Friday, 14 December 2012

Walking Away Author Interview

When I released Text Me, Guido in July, Adriane Boyd was the very first blogger to ever review it. She's been incredibly supportive, and I can honestly say that I owe the majority of my sales to her efforts promoting my work. So when I heard she was publishing a book, I was eager to return the favor!

Her new book, Walking Away, is available on Amazon TODAY! And it's only a buck. So go and get it!

And now, here's my interview with Adriane!

Writing Walking Away, what other writers inspired you?

If I say you does that make me lame or creepy?

No, that makes you awesome.

WOO! Well of course you, and there's Tammy Blackwell (who's book Destiny Binds was my very first indie), Shelly Crane, Tiffany King, Abbi Glines, Nichole Chase... The list is absolutely endless. But if we were talking music, well that would also be an endless list but altogether different. Before I started writing stories I wrote songs...

Music has always been my biggest source of inspiration. I mean with bands like Pearl Jam (who's song Just Breathe inspired some of Walking Away) and Ambassadors who's song Litost got me through the rewrites of Walking Away, it's hard not to let your imagination just take you away on the wings of their music. It's really one of the most raw forms of imagery there is. You can't see the sounds, the emotions, the depth in the lyrics, but you can feel it, and it's amazing.

Writing songs was actually really very natural for me. From the time I was 3, I can remember singing along in Sunday school and in the car with my parents. I was in the children's and youth choirs in church rowing up and in high school I sang in the chorus. My best friend in college was in a band and he and I would collaborate lyrics together a lot, so it was essentially second nature.
Interesting. You have a lot of well-known indie author friends. How did you come to befriend so many?

That's really easy. I read their books, fell in love with their characters and the stories. Then, it was the simple task of sending out friend requests to each of them on Facebook and praying they accepted them. I met most of them face to face at a book festival in Decatur, Georgia a few months ago and it's just grown from there.

As a self-published author, how do you plan to promote this release (besides doing this interview on my blog)?

Um, a lot of word of mouth and self promotion. What I mean is, I am going to plaster it on my own blog, on other blogs, on Facebook and Twitter, just everywhere.

Surely you must have more interviews lined up with much more important people than myself?

No. Not really. Okay, I have a couple other interviews, but not with people I know. They were referred to me by other people.

Will you be using KDP Select, and if so, why?

I will not be using KDP Select. It has been brought to my attention that if you publish using KDP Select, then you have to wait three months or some outrageous amount of time before you can publish with PubIt, Barnes & Noble's self publishing platform. I know several of my potential readers have Nooks, so I would like for them to be able to enjoy Walking Away as well.

Does this release share similar themes to your upcoming novel You Just Know?

No. You Just Know is a Young Adult contemporary. It's about losing something/someone important to you and learning to trust at a young age. Walking Away is about learning the difference between holding on and letting go.

YJK is also told from two different points of view, and Walking Away is only told from Cora's side.
What was your rationale for publishing this short story before the release of You Just Know?
Truthfully? I'm struggling with You Just Know. I'm having a really hard time making it meld together with what was already written, and I knew if I kept going at the rate that I was with it, then it would be complete trash. So in a way, Walking Away was something that I had to do. Plus, I feel like if the Mayans were right, then I've crossed off my #1 bucket list item.
So when can we expect You Just Know?
As of right now late spring or early summer. That is, of course, if the Mayans were not correct. I'm leaning on the idea that the Mayan in charge of writing the calendar developed a cramp, and decided that December 21, 2012 was the best he could do.
What is your advice for anyone looking to self-publish?
DO NOT be afraid to ask questions. It's the only way you're going to be able to understand any of it. Don't go into this venture thinking you know everything based on a little bit of research. Though they may like to think it, Wiki doesn't know everything, and Google really is just a search engine. If you're serious about self publishing, then you have to ask questions. All kinds of questions.
Who to ask?
Other self published authors. I have an entire list of them that I can give you. Rhonda Dennis, Tiffany King, Andrea Randall, Charles Sheehan-Miles... Those are the ones who helped me the most.
Thanks so much for your time Adriane!

Now go pick up her book, and stay tuned for the release of her novel You Just Know in the future!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Keeping the Chain Alive!

The holiday season is approaching, and that means I have a lot more free time on my hands! I've been busy lately and this blog has been neglected, but I will try to make reparations in the best way possible: with a blog chain! YAY!

Recently I was tagged in a chain by author Rob Lopez, and I am more than happy to keep this one alive! However, the questions involve my next book, which is very secretive at the moment, so I'm not sure I'll be able to answer these questions in much detail, but I'll try...

What is the title of your next book?

Sorry, I can't say.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

A previous job I had.

What genre does your book fall under?

Like my other books, it's a dark comedy. However, unlike Text Me, Guido and Fifty Shades of Azzurri, it's written in a conventional style. No reliance on dialogue or text-messages this time--which I guess is a good thing for those of you opposed to originality.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

It's fitting that this question is here, because the novel actually began as a screenplay I finished two years ago. I shopped it around, but the furthest it got was in the hands of some talent agency in Santa Monica. Ah, well. I had envisioned Steve Carell in the lead role, with supporting roles by Jim Carrey, Roseanne Barr (HAHAHA), and John Goodman, in a sort of homage to his character in The Big Lebowski, Walter Sobchak.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Again, can't answer.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The novel is not done yet, but the script was finished two years ago. It's just a matter of converting the script into novel form. It's harder than it sounds, but hopefully I can get it done within the next six months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I can't say I'm aware of any other books quite like it, although there are definitely similarities to films (see below).

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I began writing it almost immediately after watching Punch-Drunk Love. The best way I can describe it is a cross between Punch Drunk Love, Blue Velvet, and The Big Lebowski. Weird, I know. But hilarious (or so I like to believe).

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Be prepared for an absurd comedy that takes place in the modern world of Youtube. That's all I can say ;)

Now over to author Jim Larranga's book blog to continue the chain!

Monday, 15 October 2012

"I didn't like the characters"

Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull
When I see this sort of criticism, I can only shake my head. When did it ever become a prerequisite that characters must be likeable in order to enjoy a book? With so many unlikeable people in the world, why do so many readers require likeable characters? And why is this often the sole criterion for determining whether one likes a book or a film?

It's not about the characters' actions. It's about what the author is trying to say about their actions, otherwise known as the themes of a work. Far too often in modern literature, themes are neglected in favor of style. Readers seem to prefer formula over originality, and style over substance. This is why so many best-sellers today feature some generic guy with a six-pack on the cover. It's a sad day in the world when so much weight is placed on whether or not the characters were "hot enough".

Whatever happened to ideas?

Jake LaMotta (as portrayed by Robert DeNiro) is a thoroughly unlikeable, despicable character. But that doesn't make Raging Bull any less of a masterpiece. It's a treatise on violence in modern society, both as entertainment and as a means of conflict resolution. LaMotta is a man who works in both. He is flawed. He is human. That's what makes him interesting.

Holden Caulfield is another character commonly referred to as "unlikeable". Goodreads currently lists 48,601 one star reviews for The Catcher in the Rye, almost all of the naysayers complaining of the "whiny" Caulfied. Did the readers forget that this is a book about a conflicted teen? This is how teens act. They whine and complain, and they act immature. The character is an accurate reflection of reality, and for me, this is infinitely more interesting than reading a book where all the characters are flawless and inhabit some fairytale land where everyone is cute and nice.

But hey, that's just my opinion.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Amazon International Category Differences

In an earlier post, I wrote about the benefits of listing your book in a small category on Amazon. Since the likelihood of making the top 100 in your category increases with fewer competition, your book will most likely fare better in a small category than a large one, where it is likely to get lost in the thousands of books listed.

However, I've recently discovered that certain categories do not exist in Non-US versions of Amazon. For example, both of my books 'Text Me, Guido' and 'Fifty Shades of Azzurri' are listed in the Comic Fiction category of, but unfortunately, this category (or an equivalent) does not exist on, or any other Non-US version of Amazon. This means that the exposure of these two books is severely limited outside of the US. Therefore, if you have a book that you feel is marketable internationally, it may be wise to avoid the Comic Fiction category.

And for whatever reason, the Contemporary Fiction category does not exist in Non-US versions of Amazon, either.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Importance of Reviews

Reviews (both good and bad) can provide insight into who is actually reading your book, and can aid in tailoring your book to your specific target audience.

For instance, based on the reviews I've received thus far on Goodreads, virtually every single person who has read Text Me, Guido falls into one of the following two categories (or both):

1) Middle-aged
2) Non-Italian

Considering my book is about a group of text-messaging Italian-American young adults, I find this very troubling. Clearly, I am not reaching my target demographic. On Amazon, "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" lists a bunch of chick-lit. Again, not good.

How can I solve this problem?

As a writer, I am grateful to anyone who has read my work, but at the same time, if it falls into the wrong hands, it will likely do more harm than good. The people reading my book are clearly not the same people who watch Jersey Shore religiously, and this is a problem.

The blurb and five-chapter preview I've provided on Amazon provide more than an accurate indication of the story and how the book functions to tell that story, but I'm still getting a lot of "The story was not for me"-type comments.

So, how do I solve this problem?

Well, obviously I can't rely on Snooki to retweet the link to my book to her followers, so I will have to find another solution (LOL). I'm releasing a new short story soon (probably within 24 hours) that I hope will attract my target demographic to me. My philosophy is to keep writing, and hopefully people will find me. Wishful thinking I know, but we'll see what happens. *Fingers crossed*

Monday, 13 August 2012

What is up with Goodreads?

It seems every time I visit Goodreads, it takes only a few minutes before I inevitably see this screen:

Am I alone on this? Because frankly, it's becoming annoying.

Facebook has nearly a billion active users, and I never once encounter any problems on their servers. Goodreads, on the other hand, has a mere 10 million, yet its servers are constantly overworked. Maybe it's time for an upgrade?

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Just How Up-to-Date are KDP Sales Reports?

Instant sales reports are a relatively new development with the advent of e-publishing -- so I guess I should be grateful (and I am) -- but there appears to be a lot of confusion over just how "up-to-date" the KDP sales reports really are (here and here, a google search yields much more).

I was under the impression that sales reports would be instantaneous (and maybe I was naive, but this myth is perpetuated by a large number of bloggers, so it's not entirely my fault). The fact is, KDP sales reports are rarely instantaneous, and often times can take days to update (and this is when things are running smoothly). A recent KDP outage  had many, including myself, waiting for almost a week before seeing any update to our sales. And outages are more common than you think.

My point: Don't go into KDP and expect up-to-the-minute sales reports. They don't exist. Just sit back. Relax. And stop checking your dashboard every 5 seconds.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Text Me, Guido Gets Reviewed!

It's been available for 2 weeks now, and Text Me, Guido is starting to generate some buzz! Christina Rodriguez at Christina's Book Reviews and Adriane Boyd at The Indie BookShelf have published rave reviews! Check them out! And if you haven't done so already, follow them on twitter at  and !

Monday, 30 July 2012

Comprehensive List of Canadian Book Bloggers

If you're an author looking for people to review your book, Carmel over at Rabid Reads has compiled a list of Canadian book bloggers who accept book submissions.

Do yourselves a favor and submit to everyone on that list! What an amazing resource!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Formatting Your E-Book (Yourself)

Kindle Direct Publishing prides itself on the variety of formats it can now convert to a .mobi file: According to its FAQ, you can upload Word, HTML, Plain Text, Rich Text Format, and PDF files directly for conversion (in addition to the standard .prc and .epub formats).

The rationale behind such a wide selection would seem to be convenience -- BUT, uploading in one of these formats would most likely result in a poorly-formatted book (especially if you upload Word or PDF files, since these have unique characters that are not recognized by a Kindle). That's why most writers opt to pay a professional to format their e-book for them...but why not learn how to format it yourself?

For most writers, writing is only a hobby -- they attend to their jobs in the day and have families to take care of at night -- so I understand if people feel the need to hire a professional in this circumstance.  Not all of us are tech savvy, and the whole process can be quite time-extensive. But if writing is your full-time job, you really have no excuse; it isn't that difficult (even if you consider yourself to be a computer illiterate).

Take me, for instance. I was completely clueless as to how to format an e-book, and I managed to figure it out and complete it in 5 days. And the main reason it took this long was because of the general lack of information online (the Mobipocket tutorial is a joke, and definitely not aimed at beginners). I had to search message boards for help and other lesser known sites for hours because every detail seemed to be in a foreign language.

Which brings me to this post: I'm going to make things easy for you, and put all the information you need in one place! And I'll make sure everything is described in simpler terms, for beginners. (You can thank me later). 

All you need to start formatting your book is the Publisher Edition of Mobipocket Creator (which you can download here). Once you have it installed, the dashboard will look like this:

Under "Import From Existing File", you'll notice you have the option to upload your book as a Word or PDF file. But like KDP, this will cause formatting problems. To avoid this, we need to open up the original book file in Word and save it as a "Web Page, Filtered". To do this, open up the Word document and select File > Save As > Under "Save As Type" select "Web Page, Filtered", like so:

NOTE: Before you  save it as a web page, it might be wise to make sure all of your chapter headings are formatted as Headers. This step is especially important if you plan to include a clickable table of contents with your e-book. To do this, highlight your chapter headings and select "Heading 1":

Once you have inserted your headings, you can save as a web page and open up Mobipocket Creator. Under "Import from Existing File" choose HTML document and upload the web page file. After a brief conversion, you'll be taken to the following interface:

The first thing you should click on is "Metadata" on the left sidebar. In this section, you'll see a whole bunch of options to fill in, but don't worry about it because most of these you will provide to Amazon (or whatever platform you are using). The eBook Title and the Author name are all you need to fill in. Once you've done that, scroll to the bottom and click update. If you're uploading to Amazon, don't worry about the Cover Image (for more on why, read my earlier post).

Next, you're going to want to make a Table of Contents (although it is entirely optional). If you remembered to format all your chapter headings as Headers before you saved as a web page, this step is really easy. Just click on "Table of Contents", and under "Tag Name" and "First Level", type "h1" (The HTML notation for "Heading 1", which is what you chose in Word to format your Chapter headings). It should look like this:

Click Update and then "Build" at the top right. You can preview your table of contents. All your chapter headings should appear as clickable links to the page in which each chapter begins. In the Mobipocket Emulator you can also survey your ebook document and check for any errors in the conversion process (chances are you'll find many -- which brings us to the editing process).

Click to go back to your "Publication Files", and click "Save" at the top just in case. Then click on your .html file and "Edit with HTML editor". This is where things might get a little intimidating. What you'll see is a bunch of scary looking code. I am not an HTML expert so I won't be able to help you with any complex problems, but what I can offer are solutions to the most common problems encountered:

Chapter Headings

By default, chapter headings are NOT bolded. You'll probably want to make them bold, otherwise, they'll look odd. To do this, scroll down the HTML code until you see /* Style Definitions */ (or you can press CTRL+F and type "Style Definitions" to get there faster). Under Style Definitions, paste the following code in to make your Chapter Headings bold:

        {color: #c33;
        background: none;
        font-weight: bold;
        text-align: left}

It should look like this:

Paragraph Indentations

I have this site to thank for this information. Basically, paragraphs are coded in HTML as a member of the p-class. This means that any code beginning with <p> and ending with </p> contains a paragraph inside. By default, all paragraphs are indented. If you want all paragraphs in your text to NOT be indented, paste the following code under "Style Definitions":

p {text-indent: 0; text-align: left}

This means that all members of the p-class (paragraphs) will not be indented and instead aligned left. Makes sense, right?

Now, if you still want your paragraphs to indent but want to target a specific paragraph to align left, you need to find the specific paragraph you are looking for. Try CTRL+F and type the first few words of the paragraph and it should pop up. You'll notice the text is enclosed in <p>, like so:

<p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;
text-align:center;line-height:normal;text-autospace:none"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">All work and no play make Jack a dull boy</span></p>

Here, the paragraph is "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy". If you want to make it so the paragraph aligns left, just find where it says "style=" and insert "text-indent: 0;" like so: 

<p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-indent: 0; margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;
text-align:center;line-height:normal;text-autospace:none"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">All work and no play make Jack a dull boy</span></p>

(Don't forget the quotation mark at the beginning and the end of the style section!)

Page Breaks

If you want to add page breaks at specific points in your book, first paste the following code under "Style Definitions":

.break { page-break-before: always; }

Now all you have to do is find the paragraph or heading you want on a new page, and modify the class. In the case of our earlier example, instead of it reading <p class="MsoNormal", it will now read <p class="break":

<p class="break" align="center" style="text-indent: 0; margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;
text-align:center;line-height:normal;text-autospace:none"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">All work and no play make Jack a dull boy</span></p>

Line Breaks

There's nearly a 100% chance you will encounter an issue with line breaks. This is because, by default, when converted to .prc, all your text is crunched together. So if you had a page that looked like this in Word:

It will most likely look like this after being converted to .prc:

To add line breaks, you need to add <br /> after every paragraph or header in which you want the break to occur (If there is an easier way of doing this, please let me know). 

And there you have it! This should address your most common concerns, however, if you've read this and still feel like a professional is your best bet, then feel free to hire one. But be careful. You don't want this to happen to you.  

Friday, 20 July 2012

Proof Kindle Categories Matter!

Within hours of switching to two small Kindle categories (see previous post), I have already acquired an Amazon Best Sellers Rank and climbed significantly in both categories. Not bad!

I will update with more information as it becomes available!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The More Precise Method of Selecting Kindle Categories

When uploading to KDP, you are required to select two categories where viewers can find your book. This is a crucial step because if your book is in a saturated category, no one will find it, and you'll see very few sales. For example, if your book is listed under: 

Kindle Store  Kindle eBooks  Fiction  Romance  Contemporary

It will need to compete against 27,710 other books, and will therefore need to be truly exceptional to stand out. However, if you list it under: 

Kindle Store  Kindle eBooks  Fiction  Romance › Romantic Suspense

It will only have to compete against a much smaller 7,554 books, thus greatly increasing the chances it will sell.

The only problem is, the KDP system makes it nearly impossible to select the exact category you want your book to appear under since the category selection options do not correspond with the actual options listed in the Kindle Store. For my book, I was hoping to have it listed under these two small categories to maximize my chances of being read: 

Kindle Store › Kindle eBooks › Fiction › Comic Fiction (93 books)
Kindle Store › Kindle eBooks › Humor › Comedy  (663 books)

But these options do not exist in the category selection tool. I ended up choosing the closest I could find:

Fiction › Humorous
Humor › Topic › Relationships

When the book went up for publication, I found Amazon put it under the following categories:

Kindle Store › Kindle eBooks › Humor (31,441 books)
Books › Literature & Fiction › Women's Fiction › Single Women  (20,054 books)

There is a way around this though. The KDP staff are happy to put your book in whatever category you wish, all you need to do is follow these steps:

1. Forget about selecting categories when you upload your book. Instead, scroll to the bottom of the category list and select NON-CLASSIFIABLE. (Had I known this was a required step, I would've saved myself some valuable time)
2. Once your book is listed for sale, go to the KDP dashboard. In the bottom right, select "Contact Us"
3. Under "What is the problem?" select "Editing Book Details" and type your request to have your categories changed.
4. Within 24 hours, KDP staff will reply and say they have manually added your book to the categories you requested.

(If you want to learn more about categories and why they are important, read M. Louisa's post)

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

How Accurate is the Kindle Cover Previewer?

A word of warning to anyone about to publish on Amazon Kindle: The Kindle Cover Previewer is awful, and not at all indicative of how the cover will look once it is published on the site.

To illustrate my point, take a look at what I saw when I uploaded the cover of my book:

Imagine the horror on my face. I immediately googled to see if I was dreaming, and as it turned out, many other authors have had the same problem.

Why the preview image is so damn compressed is a mystery to me, but once it is published, it does not look nearly as bad. Here is my cover on the product page:

And as a thumbnail:

Like night and day!

Text Me, Guido Now Available!

My novel, Text Me, Guido, is now available for download on the Amazon Kindle!

It's only $0.99!

Blurb from Amazon:

"Text Me, Guido" is the debut novel from author Adrian Staccato, and the first in a planned series. Told entirely through text-messaging conversations, the book follows five Italian-American college friends as they complete their final semester of school. They are: Enzo, Sofia, Giulia, Claudia, and Phil.

Enzo is your typical bronze-tanned Guido. The son of a wealthy home builder, he spends his days at the gym and his nights at the club. When he’s not buying drinks for his friends, he’s showering his longtime girlfriend, Sofia, with gifts – making her the envy of the neighborhood. Her friends, Giulia and Claudia, secretly hope the two will break it off, but Sofia is set on marriage and eagerly awaits Enzo’s proposal.

Enzo’s friend, Phil, is the outcast of the group. He dislikes to party, and attributes the “Jersey Shore lifestyle” to the decline of civilization. Nevertheless, he finds himself infatuated with Giulia – a crush since kindergarten. Giulia, however, is wildly insecure and has no interest in his bookish ways. She has her heart set on Enzo – and with a little maneuvering, she might just get what she wants!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Internal Cover, or Not?

While formatting ebooks for publication, many authors prefer to include an internal cover image. Indeed, this was the norm (and in fact, mandatory) for Kindle publishers up until recently; authors needed to provide an internal cover, as well as a second image for when the product is displayed on the Amazon site. This is no longer the case.

Now, only one product image is required. According to the KDP section when you are uploading the cover, Amazon uses this image in their search results, as well as your book's product display page, and now automatically embeds the image as your internal cover page. This means that inserting an internal cover is no longer required, and doing so will result in the cover appearing twice within your book.

Many thanks to Suzanne Parrott and M.A. Demers for the info!

Do you need a US Bank Account? EIN? Registered Business Name? License to publish on Amazon?

After months of research, I decided to self-publish my book on the Amazon Kindle. I designed my cover page myself, and I spent a week learning HTML just so I could convert my book to .prc format (using Mobipocket Creator). But just as I was about to publish, I came across this bit of information on the KDP FAQ: 

"We'll pay you automatically by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to a US, UK, or EU bank account"

As a Canadian, I was shocked. How was I to get paid? If I had continued reading, I would've noticed "or mail a check" on the same page, but I was too shocked to pay attention. After a google search, I discovered that this was in fact true. I do not need a US bank account to get paid in Canada. They will mail the check in USD, and it can be converted at the bank. Simple.

But this opened up a whole new bag of problems. I discovered that (as a foreigner) I was subject to a 30% withholding tax by the IRS on all Amazon royalties I received. So not only would I be taxed by the Canadian government, but also by the US, which would no doubt leave me with very little income! The only way around this is to apply for exemption as a result of a special tax treaty between the US and Canada. But in order to do this, you need a TIN (Tax Identification Number) for Amazon to process your exemption.

There are two types of TINs: An ITIN (Individual Taxpayer ID Number) and an EIN (Employer ID Number). Until very recently, many people believed that the ITIN was required for self-publishers on Amazon. I had heard horror stories that involved filling out the ITIN form and required documentation and months of delays and rejections. The prospect of doing all this tedious paperwork and waiting months for approval was NOT appealing, and I was deeply saddened...for a few minutes. Then I stumbled across Roz Morris' blog post suggesting that all you needed was an EIN, which could be acquired within minutes. Catherine Howard's blog post confirmed it! You don't need an ITIN at all! An EIN is just fine!

There is just one catch: you need to have a business. This involves registering a business name (which usually costs anywhere between $60-$100 depending on your local laws) and applying for a business license (again more fees and form filing). But this is not necessarily the case... If you visit the KDP FAQ you will find the following: 

"For non-US persons, a TIN may be an EIN (for individuals and businesses) or an ITIN (for individuals only)."

The reason individuals qualify for an EIN is because the majority of self-publishers are publishing as individuals, not as a company. You DON'T need a company to publish on Amazon. When you call the IRS  (1 267 941 1099) for the EIN number, just let them know you are self-publishing as a sole proprietor.

This brings us to the next issue: If you are a sole proprietor, do you need to register for a business name? Well, that depends. If you are publishing under a different name, then yes you do. If you are publishing under your own name, then no you don't. (NOTE: the name you publish under on Amazon is different from the author name, so you can still use a pseudonym to conceal your identity, if you wish). Just tell the IRS you are a sole-proprietor publishing under your own name, and they won't mind. That's what I did, and I had my EIN in under five minutes (excluding the fifteen minutes I was on hold).

Do you need a business license as a sole proprietor on Amazon? No. Business licenses only pertain to the jurisdiction in which you live, so the IRS and Amazon do not care if you have one, and they will not ask. Check your local laws to make sure, but in Ontario, a business license is only required if you are servicing customers directly or are required to collect taxes for the government. Since Amazon is distributing your books for you, you are not servicing customers directly. Amazon handles the business side of publishing for you, so a business license is not required.

There you have it, you can have an EIN in under five minutes without paying a dime!