at a discounted rate you still have to factor in the HUGE shipping charges, especially for non U.S. citizens. Depending on the retail price of your book, you need to add up the costs and depending how many copies you plan on ordering, the shipping escalates. You can try it by pretending to place an order of ‘x’ amount of books, add to your cart and see the shipping charges, just remember not to hit the buy button while you’re experimenting.

      1. I’m in New Mexico… it looks like ground shipping would be $9 for a dozen paperbacks. I didn’t play with the address to see what Canadian shipping would be.

        1. Lol, consider yourself lucky, that’s cheap! You don’t want to see Canadian shipping charges, lol. 🙂

  13. This helped me so much! I’m a Canadian author publishing my first book.

    1. Glad if I could be of help. I know that some issues can be quite murky for us Canadian authors, publishing in the U.S. Feel free to drop by again, and maybe you will find something else helpful here. 🙂

  14. Thanks for this valuable information. I am presently laying out a children’s book for Create Space. We have published two books previously – one with Xlibris in the US and one with Friesen Press in Canada. We’ve found that the cost of going with these self-published firms is prohibitive as we have paid thousands to publish the books and then make only a pittance when they are sold. At least with Create Space we should not have such an initial outlay of expense. (We are Canadians, although I am also a US citizen.) I plan to check if I can have payments put into my US $ account in Washington State. Maybe that will solve the problem.

    1. Thanks for visiting and glad to be of help. Yes, I believe Createspace is the way to go. And if you have a U.S. address, I am more than sure that you will be able to be paid in U.S. funds with a U.S. bank account attached to your account. I hope this helps. 🙂

  15. This is why, as a Canadian author, I went with Lulu. They pay out via PayPal with a $5 threshold. They publish to Amazon (including amazon.ca!) and Ingram and Barnes and Noble et al. The downside is the royalties from those outside-of-Lulu vendors is quite low (I make about 89 cents for an Amazon paperback and about $5 on the same one bought off Lulu).

    They also publish ebooks to Kindle, Kobo, Apple, Nook etc. A one-stop shop. (If you want to do KDP Select though, you have to be on KDP as you can’t do that through Lulu). The royalties for ebooks are much better.

    Createspace really needs to find a printer in Canada and open up EFT to Canadians. Until they do, I’m sticking with Lulu.

    1. Thanks so much for your great insights. Yes, I had looked into Lulu and went to KDP because of the lower royalties. But after being in KDP for too long now, I am going to revisit Lulu. And absolutely CS should get aboard with their North American partner, it’s nonsense! You have inspired me to write another post about this situation again :). Incidentally, I have emailed Amazon several times with their procedures for Canadians to no avail. 🙁

      1. I find it really interesting that they have EFT for Kindle but not Createspace. I have my ebooks on Kindle and get paid regularly by EFT to Canada. I do my print books and other ebooks through Lulu. I don’t sell many print books anyway, but I just find it interesting they have the EFT option for ebook services and not print..

        1. So do I. Maybe this year? 🙂

  16. Wow…. Amazing! CreateSpace makes it sound like Canada is in some back country, yet we’re just neighbours to the US. While my formatter gets my eBook ready for CreateSpace, I was filling out my info. When I got to the Payment Info, I stopped, read, and reread. Where is Canada in all this? It’s not even mentioned. It’s rather discouraging! 🙁

    1. Thanks for stopping by Renee-Ann. So nice to meet a fellow Canadian author who feels the same way about the disadvantages we sometimes encounter with Amazon/Createspace. We have to keep speaking out, sending emails, and reminding them that we are part of North America. This situation is especially unfair when it comes to us promoting our books on Kindle Countdown, advertising to our readers about the sale and finding out that the discount promo is not available to Canadians! 🙁

  17. The weirdest thing is the Kindle program allows EFT to Canadians, yet Createspace doesn’t. Amazon has no answer for why THAT is either.

    1. I can’t figure out anything with them. I email them with such questions and the reply is always the same, “Thank you for your concern, we will pass this along and consider for future.”

  18. I’ve gone with Lulu precisely because they are direct deposit friendly to Canadians. I’d hesitated beforehand because their shipping charges were ludicrous, but they have since become much cheaper and I now have two listings with Lulu and have accumulated a couple of hundred dollars in royalties with sales as far afield as Australia. Lulu pays me at the end of each month and with their extended distribution I can gain listings for print sales with Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

    I agree that this is deeply annoying. Until late last year, Kickstarter didn’t support Canadian banking either, which was hugely annoying. Are we some form of Third World economy with outmoded banking systems? Very difficult to understand.

    1. Hi, thanks for your feedback and my sentiments exactly; are we a third world or part of North America. Don’t even get me started on kindlecountdowns that I pay for advertising, only to discover that my sale promo isn’t available to people of my own country! Thanks for the info share, I will take another look at Lulu since you say they’ve dropped on their shipping. 🙂

  19. Have you considered just using a Canadian company and having your book distributed through Amazon and the other sites? I am in the US and am looking for a reasonably priced and easy to use Canadian publisher because I want to distribute only in Canada but there seems to be a shortage of them. I have used Lulu and they have been good for some things but then I’m not in Canada.

    Meanwhile, have you considered telling Amazon about the trade agreement Clinton pushed through or is that only for wood products that have not been printed on?

    1. Thanks for stopping by! No I haven’t considered just publishing in Canada, but I may be rethinking things later in the year.
      I have had numerous emails with Amazon about the issue and other issues, such as Kindle Countdown promos that are only available to Americans when I pay for advertising while on promo. Only one country gets the sale, Not Even fellow Canadians! They always apologize and ‘thank’ me for my heads up and tell me it will be taken into consideration.

  20. I just ran into a different problem in that I am being asked to complete all this tax information and was told there would be a withholding tax on my royalties, so I am assuming I have to complete a U.S. tax return to get that back, is that the case?

    1. Hi Betty-Anne. Can I assume you are Canadian? If so, you would have needed to obtain an EIN number from the U.S. which you would have filled in with Amazon for that tax information. That EIN entitles you to be tax free and no withholding. If you didn’t submit this info, 30% will be held and it’s a long road to try and get it back. Were you aware of this?

  21. Actually, they changed the rules for the better; I know: amazing, isn’t it. Usually they make it worse. Now, instead of needing an EIN you can use your social insurance number.

    In fact, when I attempted to update my tax information last year, I couldn’t use my EIN. It was rejected. Life is much easier now for Canadian writers who publish on Smashwords and Amazon.

    Here is the blog post I wrote about it: http://dianetibert.com/2014/11/07/update-on-canada-tax-information-with-the-united-states/

    1. Thanks for adding that here Diane, as this post got a lot of traffic. Yes, I read they have changed the rules awhile back. I also read your post.
      I will add to this post to visit your link here for update. Thanks! 🙂

  22. Hi DG. Just came across you post as I’m a Canadian author about to print my first book with createspace. I was just wondering if you have tried setting up a US based checking account with RBC or Scotia as a holding account. It seems like a viable option.

    1. Hi. A US account is only an E account, not obtainable to use in the US. The problem is, when you register to publish with Amazon, they auto convert royalties to CAD because we have a Canadian address. Createspace is different, they send US cheques in the mail in US funds, but not until your royalties for paperback have accumulated to every $100. Bummer!

  23. I just called createspace and they said that option maybe possible as a workaround. And that no one had ever suggested it. So I’ll give it a shot and followup with you guys. Canadian authors have to be creative in getting their money 🙂

    1. Absolutely! Thanks for sharing that with us here. Please do follow up with updates. 🙂

  24. Same for me , From Canada i wish we can be payed by direct deposit same as for Kindle !!!

  25. I think CreateSpace will NEVER pay Cdn authors royalties via direct deposit because they’re earning so much interest on unpaid royalty sales.

    We Cdn authors should form a coalition and DEMAND CreateSpace either take out a surety bond to ensure our unpaid royalties are protected or PAY US INTEREST on royalties earned from the sale of our books but not as yet paid out to us.

    This really seems to be a racket that no one has thought about yet. I wonder what the media would think about this unfair business practice? W5; Marketplace (Cdn Trade Commissioner?) here we come!

  26. I’m a French indie and I’m also battling with Createspace in order to have the payment option changed (that and the fact that it’s taking 30 days to appear on Amazon.ca). I’m sending them an email each 3 months. If all Canadian Indie authors were writing to them about it, it might change. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one trying to do something. I also start a bilingual petition on change.org, but I almost had only supporters from France as French-Canadian authors don’t seem to care: https://www.change.org/p/auteurs-auto%C3%A9dit%C3%A9s-canadiens-lecteurs-canadiens-pour-que-createspace-d-amazon-soit-disponible-au-canada?recruiter=95787980&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_term=des-lg-no_src-no_msg

    1. Hi Caroline. Thanks for chiming in with this post. Sorry for the delay, but I only just saw this as it went to spam.
      I’ve sent numerous emails to Createspace over this issue, and I get the same response: Basically it says, ‘thanks for the response, hopefully in the future we can change this’. Big help? Not! I will be glad to sign your petition. Although I’m Canadian, not French-Canadian. We can always hope there will be a change. 🙂

  27. I’m Canadian and I have my royalties deposited right into my bank account. Just got 5 in Feb. I think it all has to do with the bank code or swift code. I’m with CIBC so their swift code is CIBCCATT Go back to your banking info where they ask for your checking account info and make sure you have the right code. You have to call your bank to get this code it is not on the checking account info. Let me know if this helps.

    1. Thanks Beverly. I have all my amazon ebook royalties deposited in the account, but Createspace states print book royalties must total to $100 US before they will pay ‘foregin’ that is, Canadian in their account?

  28. Having read about many of the problems facing Canadian authors with E-publishers, I decided a while back not to publish any of my books online until some of these problems get sorted out or I find the right fit. In the meantime, I will continue to follow these threads with great interest.

    1. Thanks Bev. And I will continue to update on these issues as I come by them. 🙂

  29. I phoned Amazon today and no change unfortunately. I have royalty payments hung up in my account. Amazon needs to change this, we are neighbors not some obscure country.

    1. Thanks for sharing Mike. So I see nothing has changed. Big surprise . . .Not! One day Canadians will be recognized as part of North America, lol. 🙂

  30. Great info thank you very much! My sister just published her 1st book with Createspace in the States, I new very little about them. I’m working on a chess book and was looking into what changes if any there might be as a Canadian author. I’m glad I found this thread! Good luck and thank you for keeping us updated.

    1. Thanks so much for dropping by. I’m glad you found this post helpful. 🙂

  31. I’ve had the same problem. It drives me crazy. I have a hunch that it might have SOMETHING to do with the fact that Createspace is selling physical paperbacks, whereas KDP is selling digital data (ebooks).I know that Canada has an awful lot of bureaucratic red tape gobbledy-gook. It might be that WE’RE gumming up the works.

    But that’s just a guess.

    1. Thanks Steve. It’s still annoying. We are part of North America! 🙂

  32. Hello,
    I’m thinking of publishing an adult coloring book on createspace. How does a Canadian escape American taxes?

  33. HI Debby,
    I’m not familiar with CreateSpace, although I’ve heard of it. It sounds like I still have a lot to learn.
    Janice

    1. Createspace is the sister to Amazon, where you publish your paperback copy of your book. 🙂

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